The 1601 inventory lists the contents of the new Hardwick Hall soon after its completion and furnishing. It was compiled because there had been much transferring of furniture and furnishings between the various houses, especially on the completion of the new hall at Hardwick at the end of the 1590s.
Both the old and new Halls at Hardwick, together with their contents, were bequeathed to Bess of Hardwick's second son William Cavendish and his male heirs. Her eldest son, Henry Cavendish, was to inherit Chatsworth but not its contents, a reflection of their troubled relationship. The contents were bequeathed to William.
Chatsworth without its contents were no use to Henry, and he sold his interest in the house to William in 1609 for £8,000. The inventory runs up to six pages and the will to two pages.