William Compton, 5th Marquess of Northampton

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Earl Compton
The Marquess of Northampton by Spy

William George Spencer Scott Compton, 5th Marquess of Northampton, KG (23 April 1851 – 15 June 1913), known as Lord William Compton from 1877 to 1887 and as Earl Compton from 1887 to 1897, was a British peer and Liberal politician.

Early life[edit]

Northampton was born at Castle Ashby, Northamptonshire,[1] the second son of Admiral William Compton, 4th Marquess of Northampton, and his wife Eliza (née Elliot). He was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated as B.A..[1]

He received the courtesy title of Earl Compton in 1887 on the death of his elder brother.

Diplomatic and political career[edit]

He served in the Diplomatic Service as Second Secretary to the British embassies in Paris, Rome and St Petersburg.[1] He then served as Private Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the Earl Cowper, between 1880 and 1882, and was elected to the House of Commons for Stratford-on-Avon in December 1885. He held this seat until July the following year and then sat for Barnsley from 1889 to 1897. In the latter year Northampton succeeded his father in the marquessate and entered the House of Lords.

Northampton, who was a major landowner in Clerkenwell and north London, was elected a founder member of London County Council for Finsbury in 1889, then served as County Alderman from 1892 to 1895.[2] He was J.P. for the counties of Warwickshire and Northamptonshire.[3]

From 1908 he was Honorary Colonel of the London Heavy Brigade of the Royal Garrison Artillery.[3]

He was later Special Envoy to Foreign Courts to announce the accession of King George V in 1910 and served as Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire from 1912 to 1913. He was made a Knight of the Garter in 1908 and was also a Knight of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.[2]


Lord William Compton married, in 1884, the Hon. Mary Florence Baring, daughter and heiress of William Baring, 2nd Baron Ashburton and his wife, Louisa, Lady Ashburton. They had three children. Lady Northampton died at Castle Ashby on 1 June 1902, aged 41, following a long illness from progressive paralysis.[4]

Lord Northampton survived her by eleven years and died, suddenly, at Acqui, Piedmont, Italy in June 1913, aged 62. He was buried at Castle Ashby,[2] and succeeded in his titles by his eldest son, William.


  1. ^ a b c The Complete Peerage, Volume IX. St Catherine's Press, London. 1936. p. 688. 
  2. ^ a b c The Complete Peerage, Volume IX. p. 689. 
  3. ^ a b Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes, 1913. Kelly's. p. 1291. 
  4. ^ "Obituary - the Marchioness of Northampton". The Times (36784). London. 3 June 1902. p. 10. 


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Stratford-on-Avon
Succeeded by
Frederick Townsend
Preceded by
Courtney Stanhope Kenny
Member of Parliament for Barnsley
Succeeded by
Joseph Walton
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Marquess of Hertford
Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire
1912 – 1913
Succeeded by
The Earl of Craven
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Compton
Marquess of Northampton
2nd creation
1897 – 1913
Succeeded by
William Bingham Compton