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History   >   The Tudors - William Cecil, 1520-98

William Cecil’s Early Career

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The Tudors - William Cecil, 1520-98

In this course, Dr Neil Younger (Open University) explores the life and career of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley. In the first module, we look at Cecil’s early career, surveying the historiographical backdrop to this key minister and tracing the development of his political career, from a young Cambridge student, to a key figure in the governments of Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I. In the second and third modules we look at two key decades of Cecil’s career, focusing on the 1560s in module two, then shifting to the 1580s in module three. In module four, we then take a closer look at the Anglo-Spanish War, considering its impact upon both the foreign and domestic policies of the Elizabethan government. Finally, in module five, we conclude our lecture series by thinking about the end of Cecil’s life, what he achieved, and the legacy that he left behind.

William Cecil’s Early Career

In this lecture, we look at Cecil’s early life and career, focusing in particular on: (i) Cecil’s childhood and education at the University of Cambridge; (ii) Cecil’s religious beliefs and the historiographical backdrop to studies of this; (iii) Cecil’s early political career under Edward VI and Mary I; and (iv) Cecil’s rise to prominence under Elizabeth I as her appointed Secretary of State.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Younger, N. (2023, September 21). The Tudors - William Cecil, 1520-98 - William Cecil’s Early Career [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Younger, N. "The Tudors - William Cecil, 1520-98 – William Cecil’s Early Career." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 21 Sep 2023,

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Dr Neil Younger

Dr Neil Younger

Open University