John Spencer, 1st Earl Spencer
|The Right Honourable|
The Earl Spencer
The Earl Spencer, by Thomas Gainsborough
19 December 1734
Althorp, Northamptonshire, England
31 October 1783 (aged 48)|
Bath, Somerset, England
|Resting place||Great Brington, Northamptonshire, England|
|Spouse(s)||Georgiana Poyntz (m. 1755–1783; his death)|
Spencer was MP (Whig) for Warwick from 1756 to 1761. He was also High Steward of St Albans in 1772 and Mayor of St Albans in 1779. On 3 April 1761, he was created Baron Spencer of Althorp and Viscount Spencer by George III, and on 1 November 1765, he was created Viscount Althorp and Earl Spencer.
In 1754, the twenty-year-old Spencer met seventeen-year-old Georgiana Poyntz, who was the daughter of Stephen Poyntz. The two were instantly attracted to one another, but Spencer was uncertain if he would have his family's approval for the match and opted to spend several months travelling until his twenty-first birthday, when their approval would no longer be necessary. On his return they recognised their love had persisted, and shortly after his birthday they married in a secret ceremony on 20 December 1755 at Althorp, the Spencer family seat in Northamptonshire. The ceremony, held in an upper bedroom, occurred during a ball held in Spencer's honour with five hundred guests in attendance. They had five children, three of whom survived infancy:
- Lady Georgiana Spencer (1757–1806), married William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire, and had issue.
- George John Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer (1758–1834)
- Lady Henrietta Frances Spencer (1761–1821), married Frederick Ponsonby, 3rd Earl of Bessborough, and had issue.
- Lady Charlotte Spencer (1765–1766), died in infancy.
- Lady Louisa Spencer (b. & d. 1769), died in infancy.
He was the great-great-great-great-grandfather of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Styles of address and coat of arms
Styles of address
- 1734-1756: Mr John Spencer
- 1756-1761: Mr John Spencer MP
- 1761: Mr John Spencer
- 1761-1765: The Right Honourable The Viscount Spencer
- 1765-1783: The Right Honourable The Earl Spencer
Coat of arms
- Spencer, Charles (1999). Althorp: The Story of an English House. London: Viking. ISBN 978-0-312-20833-2.
- Battiscombe, Georgina (1984). The Spencers of Althorp. London: Constable. ISBN 978-0-09-465700-7.
- Milward, Richard (2004). "Spencer, John, first Earl Spencer (1734–1783)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/38713. Retrieved 2009-06-27. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
|Parliament of Great Britain|
| Member of Parliament for Warwick
With: Henry Archer
|Peerage of Great Britain|
|New creation|| Earl Spencer,
|New creation|| Viscount Spencer,|
Baron Spencer of Althorp
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