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Cavalier: A Tale Of Chivalry, Passion And Great Houses

3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  127 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
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 w
Published 2008 by Faber (first published September 6th 2007)
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Lauren Albert
This is only superficially a biography (or family biography). Worsley, the chief curator of the Historic Royal Palaces, probably knows more about how lives were lived in these places than any one else. She uses the Cavendish family history, and particularly the life of William Cavendish, as a way of portraying how nobles, their courts and their servants lived. It can sometimes be dry as when we learn how bricks were made or when we get detailed tours of the houses as they are walked through by t ...more
Margaret Sankey
Jan 26, 2012 Margaret Sankey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Worsley, Curator of the Historic Royal Palaces in Britain, uses the construction projects (particularly Chatsworth)of the Cavendish family to track their rise from the gentry to the Duchy of Devonshire, including the experience of exile in the Civil War and the excess of the Restoration. I am liking this trend of tying noble families to their literal family trees and seeing the money, influence and connections through material goods.
Jonathan Hyde
Jul 16, 2012 Jonathan Hyde rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant read. Initially had no real knowledge of the 17th Century but was keen to read more by Dr. Worsley after reading her other great piece "Courtiers" concerning the court life of Georgian Britain, which I thoroughly enjoyed. However, upon finishing this book I really felt I had an all encompassing view of all aspects of life during this century, but cleverly conveyed through the life of William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle. The author's enthusiasm is apparent at all times and one really g ...more
Guy Cranswick
This is unreadable for one reason: the book is largely written in the present tense, though a history and shifts, on occasions, to a standard past tense. This technique of writing in the 'now' is what silly historical TV documentaries do because the viewer is apparently unable to conceive of a time before their own lives. In a book published by Faber and by a recognized historian it is an unforgivable error of judgement.
Amanda R. Kelly
Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator of the Historic Royal Palaces, paints a stunningly descriptive and enlightening picture of privileged life in 17th century Britain through ten eventful and dramatic chapters of Sir William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle’s life.

Defeated in the Battle of Marston Moor, prominent royalist Cavendish was exiled from England for 16 years. In this time, he found love, married, and pursued one of his greatest passions: architecture--establishing numerous new residences and earni
Apr 28, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a couple of chapters to get into this book -- fifteen pages of the journey of a chamber pot didn't help -- but once I did get into the book, it was an interesting read.

Cavalier tells the story of the William Cavendish during an incredibly unsettling time of English history. His life spanned Queen Elizabeth I, King James I, King Charles I, Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, and King Charles II; in other words, from Reformation to Civil War to Restoration. Cavalier picks out eight separat
Mar 10, 2016 Tina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Miss Lucy, and I live for her biographies. This book is essentially another PBS episode, so if you like her specials you will like this book. For some reason I thought this was a story about more than just one person, but that's a personal problem. The only reason why I'm not giving this book more stars is because I wasn't crazy about the Cavendish family (but like I said, I was under the impression that this would be about more than just one man). I am looking forward to reading her othe ...more
Jul 09, 2015 Ellen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not really as described on the cover. A meticulous description of the houses that William Cavendish lived in and how they were lived in. Bordered on tedious at times. But Lucy Worsley certainly knows her stuff so 2.5 rounded up to 3 from me.
Jun 29, 2012 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lucy Worsley packs this lively biography of William Cavendish with delicious snippets of detail. She ranges from architectural wonders like the erotic fountain of Venus at Bolsover Castle to descriptions of elaborate feasts complete with cook's directions on how to fix any bird from a sparrow to a swan.
Along the way she gives you a well-rounded account of English history from Charles ! through the restoration. At the center of all this stands her hero, a pretty good poet, an enthusiastic builde
May 14, 2008 Manda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Too clinical, dry and fact regurgitative for my taste. There are a lot of random facts thrown in that could have probably been pared out, for example that a piece of glass stuck in the mortar in a floor would be found 300 years later by archaeologists working on the property. As someone with a degree in archaeology myself, I would normally find that fact interesting except that it just seemed irrelevant to the ongoing story. Little things like that were what kept this book from being as interest ...more
I really enjoyed how this was written in the present tense, and the information given is fascinating. It uses a wide variety of primary source material on all kinds of topics, both gross and grand, to give a really full, panoramic treatment to a narrow subject. Which I love. And there are lots of awesome, lavishly-described country houses. Again, love. I would have really loved this book...had it been set a century or two later. The seventeenth century is just a little too early to be within my ...more
Apr 01, 2013 Tom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Cavalier was quite an interesting book. It covers the life and times of William Cavendish, and gives an insight into the thought processes and interactions of the time. Anyone who has an interest in the 17th century, England in particular, could find this quite interesting.
Renata Holder
Feb 12, 2015 Renata Holder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I greatly enjoyed this. The author chooses a date, or sequence of a few days, and describes what is happening as though she was standing there watching. A very readable way of learning about the subject and the times in which he lived.
William Cavendish, 1st Duke of NewCastle, life is told through a chronological series of vignette where we see him entertaining Charles I, being on the losing royalist side of Maston Moor, in exile, building houses, and marrying.
Lewis de Seife
Feb 26, 2008 Lewis de Seife rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Makes the 1500's come to life and narrates the transition from feudal to recognizably modern terms for everyday activity. I.e. To desert (clear) the table at the end of a meal to make way for sweets, becomes our dessert.
David Serxner
I saw this on the shelf at Barney Ignoble and knew I had to read it. So I bought it. This is a fascinating period in English history--and he was related to Arbella Stuart, whose biography I read this past summer.
Jun 02, 2014 Bettie☯ marked it as wish-list  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Jemidar
to hunt down a good deal
Mar 28, 2012 Tracey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This was really interesting. I especially liked the descriptions of how the Cavendish household worked.
Stuart Jennings
Aug 16, 2013 Stuart Jennings rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable and informative read using snap shots in time across the life of the Marquis of Newcastle
Jun 16, 2012 Lynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great stuff - painted by Mr D of course. Who wasn't?
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I was born in Reading (not great, but it could have been Slough), studied Ancient and Modern History at New College, Oxford, and I've got a PhD in art history from the University of Sussex.

My first job after leaving college was at a crazy but wonderful historic house called Milton Manor in Oxfordshire. Here I would give guided tours, occasionally feed the llamas, and look for important pieces of p
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