Newcastle, William Cavendish, 1st duke of

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Newcastle, William Cavendish, 1st duke of (1593–1676). Newcastle was one of the leading royalist commanders during the Civil War. A man of vast estates in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, he made spectacular progress up the peerage ladder, moving from viscount (1620), to earl (1628), marquis (1643), and finally duke in 1665. As lord-lieutenant of Nottinghamshire from 1626 to 1642, he entertained Charles I lavishly at Welbeck in 1633 and at Bolsover in 1634. He was an almost automatic choice as commander in the north when war came and had considerable success, gaining control of most of Yorkshire through his victory at Adwalton Moor in June 1643. In 1644 he was forced back to York by the advance of the Scottish army and Rupert's attempt at relief ended in the shattering defeat of Marston Moor, where Newcastle watched his own regiment of Whitecoats cut to pieces. He left at once for the continent and did not return until the Restoration. Clarendon thought his conduct inexcusable and, though granting him ‘invincible courage’, wrote severely: ‘he liked the pomp and absolute authority of a general well, but the substantial part and fatigue of a general, he did not in any degree understand.’ A cultivated man, Newcastle wrote books and treatises, corresponded with Thomas Hobbes, and was the subject of a memorable biography by his wife, published nine years before he died.

J. A. Cannon

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William Cavendish duke of Newcastle

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