The Old Hall at Hardwick survives only as a shell, with remnants of its plaster decoration. The building probably incorporates the manor house begun by James Hardwick (1525-1580), to which his sister Bess made radical alterations in the 1580s. Bess did not abandon the Old Hall in favour of her New Hall, which was mostly complete by1597. She used both and some rooms remained habitable until the end of the 18th century. Gradually though, as no major building work was carried out, much of the structure became unstable and eventually ruinous.
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