William Cavendish, 2nd Earl of Devonshire

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The Right Honourable
The Earl of Devonshire
Born circa 1590
Died 20 June 1628
Spouse(s) Christian Bruce
Children Anne Cavendish
William Cavendish, 3rd Earl of Devonshire
Charles Cavendish
Parent(s) William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire
Anne Keighley

William Cavendish, 2nd Earl of Devonshire MP (c. 1590 – 20 June 1628) was an English nobleman, courtier, and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1614 until 1626 when he succeeded to the peerage and sat in the House of Lords.


Cavendish was the second son of William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire, by his first wife Anne Keighley. He was educated by Thomas Hobbes, the philosopher, who lived at Chatsworth as his private tutor for many years. He was knighted at Whitehall in 1609. He was accompanied by Hobbes on the Grand Tour from about 1610, when he visited France and Italy before his coming of age. He was a leader of court society, and an intimate friend of James I, and Hobbes praised his learning in the dedication of his translation of Thucydides.

In 1614, Cavendish was elected Member of Parliament for Derbyshire. He became Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire in 1619. In 1621 he was re-elected MP for Derbyshire. In April 1622 he introduced to audiences with the king Schwarzenburg, ambassador from the Emperor Ferdinand, Valerssio from Venice, and d'Arsennes and Joachimi from the United Provinces. He was re-elected MP for Derbyshire in 1624 and 1625. In 1625 he was present at Charles I's marriage with Henrietta Maria. He was high bailiff of Tutbury in 1626 and was re-elected MP for Derbyshire in 1626, until the death of his father early in 1626 gave him a seat in the House of Lords. In the Lords, he resisted George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham's attempt to find a treasonable meaning on a speech of Sir Dudley Digges (13 May 1626).

Cavendish's spending strained his resources, and he procured a private act of parliament to enable him to sell some of the entailed estates in discharge of his debts in 1628. His London house was in Bishopsgate, on the site afterwards occupied by Devonshire Square.

Cavendish died at his London house, from over-indulgence it was said, at the age of about 35 and was buried in Allhallows Church, Derby.


Cavendish married Christian(a) Bruce, daughter of Edward Bruce, 1st Lord Kinloss,[1] on 10 April 1608. They had three children:


  1. ^ Pearson, John, The Serpent and the Stag, (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1983), 44.


  • Pearson, John, The Serpent and the Stag, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1983.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Cavendish, William (1591?–1628)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir John Harpur
William Kniveton
Member of Parliament for Derbyshire
With: Henry Howard 1614
Sir Peter Fretchville 1621–1622
John Stanhope 1624–1625
John Manners 1626
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Leeke
John Frescheville
Honorary titles
Title last held by
The Earl of Shrewsbury
Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire
jointly with The Earl of Devonshire 1619–1626

Succeeded by
The Earl of Newcastle
Peerage of England
Preceded by
William Cavendish
Earl of Devonshire
Succeeded by
William Cavendish