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Cavendish, William


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


William Cavendish, first duke of Newcastle upon Tyne (1593–1676), writer and patron, served as a Royalist commander during the First Civil War. His intellectual and political sympathies associated him with Cavalier culture and his circle embraced the major playwrights and thinkers of the day. His poetry is typical of aristocratic manuscript culture; he composed both closet drama and plays for the London stage. His unequivocal support for the female writers of his family has stood him in good stead with feminist scholars. Cavendish was born into a family of architectural enthusiasts. His grandmother, Elizabeth Talbot, countess of Shrewsbury (commonly known as Bess of Hardwick), masterminded the construction of Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire; his father, Charles Cavendish, began a medieval castle at Bolsover. William, who was educated for some years at Cambridge and then studied the equestrian art of manège with Prince Henry, proceeded with Bolsover Castle after his father's death in 1617. He managed the renovation of the family seat at Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire, to include a riding house and great stable, and began work on Newcastle House, Clerkenwell, in 1630. His first wife was Elizabeth (née Bassett), widow of Henry Howard. The couple had five children who survived into adulthood. William was an avid poet. His verses on a range of subjects – love, household life, religion, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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