Christian Cavendish, Countess of Devonshire

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Christian(a) Cavendish, Countess of Devonshire (died 1675) was an influential Anglo-Scottish landowner and royalist.


She was the daughter of Edward Bruce, 1st Lord Kinloss. In token of her father's services she received, upon her marriage to William Cavendish, from King James I a grant of £10,000. She and her husband had three children.

After the death of William Cavendish in 1628, she had the wardship of the young William Cavendish and the care of the estates, the value of which she increased by prudent management. At the outbreak of the English Civil War she was one of the most enthusiastic royalists; her second son, Charles was killed at the battle of Gainsborough on 28 July 1643.

She took charge of the king's effects after the battle of Worcester, and during the Protectorate entertained royalists at her house at Roehampton. She also kept up a correspondence with the principal royalists on the Continent, and General Monck sent to her privately to make her aware of his intention to restore the king. She was in fact well connected also with Oliver Cromwell, whose daughter Frances had married one of her Rich grandchildren, and she was seen at his court.[1] After the Restoration Charles II frequently came to Roehampton, and his mother Henrietta Maria was on terms of intimacy with her. She died on 16 January 1675.

She entertained wits and men of letters, one of her favourite friends being Edmund Waller, another royalist. Waller dedicated to her his Epistles, which conclude with an Epistle to the Duchess, and he also wrote an epitaph for her son. William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke wrote a volume of poems in praise of her and Lady Rich, which was published with a dedication to her by John Donne.


  1. ^ Roy Edward Sherwood, Oliver Cromwell (1997), p. 112 and p. 118.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Cavendish, Christiana". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.