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Lucy Cavendish at about the time of her marriage

Lady Frederick Cavendish (Lucy Caroline; née Lyttelton; 5 September 1841 – 22 April 1925) was a pioneer of women's education.

A daughter of George Lyttelton, 4th Baron Lyttelton, she married into another aristocratic family, the Cavendishes, in 1864. Eighteen years later her husband, Lord Frederick Cavendish, was murdered in Dublin by Irish nationalists. After his death she devoted much of her time to the cause of girls' and women's education, for which she was honoured in her lifetime with an honorary degree, and posthumously when, in 1965, Cambridge University named its first post-graduate college for women after her.


Lucy Cavendish was born at the Lyttelton family house, Hagley Hall, Worcestershire on 5 September 1841. She was the second daughter of George Lyttelton, 4th Baron Lyttelton and his wife, Mary, née Glynne, whose sister married W. E. Gladstone.[1] In 1863 she was appointed a Maid of Honour to Queen Victoria, whom she attended until marrying the following year.[2]

On 7 June 1864 she married Lord Frederick Cavendish, the second son of the Duke of Devonshire. They had no children. Cavendish was elected to Parliament in 1865 and was assassinated by Irish nationalists in the Phoenix Park Murders on 6 May 1882, the day on which he took the oath of office of Chief Secretary for Ireland.[1] Though devastated by the assassination, on the day before the ringleader was hanged she sent him the small gold crucifix she had long worn, as a token of her forgiveness.[3] Gladstone was greatly moved when she told him that she could bear the loss of her beloved husband "if his death were to work good to his fellow-men, which indeed was the whole object of his life."[2] She remained a firm supporter of home rule for Ireland.[1]

After Cavendish's death, Lucy Cavendish was active in the sphere of women's education. She was of President of the Yorkshire Ladies Council of Education from 1883 to 1912. She declined the offer of the post of Mistress of Girton College, Cambridge in 1884. She was a member of the Royal Commission on Secondary Education and was a founding member of the Council of the Girls' Public Day School Company, which had been founded by her father.[1] On 6 October 1904 she received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws at the formal inauguration of the University of Leeds for "notable service to the cause of education".[4]

Lucy Cavendish died at her home, The Glebe, Penshurst, Tonbridge, on 22 April 1925. aged 84. She was buried in her husband's grave in Edensor churchyard, near Chatsworth.[1]

Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge was named in her honour in 1965.[1] She was the great-aunt of one of its founders, Margaret Braithwaite.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Boase G. C. "Cavendish, Lord Frederick Charles (1836–1882)" rev. H. C. G. Matthew, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, online edition, October 2005, accessed 23 April 2013 (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  2. ^ a b "Obituary – Lady Frederick Cavendish", The Times, 23 April 1925, p. 14
  3. ^ Lyttelton and Hart Davis, p. 40 – letter of 17 March 1960
  4. ^ "The Papers of Lucy Cavendish". 
  5. ^ Renfrew, Jane M. "Who was Lucy Cavendish?". Rooms of Our Own - Lucy Cavendish College. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 


External links[edit]

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54 news items


Fri, 15 Aug 2014 01:03:45 -0700

So, finally, we are on holiday. It came to me, a sort of whim as I was doing the fifth run of the day, taking paintings from one house to another and moving trays of cutlery and a set of winter wellies. I am quite enjoying this bit-by-bit move. It's ...


Fri, 08 Aug 2014 01:06:36 -0700

Lucy Cavendish is left with a black eye after a car accident. How the other half lives: as her son drives carefully, Lucy Cavendish's car is hit by another. Lucy Cavendish and her son have had a minor car accident on a lane. 'Despite the fact that ...


Fri, 22 Aug 2014 01:03:45 -0700

Of course, the problem of going on holiday by myself with the children is that there are four of them and one of me. This means I am the only one who can ostensibly put on sun lotion, pay for ice creams etc. Raymond is old enough to do these things but ...


Fri, 01 Aug 2014 01:00:53 -0700

Lucy Cavendish tells her children it's time to move again. How the other half lives: Lucy Cavendish's kids are delighted that they'll soon be back in their old home. Lucy Cavendish will soon be packing up home again. 'I just can't afford to be renting ...

The Times (subscription)

The Times (subscription)
Sun, 17 Aug 2014 07:02:19 -0700

Lucy Cavendish and some of the men in her life. From left to right: Rokas the handyman, Cipri the football coach, Fred the intellectual, Sean the builder, and Kieron the chef Jon Enoch for The. Lucy Cavendish. Last updated at 12:01AM, August 16 2014.

Times of India

Times of India
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 11:33:45 -0700

Lucy Cavendish, a woman in the UK recently shelled out a staggering £65,000 over hairdressers, a dental fix, designer dresses, etc. Back home, the new life can also be a costly affair. Here's what women in Mumbai are doing for their 'transformation ...

BBC News

BBC News
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 08:33:45 -0700

When presenter Mariella Frostrup's husband pulled out of a family holiday because of work, instead of going on her own with her children, she found another man to travel with - the partner of her best friend. The writer Lucy Cavendish, who is now a ...

The Westmorland Gazette

The Westmorland Gazette
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 10:01:27 -0700

THE 131st Cartmel show held yesterday (Wednesday) has been hailed for its 'atmosphere, heart and soul' and 'one of the best yet' by this year's President Lucy Cavendish. A crowd of around 6,000 gathered at Cartmel racecourse for the annual event.

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