In a side chapel at St Peter's Church, Edensor there's an ostentatious carved marble edifice called The Cavendish Monument. It commemorates the lives of two brothers - sons of Sir William Cavendish (1505-1557) and the redoubtable Bess of Hardwick (1527-1608).
7 October 2022
Lying in the black box structure is an effigy of William Cavendish, the first Earl of Devonshire (1552-1626) but beside him, facing the other way is a marble skeleton lying on a bed of woven straw. This represents Henry Cavendish (1550-1616) who by all accounts was an aristocratic scoundrel - a spendthrift who fathered at least eight illegitimate children. He ran up enormous debts and was disowned by his mother. The marble skeleton is both spooky and surprising
The visitor from Virginia asked me about the monument and was impressed that I knew so much about it. I didn't let on that I had checked out that side chapel a few hours earlier and had read up about the monument. The information was fresh in my memory and had not yet leaked away.
Interestingly, the reclining front brother William, an active parliamentarian, had played a significant role in arguing for the colonisation of Virginia in the mid sixteenth century but I didn't tell the American lady that as I only discovered it later.
The long inscriptions on the tomb are both in Latin and allude to two very different brothers. Henry "indulged in the liberal and sumptuous use of his fortune" but William "was not only the best man of his own age but of every age,
The Cavendish Monument at Edensor
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