Two very unlucky men lie at rest in this church at the top of Charlton’s hill.
Spencer Perceval is the only British Prime Minister to have been murdered. It happened in 1812 during the Napoleonic Wars. His assassin, a John Bellingham, had been imprisoned and badly treated for several years while on business in Russia. He blamed the government, for their lack of intervention on his behalf and after a campaign of letter writing to the great and the good seeking financial compensation proved unsuccessful, Bellingham got himself a gun and shot the Prime Minister as he entered the lobby of the House of Commons. Perceval died and was laid to rest here in St Luke’s.
Over thirty years later, in January 1843, senior civil servant Edward Drummond was walking from Charing Cross to Downing Street when a man stepped out of the shadows and shot him. The wound was fatal. The murderer claimed his actions were in response to persecution from the Tories and refused to speak further. He was deemed to be insane. But he was also found to have a very large amount of cash on him and is now believed to have possibly been a pai assassin who had been contracted to “take out” the Prime Minister Robert Peel. But he got the wrong man. Poor Edward Drummond made his journey up the hill to St Luke’s to spend his afterlife in this part of southeast London. Sharing a roof with Spencer Perceval.
Politics. It’s a tough old game.