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Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter

Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter

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Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter, KG (5 May 1542 – 8 February 1623), known as Lord Burghley from 1598 to 1605, was an English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 politician and soldier.

Life


Exeter was the elder son of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley
William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley , KG was an English statesman, the chief advisor of Queen Elizabeth I for most of her reign, twice Secretary of State and Lord High Treasurer from 1572...

, and the half-brother of Robert Cecil
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, KG, PC was an English administrator and politician.-Life:He was the son of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley and Mildred Cooke...

. He was educated privately and at Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

.

He served in government under Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

, first serving in the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

 in 1563 and representing various constituencies for most of the time from then until 1593. He was knighted in 1575 and appointed High Sheriff of Northamptonshire
High Sheriff of Northamptonshire
This is a list of the High Sheriffs of Northamptonshire.The High Sheriff is the oldest secular office under the Crown. Formerly the High Sheriff was the principal law enforcement officer in the county but over the centuries most of the responsibilities associated with the post have been...

 for 1578. He accompanied the Earl of Leicester
Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester
Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, KG was an English nobleman and the favourite and close friend of Elizabeth I from her first year on the throne until his death...

 to the Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

, where he was distinguished for his bravery. In 1585 he served as governor of Brielle
Brielle
Brielle , also called Den Briel is a town and municipality in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland, on the north side of the island of Voorne-Putten, at the mouth of the New Maas. The municipality covers an area of 31.12 km² of which 3.63 km² is water...

. He did not have good relations with Leicester, but he was very loyal to Sir John Norreys
John Norreys
Sir John Norreys , also frequently spelt John Norris, was an English soldier of a Berkshire family of court gentry, the son of Henry Norris, 1st Baron Norreys a lifelong friend of Queen Elizabeth....

. In 1584 and 1586 he was Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 for Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire is a county in the east of England. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders...

, and once more in 1592 for Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire is a landlocked county in the English East Midlands, with a population of 629,676 as at the 2001 census. It has boundaries with the ceremonial counties of Warwickshire to the west, Leicestershire and Rutland to the north, Cambridgeshire to the east, Bedfordshire to the south-east,...

. His father's death in 1598 brought him a seat in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

, the 2nd Lord Burghley, as he then was, served from 1599 to 1603 as Lord Lieutenant of Yorkshire
Lord Lieutenant of Yorkshire
- List of Lord Lieutenants :From 1642 until 1660 the position was vacant, however after the Restoration, a separate lieutenant was appointed for each of the three ridings; see Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire, Lord Lieutenant of the North Riding of Yorkshire and Lord Lieutenant of...

 and Lord President of the Council of the North
Council of the North
The Council of the North was an administrative body originally set up in 1484 by king Richard III of England, the third and last Yorkist monarch to hold the Crown of England; its intention was to improve government control and economic prosperity, to benefit the entire area of Northern England...

. It was during this period that Queen Elizabeth made him a Knight of the Garter in 1601. He was created Earl of Exeter on 4 May 1605, the same day his half-brother Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cranborne
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, KG, PC was an English administrator and politician.-Life:He was the son of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley and Mildred Cooke...

 was created 1st Earl of Salisbury. Unlike his brother, however, he did not become a Government minister under James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

.

The Cecil family fostered arts; they supported musicians such as William Byrd
William Byrd
William Byrd was an English composer of the Renaissance. He wrote in many of the forms current in England at the time, including various types of sacred and secular polyphony, keyboard and consort music.-Provenance:Knowledge of Byrd's biography expanded in the late 20th century, thanks largely...

, Orlando Gibbons
Orlando Gibbons
Orlando Gibbons was an English composer, virginalist and organist of the late Tudor and early Jacobean periods...

 and Thomas Robinson. The latter, in his youth, was in the service of Thomas Cecil.

Family


Thomas Cecil married, firstly, Dorothy, the daughter of John Nevill, 4th Baron Latymer by his wife Lucy Somerset daughter of Henry Somerset, 2nd Earl of Worcester
Henry Somerset, 2nd Earl of Worcester
Henry Somerset, 2nd Earl of Worcester was an English nobleman, son of Charles Somerset, 1st Earl of Worcester and Elizabeth Herbert, 3rd Baroness Herbert. On his father's death on 15 April 1526, he succeeded as the second Earl of Worcester...

; and, secondly, Frances, daughter of William Brydges, 4th Baron Chandos
William Brydges, 4th Baron Chandos
William Brydges, 4th Baron Chandos was an English peer and politician.He was Baron Chandos, Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire and Member of Parliament for Cricklade....

 of Sudeley Castle
Sudeley Castle
Sudeley Castle is a castle located near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, England. It dates from the 10th century, but the inhabited portion is chiefly Elizabethan. The castle has a notable garden, which is designed and maintained to a very high standard. The chapel, St. Mary's Sudeley, is the burial...

, Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean....

 and widow of the Master of Requests
Court of Requests
The Court of Requests was a minor equity court in England and Wales. Created at an unknown date, it first became a formal tribunal with some Privy Council elements under Henry VII, hearing cases from the poor and the servants of the King. It quickly became popular due to the low cost of bringing a...

, Thomas Smith
Thomas Smith (judge)
Sir Thomas Smith , was the English master of requests.-Family and identity:Smith was born at Abingdon in Berkshire , about 1556. He was the son of Thomas Smith, who is almost certainly to be identified with the Thomas Smith who was Mayor of Abingdon in 1584...

 of Abingdon
Abingdon, Oxfordshire
Abingdon or archaically Abingdon-on-Thames is a market town and civil parish in Oxfordshire, England. It is the seat of the Vale of White Horse district. Previously the county town of Berkshire, Abingdon is one of several places that claim to be Britain's oldest continuously occupied town, with...

, Berkshire
Berkshire
Berkshire is a historic county in the South of England. It is also often referred to as the Royal County of Berkshire because of the presence of the royal residence of Windsor Castle in the county; this usage, which dates to the 19th century at least, was recognised by the Queen in 1957, and...

 (now Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire is a county in the South East region of England, bordering on Warwickshire and Northamptonshire , Buckinghamshire , Berkshire , Wiltshire and Gloucestershire ....

) & Parson's Green, Middlesex
Middlesex
Middlesex is one of the historic counties of England and the second smallest by area. The low-lying county contained the wealthy and politically independent City of London on its southern boundary and was dominated by it from a very early time...

.

By his first wife, Thomas Cecil had eleven children:
  • William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Exeter
    William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Exeter
    William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Exeter PC KG , known as Lord Burghley from 1605 to 1623, was an English peer.-Life:...

  • Catherine Cecil
  • Lucy Cecil, married William Paulet, 4th Marquess of Winchester
    William Paulet, 4th Marquess of Winchester
    William Paulet, 4th Marquess of Winchester was the son of William Paulet, 3rd Marquess of Winchester and Agnes Howard. He married Lady Lucy Cecil, daughter of Sir Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter and Dorothy Neville...

  • Mildred Cecil
  • Sir Richard Cecil
    Richard Cecil (died 1633)
    Sir Richard Cecil was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1593 and 1622....

     of Wakerley
  • Edward Cecil, 1st Viscount Wimbledon
    Edward Cecil, 1st Viscount Wimbledon
    Edward Cecil, 1st Viscount Wimbledon was an English military and naval commander.-Life:The third son of Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter and grandson of Queen Elizabeth's great minister Lord Burghley, Cecil served with the English forces in the Netherlands between 1596 and 1610, becoming a captain...

  • Mary Cecil married Edward Denny, 1st Earl of Norwich
    Edward Denny, 1st Earl of Norwich
    Edward Denny, 1st Earl of Norwich , known as The Lord Denny between 1604 and 1627, was an English courtier, Member of Parliament and peer.-Life:...

  • Dorothy Cecil
  • Elizabeth Cecil
  • Thomas Cecil, Esq
  • Frances Cecil married Nicholas Tufton, 1st Earl of Thanet
    Nicholas Tufton, 1st Earl of Thanet
    Nicholas Tufton, 1st Earl of Thanet was an English peer.The son of Sir John Tufton, 1st Baronet, he represented Peterborough in 1601 and Kent from 1624 to 1625 as Member of Parliament. Tufton was knighted by James I on 13 April 1603, and was appointed a justice of the peace in Kent and then a...


Lord Exeter is buried in the chapel of St John the Baptist, Westminster Abbey.

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