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Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey

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Title: Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey  
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Subject: Earl of Anglesey, Viscount Valentia, List of Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, Thomas Osborne, 1st Duke of Leeds, Baron Altham
Collection: 1614 Births, 1686 Deaths, 17Th-Century Irish People, Alumni of Magdalen College, Oxford, Annesley Family, Earls of Anglesey (1661), English Mps 1640–48 (up to Pride's Purge), English Mps 1659 (Protectorate), English Mps 1660, Fellows of the Royal Society, Infectious Disease Deaths in England, Irish Barristers, Irish Expatriates in England, Irish People of English Descent, Irish Writers, Lords of the Admiralty, Lords Privy Seal, Members of Lincoln's Inn, Members of the Parliament of England (Pre-1707) for Constituencies in Wales, Members of the Privy Council of England, Members of the Privy Council of Ireland, Politicians from County Dublin
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Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey

The Right Honourable
The Earl of Anglesey
Lord Anglesey, by John Michael Wright
Lord Privy Seal
In office
Monarch Charles II
Preceded by The Lord Robartes
Succeeded by The Marquess of Halifax
Personal details
Born (1614-07-10)10 July 1614
Dublin, Ireland
Died 6 April 1686(1686-04-06) (aged 71)
London, England
Resting place Farnborough, Hampshire, England
Alma mater Magdalen College, Oxford
Occupation Anglo-Irish royalist statesman

Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey PC (10 July 1614 – 6 April 1686) was an Anglo-Irish royalist statesman. After short periods as President of the Council of State and Treasurer of the Navy, he served as Lord Privy Seal between 1673 and 1682 for Charles II. He succeeded his father as 2nd Viscount Valentia in 1660, and he was created Earl of Anglesey in 1661.


  • Early life 1
  • Later years 2
  • Works 3
  • Marriage and legacy 4
  • Titles and styles 5
  • References 6
    • Citations 6.1
    • Bibliography 6.2
  • External links 7

Early life

Annesley was born in Dublin, Ireland to Francis Annesley, 1st Viscount Valentia and Dorothy, daughter of Sir John Philipps, Bt, of Picton Castle. He was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, from which he graduated in 1634 as a Bachelor of Arts; that year, he was admitted into Lincoln's Inn. Having made the grand tour he returned to Ireland; and being employed by Parliament on a mission to the Duke of Ormonde, now reduced to the last extremities, he succeeded in concluding a treaty with him on 19 June 1647, thus securing the country from complete subjection to the rebels. In April 1647 he was returned for Radnorshire to the House of Commons.[1]

He supported the parliamentarians against the republican or army party, and appears to have been one of the members excluded in 1648. He sat in Richard Cromwell's parliament for Member of Parliament for Dublin City, and endeavoured to take his seat in the restored Rump Parliament of 1659. He was made President of the Council of State in February 1660, and in the Convention Parliament sat for Carmarthen. The anarchy of the last months of The Protectorate converted him to royalism, and he showed great activity in bringing about the English Restoration. He used his influence in moderating measures of revenge and violence, and while sitting in judgement on the regicides was on the side of leniency. He was sworn of the Privy Council on 1 June[2] and in November he succeeded his father as Viscount Valentia in the Irish peerage. On 20 April 1661, he was created Baron Annesley, of Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire and Earl of Anglesey in the Peerage of England.[1]

Anglesey supported the king's administration in parliament, but opposed strongly the unjust measure which, on the abolition of the court of wards, placed the extra burden of taxation thus rendered necessary on the excise. His services in the administration of Ireland were especially valuable. He filled the office of vice-treasurer from 1660 till 1667, served on the committee for carrying out the declaration for the settlement of Ireland and on the committee for Irish affairs, while later, in 1671 and 1672, he was a leading member of various commissions appointed to investigate the working of the Acts of Settlement. In February 1661 he had obtained a captaincy of horse, and in 1667 he exchanged his post of Vice-Treasurer of Ireland for that of Treasurer of the Navy.[1]

Later years

The title page of Anglesey's pamphlet The Privileges of the House of Lords and Commons (1702).[3]

His public career was marked by great independence and fidelity to principle. On 24 July 1663 he alone signed a protest against the bill "for the encouragement of trade", on the plea that owing to the free export of coin and bullion allowed by the act, and to the importation of foreign commodities being greater than the export of home goods, "it must necessarily follow ... that our silver will also be carried away into foreign parts and all trade fail for want of money."[4][5][6] He especially disapproved of another clause in the same bill forbidding the importation of Irish cattle into England, a mischievous measure promoted by the Duke of Buckingham, and he opposed again the bill brought in with that object in January 1667. This same year his naval accounts were subjected to an examination in consequence of his indignant refusal to take part in the attack upon Ormonde;[7] and he was suspended from his office in 1668, no charge, however, against him being substantiated. He took a prominent part in the dispute in 1671 between the two Houses concerning the right of the Lords to amend money bills, and wrote a learned pamphlet on the question entitled The Privileges of the House of Lords and Commons (1702),[3] in which the right of the Lords was asserted. In April 1673, he was appointed Lord Privy Seal, and was disappointed at not obtaining the Great Seal the same year on the removal of Lord Shaftesbury.[1]

In the bitter religious controversies of the time Anglesey showed great moderation and toleration. In 1674 he is mentioned as endeavouring to prevent the justices putting into force the laws against the Roman Catholics and Nonconformists.[8] In the panic of the "Popish Plot" in 1678 he exhibited a saner judgment than most of his contemporaries and a conspicuous courage. On 6 December he protested with three other peers against the measure sent up from the Commons enforcing the disarming of all convicted recusants and taking bail from them to keep the peace; he was the only peer to dissent from the motion declaring the existence of an Irish plot; and though believing in the guilt and voting for the death of Lord Stafford, he interceded, according to his own account,[9] with the king for him as well as for Richard Langhorne and Oliver Plunkett, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.[1]

His independent attitude drew upon him an attack by Dangerfield, and in the Commons by the Attorney General, Sir William Jones, who accused him of endeavouring to stifle the evidence against the Romanists. In March 1679 he protested against the second reading of the bill for disabling the Earl of Danby.[1]

In 1681, Anglesey wrote A Letter from a Person of Honour in the Country, as a rejoinder to the Earl of Castlehaven, who had published memoirs on the Irish rebellion defending the action of the Irish and the Roman Catholics. In so doing Anglesey was held by Ormonde to have censured his conduct and that of Charles I in concluding the "Cessation", and the duke brought the matter before the council. In 1682 he wrote The Account of Arthur, Earl of Anglesey ... of the true state of Your Majesty's Government and Kingdom, which was addressed to the king in a tone of censure and remonstrance, but appears not to have been printed till 1694.[10][11] In consequence he was dismissed on 9 August 1682, from the office of Lord Privy Seal.[1]

In 1683, Anglesey appeared at the Old Bailey as a witness in defence of Lord Russell, and in June 1685 he protested alone against the revision of Lord Stafford's attainder. He divided his time between his estate at Blechingdon in Oxfordshire, and his house on Drury Lane in London, where he died in 1686 from quinsy,[2] closing a career marked by great ability, statesmanship and business capacity, and by conspicuous courage and independence of judgement. He amassed a large fortune in Ireland, in which country he had been allotted lands by Cromwell.[1] At his death, his library of books was believed to be the largest English library not in ecclesiastical hands.[12] He was buried at Farnborough, Hampshire.

The unfavourable character drawn of him by Burnet is certainly unjust and not supported by any evidence. Pepys, a far more trustworthy judge, speaks of him invariably in terms of respect and approval as a "grave, serious man," and commends his appointment as treasurer of the navy as that of "a very notable man and understanding and will do things regular and understand them himself."[13] He was a learned and cultivated man and collected a celebrated library, which was dispersed at his death.[12] His appearance was strange, even alarming: "his face long and emaciated, his complexion between purple and green."[14]


  • A True Account of the Whole Proceedings betwixt ... the Duke of Ormond and ... the Earl of Anglesey (1682)
  • A Letter of Remarks upon Jovian (1683)
  • The King's Right of Indulgence in Matters Spiritual ... asserted (1688)
  • Truth Unveiled, to which is added a short Treatise on ... Transubstantiation (1676)
  • The Obligation resulting from the Oath of Supremacy (1688)
  • England's Confusion (1659).
  • Reflections on a Discourse concerning Transubstantiation

Memoirs of Lord Anglesey were published by Sir P. Pett in 1693, but contain little biographical information and were repudiated as a mere imposture by Sir John Thompson, his son-in-law, in his preface to Lord Anglesey's State of the Government in 1694. The author however of the preface to The Rights of the Lords asserted (1702), while blaming their publication as "scattered and unfinished papers," admits their genuineness.

Marriage and legacy

Anglesey married Elizabeth, daughter and co-heiress of Sir James Altham of Oxey, Hertfordshire, a baron of the Exchequer. They had seven sons and six daughters, including:[2][15]

James' sons succeeded as the Arthur (1785–1863), who thus became 10th Viscount Valentia, being descended from the 1st Viscount Valentia the father of the 1st Earl of Anglesey in the Annesley family. The 1st viscount was also the ancestor of the Earls Annesley in the Irish peerage.

Titles and styles

  • The Hon. Arthur Annesley (10 July 1614 – 1 June 1660)
  • The Rt Hon. Arthur Annesley (1 June – 22 November 1660)
  • The Rt Hon. The Viscount Valentia PC (22 November 1660 – 20 April 1661)
  • The Rt Hon. The Earl of Anglesey PC (20 April 1661 – 6 April 1686)



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h EB (1911).
  2. ^ a b c DNB (2008).
  3. ^ a b Annesley (1702).
  4. ^ Rogers (1875), Vol. I, p. 27.
  5. ^ Carte (1851), Vol. IV, p. 234.
  6. ^ Parl. Hist. (1808), p. 284.
  7. ^ Carte (1851), Vol. IV, pp. 330 & 340.
  8. ^ Cal. of State Papers Dom. (1673–1675), p. 152.
  9. ^ Annesley (1693), §8–9.
  10. ^ By Sir J. Thompson, his son-in-law. Reprinted in Somers Tracts (Scott, 1812), viii. 344
  11. ^ Parl. Hist. (1808), App. xvi.
  12. ^ a b DNB (1885).
  13. ^ Pepys (1903), Vol. IV, p. 298, and Vol. VII, p. 14.
  14. ^ Pepys (1983), Vol. X, p. 9.
  15. ^ Cracroft.


  • Annesley, Arthur (1693), Memoirs of Lord Anglesey, P. Pett .
  • Annesley, Arthur (1702), .  
  • Carte, Thomas (1851), The life of James, Duke of Ormond: Containing an Account of the Most Remarkable Affairs of his Time, and Particularly of Ireland under his Government; with Appendix and a Collection of Letters, Serving to Verify the Most Material Facts in the said History, Oxford: Oxford University Press .
  • Comprising the Period from the Restoration of Charles the Second, in 1660, to the Revolution, in 1688 Vol. IV. Cobbett's Parliamentary History of England. From the Norman Conquest, in 1066, to the Year 1803. From which Last-Mentioned Epoch it is Continued Downwards in the Work Entitled, "Cobbett's Parliamentary Debates.", London: T.C. Hansard for R. Bagshaw, 1808 .
  • "Earl of Anglesey (E, 1661–1751)", Cracroft's Peerage, retrieved 2 January 2011 .
  • "Arthur Annesley", Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. II, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1885 .
  • "Arthur Annesley, first earl of Anglesey (1614–1686)",  . (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  • "Arthur Annesley, Earl of Anglesea", , 9th ed.Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. II, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1878, p. 30 .
  • "Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey", , 11th ed.Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol. II, .  
  • .  
  • .  
  • Rogers, James Edwin Thorold (1875), A complete collection of the protests of the Lords, with historical introductions, Oxford: Clarendon Press .

External links

Parliament of England
Title last held by
Charles Price
Member of Parliament for Radnorshire
Title next held by
George Gwynne
Henry Williams
Preceded by
Richard Tighe
Member of Parliament for Dublin City
Succeeded by
Sir William Davys
William Smith
(in the restored Parliament of Ireland)
Title last held by
David Morgan
Member of Parliament for Carmarthen
Succeeded by
Lord Vaughan
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir George Carteret, Bt
Treasurer of the Navy
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Osborne, Bt
Sir Thomas Littleton, Bt
Preceded by
The Lord Robartes
Lord Privy Seal
Succeeded by
The Marquess of Halifax
Peerage of England
New creation Earl of Anglesey
2nd creation
Succeeded by
James Annesley
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Francis Annesley
Viscount Valentia
2nd creation
Succeeded by
James Annesley

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