Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Cavendish, William (1505?-1557)

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CAVENDISH, Sir WILLIAM (1505?–1557), statesman, born about 1505, was second son of Thomas Cavendish of Cavendish, Suffolk, clerk of the pipe, by Alice, daughter of John Smith of Padbrooke Hall, and was directly descended from Sir John Cavendish, the judge (d. 1381) [q.v.]. William's eldest brother was George Cavendish [q.v.], Wolsey's biographer. His father's last will is dated 13 April 1523, when his family was residing in the city parish of St. Alban's, Wood Street. His mother was buried in Botolph's Church, Bishopsgate. Probably through the influence of his brother George, Wolsey's friend, William was first introduced to court. In 1530 he was one of the commissioners who visited the monasteries to demand the surrender of their property to the crown, and in that year seized the abbey at Sheen. In 1541 he was auditor of the court of augmentations, and received grants of land in Hertfordshire formerly belonging to the dissolved monasteries. In 1546 he became treasurer of the king's chamber, was knighted, and was sworn of the privy council. Edward VI showed as much affection for Cavendish as Henry VIII, continued him in his office and largely increased his landed property by fresh grants of monastic estates. Cavendish conformed under Mary, was reappointed by her treasurer of the royal chamber, and died on 25 Oct. 1557, being buried on 30 Oct, (Marten, Diary, p. 156). Cavendish has often been erroneously represented as the author of the well-known 'Life of Wolsey,' the work of his brother George. On his marriage with his third wife, Elizabeth, a Derbyshire heiress, Cavendish sold most of his estates in other counties to purchase more land in Derbyshire, and began to build in 1533 a great mansion at Chatworth, which was completed by his widow at a total cost of 80,000l.

Sir William married, first, Anne, daughter of Edward Bostock of Cheshire, by whom he had a son, who died young, and four daughters, two of whom died in infancy; secondly, Margaret (d. 16 June 1540), daughter of Thomas Parker of Poalingford, Suffolk, by whom there was no issue; thirdly, Elizabeth, a very rich Derbyshire heiress, daughter of John Hardwick of Hardwick, Derbyshire, and widow of Robert Barley of Barley, Derbyshire. The last marriage took place 'at the Blaek Fryars in London' 3 Nov. 1541. His third wife twice remarried after Cavendish's death, her fourth husband being George Talbot, sixth earl of Shrewsbury, and lived till 13 Feb. 1607-8 [see Talbot, Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury]. She built Hardwicke Hall and Oldcoles and finished Chatsworth, making all three houses over to her second son by Cavendish, William, first earl of Devonshire [q. v.] Cavendish had by her two other sons and three daughters. The eldest son, Henry, was M.P. for Derbyshire 1572; won repute as a soldier in the Low Countries in 1578; travelled in the East; married Grace Talbot, eldest daughter of his stepfather, the Earl of Shrewsbury, by whom he had no issue; befriended Mary Queen of Scots, for many years the Earl of Shrewsbury's prisoner at Hardwicke Hall,and afterwards in confinement at Cavendish's own house, Tutbury, Staffordshire (Sir Amias Poulet, Letterbook, ed. Morris); died 12 Oct. 1616, and was buried at Edensor, near Chatsworth. His account of his Eastern travels is still in manuscript at Hardwick (Hist. MSS. Comm. 3rd Rep.)

The third son, Charles, settled at Welbeck, Nottinghamshire; was knighted; married Catherine, daughter of Cuthbert, lord Ogle; died in June 1617, was buried at Bolsover, Derbyshire, and was the father of William, first duke of Newcastle [q. v.]

Of the daughters, Frances married Sir Henry Pierpoint of Holme Pierpoint, Nottinghamshire, and was the ancestress of the Dukes of Kingston; Elizabeth married Charles Stuart, earl of Lennox, and was the mother of Arabella Stuart; and Mary married Gilbert Talbot, the son of her stepfather, the Earl of Shrewsbury.

[Biog. Brit. (Kippis); Kennet's Memoirs of the Cavendish Family (1737); Arthur Collins's Hist. Coll. of the Noble Families of Cavendish, &c. 17S2): Joseph Grove's Lives of all the Earls and Dukes of Devonshire (1751)]

S. L. L.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.58
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
ii 6 Cavendish, Sir William (1505?-1557): for Anne read Margaret (d. 1540)
10 for Margaret (d. 16 June 1540) read on 3 Nov. 1542 'at the Black Fryars in London' Elizabeth
16-17 for 'at the Black Fryars in London' 3 Nov. 1541 read at Bradgate, Leicestershire, on 20 Aug. 1547
25 for Cavendish, William, read William Cavendish
28 after 1572 insert 1584, 1586, 1588, 1592, and 1597