Manuscripts and Special Collections

Biography of Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne (1630-1691)

Henry was the 4th but only surviving son of the 1st Duke, known as Viscount Mansfield from 1659-1665 and Earl of Ogle from 1665-1676. He fought with his father for the king during the Civil War and accompanied him into exile, but returned in 1647 to help his family recover its estates. Following the Restoration he entered politics, becoming M.P. for Derbyshire, and later for Northumberland. He was Master of the Robes from 1660 to 1663 and a Gentleman of the Bedchamber until the death of Charles II. He was also a privy councillor, governor of Berwick upon Tweed and Lord Lieutenant of the counties of Northumberland, Nottinghamshire and the three ridings of Yorkshire.

On succeeding his father in the title in 1676, the 2nd Duke entered the House of Lords where he argued strongly against the Exclusion Bill. He proved to be a loyal supporter of James II, despite his concern at the king's policies favouring Roman Catholics. After his appointment as Lord Lieutenant for the three ridings of Yorkshire, he effectively became responsible for national security in the North East. It was not his most successful undertaking, and he became a prisoner at Welbeck Abbey. At the accession of William and Mary, the 2nd Duke resigned all of his appointments, refused to take the oaths to the new king and queen, and lived in retirement at Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire. There, following the death of his only son, his main concern became finding suitable matches for his remaining unmarried daughters.

In the absence of a male heir, the 2nd Duke left his estates to his third daughter, Lady Margaret Cavendish, who married the 4th Earl of Clare (later to become 3rd Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne). It was a condition of the bequest that the issue of their marriage must retain the name Cavendish, and that the estates should be preserved undivided.


In 1652 he married Frances Pierrepont (1630-1695), the daughter of William Pierrepont and sister of Grace Pierrepont, who became Countess of Clare as the wife of Gilbert Holles, the 3rd Earl (1633-1689).

They had three sons of whom only the 3rd survived infancy and he died before his father

  • Henry Cavendish (1663-1680), known as Lord Mansfield until 1676 and then Earl of Ogle. He took the surname Percy on his marriage in 1679 to Elizabeth, daughter and heir of the 5th Earl of Northumberland (1667-1722)

and five daughters

  • Elizabeth (1654-1734) m 1stly Duke of Albermarle in 1669; 2ndly Duke of Montagu in 1692
  • Frances (1660-1691), m Lord Glenorchy [later 2nd Earl of Breadalbane]
  • Margaret (1661-1716) m 4th Earl of Clare [later 3rd Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne] in 1690
  • Katherine (1665-1712) m 6th Earl of Thanet in 1684
  • Arabella (1673-1698) m 3rd Earl of Sutherland in 1695

Archive Collections

The Cavendish inheritance descended in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries through the female line, passing first from Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne (1630-1691) to his daughter, Margaret (1661-1716) who married John Holles, 4th Earl of Clare, later 3rd Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne (1662-1711). Their daughter, Lady Henrietta Cavendish Holles (1694-1755), inherited the bulk of the Cavendish estates after litigation. She married Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford (1689-1741). Their daughter, Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley, was married in 1743 to William Bentinck, 2nd Duke of Portland (1709-1762). As a result of this union, a considerable quantity of the Newcastle/Cavendish papers passed into the Portland, rather than the Newcastle Collection.

  • The Cavendish Collection, (Pw 1), part of the Portland (Welbeck) Collection, held in Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham, includes some of his personal papers
  • The Newcastle Collection held in Manuscripts and Special Collections includes a small number of estate papers from the time of the 2nd Duke, for example, relating to family settlements
  • Details of collections held elsewhere are available through the National Register of Archives

Published Sources

Though there are no published biographies exclusively dedicated to the 2nd Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne, his biographical details feature in the following publications:

  • Turberville, A.S., A History of Welbeck Abbey and its Owners, Volume 1, Chapter 10 (London, 1938) [King’s Meadow Campus Ref Not 468.D14 TUR]
  • Cavendish, Margaret, The Life of William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, ed. C. Firth, 2nd ed. (London, 1906) [King’s Meadow Campus East Midlands Collection Not 468.V38 CAV]

Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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