Spencer Horatio Walpole
Spencer Horatio Walpole.JPG
Home Secretary
In office
6 July 1866 – 17 May 1867
Prime MinisterThe Earl of Derby
Preceded bySir George Grey
Succeeded byGathorne Hardy
In office
26 February 1858 – 3 March 1859
Prime MinisterThe Earl of Derby
Preceded bySir George Grey
Succeeded byT. H. S. Sotheron-Estcourt
In office
27 February 1852 – 19 December 1852
Prime MinisterThe Earl of Derby
Preceded bySir George Grey
Succeeded byThe Viscount Palmerston
Personal details
Born(1806-09-11)11 September 1806
Died22 May 1898(1898-05-22) (aged 91)
Political partyWhig
Isabella Perceva
(m. 1835; died 1886)
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge

Spencer Horatio Walpole QC (11 September 1806 – 22 May 1898) was a British Conservative Party politician who served three times as Home Secretary in the administrations of Lord Derby.

Background and education

Walpole was the second son of Thomas Walpole and Lady Margaret Perceval, youngest daughter of the 2nd Earl of Egmont and sister of Prime Minister Spencer Perceval. His grandfather was Thomas Walpole, son of the diplomat the 1st Baron Walpole, younger brother of Prime Minister the 1st Earl of Orford. Walpole was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge.[1] He chose law as his profession, and was called to the Bar, Lincoln's Inn, in 1831. He built up a successful practice and was made a Queen's Counsel in 1846.

Political career

Walpole then turned to politics, and in 1846 he was elected to Parliament for Midhurst as a Tory, a seat he would hold until 1856. He quickly gained a reputation in the House of Commons, and when the Tories came to power in early 1852 under Lord Derby, Walpole was appointed Home Secretary in the so-called "Who? Who? Ministry". He was admitted to the Privy Council at the same time. However, the government fell in December 1852.

In 1856 Walpole was elected to Parliament for Cambridge University. Two years later the Tories (or the Conservatives as they became known during the 1850s) returned to office under Lord Derby. Walpole was again appointed Home Secretary, but resigned in January 1859 after disagreements over electoral reforms. The government was dismissed in July the same year. The Conservatives remained out of office for seven years, but in 1866 they again came to power under Derby, who made Walpole Home Secretary for the third time. However, he was severely criticized for his handling of the movement for parliamentary reform, and resigned in May 1867. He nonetheless continued to serve in the cabinet as Minister without Portfolio until February 1868, when Benjamin Disraeli became Prime Minister. Walpole never held office again, but remained a Member of Parliament (MP) for Cambridge University until 1882.


Walpole married his first cousin, Isabella Perceval, daughter of Spencer Perceval, in 1835. They had four children, two sons and two daughters. Their elder son Sir Spencer Walpole was a well-known historian. Walpole died in May 1898, aged 91.

See also


  1. ^ "Spencer Horatio Walpole (WLPL824SH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.


Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded bySir Horace Seymour Member of Parliament for Midhurst 1846–1856 Succeeded bySamuel Warren Preceded byHenry GoulburnLoftus Wigram Member of Parliament for Cambridge University 1856–1882 With: Loftus Wigram 1856–1859Charles Jasper Selwyn 1859–1868Alexander Beresford Hope 1868–1882 Succeeded byAlexander Beresford HopeHenry Cecil Raikes Political offices Preceded bySir George Grey Home Secretary 1852 Succeeded byThe Viscount Palmerston Preceded bySir George Grey Home Secretary 1858–1859 Succeeded byThomas Sotheron-Estcourt Preceded bySir George Grey Home Secretary 1866–1867 Succeeded byGathorne Hardy Preceded byNone Minister without Portfolio 1867–1868 Succeeded byNone Honorary titles Preceded byWilliam Ewart Gladstone Senior Privy Counsellor 1898 With: The Duke of Rutland Succeeded byThe Duke of Rutland