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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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18041 videos foundNext > 

78 news items


Fri, 01 Aug 2014 00:52:30 -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 ...


Fri, 18 Jul 2014 00:52:30 -0700

It's when I am driving to meet the New Builder that I see him: the Hitcher. It is unmistakably him, a medium-sized, grey-haired man walking along the side of the road, head down, hunched back, rucksack, thumb out. For a minute I can't believe it. I ...


Fri, 11 Jul 2014 00:52:30 -0700

I would like to say it is karmic – the slumbering squirrel and all that – but it is not. As soon as the cat arrives, all hell breaks lose. The squirrel springs up and zooms around the room in a continuous blurred running movement. The cat follows and I ...


Fri, 25 Jul 2014 01:03:45 -0700

The Hitcher and I sit in the car for at least half an hour while he tells me the story of his life. He grew up down South, then his mother took him to Scotland after she broke up with his father. He was raised there with an abusive stepfather, who ...


Fri, 04 Jul 2014 01:13:58 -0700

That night I lie awake worrying. What am I going to tell the children? It took me months of persuasion to get them to move and now… It all looked so good on paper. I did have a panic, months ago, but friends told me to pull myself together and stop ...

Varsity Online

Varsity Online
Sat, 26 Jul 2014 15:30:00 -0700

Female-only colleges also failed to shine, as single-sex college Murray Edwards suffered the lowest overall percentage of firsts at 10.3 per cent and Lucy Cavendish rounded out at the bottom of the table, dropping one place from 28th in the 2013 rankings.
The Independent
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:08:20 -0700

Trinity's wealth is put at some £900m (with a reported annual income in excess of £20m), whereas Lucy Cavendish's wealth is some £24m and Hughes Hall's some £18m. The disparity of performance ties in with the disparity of wealth, and should be seen as ...

Cambridge News

Cambridge News
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 08:33:45 -0700

Murray Edwards College achieved the lowest number of firsts with 10.3 per cent while Lucy Cavendish College scoring the lowest number of points. The Tompkins Table was created by Peter Tompkins in 1981, when he was a third-year maths student at ...

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