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The second of the British prime ministers, from 1742 to 1743. He was a Whig.

Born the Hon. Spencer Compton in either 1673 or 1674, he was educated at St Paul's School then at Trinity College, Oxford, and was elected Tory MP for Eye in 1698, serving until 1710, though he switched sides (to Whig) in about 1704. He represented East Grinstead between 1713 and 1715, and Sussex from 1715 to 1728. He was Speaker in his final period as an MP, between 1715 and 1727.

Knighted as a KB (Knight of the Bath) in 1725, he gave this up in 1733 to became a KG, a member of the higher order of the Garter. On his retirement in 1728 Sir Spencer Compton was created first Baron Wilmington, and in 1730 he was elevated to Earl of Wilmington. (See the excellent node by Grzcyrgba on the Wilmington in Delaware, USA: it wasn't exactly named after him.)

He was called out of this retirement to became prime minister in succession to Sir Robert Walpole on 16th February 1742, and served until his death on 2nd July 1743. He is buried at Compton Wynyates in Warwickshire. He was unmarried.

< Robert Walpole -- British prime ministers -- Henry Pelham >

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