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The Earl of Anglesey
Lord Anglesey, by John Michael Wright
Lord Privy Seal
In office
MonarchCharles II
Preceded byThe Lord Robartes
Succeeded byThe Marquess of Halifax
President of the Council of State
In office
23 February 1660 – 28 May 1660
Preceded byBulstrode Whitelocke
Succeeded byposition abolished (Council of state dissolved, monarchy restored)
Treasurer of the Navy
In office
Preceded bySir George Carteret
Succeeded bySir Thomas Osborne and Sir Thomas de Littelton
Personal details
Born(1614-07-10)10 July 1614
Dublin, Kingdom of Ireland
Died6 April 1686(1686-04-06) (aged 71)
London, Kingdom of England
Resting placeFarnborough, Hampshire, England
Alma materMagdalen College, Oxford
OccupationAnglo-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

Annesley was born in Dublin, Ireland to Francis Annesley, 1st Viscount Valentia, and his first wife 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 may have been one of the members excluded in prides purge during 1648, though some sources claim he wasn't. As a moderate and a presbyterian, he was highly sceptical of the army's decisions towards the end of the war. He did support Oliver Cromwell however, though at this time Cromwell wasn't as powerful as he would later become as Lord Protector, as the new model army was under the command of Lord Fairfax. His loyalty to Cromwell may have allowed him to retain his seat in parliament after the events of 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 with Sir George Carteret for that of Treasurer of the Navy.[1]

He was elected as a Bailiff to the board of the Bedford Level Corporation in 1664 and again in 1679, a position he then held until his death.[3]

Later years

The title page of Anglesey's pamphlet The Privileges of the House of Lords and Commons (1702).[4]

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."[5][6][7] 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, though without success. 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;[8] 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),[4] 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.[9]

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 from putting into force the laws against the Roman Catholics and Nonconformists.[10] In the panic of the "Popish Plot" in 1678 he exhibited a saner judgment than most of his contemporaries and 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,[11] with the king for him as well as for the barrister Richard Langhorne and Oliver Plunkett, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.[12]

His independent attitude drew upon him an attack by the notorious informer 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.[12]

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. Anglesey was by now disillusioned about the efficacy of the Council, complaining bitterly that Councillors were kept in ignorance of what passed between the King and the Secretaries of State. 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.[13][14] In consequence he was dismissed on 9 August 1682, from the office of Lord Privy Seal.[12]

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.[12] At his death, his library of books was believed to be the largest English library not in ecclesiastical hands.[15] 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".[16] That being so, his appearance was also said to be strange, even alarming: "his face long and emaciated, his complexion between purple and green."[17]

On a more intellectual point, he was a learned and cultivated man and collected a celebrated library, which was dispersed at his death.[15] His books were sold at auction in London beginning on 26 October 1686. The sale was interrupted by the overseer of the press, Sir Roger L’Estrange, to withdraw controversial materials which included the removal of works by John Milton.[18] Many of his books have now been identified, however, including a heavily annotated copy of the Latin translation of Margaret Cavendish's Life of William Cavendish.[19][20]


  • A True Account of the Whole Proceedings betwixt ... the Duke of Ormond and ... the Earl of Anglesey (1682)[12]
  • A Letter of Remarks upon Jovian (1683)[12]
  • The King's Right of Indulgence in Matters Spiritual ... asserted (1688)[12]
  • Truth Unveiled, to which is added a short Treatise on ... Transubstantiation (1676)[12]
  • The Obligation resulting from the Oath of Supremacy (1688)[12]
  • England's Confusion (1659)[12]
  • Reflections on a Discourse concerning Transubstantiation[15]

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.[12]

Marriage and legacy

Anglesey married Elizabeth, daughter and co-heiress of Sir James Altham of Oxey, Hertfordshire, a baron of the Exchequer, and his first wife Margaret Skinner.[12] They had seven sons and six daughters, including:[2][21]

James' sons succeeded as the 3rd, 4th and 5th earls. Richard's second son, Richard (died 1761), succeeded his cousin as the 6th earl, and left a son Arthur (1744–1816), whose legitimacy was doubted and his father's English titles were declared extinct. He was summoned to the Irish House of Peers as Viscount Valentia, but was denied his writ to the parliament of Great Britain by a majority of one vote. He was created Earl of Mountnorris in 1793 in the Peerage of Ireland. All the male descendants of the 1st Earl of Anglesey became extinct in the person of George, 2nd Earl of Mountnorris, in 1844, when the titles of Viscount Valentia and Baron Mountnorris passed to his cousin 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.[12]


  1. ^ a b c Yorke 1911, p. 15.
  2. ^ a b c Perceval-Maxwell 2008.
  3. ^ Wells, Samuel. History of the Drainage of the Great Level of the Fens Called ..., Volume 1. p. 457.
  4. ^ a b Annesley 1702.
  5. ^ Rogers 1875, Vol. I, p. 27.
  6. ^ Carte 1851, Vol. IV, p. 234.
  7. ^ Parl. Hist. 1808, p. 284.
  8. ^ Carte 1851, Vol. IV, pp. 330 & 340.
  9. ^ Yorke 1911, pp. 15–16.
  10. ^ Cal. of State Papers Dom. (1673–1675), p. 152.
  11. ^ Annesley 1693, §8–9.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Yorke 1911, p. 16.
  13. ^ By Sir J. Thompson, his son-in-law. Reprinted in Somers Tracts (Scott, 1812), viii. 344
  14. ^ Parl. Hist. 1808, App. xvi.
  15. ^ a b c Airy 1885.
  16. ^ Pepys 1903, Vol. IV, p. 298, and Vol. VII, p. 14.
  17. ^ Pepys 1983, Vol. X, p. 9.
  18. ^ "Arthur Annesley 1614-1686 - Book Owners Online". Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  19. ^ Begley, Justin (22 August 2018). "Arthur Annesley, Margaret Cavendish, and Neo-Latin History". The Review of English Studies. 69 (292): 855–873. doi:10.1093/res/hgy069. hdl:10138/318477. ISSN 0034-6551.
  20. ^ PATTERSON, ANNABEL; DZELZAINIS, MARTIN (September 2001). "Marvell and the Earl of Anglesey: A Chapter in the History of Reading". The Historical Journal. 44 (3): 703–726. doi:10.1017/s0018246x01001984. ISSN 0018-246X. S2CID 159698253.
  21. ^ Cracroft.



External links

9 Annotations

First Reading

vincent  •  Link

from David Quidnunc the following:_diary 1660/02/23.
ANSLOW — Annesley, Arthur (1614-86) — at about this time (perhaps already, perhaps starting soon — the Companion volume is unclear) Annesley is an associate of Crew and Montagu and a moderate puritan. He will do pretty well for himself and we’ll see him a bit in the future. Here’s a description of his singular looks, apparently from the diary: “his face long and emaciated, his complexion between purple and green, his eyes frightening.” He was a hard worker, able and serious, although Pepys will criticize his administrative abilities years from now. He was a friend of John Milton. Annesley’s grandson in 1724 will give Magdelene College 200 pounds to transport Pepys’s library to Cambridge. (Companion)
3 other ref:Annesley, Arthur 22 april 1661 john Evelyn diary
second Viscount Valentia, first Earl of Angelsey p419,524
The Wandering Heir
an anagram of name ?.... Infernally dark, abhorrent anus

Pedro.  •  Link

Character according to Bishop Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715).

A man of grave deportment, strong application, and great knowledge, especially in law, who understood our government well, and had examined far into the original of our constitution. He was a indefatigable but very ungraceful speaker, and too apt to forget that raillery, which he was always attempting, was no part of his talent; but, what was the worst in him, he stuck at nothing, insomuch that he seemed to disregard common decencies; for he sold everything in his power, and himself, so oft, that at last the price fell so low that he grew useless and contemptible.

vicente  •  Link

Annesly 1st earl of Anglesey [created at the Coronation] Second Viscount Valentia [Valencia Anglesea]From J. Evelyn.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

I now return to Arthur Annesley, his eldest son and heir, who succeeded him in his honours, born July 10, 1614. Which Arthur was educated in Magdalen Coll. Oxford, and was after a student in Lincoln's-Inn: In the life-time of his father, he was the first of the three commissioners, who, in May 1645, were appointed by the parliament to manage the affairs of the kingdom of Ireland; and arriving there in October following, brought with them provisions and ammunition, and 20,000l. in money, to be employed against the Irish rebels in that realm. And a little before the restoration, anno 1660, being President of the Council, he was, as Lord Clarendon writes, very well contented that the King should receive particular information of his devotion, and of his resolution to do him service; which he manifested in many particulars of importance, and had the courage to receive a letter from his Majesty in his exile, and returned a dutiful answer to it. For which faithful services, at the restoration of the King, he was sworn of the Privy-council, and on April 20, 13 Car. II. 1661, created a Baron of England, by the title of Lord Annesley of Newport-Pagnel in com [?] Bucks; and also at the same time advanced to the degree of an English Earl, by the title of Earl of Anglesey, an island in Wales, and to the heirs male of his body: In consideration (as is expressed in the patent) of his signal services for the King's restoration, as also for the eminent service of Sir Francis Annesley, Bart. Baron of Mount-Norris, and Viscount Valentia deceased, father of the said Arthur, in the offices of Vice-Treasurer, and Principal Secretary of State in Ireland. In 1667, he was made Treasurer of the Navy; and on the 4th of Feb. 1671-2, his Majesty, in Council, was pleased to appoint the Duke of Buckingham, the Earl of Anglesey, the Lord Holles, the Lord Ashley-Cooper, and Mr. Secretary Trevor, or any three of them, to be a committee to peruse and revise all the papers and writings, concerning the settlement of Ireland, from the first to the last, and to make an abstract of the state thereof in writing.
---Peerage of England. A. Collins, 1756.

Bill  •  Link

ANNESLEY, ARTHUR, first Earl of Anglesey (1614-1686), son of Sir Francis Annesley; graduated at Magdalen College, Oxford, 1634; entered Lincoln's Inn; made the grand tour; sent to Ireland by parliament to defeat Ormond's negotiations with the Scots in Ulster, 1645 and 1647; member for Dublin in Richard Cromwell's parliament, 1658; commissioned by Charles II to treat with parliament; made Earl of Anglesey 1661; president of council of state, February 1660; M.P. for Carmarthen in Convention parliament, and after the Restoration, privy councillor; vice-treasurer and receiver, general for Ireland, 1660-7; treasurer of navy, 1667; lord privy seal, 1672; dismissed for adverse criticism of the king's government, 1682; wrote historical and other works.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome, 1903

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In February 1661 the Rt. Hon. Arthur Annesley, Viscount Valentia PC (22 November 1660 – 20 April 1661) obtained a captaincy of horse. But as Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey, his services in the administration of Ireland were especially valuable as he filled the office of Vice-Treasurer from 1660 until 1667. In 1667 he exchanged that post for that of Treasurer of the Navy.

An L&M footnote of 9/2/1663 tells us that by 1663 Pepys' friend, Peter Llewellyn, was in the service of Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey, Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, so Pepys must know a little about his reputation.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

By Rebecca Kathern Hayes-Steuck

A Dissertation submitted to the
Department of History, Florida State University
in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Awarded:
Fall Semester, 2005

Copyright © 2005
Rebecca Kathern Hayes-Steuck
All Rights Reserved…

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Annesley was a "moderate puritan" according to our first annotation above, and I presume he adopted the Church of England in order to be eligible to become a Commissioner. But that was not true of his cousin:

Samuel Annesley (1620-1696) was born at Haseley, Warks.,and baptized on 26 March 1620, the son of John (d. c. 1629) and Judith Annesley of that parish. He went to school in Haseley and at Coventry grammar school.

His funeral preacher, Dr. Daniel Williams, claimed that his 'parents dedicated him from the womb' to the ministry, and that he read 20 chapters in the Bible every day from when he was 6.

Annesley matriculated at Queen's College, Oxford, in Oct. 1636, graduated BA in 1639, and proceeded Doctor of Civil Law in Apr. 1648.

Anglican critics — Thomas Barlow, Anthony Wood — thought Annesley had little learning and was 'dull, yet industrious', and he may have been somewhat of an autodidact. Wood even claimed Annesley had solicited the DCL [Doctor of Civil Law] when he learned that as incumbent at Cliffe, Kent he was required to keep a church court.
Wood also claimed Annesley changed his name to claim a relationship with Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey, although the earl really was his cousin.

Dr. Samuel Annesley married Mary Hill (d. 1646), of Barford, Warks., on 21 July, 1641, at All Hallows, Bread Street, London. They had at least one son, Samuel (1645-1650).

Dr. Samuel Annesley DCL may have been lecturer at Chatham from Dec. 1642.

Annesley was incumbent at Cliffe c. 1644-1652. His ejected predecessor's followers attacked him with sticks and stones, but at his departure many parishioners supported him.

Annesley was ordained by Presbyters on 18 Dec., 1644 as chaplain to the Lord Admiral Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick.

In Aug. 1648, soon after Annesley delivered a fast sermon to the Commons urging them not to treat with King Charles any more, the Commons desired him to attend the lord admiral at sea (and he dedicated the fast sermon 'from abord the George riding of Goree in Holland').

Annesley later claimed he had always 'publicly detested the horrid murder' of King Charles and his frank words against Cromwell had lost him a living worth £200-£300 per year. Critics noted he 'fell in with the rebellious times' and that he took the Engagement.

Between 1646 and 1653 Dr. Samuel Annesley married Mary (d. 1693), probably a daughter of John White (aka Century White), the feoffee for impropriations and parliamentarian scourge of scandalous and malignant clergy.
They had at least 7 daughters and 3 sons.

During the interregnum Dr. Samuel Annesley probably held the London living of St. John the Evangelist, Friday Street, and in 1655 published 2 sermons preached at St. Paul's Cathedral and another preached at St. Lawrence Jewry.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


Oliver Cromwell appears to have delayed Dr. Samuel Annesley DCL’s preferment but, in July 1657, he allowed Annesley a Sunday afternoon lectureship at St. Paul's (at £120 as opposed to his predecessor's £400 per year).

Annesley's importance in the Puritan movement grew. He lectured at St. Paul's Cathedral Dec. 1657-June, 1659, and was presented to St. Giles Cripplegate by Richard Cromwell in 1658.

Dr. Samuel Annesley was made a commissioner for approbation of ministers in 1660, and in 1661 he edited a popular sermon collection, The Morning-Exercise at Cripple-Gate (in 4 editions by 1677).
But the Church of England had little room for an unbending Presbyterian and his successor was installed at St. Giles in Nov., 1662.

Dr. Samuel Annesley continued to live in London and, by 1664, was holding conventicles in his house.

In Sept. 1668 Annesley was one of 10 eminent divines, including Richard Baxter and John Owen, nominated to debate whether to seek comprehension or toleration.

In Sir Joseph Williamson's memorable terminology, Dr. Samuel Annesley was a young 'duckling' taking to the 'waters' of separatism, as opposed to the older 'dons' like Richard Baxter (although Baxter was only 4 years his senior), who sought a wider Church of England.

Annesley was one of several London Presbyterians who began erecting new meeting-houses before the 1672 indulgence. His Spitalfields meeting-house was constructed 'with pulpit and seats' in 1669, and he was convicted at least 3 times for preaching there in 1670.

For the whole of Dr. Sam's life, see…

So he's one of the Nonconformists that Pepys complains about.

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