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The 500th anniversary of the birth of Lord Burghley, William Cecil, will be marked with exhibitions at Burghley House near Stamford and services at Westminster Abbey and St Martin's Church in Stamford

The 500th anniversary of the birth of Britain's first spymaster and the builder of an well-known Elizabethan house will be marked with a year of celebrations.

William Cecil, who was Elizabeth I's most trusted minister and chief intelligence gather as well as building and designing most of Burghley House, was born in Bourne on September 13 1520.

To mark the Burghley 500 celebrations, there will be two exhibitions at Burghley House where more can be discovered about the life and times of Cecil, who was also known as Lord Burghley.

Lord Burghley's Atlas which will be on display in a new exhibition at Burghley House
Lord Burghley's Atlas which will be on display in a new exhibition at Burghley House

The Treasury Exhibition - 'The Age of William Cecil, Builder of Burghley' features a wide selection of rare items, including his personal atlas complete with hand-coloured maps and handwritten notes.

Also new for 2020 will be a timeline exhibition in the house entrance, detailing Cecil’s life and achievements, not only revealing the huge influence he had over every aspect of life in 16th Century England, but also his skills as a designer and builder.

As well as the exhibitions, there will also be a series of lectures about Cecil's life and achievements by guest speakers including David Starkey, Lesley Smith and Professor Stephen Alford.

He is buried at St Martin's Church in High Street St Martin's and a service to commemorate his life will be held there in September.

Westminster Abbey, where his funeral was held in 1598, will also be commemorating William Cecil with a service in June.

The exhibitions can be enjoyed when Burghley House and gardens re-open for the season from Saturday, March14.

They are open daily (house closed on Fridays), from 11am to 5pm until Sunday, November 1.

For more information, call 01780 752 451 or visit www.burghley.co.uk

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