Talk:Spencer Perceval

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"In later life Perceval became an expert on Biblical prophecy and wrote pamphlets relating prophecies which he had discovered."

How exactly does one go about "discovering" a biblical prophecy? --Jfruh 16:55, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Death in Westminster[edit]

I've reverted an edit which claimed, sourced to some trivia page, that only members of the Royal Family are allowed to die within the Palace of Westminster, so that Perceval was not pronounced dead until he left the premises. I find this highly suspicious, and haven't found other correlating sources online. Death in Royal palaces is somewhat extraordinary in law — the Coroner of the Verge, or since 1887 the Coroner of the Queen's Household presides over inquests of persons whose bodies are found within their premises — but I would ask for a citation from statue law or at least a somewhat more scholarly source before perpetrating this notion. Choess 04:37, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Can't find the statute but the law is definitely there - and recently voted the UK's most ludicrous law! Timrollpickering 11:02, 7 November 2007 (UTC)


How could he have held the post of Clerk of the Ordinance 18 years after he was killed? - JVG 23:08, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

My fault. Good catch. I've made a stub for his eldest son, Spencer Perceval (junior). Choess 02:11, 28 October 2006 (UTC)

How can Bellingham be considered "a mentally unsound man" when the article on John Bellingham states that evidence about Bellingham's insanity "was discounted by the trial judge, Sir James Mansfield?" Would not the fact that the judge found him sane not be enough to delete the above quote? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:44, 11 May 2008 (UTC)


I don't think the quote on the article page is entirely "correct".

King's Counsel[edit]

According to the Britannica, Spencer Perceval was made a King's Counsel in 1796.-- 05:28, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

I think that is correct: this source also indicates the same. I have included a footnote to the effect that (at age 33) this may make him the youngest ever Silk appointed in the UK. Previously Wikipedia had recorded that honour as being held by two persons: Paul McBride and Emlyn Hooson QC, both of whom were demonstrably older that Perceval. I appreciate that is dangerously close to OR, but keen to resolve the edit wars going ahead on the Paul McBride page about this point. --Legis (talk - contribs) 15:48, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
This is what Denis Gray, Spencer Perceval's biographer has to say (page 14): "He decided instead [of accepting the post of Chief Secretary in Ireland] to press his claims for a silk gown and wrote to Pitt on 24 January [1796] asking for permission to approach Lord Loughborough. 'I am encouraged to think,' he confessed, 'from what the Chancellor said to me near a twelve month ago, that he would not be unwilling to attend to an application from me...' In fact, Lord Loughborough had forgotten the hint and thought there were already too many K.C.'s on the midland circuit, 'but', he admitted, 'I have so strong a persuasion that your talents require only the opportunity of being more displayed to be admired that... I shall have great pleaseure in submitting your application to His Majesty'. Finally at a meeting of the council of Lincoln's Inn, held on 26 February 1796, Perceval was elected a bencher of the Inn." Oddly, Gray goes on to say the "thirty-four-year-old barrister had successfully established himself in his profession" as Perceval was still only 33, his birthday being in November. So, definitely younger than the contenders in the article you mentioned. The BBC ( thinks Lord Shawcross was Britain's youngest ever K.C., but he was born in 1902 and was made a K.C. in 1939 so that puts him out of the running. I am not too keen on making the claim for Perceval (and one of the youngest doesn't really cut it) since a) it doesn't have a source and b) there might have been a younger one. But a mention in a footnote is probably okay. I will change the footnote to the Gray biography, since it is just a date (and your footnote doesn't work - it has some red in it) and move it to paragraph on his career as the intro is footnote-free.Southdevonian (talk) 18:21, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

Own Chancellor[edit]

He had to serve as his own Chancellor after obtaining six refusals of office.

...but every Prime Minister in the Commons served as Chancellor of the Exchequer until 1841 - does this reference a) imply Perceval was seeking to break this tradition 30 years early; or b) refer to the Duchy of Lancaster (Perceval seems to be the only PM to have held this - see List of Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom). Timrollpickering 19:23, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Abolition of slave trade[edit]

The abolition of the slave trade is usually credited to the Ministry of All Talents, yet here it is said that: "It was under Perceval that William Wilberforce passed his Bill abolishing the slave trade." This can at best have been only true in the most formal sense, as the Ministry fell in March 1807, the same month that the bill received the Royal Assent, so the bill must have been carried through Parliament before Perceval returned to office.Dudleymiles 20:50, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

  • The portrait in the noninfobox is by George Francis Joseph, 1812. Any way to add it as a caption, which is common practice? The point of the box seems to be to render it immune to improvements: it stumps me at any rate.--Wetman 23:55, 12 August 2007 (UTC)


The information given about Isabella contradicts information about her sisters. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:16, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

In what way?Southdevonian (talk) 12:21, 12 May 2012 (UTC)


In The Times of 1 January 1938 there is a letter by C B Gabb (a regular contributor), in which he states that two granddaughters of Spencer Perceval had reached 100 the previous year. Jackiespeel (talk) 18:11, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

War of 1812[edit]

While trade tensions were one of the causes of the War of 1812, I don't think this is relevant to the article since the war started after the inquiry and after Perceval was assassinated. As it's worded now, it seems to imply that the war was one of the reasons the inquiry was called. Perhaps the relation of the Orders in Council to the War of 1812 could better be mentioned near the part of the biography which mentions them. I have removed the sentence from it's current location, I have not moved since I think someone with more familiarity with the subject could better determine how (and if) it should be added to that section.--HarryHenryGebel (talk) 06:48, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

Did Bellingham really say this?[edit]

to which Bellingham replied "Indeed you are". I wasn't sure if this was vandalism or not. Is there a source? Southdevonian (talk) 12:14, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Sounds dodgy to me. I don't remember it being mentioned in any book about the assassination. Sam Blacketer (talk) 12:17, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
I added this - a tourgide at the House of Commons mentioned this. Apologies for not adding a source. Cooltrainer Hugh (talk) 18:38, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

I wonder where the tour guide got it from? I will keep a look out for a published reference to it.Southdevonian (talk) 17:11, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Earldom of Egmont[edit]

The Earldom of Egmont appears to be extant at the moment, so not sure why it says it became extinct in 2011. (talk) 08:57, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

The 12th earl died recently and there may not be an heir to the earldom. If his son Donald is adopted then he won't be able, under the current law, to inherit the title (I think that is what the law is - I'm not well up on titles). Someone on the Egmont page has, I think, been a bit premature in naming him as 13th earl. Also they said the title otherwise could go to cousins via the female line, but I would be surprised if the Egmont earldom could be passed on in that way.Southdevonian (talk) 10:32, 11 May 2012 (UTC)


Did anyone notice that almost all of his children who married married cousins? And all but 1 of his daughters never married. I wonder if there is some psychological reason behind these facts? Bigmac31 (talk) 16:52, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

Two of the six daughters, Jane and Isabella, married - both to cousins. Jane's husband was a cousin on both her mother's and her father's side. All of the six sons married, two of them to cousins. Was this typical of families of their class at that time? People did marry cousins more frequently in those days than these (there were for a start more of them to choose from). I don't know if women from upper class families were more likely to remain single than men, or if there was something different about the Perceval family.Southdevonian (talk) 12:45, 12 May 2012 (UTC)

Introductory Paragraph[edit]

Strictly speaking, since we do not know how future history will unfold, the second sentence of the introductory paragraph should have the words "To date," inserted at the beginning of that sentence. Douglasson (talk) 19:44, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

Exileaway (talk) 22:41, 24 January 2015 (UTC)== Illegitimate son? ==

Bonhams say that Spencer Perceval had an illegitimate son, Michael Henry Perceval.

"The sitters' father, Michael Henry Perceval (1779-1829) was the illegitimate son of Prime Minister Spencer Perceval, KC (1762-1812), the only British Prime Minister to have been assassinated. Michael Henry's birth was never legitimised despite his parents' subsequent marriage and he was packed off to a good job in the Colonies in 1810..."

There is a slight problem with this. It says the parents subsequently married, which, unless Spencer had a secret marriage with someone else, would make Jane the mother. She was only 10 years old in 1779. I haven't been able to find another source. There is a book about Quebec which mentions Michael Henry Perceval. It is in French and says that Spencer Perceval was "parent et protecteur" of Michael Henry. In French "parent" means relative rather than parent, but perhaps the author was just being discreet. Southdevonian (talk) 17:14, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

It's an interesting discovery. I added this while working on the articles for Alexander Perceval and James Matheson, who married Michael's daughter, Jane. I'm taking Bonhams as a reliable source, on the basis that they would have researched this before publishing it in their sale catalogue. Being "packed off to the colonies" (i.e. Hong Kong) certainly fits with the Matheson connection. Spencer was undoubtedly fecund, thirteen children is no mean feat, even by the standards of the time, so an illegitimate child is not beyond the bounds of probability . All that said, it would certainly be good to have another reference.  Philg88 talk 17:46, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

It's an amazing discovery! I just have doubts about it. I have asked Bonhams where it comes from, because I have never seen it anywhere else. Spencer Perceval has a well-researched biography and I would be surprised if the author hadn't uncovered an illegitimate son. My guess would be one of the Percevals of County Sligo. They were very distantly related to the Egmont Percevals, which might explain why Michael Henry Perceval called his property in Quebec Spencerwood. Southdevonian (talk) 20:08, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

And in the article on Alexander Perceval (merchant), who was one of the Sligo Percevals,it says he was a relative of Mary Jane Perceval, the wife of James Matheson. Southdevonian (talk) 20:11, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

I'm glad you're on the case. I've spent some time on the history of Jardine, Matheson & Co. so I'm more familiar with that than I am with the family history of the Percevals. When I came across the Bonham's reference I thought it worth adding to the article, but if it turns out to be a red herring then so be it. I'm still intrigued by the mention of "the colonies" - How was Mary Jane related to Michael Henry, if indeed she was?  Philg88 talk 21:16, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Mary Jane was Michael Henry's daughter. I have had another idea about Michael Henry. Perhaps he was a nephew, rather than a son of Spencer Perceval. Spencer had a much older half-brother, Philip Tufton Perceval, who was an officer in the Navy. He is said to have married an illiterate woman. Philip died in 1795 (when Michael Henry was 15 or 16) so that might explain why Spencer took an interest in him. But it is only an idea - no evidence! Southdevonian (talk) 12:18, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

A record survives of Philip Tufton Perceval's marriage to Catherine Hennesay - Pallot's Marriage Index 1780-1837 - in St Paul's Church, Covent Garden, in 1790. One of Michael Henry Perceval's daughters was Mary Jane Perceval, Lady Matheson, wife of Sir James Matheson. Her godfather was Philip Joshua Perceval, some of whose personal letters survive. He was Michael Henry Perceval's brother, the letters make clear. On his death certificate in 1847, Philip Joshua Perceval's father is said to be Philip Perceval. Spencerwood, the house where MHP and his family lived in Quebec, overlooks the site of Philip Tufton Perceval's main action as a very young naval commander in the Seven Years War. A court case about the Egmont succession in 1930 makes clear that the Philip Tufton fell out with his father - and his line is ignored in the official family tree. But he was a half brother of Spencer Perceval who, according to one Quebec source, was MHP's guardian as well as relative. It may also be worth noting that MHP married the daughter of Sir Charles Flower, himself a man of immense new wealth, who was quite capable of exerting the influence to get his son-in-law a job which is said to have paid £7000 pa. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Exileaway (talkcontribs) 22:35, 24 January 2015 (UTC) (talk) 22:45, 24 January 2015 (UTC)

Interesting. Do you have a date of birth for Michael Henry and Philip Joshua? Bonhams thought 1779 for Michael Henry which predates the marriage to Catherine Hennessy. If Philip Tufton had had a marriage to someone else previously and Michael Henry and Philip Joshua had been legitimate and they or their sons had been alive in 1841, when the 5th earl died, they should have been the 6th earl. Robert Pownell, the retired optician, who put in a later claim (to estate only not the title as he was descended through a woman) said he was the grandson of Philip and Sarah's legitimate daughter Sarah. Southdevonian (talk)
Philip Joshua's burial certificate gives his age as 57 in 1846. Could he have been born after Philip Tufton Perceval's and Catherine Hennesay's marriage? Southdevonian (talk)

The birth-date for Michael Henry is based on Canadian and American documents giving his age - such as his passage through New York in 1823 - and on the reports of his death in 1829. The more likely date is 1779, although it could be late 1778. The exact date is not known at present. The date for Philip Joshua is derived from his death certificate and is in 1791 and therefore after the marriage of Philip Tufton Perceval and Catherine Hennesay which was May 15, 1790. His death certificate actually states he was 56, not 57 - I can see an image of the original which I downloaded. Tracing Robert Pownall's ancestry back gives a date of about 1783 for Sarah's birth - otherwise the descent is impossible. The widespread media reports of the 1929-30 court case come from a single reporter who makes a number of obvious errors, confusing grandmother and mother in one relationship description. He states that relatives of Spencer Perceval came to offer Sarah a better life when she was "just seven" in 1800. That makes perfect sense as "just seventeen." As for the claim to the estate etc, the official Egmont family trees have nothing about Philip Tufton after his birth except for his death. I have been in contact with descendants in the island of Ireland and they have no records at all. If we could find the documents, we might see that he was excluded from the succession by his father. Equally Michael Henry could have agreed to renounce any such claim to clear up the outstanding issue before taking the job in Canada, or even when Spencer Perceval became his guardian. I do not have any documentary evidence that Catherine Hennesay was also Michael Henry's mother. However, there are a couple of hints at a continuing family connection to Belfast and Hennesay is an Irish name - and there is absolutely nothing surviving to suggest that she wasn't his mother. What is clear is that the Bonham's statement is completely wrong. I now have the statement put in by the sellers to that sale and it has so many mistakes, I can't believe they ever accepted it. Exileaway (talk) 07:14, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

  • I didn't believe the Bonhams farrago for a second. Is somebody going to be brave enough to delete it? --Clifford Mill (talk) 09:52, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Done. I think such an unlikely claim needs a more reliable source than Bonhams. Southdevonian (talk) 10:53, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

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