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The victim: Spencer Perceval

Spencer Perceval (1762-1812) was British Prime Minister from 1809 until his death in 1812. 

A lawyer by training and an evangelical christian by belief, Perceval first entered Parliament in 1796 as MP for Northampton and thereafter experienced a rapid rise to power, becoming Solicitor-General in 1801 and Attorney-General in 1802.  He was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1807, and after lengthy negotiations became Prime Minister in 1809 following the resignation of the Duke of Portland. Perceval, who was sometimes referred to as ‘Little P', was known for his distaste towards gambling, drunkenness and adultery.  He supported the abolition of slavery and gave generously to charitable causes.

Perceval is the only British Prime Minister to have been assassinated. He was shot by John Bellingham, a failed businessman with a grievance against the Government, in the lobby of the House of Commons on 11th May 1812. Perceval was succeeded by Robert Jenkinson, the second Earl of Liverpool.


Spencer Perceval, British Prime Minister 1809-1812


George Francis Joseph

Catalogue number

Palace of Westminster Collection, WOA 646