CECIL, Richard (1570-1633), of Collyweston and Wakerley, Northants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. 7 Dec. 1570,1 2nd s. of Thomas Cecil†, 1st earl of Exeter (d. 1623) and Dorothy, da. of John Nevill, 4th Lord Latimer; bro. of Sir Edward* and William†.2 educ. St. John’s, Camb. 1585; G. Inn 1591; travelled abroad (Italy) 1594-7, ?1599-1602.3 m. 23 Mar. 1603,4 Elizabeth, da. of Sir Anthony Cope* of Hanwell, Oxon., 2s. 1da.5 kntd. 28 Aug. 1616.6 d. 4 Sept. 1633.7

Offices Held

J.p. Northants. by 1605-Jan. 1616, Mar. 1616-d., Peterborough 1605-d.;8 commr. sewers Lincs. 1605-27, Northants 1609-33;9 musters, Northants. 1605;10 bailiff, Collyweston manor 1607-25;11 dep. lt. Northants. by 1613-d.;12 commr. gaol delivery and oyer and terminer, Peterborough 1618-d.,13 subsidy Northants. 1621, 1624,14 swans, Northants., Lincs., Rutland and Notts. 1625.15


Cecil was provided with a lengthy education, including several years of travels abroad. His father held the liberty of Peterborough, and doubtless secured Cecil’s election for the borough in 1604.16 In the opening session his only appointment was to consider a bill to sever the entail on the Holdenby estate for the benefit of Sir Christopher Hatton* (29 June 1604).17 Cecil left no trace on the records of the second session, but in the third he was named to the committee for a bill to enable his uncle, the 1st earl of Salisbury (Robert Cecil†), to convey Theobalds to the king in exchange for Hatfield (30 May 1607).18 Upon his appointment in 1607 as bailiff of the Crown manor of Collyweston, where his ancestors had held land since 1553, Cecil took up residence in the ‘handsome and elegant house’ built by Lady Margaret Beaufort.19 In the fourth session of the Parliament he was named the supply conference of 15 Feb. 1610, at which Salisbury proposed the Great Contract. He was also appointed to bills committees concerning pluralities (19 Feb.), subscription (14 Mar.), and hawking (29 March).20 His final recorded activity was to attend the king on 24 May with the address against impositions. He left no trace on the records of the brief fifth session.21

At the general election of 1614 Cecil was returned for the family borough of Stamford, four miles from Collyweston.22 In the Addled Parliament his appointments included the conference of 14 Apr. on the Palatine marriage settlement, and a bill to naturalize two daughters of his brother’s most distinguished rival, Sir Horace Vere (17 May). On 29 May Cecil was one of the Members who accompanied the Speaker to explain the ‘forbearance’ of business to the king.23

As heir to his nephew Lord Roos, who died in Naples in 1618, Cecil partitioned the estates with the 6th earl of Rutland, increasing his income by £600 p.a. This included the manor and advowson of Wakerley, seven miles from Stamford, where he took up residence, though ‘having occasion to be much from thence’, and he employed many servants and workmen in the gardens and demesnes.24 Re-elected to the third Jacobean Parliament on his father’s nomination, he was appointed to only one committee, for a bill ‘to punish the great and general abuses by licences to beg’ (22 Nov. 1621).25 Cecil was drawn into Chancery by Roos’s creditors, who included the serjeant-at-arms Edward Dendy, and Tobie Matthew*; he compounded with Dendy, but fought unsuccessfully against Matthew’s claims.26 He never sat in Parliament again after his father’s death in 1623, though he remained a conscientious deputy lieutenant and local magistrate.27 Having made his will on 3 Apr. 1633, he died on 4 Sept. following and was buried at Wakerley.28 His son David sat for Peterborough in the Short Parliament before succeeding as 3rd earl of Exeter, and his great-grandson John represented Northamptonshire in the Cavalier Parliament.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Virginia C.D. Moseley / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. HMC Hatfield, v. 70.
  • 2. Northants. Fams. ed. O. Barron, 33.
  • 3. Al. Cant.; GI Admiss.; SO3/1; HMC Hatfield, ix. 131; CSP Dom. 1595-7, p. 295.
  • 4. CP, v. 219.
  • 5. Baker, Northants. i. 748.
  • 6. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 159.
  • 7. C142/515/76.
  • 8. C231/4, ff. 14, 17; C181/1, f. 115v, 181/3, ff. 85, 155, 181/4, f. 5; SP16/212, f. 44; Q.S. Recs. Northants. ed. J. Wake and S.A. Peyton (Northants. Rec. Soc. i.), 1.
  • 9. C181/1, f. 118v; 181/2, ff. 47v, 83, 353; 181/3, ff. 218, 228; 181/4, ff. 39v, 83, 140.
  • 10. Montagu Musters Bk. ed. J. Wake and H.I. Langdon (Northants. Rec. Soc. vii), 3.
  • 11. CSP Dom. 1603-10, p. 362; 1623-5, p. 509.
  • 12. Montagu Musters Bk. 92.
  • 13. C181/2, f. 314v; 181/4, f. 86v.
  • 14. C212/22/20-1, 23.
  • 15. C181/3, f. 164v.
  • 16. L.B. Gaches, Liberty of Peterborough, 43-5.
  • 17. CJ, i. 249a.
  • 18. Ibid. 377a.
  • 19. VCH Northants. ii. 552, 553; Bridges, Northants. ii. 436-7.
  • 20. CJ, i. 393b, 396b, 410b, 416a.
  • 21. CJ, i. 432a.
  • 22. Stamford Town Hall Archive, 2A/1/1, f. 309.
  • 23. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 82, 268, 377.
  • 24. C2/Jas.I/C18/5, D10/51.
  • 25. Stamford Town Hall Archive, 2A/1/1, ff. 331, 332.
  • 26. C2/Jas.I/M15/37.
  • 27. Montagu Musters Bk. 5, 92, 98, 152, 154, 181, 198.
  • 28. PROB 11/164, f. 293; Northants. Fams. 33.