But like her, he vigorously attacked the extremists who, he argued, had the political aim of overthrowing the established government of England. In his political lifetime Cecil had been Principal Secretary to the Queen, Lord Treasurer and Chief Minister – all the major posts that could have been held. In 1550, he was appointed her surveyor of estates. eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'historylearningsite_co_uk-leader-2','ezslot_18',117,'0','0']));eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'historylearningsite_co_uk-leader-2','ezslot_19',117,'0','1'])); Cecil was also highly influential in foreign policy. Last modified June 10, 2020. William Cecil, Lord Burghley. Whilst the vast majority of the populace outside London and The Letters of Lord Burghley, William Cecil, to His Son Sir Robert Cecil... Memoirs Of The Life And Administration Of The Right Honourable William... Memoirs of the life and administration of the Right Honourable William... Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. The plotters also wanted to see the removal of Cecil whom they blamed for the queen’s enthusiasm to continue the English Reformation. Spain was expanding in the New World and Cecil was appreciative of the potential value such a colony had. He is a man of mean sort, but very astute, false, lying and full of all artifice. However, this policy of supporting Spain changed when the Revolt of the Netherlands started. It was for this reason that Cecil was one of the prime movers in the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots. Web. It is suggestive of Cecil’s wily political instincts and the real dangers he endured during Mary’s reign that for the rest of his life he kept in his possession, just in case the religious tide should ever turn again, a letter signed by the vicar of Wimbledon that he had once attended mass. Planned by the Duke of Norfolk and a Florentine banker, Robert di Ridolfi, the conspirators hoped to join forces with Catholic Spain to mount an invasion of England and then crown Mary queen. Supremacy Bill came forward. Burghley House, Lincolnshireby Can Pac Swire (CC BY-NC) Cecil advocated the continued selling off of church property and rights to collect dues in order to enrich the state coffers. With the Treaty of Nonsuch, England sent military aid to the Dutch rebels. At this time, provided the parish church was attended, or the fine paid, there were few questions asked of anyone who continued to hear Mass in private, and it is clear that many, including some of Elizabeth’s nobles, did so. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Perhaps it is true that William Cecil’s greatest achievement was a personal one: longevity at the pinnacle of power. William Cecil was born on September 13th 1520. His remarkable career at the very top of Elizabethan politics had spanned four decades. After Cambridge, Cecil went to Gray’s Inn in London. from Mary’s rule or had been hiding their religion under a cloak of conformity When Leicester went beyond his orders while leading the English army in the Netherlands, it was Cecil who advised the Queen to censure her favourite. but he was doomed to disappointment. The great statesman was laid to rest in a magnificent tomb topped by an effigy representing him as a medieval knight in full armour (which was then already long obsolete). In 1561, he was appointed Master of the Court of Wards and Liveries – a position that had great responsibility for the collection of royal revenue. In 1550 CE William Cecil’s talents saw him given the task of administering Princess Elizabeth’s private estates. However, he was shrewd enough to realise that despite having the same religion, Spain and France were also rivals. Ancient History Encyclopedia. It was during this first stint in government that Cecil was knighted. Lord Burghley was Secretary of State for both Edward VI of England (r. 1547-1553 CE) and Elizabeth. In February 1571 CE the queen gave him the title Baron Burghley. At Cambridge, Cecil was very influenced by Humanism and Protestantism. Cecil wanted men to join the Church who were highly educated and who could give a lead to people. He also served the latter as Lord Treasurer from 1572 to 1598 CE and, unlike many great statesmen of the Tudor period, he never seriously fell out of favour with his monarch. By then Cecil was, like his queen was fast-becoming, old and out of touch with changes in society and politics, his place in Elizabeth’s court now taken by such new favourites as the adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh (c. 1552-1618 CE). the Bishops rejected it, the absence of two of them in the Tower, and the This prevalence of Protestants in her Government, led by Cecil, together He had the full confidence of the Queen and few could doubt his loyalty to her. Guided by Cecil’s father-in-law, Anthony Cooke, newly returned from exile, and his brother-in-law, Nicholas Bacon, it eventually passed through the Commons, although not easily.It went to the Lords, where there was strong opposition from both peers and bishops. His rise to power made him enemies. Related Content Lord Burghley left his family sitting pretty and he founded an enduring dynasty which continued right away with his son Robert taking over his role in the Elizabethan government and making himself the Earl of Salisbury. Least of all did Cecil want thousands of Spanish troops just a few hours sailing from the English coast. As the Lords and Bishops could not be punished for their Before Mary died he was a member of the "old flock of Hatfield", and from the first, the new Queen relied on Cecil. Even when the ghastly sentence was carried out, the queen protested she had not given the final word, which led to banning Cecil from her presence for a month. Written by Mark Cartwright, published on 10 June 2020 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. In 1543, Cecil became a Member of Parliament and quickly developed a reputation as a fine administrator. Perhaps only too aware of the state of England’s finances, Cecil baulked at the costs of such campaigns, and when Leicester and Walsingham won the argument in 1585 CE, so indeed it did prove difficult to collect the taxes necessary to adequately field an army in the Netherlands and help Protestant rebels there. Cecil’s views were generally favoured by the queen, and it would only be later in her reign, during the late 1580s CE, that Dudley’s views gained the upper hand, although by that time, Burghley, too, saw all Catholics as part of a European-wide conspiracy against England. Cecil was appointed her Secretary when Elizabeth became Queen in 1558. When he was gravely ill and dying in August 1598 CE, Queen Elizabeth fed her long-time political ally with a spoon. Battling the ever-procrastinating queen over what to do with her closest relative and rival Mary, Queen of Scots (r. 1542-1567 CE) was another point of contention. The programme Books Cecil endured five years in the political doldrums, largely because Catholic Mary did not take kindly to Cecil’s Protestant views or his previous political loyalties. appearing to disobey an order from Elizabeth’s Council during a debate Above anything else, Cecil knew how to handle the Queen. reign. In 1561 CE Cecil became the Master of the Court of Wards and Liveries which collected feudal dues and looked after certain orphans. With greater power came greater risk, and when Somerset was found guilty of treason, William’s old connections were remembered; he was likewise imprisoned in the Tower of London but was later pardoned. 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