Spencer Compton, 2nd Earl of Northampton (May 1601 – 19 March 1643), styled Lord Compton from 1618 to 1630, was an English soldier and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1621 to 1622. He became a peer by writ of accceleration in 1626 and by inheritance in 1630. He fought in the Royalist army and was killed in action at the Battle of Hopton Heath.
Northampton was the son of William Compton, 1st Earl of Northampton, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Sir John Spencer, Lord Mayor of London. He was created a Knight of the Bath on 3 November 1616. In 1621 he was elected Member of Parliament for Ludlow. Also in 1621, he was appointed Master of the Robes to the Prince of Wales and attended the latter in the adventure to Spain in 1623. He warmly supported the king in the Scottish expeditions, at the same time giving his advice for the summoning of the parliament, which word of four syllables he declared was like the dew of heaven. In 1626, he became Baron Compton by writ of acceleration. In 1630 he inherited the Earldom on the death of his father in 1630 and assumed his duties as Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire and Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire.
On the outbreak of the Civil War, Northampton was entrusted with the execution of the Commission of Array in Warwickshire. After varying success and failure in the Midlands, he fought at Edgehill and, after the king's return to Oxford was given, in November 1642, the military supervision of Banbury and the neighbouring country. He was attacked in Banbury by the parliamentary forces on December 22, but relieved by Prince Rupert of the Rhine the next day.
In March 1643, he marched from Banbury to relieve Lichfield and, having failed there, proceeded to Stafford, which he occupied. Thence on March 19, accompanied by three of his sons, he marched out with his troops and engaged Sir John Gell, 1st Baronet and Sir William Brereton at Hopton Heath.
He put to flight the enemy's cavalry and took eight guns, but in the moment of victory, while charging too far in advance, he was surrounded by the parliament soldiers. To these who offered him quarter he answered that he scorned to take quarter from such base rogues and rebels as they were, whereupon he was despatched by a blow on the head. Clarendon describes his loss as a great one to the cause.
Northampton married Mary, daughter of Sir Francis Beaumont (not the playwright), by whom he had two daughters and six sons. The eldest son, James, succeeded him as 3rd Earl of Northampton. Henry became bishop of London. Charles, William and Spencer all distinguished themselves in the king's cause — William was one of the original members of the Royalist organisation, The Sealed Knot.
- "Compton, Spencer (1601-1643)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- Record for Spencer Compton, 2nd Earl of Northampton on thepeerage
|Parliament of England|
Sir Henry Townsend
|Member of Parliament for Ludlow
With: Richard Tomlins
The Earl of Northampton
|Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire
with The Lord Chandos (1641–1643)
|Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire|
|Peerage of England|
|Earl of Northampton
(writ in acceleration)
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