The Spencer Monument is a restored obelisk monument on the way to Valletta, in Blata l-Bajda, Malta, erected for the Honorable Sir Robert Cavendish Spencer, the cousin of the Governor of Malta Sir Frederick Cavendish Ponsonby (1783-1837), and great-great uncle of Princess Diana (1961-1997).
Sir Robert Cavendish Spencer was born in the Spencer family home at Althorp, Northamptonshire. He served as private secretary to King William IV (when he was still the Duke of Clarence) from 1827 to 1828 and was knighted for his services. He had a distinguished career in the Royal Navy and was well liked by the men he commanded.
Spencer was the captain of HMS Madagascar and died aboard his ship while in quarantine in Malta on 4 November 1830, aged 39. His body was, however, kept in quarantine at Lazaretto for the full 40 days required, and his body was buried at the Bastion of Saint Michael in Valletta on 12 December. This part of the bastion was later renamed Spencer Bastion. The burial service was conducted by Madagascar's Chaplain Reverend David Morton. On Spencer's tomb was the inscription:
HERE LIES THE
BODY OF CAPTAIN
SIR ROBERT CAVENDISH SPENCER KCH AGED 39 YEARS
WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE ON BOARD AND IN COMMAND OF
HIS MAJESTY’S SHIP MADAGASCAR AT ALEXANDRIA
ON THE 4th DAY OF NOVEMBER 1830
The Spencer Monument was designed by the Maltese architect George Pullicino in 1831 and was originally located at Corradino Hill. It was moved to its present position on top of Spencer Hill in 1893. It was struck by lightning in 1975 and suffered considerable damage, however it was later restored back to its original glory.
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