Cavendish, Sia William

, second son of Thomas Cavendish of Cavendish, in Suffolk, clerk of the pipe in the reign of Henry VIII. was born about 1505. He received a liberal education, and had settled upon him, by his father, certain lands in Suffolk. Cardinal Wolsey, who was a native of Suffolk, took him into his splendid i’an;ily, which consisted of one earl, nine barons, and several hundred knights, gentlemen, and inferior officers. He served the Cardinal as gentleman usher, and was admitted into more intimacy with him than any other servant, and therefore would not desert him in his fall; but was one of the few who stuck close to him when he had neither office nor salary to bestow. This singular fidelity^ joined to his abilities, recommended him to his sovereign, who received him into his own family and service. In 1540 he was appointed one of the auditors of the court of augmentation, and soon after obtained a grant of several lordships in the county of Hertford. In 1546 he was made treasurer of the chamber to his majesty, had the honour of knighthood conferred on him, and was soon after sworn of the privy council. He continued to enjoy both these honours during eleven years; in which time his estate was much increased by grants from Edward VI. in seven different counties; nor does it appear that he was in less credit or favour with | queen Mary, under whose reign he died in 1557. He married three wives. His third and last, who survived him, was the widow of Robert Barley, esq. and justly considered as one of the most famous women of her time. She was the daughter of John Hard wick, of Hard wick, in Derbyshire, by Elizabeth the daughter of Thomas Leeke, of Lousland in the same county, esq. and in process of time became coheiress of his fortune, by the death of her brother without children. When she was scarce fourteen, she was married to Robert Barley, of Barley, in Derbyshire, esq. a young* gentleman of a large estate, all which he settled absolutely upon her on their marriage; and by his death without issue she came into possession of it in 1532. After remaining a widow about twelve years she married Cavendish, by whom she had Henry Cavendish, esq, who was possessed of considerable estates in Derbyshire, but settled at Tutbury in Staffordshire; William Cavendish the first earl of Devonshire; and Charles Cavendish settled at Welbeck in Nottinghamshire, father of William baron Ogle and duke of Newcastle; and three daughters: Frances, who married sir Henry Pierpoint of Holm Pierpoint, in the county of Nottingham, from whom the dukes of Kingston are descended; Elizabeth, who espoused Charles Stuart earl of Lenox, younger brother to the father of James I.; and Mary. After the death of sir William Cavendish, this lady consenting to become a third time a wife, married sir William St. Lowe, captain of the guard to queen Elizabeth, who had a large estate in Gloucestershire; which in articles of marriage she took care should be settled on her and her own heirs, in default of issue; and accordingly, having no child by him, she lived to enjoy his whole estate, excluding as well his brothers who were heirs male, as his own female issue by a former lady. In this third widowhood the charms of her wit and beauty captivated the then greatest subject of the realm, George Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury, whom she brought to terms of honour and advantage to herself and children; for he not only yielded to a considerable jointure, but to an union of families, by taking Mary her youngest daughter to be the wife of Gilbert his second son, and afterwards his heir; and giving the lady Grace, his youngest daughter, to Henry her eldest son. Nov. 18, 1590, she was a fourth time left, and to death continued, a widow. A change of condition that perhaps never fell to any one | woman to be four times a happy wife to rise by every husband into greater wealth and higher honours to havein unanimous issue by one husband only to have all those children live, and honourably disposed of in her lifetime and, after all, to live seventeen years a widow in absolute power and plenty .*


This countess dowager of Shrewsbury built three of the most elegant seats that were ever raised by one hand within the same county, Chatsworth, Ilardwick, and Oldcotes. At Hardwick she left the ancient seat of her family standing; where her chamber and rooms of state, with her arms and other ensigns, are si ill remaining. It must not be forgotten, that this lady had the honour to he keeper of Mary queen of Scots, committed prisoner to l‘eorpe earl of Shrewsbury for seventeen The eat I’s epitaph betrays that he was &upected of familiarity with his royal prisoner, “Quod à malevolis propter suspectam cum caplira regina familiaritatem *sepius male audivit,” which is not to be imagined true: however, the countess carried herself to the queen and the. e.irl her husband, with all becoming respect and duty. Pull of years and all worldly comforts, she died Feb. 15, 1607, and was buried in Allhallows church, in Derby (where she had founded an hospital for twelve poor people), under a fair tomb, which she took fare to erect in her own life-time, and whereon a remarkable epitaph was afterwards inscribed.—Kennett’s Mem.

Sir William Cavendish xvrote the life of his old master cardinal Wolsey, and therein gives him a very high character; affirming that, in his judgment, he never saw the kingdom in better obedience and quiet than during the time of his authority, or justice better administered. Indeed, impartial inquirers into the history of Wolsey will be ready to conclude that he was not the worst man in the court of Henry VIII. No work, however, has experienced a more singular fate than sir William Cavendish’s “Life of' Wolsey.” It was long known only by manuscripts, and by the large extracts from it, inserted by Stowe in his “Annals,” and in this state it remained from the reign of queen Mary in which it was composed, until 1641, when it was first printed under the title of “The Negociations of Thomas Wolsey,” &c. 4to; and as the chief object of the publication was to institute a parallel between the cardinal and archbishop Laud, in order to reconcile the public to the murder of that prelate, the manuscript was mutilated and interpolated without shame or scruple, and no pains having been taken to compare the printed edition with the original, the former passed for genuine above a century, and was reprinted, with a slight variation in the title, in 1667 and 1706, besides being inserted in the Harleian Miscellany. At length Dr. Wordsworth printed a correct transcript in his valuable “Ecclesiastical Biography,| 1810, 6 yols. 8vo, collated with four Mss. two in the Lambeth, one in the York cathedral library, and one in the British Museum. 1


Wordsworth’s Biography, Vol. I.—Biog. Brit