Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion, and Great Houses

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Bloomsbury USA, Oct 2, 2007 - History - 352 pages

From the Chief Curator of the Historic Royal Palaces in England, a vivid portrait of a seventeenth-century nobleman, his household, and the dramatic decades surrounding the English Civil War.

William Cavendish embodied the popular image of a cavalier. He was both courageous and cultured. His passions were architecture, horses, and women. And, along with the whole courtly world of King Charles I and his cavaliers, he was doomed to failure.

Cavendish was a master of manège (the art of teaching horses to dance) and obsessed with building beautiful houses in the latest style. He taught Charles I's son to ride, and was the general of the king's army in the north during the Civil War. Famously defeated at the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, he went into a long continental exile before returning to England in triumph on the restoration of King Charles II to the throne in 1660.

This is the story of one remarkable man, but it is also a rich evocation of what sustained him--his extraordinary household. Lucy Worsley brings to life the complex and fascinating hierarchies among the inhabitants of the great houses of the seventeenth-century, painting a picture of conspiracy, sexual intrigue, clandestine marriage, and gossip. From Ben Jonson and Anthony Van Dyck to long-forgotten servants, Cavalier is a brilliant illumination of the stately home and its inhabitants. The household's cacophony and stink as well as its ceremony and splendor come to life.

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Cavalier: A Tale of Chivalry, Passion, and Great Houses

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Worsley (chief curator, Historic Royal Palaces;Bolsover Castle ) has written an offbeat biography of Stuart grandee William Cavendish (1593-1676), telling his story through ten short episodes of an ... Read full review


Bolsover Castle 12th June 1613
Welbeck Abbey 9th July 1625
Bolsover Castle 30th July 1634

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About the author (2007)

The Chief Curator of the Historic Royal Palaces (including Hampton Court and the Tower of London), Lucy Worsley is a leading young historian. She has been researching the story of William Cavendish and his household for more than ten years, and is the author of the English Heritage guide to Bolsover Castle, his principal home.

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