Edward William Spencer Cavendish, 10th Duke of Devonshire (1895 - 1950) MP

‹ Back to Cavendish surname

Is your surname Cavendish?

Research the Cavendish family

Edward William Spencer Cavendish, 10th Duke of Devonshire's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Share

Death: Died
Managed by: Fiona Evelyn Guinness
Last Updated:

About Edward William Spencer Cavendish, 10th Duke of Devonshire

Edward William Spencer Cavendish, 10th Duke of Devonshire, KG, MBE (May 6, 1895 – November 26, 1950), known as Marquess of Hartington (1908–1938), was the head of the Devonshire branch of the Cavendish family. He was the owner of Chatsworth House, and one of the largest private landowners in both the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. He was also Member of Parliament for West Derbyshire from 1923 to 1938 and a minister in Winston Churchill's wartime government.

He was Chancellor of the University of Leeds from 1938 until 1950. He was a freemason and was Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England from 1947 to 1950.

The Duke's sister Lady Dorothy was married to Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.

In 1917 he married Lady Mary Gascoyne-Cecil. They had five children:

William John Robert Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington (1917–1944), killed in action in World War II. Married to Kathleen Kennedy, sister of John F. Kennedy.

Lord Andrew Cavendish (1920–2004), later Marquess of Hartington (1944–1950) and Duke of Devonshire, married to Deborah Mitford.

Lady Mary Cavendish (November 6, 1922 – November 17, 1922)

Lady Elizabeth Georgiana Alice Cavendish (b. 24 April 1926)

Lady Anne Evelyn Beatrice Cavendish (b. 6 November 1927), married Michael Lambert Tree

Death

On 26 November 1950, he suffered a heart attack and died in Eastbourne in the presence of his general practitioner, John Bodkin Adams, the suspected serial killer.[1] Despite the fact that the duke had not seen a doctor in the 14 days before his death, the coroner was not notified as he should have been. Adams signed the death certificate stating that the Duke died of natural causes. 13 days earlier, Mrs Edith Morrell — another patient of Adams — had also died. Historian Pamela Cullen speculates that as the Duke was head of the freemasons, Adams - a member of the fundamentalist Plymouth Brethren - would have been motivated to withhold the necessary vital treatment when called to attend him.

Adams was tried in 1957 for Morrell's murder but controversially acquitted. The prosecutor was Attorney-General Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller, a distant cousin of the Duke (via their shared ancestor, George Cavendish). Cullen has questioned why Manningham-Buller failed to question Adams regarding the Duke's death, and suggests that he was wary of drawing attention to Prime Minister Harold Macmillan (the Duke's brother-in-law) and specifically to his wife who was having an extra-marital affair with Robert Boothby at the time.

Home Office pathologist Francis Camps linked Adams to 163 suspicious deaths in total, which would make him a precursor to Harold Shipman.

Estate

The Duke's surprise death meant that his estate had to pay 80% death duties, which would have been avoided if he has lived a few months longer. This led to the transfer of Hardwick Hall to the National Trust, and the sale of many of the Devonshires' accumulated assets, including tens of thousands of acres of land, and many works of art and rare books.

--------------------

Under Secretary of State, Colonial Office K.G. (Knight of the Garter, Britian's oldest order of chivalry), M.B.E. (Member of the British Empire)

view all

Edward William Spencer Cavendish, 10th Duke of Devonshire's Timeline

1895
May 6, 1895
1917
April 21, 1917
Age 21
December 10, 1917
Age 22
London, England
1920
January 2, 1920
Age 24
1922
November 6, 1922
Age 27
1926
April 24, 1926
Age 30
1927
November 6, 1927
Age 32
1950
November 26, 1950
Age 55
????