Robert Barlow (courtier) & Bess of Hardwick

1543 - 1544
Bess of Hardwick and Robert Barlow (courtier)  
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Robert Barlow (courtier) and Bess of Hardwick were married for 1 year before Bess of Hardwick died aged 81.

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Relationship Statistics

StatusDurationLength
MarriedMay 1543 - Dec 1544 1 year, 7 months
Total May 1543 - Dec 1544 1 year, 7 months


Bess married 13-year-old Robert Barley, heir to a neighbouring estate. The exact date of her marriage to Robert is unknown. It is thought that the marriage took place late May 1543, shortly before the death of Robert's father on 28 May, although there is no documentary evidence to substantiate this. There is no evidence that they lived together as man and wife. Robert died in December 1544. There was no issue from the marriage, which had been arranged locally, probably initially to protect the Barley patrimony and to mitigate the impact of wardship on the Barley estate should Robert succeed his father as an underage heir. The traditional story that Robert and Bess met in London while in the service of a "Lady Zouche" is based on oral history, which can only be dated to the late seventeenth-century (some eighty years after Bess's death). The rights to Robert's marriage were disputed, and following his death Bess was refused dower by Peter Freschevile. A court battle ensued, which resulted in Bess being awarded her claim on the Barley estate and compensation, albeit several years after Robert's death.

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Relationship Timeline

May, 1543 - Marriage

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