AULT-HUCKNALL, a parish, in the union of Mansfield, hundred of Scarsdale, N. division of the county of Derby, 5½ miles (N. W. by W.) from Mansfield; containing, with the hamlets of Rowthorne and Stainsby, 678 inhabitants. It comprises by measurement 4285 acres, the soil of which is two-thirds sandstone, and one-third magnesian limestone; and forms a fine agricultural district. The manor of Hardwicke lies on the south side of the parish, and on the border of Nottinghamshire, from which it is separated by the river Meden or Mayden. It was granted by King John, in 1203, to Andrew de Beauchamp: the Hardwickes possessed it for six generations; and Elizabeth, daughter of John Hardwicke, Esq., brought it to Sir William Cavendish, from whom it descended to its now noble possessor, the Duke of Devonshire.
The present Hall of Hardwicke was built by the Countess of Shrewsbury in the reign of Elizabeth; its situation is exceedingly picturesque and beautiful, standing in a fine park containing 621 acres of land, embellished with venerable oaks of most gigantic size. It is of stone, with a parapet of open work at the top, and at each extremity a lofty tower. The state apartments are very magnificent; several of the rooms are hung with tapestry of exquisite workmanship, particularly the audience hall, where is represented the story of Ulysses. The gallery is about 170 feet long and 26 wide, extending the whole length of the eastern side of the house, and hung with tapestry, on a part of which is the date 1478: it is probable that this, as well as many articles of the furniture, celebrated for its antique character, was removed from the old Hall, or from Chatsworth when that splendid mansion was being rebuilt. Among other excellent pictures, are portraits of Elizabeth, Lady Jane Grey, Sir Thomas More, Cardinal Pole, Bishop Gardiner, the first earl of Devonshire, and Thomas Hobbes. The ancient Hall, standing near the mansion, appears to have been a very fine structure, and, from its style of architecture, could not have been built any great length of time before the present edifice. The living of the parish is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 0. 5.; patron and impropriator, the Duke of Devonshire. The vicarial tithes have been commuted for £105, and there are more than 27 acres of glebe; the impropriate tithes have been commuted for £34. At Hardwicke is a school, towards the support of which Thomas Whitehead, in 1729, bequeathed a house and land producing £23. 15. per annum; it is also endowed with property in the parish of Edensor.