Spartacus Review

Volume 28: 14th November, 2008

English Civil War

Title: Cavalier

Author: Lucy Worsley


Publisher: Faber & Faber

Price: £10.99

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: William Cavendish


William Cavendish embodies 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 the extraordinary organism which sustained him - his household. Lucy Worsley shows us 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.