Join us for our series of special lectures on Lord Burghley from renowned speakers.

Burghley, one of the largest and grandest houses of the first Elizabethan Age, was built and mostly designed by William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I, between 1555 and 1587, the main part of the House has 35 major rooms on the ground and first floors.

Lecture Series

Our series of special lectures will focus on all aspects of William Cecil, his life and legacy. Speakers include Professor Stephen Alford, Dr Anna Keay, David Starkey, Dr Simon Thurley, Professor Jennifer Alexander, Lesley Smith, and Dr Suzannah Lipscomb. Find out more below. Tickets will go on sale here in early 2020.

David Starkey - Friday 20 March 2020

David Starkey's lecture will take place in the Great Hall, with drinks in the Orangery from 6pm and the lecture from 7pm.

Associate Professor Jennifer Alexander - Friday 24 April 2020

Symbols, Secrets and Stonemasons: New Insights on the Roman Stair at Burghley.

Jennifer Alexander's lecture will take place in the Great Hall, with drinks in the Orangery from 6pm and the lecture from 7pm.

Dr. Anna Keay - Thursday 14 May 2020

‘Elizabeth, Leicester and the Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth’

Anna Keay's lecture will take place in the Great Hall, with drinks in the Orangery from 6pm and the lecture from 7pm.

Anna will discuss the remarkable garden created at Kenilworth Castle in the 1570s by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who, with Lord Burghley, was one of the key courtiers and ministers at the court of Elizabeth I. Perhaps the best recorded Elizabethan privy garden, it was at the heart of Elizabeth I’s long visit to the castle in 1575, and the subject of an ambitious restoration by English Heritage in 2009. The talk will discuss the garden and its significance and the challenges and issues which were tackled in re-creating it.

Dr Anna Keay, formerly Curatorial Director at English Heritage, is now Director of the Landmark Trust.

Dr. Simon Thurley - Thursday 11 June 2020

The Tudors: Art, Architecture and Burghley House

Simon Thurley's lecture will take place in the Great Hall, with drinks in the Orangery from 6pm and the lecture from 7pm.

Lesley Smith - Friday 3 July 2020

Lesley Smith as Queen Elizabeth I

Lesley Smith's lecture will take place in the Great Hall, with drinks in the Orangery from 6pm and the lecture from 7pm. With live music played by Elizabethan Minstrel Dante Ferrara.

Professor Stephen Alford - Friday 11 September 2020

One Heart, One Way: The Life and Career of William Cecil, Baron of Burghley

Stephen Alford's lecture will take place in the Great Hall, with drinks in the Orangery from 6pm and the lecture from 7pm.

William Cecil served continuously at the heart of Queen Elizabeth I’s government for a few months short of forty years. He was the most formidable politician of the Elizabethan age, a maker of high policy, an instinctive dynast, a powerful court patron, and the builder of two of the most extraordinary houses in England, Burghley and Theobalds.
This lecture will explore the first Lord Burghley’s world and political imagination, examining what drove him to work as hard as he did for queen and kingdom. It will consider his relationships with Queen Elizabeth, his fellow courtiers and his family. It will examine, too, some of the most decisive moments in Elizabethan politics through his eyes. And it will explore the centrality of Stamford and Burghley to William Cecil’s powerful sense of family and dynasty and of the obligations he had to his ‘country’.

Stephen Alford is the author of Burghley: William Cecil at the Court of Elizabeth I (2008) and The Watchers: A Secret History of the Reign of Elizabeth I (2012). A former Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, he has held the Chair in Early Modern British History at the University of Leeds since 2012. He is a Patron of the Lord Burghley 500 Foundation and is currently writing a political life of the first Lord Burghley’s younger son, Robert Cecil.

Dr. Suzannah Lipscomb - Friday 9 October 2020

Shakespeare's World

Suzannah Lipscomb's lecture will take place in the Great Hall, with drinks in the Orangery from 6pm and the lecture from 7pm.

On William Shakespeare’s death, Ben Jonson, paid the bard a compliment that continues to define our attitude to Shakespeare: ‘He was not of an age, but for all time’. Shakespeare’s talent is so rare that it is easy to think of him as a man out of time. But, in fact, he was born in a rural market town in the early years of Elizabeth I’s reign, and formed by the social, religious, and political worldview of the period - the very same world inhabited by his namesake William Cecil, Lord Burghley. To examine this world - a time of huge demographic, economic, social, religious, and cultural change - tells us much, in turn, about Shakespeare and Burghley themselves.

Special Offer with The William Cecil at Stamford

If you're coming to enjoy our Lord Burghley Lecture Series, why not complete your experience with an overnight stay at the William Cecil at Stamford. Our partners at the William Cecil are offering all of our Lecture attendees 10% off their Bed & Breakfast bookings! Simply enter the code BURGHLEY when you book your room online at The William Cecil Website. (Discount only valid for Bed & Breakfast bookings made for the date of each Lecture).

Discover our other Lord Burghley 500th anniversary events on our Exhibitions and Education Programme pages.