Cavendish, William, third Earl of Devonshire 1617-1684, eldest son of William, second earl [qv.], was educated by his mother Christiana [qv.] in conjunction with his father's old tutor, Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes's translation of Thucydides is dedicated to Cavendish, and from 1634 to 1637 the young man travelled abroad with the philosopher. He was created a knight of the Bath at Charles I's coronation in 1625. Cavendish was both wealthy and handsome, and the Countess of Leicester was anxious for him to marry Lady Dorothy Sidney, Waller's Sacharissa; but the scheme came to nothing, and Elizabeth, second daughter of William Cecil, second earl of Salisbury, became Cavendish's wife. Cavendish was lord-lieutenant of Derbyshire from 13 Nov. 1638 to 22 March 1641-2, was high steward of Ampthill 4 Feb. 1639-40, and joint-commissioner of array for Leicestershire 12 Jan. 1641-2. As a prominent royalist he opposed Strafford's attainder, was summoned to a private conference with the queen in October 1641, was with Charles I at York in June 1642, absented himself from his place in the parliament, was impeached with eight other peers of high crimes and misdemeanors, refused to appear at the bar of the House of Lords, was expelled on 20 July 1642, and was ordered to stand committed to the Tower. He left England, and his estates were sequestrated. He returned from the continent in 1645, submitted to the parliament, was pardoned for his former delinquency in 1646, was fined 5,000l., and lived in retirement with his mother at Latimers, Buckinghamshire. Charles I stayed a night with him there on 13 Oct. 1645. At the Restoration all his disabilities were removed, he was reappointed lord-lieutenant of Derbyshire (20 Aug. 1660), became steward of Tutbury (8 Aug.), and of the High Peak (1661). He was always well affected to science and literature, was intimate with John Evelyn, and was one of the original fellows of the Royal Society (20 May 1663). He was a commissioner of trade 5 March 1668-1669, but lived mainly in the country. He died on 23 Nov. 1684, at his house at Roehampton, Surrey, and was buried at Edensor. His wife Elizabeth died five years later, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. He had two sons: William, his successor [qv.], and Charles, who died unmarried on 3 March 1670-1. His only daughter, Anne, married, first, Charles, lord Rich, son of the Earl of Warwick; secondly, John, earl of Exeter. She died on 18 July 1703. A drawing of the third earl is in the Sutherland collection at the Bodleian.
Biog. Brit. (Kippis)
Kennet's Memoirs of the Cavendish Family (1737)
Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1640-1, 1660-7
Life of Duke of Newcastle, ed. C. H. Firth (1886), p. 212
Evelyn's Diary, ed. Bray and Wheatley, ii. 39, 148, iv. 100.
Contributor: S. L. [Sidney Lee]