William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Exeter

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Arms of Sir William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Exeter, KG

William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Exeter, KG PC (1566 – 6 July 1640), known as the third Lord Burghley from 1605 to 1623, was an English nobleman, politician, and peer.


Exeter was the son of Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter, and Dorothy Neville, daughter of John Neville, 4th Baron Latimer.[1] He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and travelled on the continent before being admitted to Gray's Inn.[2]

In 1586, when only 20 years of age, he was returned to Parliament as MP for Stamford and was returned again in 1589.[1] In 1597 he was elected knight of the shire for Rutland.[3] He was invested as a Knight in 1603.[1] He held the office of Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire between 1623 and 1640.[1] He succeeded to the title of 3rd Baron of Burghley, co. Northampton [E., 1571] on 8 February 1622/23.[1] He succeeded to the title of 2nd Earl of Exeter [E., 1605] on 8 February 1622/23.[1] He was invested as a Privy Counsellor (PC) in 1626.[1] He was invested as a Knight of the Order of the Garter (KG) in 1630.[1]

In 1589, William married Elizabeth Manners, the only child of Edward Manners, 3rd Earl of Rutland, and they had one child:

William Cecil had three daughters with Elizabeth Drury, the second of whom was Elizabeth Cecil (pictured).

Elizabeth died in 1591 and William married Elizabeth Drury, daughter of Sir William Drury and Elizabeth Stafford, and they had three children:


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h 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 1363.
  2. ^ "Cecyll, William (CCL578W)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ "History of Parliament". Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  4. ^ Lundy, Darryl. "Thomas Bruce, 1st Earl of Elgin". Retrieved 14 September 2012.[unreliable source]
Political offices
Preceded by
William Sutton
Custos Rotulorum of Nottinghamshire
Succeeded by
Preceded by Custos Rotulorum of Lincolnshire
bef. 1621–1640
Succeeded by
Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire
Succeeded by
Peerage of England
Preceded by Earl of Exeter
Succeeded by