CECIL, Richard (c.1495-1553), of Little Burghley, Northants; Stamford, Lincs. and Westminster, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1495, 1st s. of David Cecil by 1st w. m. c.1519, Jane (d. 10 Mar. 1587), da. of William Heckington of Bourne, Lincs., 1s. William 3da. suc. fa. by 1541.2

Offices Held

Page of the chamber by 1517, gent. by 1540; groom of the robes by 1528, yeoman by 1539; jt. (with fa.) keeper, Kings Cliffe park, Northants. 1517; bailiff, Bourne 1525, Whittlesea Mere, Cambs., Hunts., Lincs. and Northants. 1536; porter, Warwick castle 1548, keeper 1532; steward, Nassington, Upton and Yarwell, Northants. 1542; steward for Thomas, Baron Seymour of Sudeley, unknown property by 1548; sheriff, Rutland 1539-40; j.p. Northants. 1539-d., Lincs. (Holland, Kesteven and Lindsey) and Rutland 1547; commr. chantries, Northants., Oxon., Rutland and Oxford 1548, relief, Lincs. (Holland and Kesteven), Northants. and Rutland 1550, goods of churches and fraternities, Lincs. (Kesteven) and Northants. 1553.3


Under his father’s will Richard Cecil received household furniture and an interest in some chantry land, but he had to await his stepmother’s death before entering upon his patrimony. His own acquisitions had begun with his leasing of property in Lincolnshire in 1519, about the time of his marriage, and continued with his purchase of the reversion of Little Burghley and neighbouring lands from Sir William Compton in 1527; but his real opportunity came with the Dissolution, which in five years yielded him in succession Stamford nunnery, priory and friary, to which in 1544 he added the manor of Essendine, Rutland. These transactions Cecil presumably financed out of the income from his posts in the Household and his other offices. In the first of these capacities he had accompanied Henry VIII to the Field of Cloth of Gold, and he was to receive 100 marks under the King’s will. Several of his local offices he shared with his father, whose place in the municipal life of Stamford, however, he did not succeed in filling. It is thus not surprising that he sat for the borough in only one Parliament, and then with a non-townsman in Kenelm Digby; as this was the Parliament which Cromwell promised the King to make ‘tractable’, Cecil’s election may imply government support, as his son’s was to do eight years later. To judge from an incident of 1535, when he went to the aid of a preacher under attack for expounding justification by faith, Cecil is likely to have seen eye to eye with Cromwell.4

Cecil died, apparently intestate, at his house in Cannon Row, Westminster, on 19 Mar. 1553 and was buried three days later at St. Margaret’s; a cenotaph was erected in St. Martin’s, Stamford.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Stamford hall bk. 1461-1657, f. 129v.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from career. D. Powel, The historie of Cambria (1584), 142-7; Vis. Northants. ed. Metcalfe, 78-79; W. Harrod, Stamford, 271; PCC 3 Spert.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, ii-v, x, xiv, xvi, xvii, xx; E163/12/17, nos. 38, 51, 54; NRA 5870, p. 729; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 78, 85-88, 1548-9, p. 137; 1550-3, p. 395; 1553, pp. 355-7, 414.
  • 4. PCC 3 Spert; LP Hen. VIII, iii, v, ix, xii, xiii, xv, xvii-xix, xxi; NRA 6666 (Northants, RO, Exeter (Burghley) pprs. 47/9, 80/8, 89/1); DKR, ix. 190-1; C. Nevinson, Stamford, 72, 90; Strype, Eccles. Memorials, ii(1), 122-3; C. Read, Cecil, 19-21.
  • 5. Machyn’s Diary (Cam. Soc. xlii), 32, 329; Harrod, 271; C142/98/50.