CAVENDISH, Lord Henry (1673-1700), of Soho Square, Mdx. and Latimer, Bucks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1695 - 10 May 1700

Family and Education

b. 1673, 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of William Cavendish†, 1st Duke of Devonshire, by Lady Mary, da. of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond; bro. of Ld. James* and William Cavendish*, Mq. of Hartington.  educ. travelled abroad (Austria, Germany, Low Countries) 1690–?1; Padua Univ. 1691.  m. 3 Aug. 1696 (with £20,000), Rhoda (d. 1730), da. of William Cartwright† of Bloxham, Oxon. and sis. of Thomas Cartwright*, 1da.1

Offices Held


As the son of a leading Whig magnate, Cavendish was soon involved in county affairs, having received his commission to act as a deputy-lieutenant for Derbyshire by July 1690. His first experience of parliamentary proceedings probably occurred in 1694, before he entered the Commons, when a private bill was promoted to alter a family settlement so as to increase his maintenance and to provide a jointure for a future wife. Passed by the Lords, the bill was rejected at its third reading in the Commons on 9 Apr. Cavendish’s income during his father’s lifetime was therefore limited to £600 p.a., until he reached the age of 24, rising to £1,200 thereafter. A large part of the estate which provided this income was located in Leicestershire, which may account for Devonshire’s initial plan that Cavendish should represent that county in the 1695 Parliament. However, the idea was dropped, probably on the advice of the Earl of Rutland (John Manners†), to whom Devonshire had applied for support. Instead Cavendish was returned for Derby, standing on a joint interest with the town clerk John Bagnold*, in a contest the costliness of which displeased his father.2

Cavendish was not very active during his parliamentary career. He was forecast as likely to support the Court in the divisions of 31 Jan. 1696 over the proposed council of trade, signed the Association in February, and although he was listed as voting against fixing the price of guineas at 22s., a later pamphlet specifically denied this to have been the case. In the interval before the second session he contracted a lucrative marriage to the daughter of a wealthy merchant, a young lady reported to be on the verge of becoming a great heiress since her only brother was then very ill (he survived until 1748). Subsequently, in the 1696–7 session, Cavendish followed a more independent line, voting on 25 Nov. 1696 against the attainder of Sir John Fenwick† (as did Devonshire, to whom Fenwick had divulged the most controversial accusations), and on 26 Jan. 1697 supporting the tack of the parliamentary qualifications clause to the capitation bill. On 11 Dec. 1697 he again joined the opposition, voting against recommitting a resolution from the committee of the whole House to disband all the land forces raised since September 1680. He was also named to several committees connected to the bill to punish Charles Duncombe*, which was under his brother’s management.3

Cavendish was returned again for Derby in 1698. On a list prepared before the beginning of the 1698–9 session he was classified as a supporter of the Country party and he was not recorded as voting against the third reading of the disbanding bill on 18 Jan. 1699. Indeed, the King rebuked his father for allowing both sons to support disbanding. The only important legislative activity which he undertook during this session was to prepare and present the Derwent navigation bill also in January 1699. This was eventually rejected amid a welter of petitions in February. He died after the end of the next session, Edward Southwell* reporting on 11 May 1700 that ‘my Lord Henry Cavendish, after suffering above a fortnight violently under a dead palsy died yesterday morning’. He was buried at Chatsworth on the 19th. According to one newspaper he was ‘much lamented, he being one of the most accomplished gentlemen in England’. He died intestate. His personal estate was reputed to be worth over £10,000 and an inventory valued his goods at nearly £5,000, which was to be set against debts of £3,000.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Stuart Handley


  • 1. IGI, London; Collins, Peerage, i. 353–4; Bodl. D.D. Dashwood C.3.7–8; BL, Althorp mss, Halifax pprs. Francis Gwyn* to Mq. of Halifax (William Savile*, Ld. Eland), 3 Aug. 1696; Top. and Gen. iii. 29; CSP Dom. 1689–90, p. 559; Devonshire mss at Chatsworth House, Cavendish pprs. Berand to Devonshire, ?6 Aug. 1690.
  • 2. HMC Cowper, ii. 358; CJ, xi. 113, 147, 154; HMC Lords, n.s. i. 349–50; Rutland mss at Belvoir Castle, Devonshire to [?Rutland], 19 Sept. 1695; Devonshire mss, Whildon pprs. John to James Whildon, 25 Oct. 1695, Monday afternoon, 3 Mar. 1695[–6]; HMC Portland, iii. 573.
  • 3. Reflections upon a Scandalous Libel (1697); Bodl. Carte 233, f. 18; Northants. RO, Montagu (Boughton) mss 46/59, James Vernon I* to Shrewsbury, 26 Jan. 1697.
  • 4. Grimblot, Letters, ii. 321; Leics. RO, Finch mss box 4950, Southwell to Lord Nottingham (Daniel Finch†), 11 May 1700; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 643; Post Man, 11 May 1700; BL, Lothian mss, Robert Harding to [Thomas Coke*], 20 May 1700; D.D. Dashwood C.3.1, 7–8.