William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire, was born 27 December 1552 to William Cavendish (c1505-1557) and Elizabeth Hardwick (1527-1608) and died 3 March 1626 Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, England, United Kingdom of unspecified causes. He married Anne Keighley (1566-1598) 21 March 1580 JL . He married Elizabeth Boughton (c1555-) 1604 .

William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire (27 December 1552 – 3 March 1626) was an English politician and courtier.


The second son of Sir William Cavendish and Bess of Hardwick, he was educated with the children of George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, whom his mother married after his father's death. She made him a rich allowance in his youth.

He was M.P. for Newport in 1588; High Sheriff of Derbyshire, where the estates of his family lay, in 1595; and justice of the peace in 1603. He was created Baron Cavendish of Hardwick in 1605, thanks to the representations of his niece, Arbella Stuart. He participated in the colonisation of the Bermudas, and Devonshire Parish was called after him; he also was a supporter of colonising Virginia.[1]

His mother's death in 1608, and his elder brother Henry's death in 1616, gave him a vast fortune. He was in attendance on James I in a progress in Wiltshire in 1618, and on 2 August was created Earl of Devonshire, while the court was staying at the Bishop of Salisbury's palace; he was reported to have paid £10,000 for the title. He died on 3 March 1626, and was buried at Edensor.


His first wife was Anne Kighley or Keighley, daughter of Henry Kighley of Keighley, Yorkshire, circa 21 March 1580. They had three sons and three daughters, including:

  • William Cavendish, 2nd Earl of Devonshire (c. 1590–1628)
  • Frances Cavendish (c. 1593–1631), married William Maynard, 1st Baron Maynard
  • Gilbert, who has been credited with the authorship of Horae Subsecivae (see Grey Brydges, 5th Baron Chandos), died young
  • James, died in infancy

Cavendish's second wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Boughton of Couston, Warwickshire, widow of Sir Richard Wortley of Wortley, Yorkshire, by whom he had a son, John, made a knight of the Bath when Prince Charles was created Prince of Wales in 1618. Sir John died on 18 January 1618.


Offspring of William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire and Anne Keighley (1566-1598)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Gilbert Cavendish (c1581-bef1626)
Elizabeth Cavendish (c1583-)
James Cavendish (c1585-c1585)
Mary Cavendish (c1587-)
William Cavendish, 2nd Earl of Devonshire (c1590-1628) 1590 20 June 1628 Christian Bruce (1595-1674)
Frances Cavendish (c1593-1613)

Offspring of William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire and Elizabeth Boughton (c1555-)
Name Birth Death Joined with
John Cavendish (-1618)



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Cavendish, William (d.1626)". Dictionary of National Biography, 1885–1900. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

Honorary titles
Title last held by
The Earl of Shrewsbury
Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire
jointly with Lord Cavendish of Hardwick

Succeeded by
The Earl of Devonshire
Peerage of England
New title Earl of Devonshire
Succeeded by
William Cavendish
Baron Cavendish of Hardwick
NAME Devonshire, William Cavendish, 1st Earl Of
DATE OF BIRTH 27 December 1552
DATE OF DEATH 3 March 1626


Footnotes (including sources)

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.