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Chatsworth House, Queen Mary's Bower


Mary Queen of Scots was a frequent visitor to the original Chatsworth House of Bess of Hardwick and her husband the Earl of Shrewsbury. The house where she was imprisoned has been replaced by the present building, but Queen Mary's Bower had survived. J. B. Firth provided an account of how the Bower looked at the beginning of the twentieth century:

"It stands below the House, close to the bridge over the Derwent, a grey stone building, to which access is obtained by a flight of thirty steps rising over a moat of varying width. Two old yew trees growing within the bower throw their shade over the entrance gate, a third flourishes in a corner, and in the centre a fine sycamore with spreading branches. Over the gate and fixed to a stone shield is an iron plate displaying the arms of the Scottish Queen. the quarterings showing the lilies of France and the lions of Scotland and England. No spot could be more romantic, built up from the placid moat three or four feet at its deepest, surrounded with crowns of foliage and haunted by the memories of the Queen of Scots. It is said that the bower was built for her, and tradition speaks of an underground passage connecting it with the House. But this subterranean way is merely a drain, and as the Queen was allowed more liberty at Chatsworth than elsewhere, it is hard to see why she should have been shut up in this bower"[1].


Illustration by Nellie Erichsen from Firth[1].
In the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References:

[1] Firth, J. B. (1908) "Highways and Byways in Derbyshire" MacMillan & Co., London.



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