Queen Elizabeth was a strict guardian of the fount of honour. William Cecil did well to secure one of the ten new peerages created in her long reign by a Queen who preferred to ennoble ‘old blood’. His was the only noble title to be given exclusively on the grounds of political and administrative services to the Crown. He was one of two among the new peers who did not already possess ancestral claims or blood relationship to the Queen.1 His predecessor as Lord Treasurer, William Paulet, had received a marquisate and an earldom in Edward’s reign. But Burghley could flatter himself that his was a rare honour which had not fallen to any of his contemporaries in Elizabethan officialdom. Admission to an élite of some sixty peers was a reward for a family which had given loyal service to the Tudors for nearly a century.
KeywordsMarriage Market Fine House Family Honour Personal Emotion Feudal Lord
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