Lucy Caroline Lyttelton 54
- Born: 1841, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London
- Marriage: Lord Frederick Charles Cavendish in June 1864
- Died: 22 April 1925, Tonbridge, Kent aged 84 13
From The Times, April 23, 1925
We regret to announce that Lady Frederick Cavendish died last night at
her residence, the Glebe House, Penshurst, Tonbridge, at the age of
84. She was the widow of Lord Frederick Cavendish, who was murdered
more than 40 years ago in Phoenix Park, Dublin, a few hours after he
had been sworn in as Chief Secretary of Ireland. Her death thus
severs the link with the Gladstonian epoch in Victorian politics, and
with that generation of Gladstones, Glynnes, Lytteltons, and
Miss Lucy Caroline Lyttelton was born in 1841, the second daughter of
the fourth Lord Lyttelton, scholar and administrator, who married
Mary, daughter of Sir Stephen Glynne, of Hawarden Castle, on July 25,
1839. It was a double wedding, for at the same time Mr. Gladstone
married Sir Stephen Glynne's eldest daughter Catherine. Miss
Lyttelton thus grew up in the Gladstone tradition and in a
highly-cultivated and intellectual society. She had eight brothers,
men of singular and varied gifts. Four of them, Lord Cobham,
Spencer and Alfred Lyttelton, and the Bishop of Southampton, died
before her; four survive her, General Sir Neville Lyttelton, Dr.
Edward Lyttelton, the Rev. A.V. Lyttelton, and Mr. Robert Lyttelton.
Her two sisters married two Talbot brothers, the Right Hon. J. G.
Talbot, for many years member for the University of Oxford, and Bishop
E. S. Talbot, Bishop of Southwark and subsequently of Winchester. Her
half-sisters are Mrs. John Bailey, Mrs. Lionel Cust, and Mrs.
Miss Lyttelton was appointed a maid of honour to Queen Victoria, whom
she attended until her marriage, in June 1864, to Lord Frederick
Cavendish, younger brother of the then Lord Hartington, afterwards the
eighth Duke of Devonshire. Lord Frederick was a most capable and
high-minded man. In the Gladstone Government of 1880 he was appointed
Financial Secretary to the Treasury, and while there he framed a plan
of finance for a new scheme of land purchase. This led directly to
his appointment, in May, 1882, as Chief Secretary for Ireland in
succession to Mr. W. E. Forster, but he had hardly been sworn in when
he was assassinated while walking homewards through Phoenix Park,
together with Mr. Burke, the Under-Secretary.
Never has a political murder found a more innocent victim than Lord
Frederick. Mr. Gladstone knew what he was saying when, in speaking of
him in the House of Commons, he used the words: "One of the very
noblest hearts in England has ceased to beat." And Lady Frederick was
fully worthy of being the wife of such a man. When she first saw Mr.
Gladstone on that terrible night after the news reached London she had
the heroism to say to him, "You did right to send him to Ireland".
Well might Dean Church declare that no Roman or Florentine lady ever
uttered a more heroic thing.
A fortnight later Gladstone wrote to Lord Ripon in India:-
"We are bound to merge our own sorrow in the larger and deeper
affliction of the widow and the father...We have seen much of Lady
Frederick, who has been good even beyond what we could have hoped. I
have no doubt you have heard in India the echo of words spoken by
Spencer from a letter of hers, in which she said she could give up
even him in death were to work good to his fellow-men, which indeed
was the whole object of his life. These words have had a tender
effect, as remarkable as the horror excited by the slaughter. Spencer
wrote to me that a priest in Connemara read them from the altar; when
the whole congregation spontaneously fell down upon their knee".
The spirit of duty and courage which Lady Frederick showed in this
darkest hour she carried on throughout her long widowhood. She had no
children of her own, but to the children and grandchildren of her own
and her husband's brothers and sisters she devoted herself with loving
interest, and was rewarded by more more than the ordinary affection of
nephews and nieces. She continued for nearly 30 years to live on in
her London home and made her house in Carlton House-terrace a centre
for all sorts of good work. She inherited the Gladstonian interest in
the Eastern Churches, and was long President of the Friends of
Armenia. The most convinced and devoted of Churchwomen, she gave her
unstinted sympathy and support to the work of the Church wherever she
She was an admirable speaker, with the double appeal of sincerity and
humour, and frequently used her gifts to plead for the religious or
charitable causes which she had at heart. Indeed, until her
retirement from London, not long before the war, she was continually
occupied with work for others of one kind or another. She took a
great interest in the education of girls and young women, and she
proved a helpful member of the Royal Commission on Secondary Education
in 1894. She remained a strong Liberal of the Gladstonian type, and
though she had been a complete invalid for some years before her death
she continued to the end of her life to take the keenest interest in
all political questions. At one time she was a fairly frequent
correspondent of The Times. In 1904 the University of Leeds conferred
on her the honorary degree of L.L.D. Lady Frederick possessed a
singular charm of kindliness and humour, combined with a natural
dignity. She was, indeed, as attractive in old age as she had been
before the great sorrow which with rare courage and fineness of spirit
she kept in her own heart.
Noted events in her life were:
1. Census UK 1911: 1911, The Glebe House, Penshurst, Kent.
2. Resided: 22 April 1925, The Glebe House, Penshurst, Kent. 13
3. She had an estate probated on 5 June 1925 in London.
Lucy married Lord Frederick Charles Cavendish, son of William Cavendish, 7th Duke of Devonshire and Unknown, in June 1864. (Lord Frederick Charles Cavendish was born on 30 November 1836 in Compton Place, Eastbourne, Sussex 833 and died on 6 May 1882 in Phoenix Park, Dublin 833.)