William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire

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Sir William George Spencer Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire

Also Known As: "Hart"
Birthplace: Paris, Seine, France
Death: January 18, 1858 (67)
Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire
Place of Burial: Edensor, Derbyshire
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire and Duchess of Devonshire Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire
Husband of Martha Barton Hibbert, 4th G GM 1st wife of Joseph
Ex-partner of Anne Scarisbrick
Father of George Barton Hibbert, 4th G U and Charlotte Hunloke, alias Mercedes Alvarez
Brother of Georgiana Dorothy Howard, Countess of Carlisle and Harriett Elizabeth Cavendish
Half brother of Eliza Ellice; Charlotte Williams; Caroline Clifford and Augustus William James Clifford, 1st Baronet

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire


William George Spencer Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire, KG, PC (21 May 1790 – 18 January 1858), was known as the "Bachelor Duke".

Born in Paris, he became Duke of Devonshire at the age of 21 on the death of his father in 1811. His mother, Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, had died in 1806. Along with the title he inherited eight stately homes and 200,000 acres (809 km²) of land. He went on to improve his houses and gardens (including the rebuilding of the village of Edensor) and travelled extensively.

He was Lord Chamberlain to King William IV and a close friend of Czar Nicholas I of Russia. Among his friends were also Antonio Canova, Charles Dickens, and his head gardener, Sir Joseph Paxton.

The 6th Duke had two sisters, both of whom married well. One of his nieces Lady Blanche Howard married his heir presumptive, the 2nd Earl of Burlington (grandson of Lord George Cavendish, created 1st Earl of Burlington, younger brother of the 5th Duke), and thus their children were also great-grandchildren of the 5th Duke. Unfortunately, Lady Burlington died young. Her widower did not remarry, even when he succeeded the 6th Duke in 1858.

The duke carrying the Orb at the coronation of George IV in 1821.

Much of the 6th Duke's private correspondence, including letters to his mistresses (one of whom he installed nearby), was destroyed by his Victorian relatives. The Duke is said to have wanted to marry The Princess Mary, a daughter of George III, but she preferred to marry her Royal cousin the 2nd Duke of Gloucester (son of her uncle by his wife, who was born an illegitimate commoner).

The Duke had no children so when he died, at the age of 67, the dukedom passed to his cousin William Cavendish, 2nd Earl of Burlington.

There is a biography by James Lees-Milne: The Bachelor Duke: Life of William Spencer Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire, 1790-1858 (1991). John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-4920-5

William George Spencer Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire was born on 21 May 1790 at Paris, France.5 He was the son of William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire and Lady Georgiana Spencer.1 He died on 18 January 1858 at age 67.5

     William George Spencer Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire was educated at Harrow School, Harrow on the Hill, London, England.5 He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England.5 He succeeded to the title of 9th Baron Cavendish of Hardwick, co. Derby [E., 1605] on 29 July 1811.5 He succeeded to the title of 9th Earl of Devonshire [E., 1618] on 29 July 1811.5 He succeeded to the title of 6th Duke of Devonshire [E., 1694] on 29 July 1811.5 He succeeded to the title of 8th Lord Clifford [E., 1628] on 29 July 1811.1 He succeeded to the title of 6th Marquess of Hartington, co. Derby [E., 1694] on 29 July 1811.5 He held the office of Ambassador to Russia.5 He was invested as a Privy Counsellor (P.C.) in 1827.5 He was invested as a Knight, Order of the Garter (K.G.) in 1827.5 He held the office of Lord Chamberlain between 1827 and 1828.5 He held the office of High Steward of Derby.5

     On his death, the Barony of Clifford fell into abeyance between his sisters and co-heiresses, the Countesses of Carlisle and Granville, and the Dukedom, with the other honours devolved on His Grace's cousin, William.1 He has an extensive biographical entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.6



1. [S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume III, page 302. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.

2. [S130] Wikipedia, online http;//www.wikipedia.org. Hereinafter cited as Wikipedia.

3. [S300] Michael Rhodes, "re: Ernest Fawbert Collection," e-mail message from <e-mail address> (Harrogate, North Yorkshire) to Darryl Roger Lundy, 8 February. Hereinafter cited as "re: Ernest Fawbert Collection."

4. [S3409] Caroline Maubois, "re: Penancoet Family," e-mail message from unknown author e-mail (France) to Darryl Roger Lundy, 2 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as "re: Penancoet Family."

5. [S37] Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 1128. Hereinafter cited as Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition.

6. [S18] Matthew H.C.G., editor, Dictionary of National Biography on CD-ROM (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1995), Cavendish, William George Spencer. Hereinafter cited as Dictionary of National Biography.

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William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire's Timeline

May 21, 1790
Paris, Seine, France
Edensor, Derbyshire, England (United Kingdom)
January 18, 1858
Age 67
Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire
Edensor, Derbyshire