CECIL, Sir Edward (1572-1638), of Wimbledon House, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. 29 Feb. 1572, 3rd s. of Thomas Cecil, afterwards 1st Earl of Exeter, by his 1st w. Dorothy, da. and coh. of John Nevill, 4th Lord Latimer; bro. Richard and William. educ. G. Inn 1591; travelled abroad 1594. m. (1) 10 July 1601, Theodosia (d.1616), da. of Andrew Noel, sis. of Edward Noel, 2nd Visct. Campden, 4da.; (2) 27 Feb. 1617, Diana (d.1631), 3rd da. of Sir William Drury of Hawstead, Suff., 1da. (d. inf.); (3) Sept. or Oct. 1635, Sophia (d.1691), da. of Sir Edward Zouche of Woking, Surr., 1s. (d.inf.). Kntd. 1601; cr. Visct. Wimbledon 1625.

Offices Held

Capt. of ft. in Netherlands 1599, horse 1600; col. 1605-31; keeper, Mortlake park 1603; gent. of privy chamber by Mar. 1604; councillor, Virginia Co. 1609; treasurer to Princess Elizabeth and the Elector Palatine 1613; jt. ld. lt. Mdx. 1620-2; member, council of war for the Palatinate and commander of English troops in Holland 1621; lt.-gen. and lord marshal of sea and land forces at Cadiz 1625; dep. lt. Surr. 1623, jt. ld. lt. 1626-38; PC 1628; keeper and captain of Rochester castle 1630-d.


Probably Cecil’s first journey to the Continent was in September 1594, when he received a licence to travel with his elder brother Richard: his earliest surviving letter to his uncle Robert was written from Florence in November 1596. Then, as his monumental inscription states, he ‘followed the wars in the Netherlands’ for 35 years. He distinguished himself in a cavalry charge at Nieuport (July 1600), and after a short period in England he commanded a force to relieve Ostend. On his next visit to England, in September 1601, he was knighted by the Queen at Basing, and remained in the country long enough to sit in the Parliament of that year. His seat for Aldborough was no doubt provided by his father, the president of the council in the north. Cecil made no recorded contribution to the business of the House. Back in the Low Countries by June 1602, he served at Brabant, Graves and Emden, but was recalled in time to be with his father at York when the Queen died. His father at once sent him to Scotland to offer his services to James, who soon provided him with a court appointment. He nevertheless continued his military career and was still fighting in the Netherlands as late as 1631. He died at Wimbledon 16 Nov. 1638, and was buried at St. Mary’s church.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament. Returned 7 Dec. 1609 vice Robert Wingfield II.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 437; CP, xii(2), pp. 740-2; C. Dalton, Visct. Wimbledon, i. 13-16, 28-79, 82-97, 116-19, 137-8; ii. 352-6; Lansd. 151, f. 81; A. Brown, Genesis of U.S. i. 231; Rymer, Foedera, xvi. 742; HMC Hatfield, vi. 467.