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been replaced by the present building, but Queen Mary's Bower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".