William Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Exeter

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The Most Honourable
The Marquess of Exeter
3rd Marquess of Exeter.png
The Marquess of Exeter by Carlo Pellegrini, 1881.
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms
In office
20 March 1867 – 1 December 1868
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister The Earl of Derby
Benjamin Disraeli
Preceded by The Earl of Tankerville
Succeeded by The Lord Foley
Personal details
Born 30 April 1825 (1825-04-30)
Died 14 July 1895 (1895-07-15) (aged 70)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Lady Georgina Pakenham (d. 1909)

William Alleyne Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Exeter PC (30 April 1825 – 14 July 1895), styled Lord Burghley between 1825 and 1867, was a British peer and Conservative politician. He served as Treasurer of the Household between 1866 and 1867 and as Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms between 1867 and 1868.


Exeter was the eldest son of Brownlow Cecil, 2nd Marquess of Exeter, and Isabella, daughter of William Stephen Poyntz, MP.[1] He was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he was president of the University Pitt Club.[2]


Exeter played first-class cricket for the Marylebone Cricket Club and Cambridge University between 1847 and 1851.[3]

Political career[edit]

Exeter was elected to the House of Commons for South Lincolnshire in 1847, a seat he held until 1857,[1][4] and then represented North Northamptonshire from 1857 to 1867.[1][5] He served under the Earl of Derby as Treasurer of the Household from 1866 to 1867,[6] when he succeeded his father in the marquessate and entered the House of Lords. In March 1867 Derby appointed him Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms, a post he held until December 1868,[6] the last nine months under the premiership of Benjamin Disraeli. In 1866 he was admitted to the Privy Council.[7]


Lord Exeter married Lady Georgina Sophia Pakenham, daughter of Thomas Pakenham, 2nd Earl of Longford, on 17 October 1848. They had at least nine children:

Lord Exeter died in July 1895, aged 70, and was succeeded in his titles by his eldest son Brownlow, who also became a government minister. The Marchioness of Exeter died in March 1909.[1] Lady Angela Forbes wrote in her 1919 memoir, Memories and Base Details, of how she "[stood] in wholesome dread, in company, I may say, with her own family" of the formidable Marchioness. "Not to speak until you were spoken to, was a doctrine I did not at all appreciate, but one rigidly enforced at Burleigh! Prayers were read daily by Lady Exeter in the beautiful old chapel adjoining the house ... [on] one fatal occasion I giggled - and Lady Exeter stopped dead in the middle of a sentence, looking straight at me. 'When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness' - and then there was a horrid pause. No notice was taken as we went out, but a little later a message came that 'her ladyship would like to see me.' My outward bravado was not in the least indicative of my feelings as I stood in front of her listening to a severe lecture couched in the most satirical language, whilst her two daughters stood, dragon-like, on either side of her."[8]


  1. ^ a b c d Lundy, Darryl. "William Alleyne Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Exeter". The Peerage. [unreliable source]
  2. ^ Fletcher, Walter Morley (2011) [1935]. The University Pitt Club: 1835-1935 (First Paperback ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-107-60006-5. 
  3. ^ "Player profile: Lord Burghley". CricketArchive. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  4. ^ leighrayment.com House of Commons: Lichfield and Tamworth to London and Westminster South
  5. ^ leighrayment.com House of Commons: Northampton North to Nuneaton
  6. ^ a b Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990,[page needed]
  7. ^ "No. 23137". The London Gazette. 13 July 1866. p. 3983. 
  8. ^ Forbes, Lady Angela (1921). Memories and Base Details. London: Hutchinson & Co. pp. 18–19. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Christopher Turnor
Sir John Trollope, Bt
Member of Parliament for South Lincolnshire
With: Sir John Trollope, Bt
Succeeded by
Sir John Trollope, Bt
Anthony Wilson
Preceded by
Thomas Philip Maunsell
Augustus O'Brien-Stafford
Member of Parliament for North Northamptonshire
With: Augustus O'Brien-Stafford 1857
George Ward Hunt 1857–1867
Succeeded by
George Ward Hunt
Sackville Stopford-Sackville
Political offices
Preceded by
Lord Otho FitzGerald
Treasurer of the Household
Succeeded by
Hon. Percy Egerton Herbert
Preceded by
The Earl of Tankerville
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms
Succeeded by
The Lord Foley
Preceded by
The Earl of Ilchester
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms
Succeeded by
The Earl of Shrewsbury
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Brownlow Cecil
Marquess of Exeter
Succeeded by
Brownlow Cecil