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(William Cecil). Born Sept. 18, 1520, in Bourne, Lincolnshire; died Aug. 4, 1598, in London. English state figure.
A scion of the gentry, William Cecil began his government career under Edward VI. After becoming Elizabeth I’s chief minister and a leading figure in English politics, he held a position of great influence. He was Elizabeth’s principal secretary from 1558. Cecil was elevated to the peerage in 1571; in the following year, as Baron Burghley, he became lord treasurer. In matters of economic policy, Burghley sought to reconcile the growth of capitalist manufacturing with the preservation of the medieval urban crafts.