Papers of Lord Edward Cavendish (1838-1891)

Scope and Content

The collection comprises the personal papers of Lord Edward Cavendish, politician and soldier, son of the 7th Duke of Devonshire, brother of the 8th Duke, and father of the 9th Duke.

There are 38 diaries of Lord Edward Cavendish, which begin in 1858 when he was 20, and end in 1891, the year of his death.

The collection also contains over 400 pieces of Lord Edward's correspondence. Amongst the family correspondence are letters sent to Lord Edward by his father (William Cavendish, 7th Duke of Devonshire), his sister Lady Louisa Cavendish (later Lady Louisa Egerton), his brother Lord Frederick Cavendish, and his uncle, Lord George H. Cavendish. There are also some letters sent by Lord Edward to his son Lord Richard Cavendish.

There is a small quantity of financial correspondence, including letters concerning shares and settlements, rents, and Lord Edward's role as a Trustee. There is also some personal correspondence which includes: letters and resolutions of condolence sent to Lord Edward on the death of his brother, Lord Frederick Cavendish, who was murdered in Phoenix Park, Dublin, in 1882; letters concerning an illness suffered by his brother Spencer Compton Cavendish, Lord Hartington; and letters from other acquaintances, including Theodore Roosevelt Senior (relating to the American Civil War) and G.E. Marindin of Eton College. There is also a file of 13 letters sent to Lord Edward Cavendish by John Poyntz Spencer, 5th Earl Spencer, relating to Lord Edward's acceptance of the position of Private Secretary to Lord Spencer.

The collection includes some papers concerning the administration of Lord Edward Cavendish's estate, as well as a small quantity of general papers, including: items relating to his funeral and a memorial fund; his passport; and some published material.

Finally there is a grouping of political papers: these are the papers of John Spencer, 5th Earl Spencer, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, which are catalogued with Lord Edward Cavendish's papers because of Cavendish's role as Spencer's Private Secretary. These include papers concerning Resident Magistrates; a West Derbyshire Election Campaign poster for Lord Edward Cavendish; political soliciting cards; and draft speeches.

The covering dates of the collection extend beyond the date of Lord Edward Cavendish's death due to the inclusion of papers relating to the administration of his estate.

Administrative / Biographical History

Lord Edward Cavendish (1838-1891) was the fifth child, and fourth son, of William Cavendish, 7th Duke of Devonshire, and his wife Lady Blanche Georgiana, née Howard.

The couple's eldest child, William, died in childhood, but their other three sons all followed political careers: Spencer Compton (1833-1908, later 8th Duke of Devonshire) led the Liberal Party; and Frederick (1836-1882) became Chief Secretary for Ireland and was assassinated in 1882. Edward was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and entered the Rifle Brigade in 1860. On retiring from the regular army in 1865, he joined the 2nd Derbyshire Militia and later transferred to the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.

Also in 1865, he was elected as a Liberal MP for East Sussex, an office he held until 1868. He was Private Secretary to Lord Spencer, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 1873-1874. He was MP for North Derbyshire from 1880 to 1885, when the constituency was abolished, and for the new constituency of West Derbyshire from 1885 to 1891. Like his eldest brother, he became a Liberal Unionist in reaction to the Liberal Party's policy on Irish Home Rule. He also held the office of Deputy Lieutenant of Derbyshire.

On 3 August 1865, he married the Hon. Emma Elizabeth Lascelles (1838-1920), daughter of the Rt. Hon. William Saunders Sebright Lascelles and Lady Caroline Georgiana Howard, on 3 August 1865. The couple had three sons: Victor Cavendish, who became 9th Duke of Devonshire (1868-1938); Lord Richard Cavendish MP (1871-1946); and Lord John Cavendish (1875-1914), who was killed in action in World War I.

Lord Edward Cavendish died of pneumonia in London on 18 May 1891.


The collection has been arranged into five sections, as follows:

  • DF18/1: Diaries of Lord Edward Cavendish (1858-1891)
  • DF18/2: Correspondence of Lord Edward Cavendish, which is divided into the following series:
  • DF18/2/1: Family Correspondence (1856-1891)
  • DF18/2/2: Financial Correspondence (1882-1889)
  • DF18/2/3: Personal Correspondence (1863-1890)
  • DF18/2/4: Political Correspondence (1873-1880)
  • DF18/3: Papers concerning the administration of the estate of Lord Edward Cavendish (1891-c.1907)
  • DF18/4: Other papers of or concerning Lord Edward Cavendish (1866-1892)
  • DF18/5: Political Papers (c.1868-c.1873)

Access Information

The collection is open for consultation. Access to the archive at Chatsworth is by appointment only. For more information please visit the website.

Acquisition Information

The collection was extant in the Devonshire Collection prior to 1 August 2011.

Other Finding Aids

An item-level catalogue of the collection in PDF format can be found on the Chatsworth website.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study and personal research purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

Much of the material remains in the copyright of Chatsworth House Trust, but some is also subject to third-party copyright. It is the responsibility of researchers to obtain permission both from Chatsworth House Trust, and from the any other rights holders before reproducing material for purposes other than research or private study.

Custodial History

Most of the material in the collection was created or accumulated by Lord Edward Cavendish. Its exact archival history is not known.

Related Material

Further material of or relating to Lord Edward Cavendish can be found in the 9th Duke's Correspondence Series (GB 2495 CS9); the Papers of Lady Edward (Louisa) Cavendish (GB 2495 DF22); and the Papers of William Cavendish, 7th Duke of Devonshire (GB 2495 DF5).