A Naval Biographical Dictionary/Spencer, Frederick

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SPENCER, Earl, K.S.L., K.S.A., K.R.G. (Captain, 1822. f-p., 16; h-p., 20.)

The Right Honourable Frederick Earl Spencer, born 14 April, 1798, is third son of George John, second Earl Spencer, K.G. (First Lord of the Admiralty from July, 1794, until Feb. 1801), by Lavinia, eldest daughter of Charles, first Earl of Lucan; and next brother of the late Capt. Hon. Sir Robt. Cavendish Spencer,[1] R.N., K.C.H. His eldest brother, whom he succeeded as fourth Earl in 1845, was Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1830 to 1834.

This officer entered the Navy, 18 Sept. 1811, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Elephant 74, Capt. Fras. Wm. Austen, lying at Portsmouth, where he removed, shortly afterwards, to the Tigre 74, Capt. John Halliday. On his arrival in the Mediterranean with Rear-Admiral Benj. Hallowell, at the close of the same year, in the Royal George 100, he followed him in succession into the Blake 74 and Malta 84; in which latter ship we find him employed occasionally (as Midshipman) with the in-shore squadron off Toulon, and also in co-operation with the British army on the coast of Spain, in particular at the siege of Tarragona and the evacuation of the fort of St. Philippe in the Col de Balaguer. Returning to England in the early part of 1815, he joined in the course of that year the Prince 98, Capt. Geo. Fowke, and Royal Sovereign 100 and Tonnant 80, flag-ships of Rear-Admiral Hallowell, with whom, in the Tonnant, he served at Cork until Sept. 1817. He was then transferred to the Vengeur 74, Capt. Thos. Alexander, lying at Portsmouth; and in the following month he joined the Glasgow 50, Capt. Hon. Anthony Maitland; of which ship, stationed in the Mediterranean, he was created a Lieutenant 14 July, 1818. After serving for a few months with Capt. John Coode in the Albion 74, he was appointed, 30 Aug. 1819, to the Superb 78, bearing the broad pendant of Sir Thos. Masterman Hardy on the coast of South America; where he was promoted, 5 March, 1821, to the command of the Alacrity 10, and Posted, 26 Aug. 1822, into the Créole 42. He left that frigate about 1824; and was lastly, from 21 Sept. 1825 until the end of 1828, employed, again in the Mediterranean, in the Talbot 28. In her he fought with distinction at the battle of Navarin, was present, we believe, at the capitulation of Patras, and assisted at the reduction of the Morea Castle. In a letter addressed by the present Sir Edmund Lyons to the Commander-in-Chief prior to the event last mentioned, he observes – “I have only to add, that I hope, throughout this service, to preserve that good understanding and hearty co-operation with the officers of His Most Christian Majesty, which was so auspiciously commenced under Capt. Spencer’s firm though conciliatory management.” For his conduct at the battle of Navarin the noble Earl was created a C.B. 13 Nov. 1827, and presented with the Cross of St. Louis and the Orders of the Second Class of St. Anne of Russia and the Redeemer of Greece. In July, 1846, his Lordship (who for many years had sat in Parliament for Worcestershire and for Midhurst previously to his accession to the peerage, and had been Equerry to the Duchess of Kent) was appointed Lord Chamberlain of the Household to Her Majesty; and in 1847 he was nominated one of the Council for the Duchy of Lancaster. He married, 23 Feb. 1830, his second-cousin, Elizabeth Georgiana, second daughter of Wm. Stephen Poyntz, Esq., M.P., of Cowdray Park, Sussex, sister of the Marchioness of Exeter and the Dowager Lady Clinton, by whom he has issue a son and two daughters. Agents – Hallett and Robinson.


  1. The Hon. Sir Robt. Cavendish Spencer was born 24 Oct. 1791, and entered the Navy in Aug. 1804, on board the Tigre 74, Capt. Benj, Hallowell; with whom he continued employed in the Malta 84, until ordered, in Oct. 1812, to take charge of the Pelorus brig. While attached to the Tigre, of which ship he was made a Lieutenant 13 Dec. 1810, he accompanied Lord Nelson to the West Indies and back in pursuit of the combined squadrons, served with the flotilla during the operations of 1807 in Egypt, and assisted in cutting out a convoy in the Bay of Rosas, detailed in our memoir of Sir Augustus Clifford. He was promoted, 22 Jan. 1813, to the command of the Kite 16; was appointed next to the Espoir 18, and Carron 20; and on 4 June, 1814, was advanced to Post-rank. In the Espoir he shared in an attack made, 18 Aug, 1813, upon the enemy’s batteries and shipping at Cassis (refer to Sir J. J. G. Sinclair); and in the Carron, in which ship he continued until after his promotion to Post-rank, he witnessed the unsuccessful attempt upon Fort Bowyer, Mobile, 16 Sept. 1814, and bore an important part in all the operations connected with the expedition against New Orleans. Within a short period of the peace he was appointed to the Cydnus 38. He afterwards held command, from 20 May, 1817, until 1819, of the Ganymede 26, in the Mediterranean; from the latter year until 17 Sept. 1822, of the Owen Glendower 42, in South America; from 12 Apr. 1823, until Oct. 1826, of the Naiad 46, again in the Mediterranean; next, for a short time, of the Royal Sovereign yacht; and from 26 Sept. 1828, until the period of his death, which took place at Alexandria, 4 Nov. 1830, of the Madagascar 46. During the dispute with the Dey of Algiers in 1824, Capt. Spencer, then in the Naiad, was the officer selected to arrange and settle the treaty entered into with that potentate; he was afterwards intrusted with the conduct of several important negotiations with the authorities in the Archipelago. From Aug. 1827, until Sept. 1828, he filled the office of Private Secretary to H R.H. the Lord High Admiral, to whom he was likewise appointed Groom of the Bedchamber. He was nominated a K.C.H, in Oct. 1828, and knighted 34 Nov. following. He enjoyed considerable reputation for his proficiency in the art of naval gunnery, and was the reputed author of an ingenious Catechism, known by the name of ‘The Ninety-nine Questions.’