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Devonshire, William Cavendish, 1st duke of

Devonshire, William Cavendish, 1st duke of (1641–1707). Devonshire was one of many noblemen who backed the right horse in 1688 and prospered exceedingly, founding one of the great Revolution families. A shrewd marriage to Bess of Hardwick in the 16th cent. gave the Cavendishes prominence in Derbyshire and they obtained a barony in 1605 and an earldom in 1618. William Cavendish was a page at Charles II's coronation, saw naval service, and served as MP for Derby 1661–81, succeeding as 4th earl in 1684. A zealous Whig and keen supporter of Exclusion, he was one of the seven who invited William of Orange over in 1688 and took up arms at Derby. In the new reign, he was at once made lord steward, a knight of the Garter, and, in 1694, a duke. His monumental inscription at Derby, which he wrote himself, praised him as the enemy of tyrants. A gambler, sportsman, gallant, he was turbulent but reputed a good classical scholar. He began the building of Chatsworth in 1687. ‘Of a nice honour in everything but the paying of his tradesmen,’ was Burnet's comment.

J. A. Cannon

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