Spencer Perceval (1762-1812) is the only British Prime Minister ever to have been assassinated. He served as Prime Minister from 1809, railing against Catholic emancipation and parliamentary reform, but supporting the abolition of the slave trade. He also objected to the popular pursuits of the age; namely hunting, drinking and adultery.
Of Irish ancestry, his rise through the political classes was rapid, holding both offices of Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons before that of Prime Minister. During his tenure he had to deal with the political crisis of the madness of King George III.
He was shot in the lobby of the House of Commons on 11 May 1812 by John Bellingham, who held grievances against the Government for failing to compensate him for his imprisonment in Russia. An inquest was immediately held at the nearby public house The Cat and Bagpipes, where a verdict of willful murder was announced.
On 16 May he was buried in a vault in St Lukes Church in the South London village of Charlton. Bellingham was hanged two days later.
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