Construction began during the 1550s on Burghley House, built for Sir William Cecil, who went on to become Elizabeth I’s secretary of state, lord high treasurer, and one of her closest confidants. The house was originally built in an ‘E’ shape, to reflect Cecil’s loyalty to the queen. However, in the 18th century, Brownlow Cecil, the 9th Earl of Exeter ordered that the north-west wing be demolished, and therefore the original shape of the house was lost.
The 5th Earl of Exeter, John Cecil, (1648–1700) built up an extensive art collection for Burghley House after he toured Italy on four occasions in the late 17th century. It is today considered to be one of the finest collections of privately owned original 17th century paintings.
England Culture & Tourism Route © Monika Simon Newbound 2020