The Tudor Society

13 September – William Cecil, Elizabeth I’s “spirit”

On this day in Tudor history, 13th September 1520, William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley and Queen Elizabeth I's chief advisor, was born in Bourne in Lincolnshire.

In today's talk, Claire Ridgway, author of "On This Day in Tudor History, fleshes out William Cecil, the man Elizabeth I called her "spirit". He's a fascinating Tudor man, not only for his amazing court career, which took him from Edward VI's reign to Elizabeth I's reign, but also for his words of wisdom and the happy marriage that he had with his wife, Mildred.

Here's my video on his wife Mildred:

Also on this day in history:

  • c.1503 – Birth of John Leland, poet and antiquary. Leland is known for his Latin poems and his antiquarian writings which included Assertio inclytissimi Arturii regis Britanniae, which he presented to Henry VIII, his “New Year's Gift” to Henry VIII, Antiquitates Britanniae, De uiris illustribus, his travel notes and his defence of the legends of King Arthur.
  • 1544 – Death of Edward Lee, Archbishop of York. He was buried at York Minster, in the south choir aisle. Lee served Henry VIII as his almoner and a diplomat, as well as being an archbishop.
  • 1557 – Death of Sir John Cheke, Tudor scholar, one time tutor to Edward VI, Secretary of State for Lady Jane Grey and the first Regius Professor of Greek at Cambridge University. He died at the home of his friend, Peter Osborne, in Wood Street, London, probably from influenza, and was buried nearby at the church of St Alban, Wood Street, in the north chapel of the chancel.
  • 1596 – Death of Sir Francis Englefield, courtier, politician and pro-Spanish Catholic exile, at St Alban's College in Valladolid, Spain. He was buried in the college chapel.
  • 1598 – Death of Philip II of Spain at El Escorial, near Madrid. He was buried there the next day. It is thought that he died of cancer, and he had been ill for fifty-two days.

There are 2 comments Go To Comment

  1. M

    These are two of the most fascinating people in the Tudor period! I remembered the video about Mildred, and do look up to her. I just find it amazing that his skill abled him to survive the tumultuous period between the deaths of Henry VIII and Mary I. I also think it amazing he didn’t rise above being a Baron. It’s almost like Henry Carey, not being risen higher, either. Anyway, thank you! Michelle t

  2. R

    Thank you for the twin videos on William and Mildred Cecil, a powerful couple and thanks for their tomb link. I have seen his tomb in Stamford and very impressive it is. The pictures of Mildred tomb show how wonderful these tomb builders were.

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13 September – William Cecil, Elizabeth I’s “spirit”