Thomas Anson, 1st Earl of Lichfield

Thomas Anson, 1st Earl of Lichfield

Thomas William Anson, 1st Earl of Lichfield PC (20 October 1795-18 March 1854), known as the Viscount Anson from 1818 to 1831, was a British Whig politician.

Anson was the eldest son of Thomas Anson, 1st Viscount Anson, and his wife Anne Margaret, daughter of Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester. Major-General the Hon. George Anson was his younger brother. He was elected to the House of Commons for Great Yarmouth in June 1818, but had to resign the seat already the following month on the death of his father and his succession to viscountcy of Anson. Anson later served under Lord Grey and Lord Melbourne as Master of the Buckhounds from 1830 to 1834 and under Melbourne as Postmaster General from 1835 to 1841. He was admitted to the Privy Council in 1830 and in 1831 he was created Earl of Lichfield, of Lichfield in the County of Stafford, in William IV's coronation honours.

Lord Lichfield married Louisa Catherine, daughter of Nathaniel Philips, in 1819. They had four sons and four daughters. His second son the Hon. Augustus Anson was a soldier and his fourth son the Right Reverend the Hon. Adelbert John Robert Anson was a clergyman and served as Bishop of Qu'Apelle in Canada. Lord Lichfield died in March 1854, aged 58, and was succeeded by his eldest son Thomas. Lady Lichfield died in 1879.

"Alas, he was a reckless gambler, spent a fortune exercising a terrible blood lust on killing game birds, and put the family into a huge debt of £600,000 from which it has never recovered." [ [,M1 Michael Raven, "A Guide to Staffordshire and the Black Country," 2004, ISBN 0906114330, p.253] ]

"The second viscount was created First Earl of Lichfield in the coronation honours of King William IV in 1831. This Earl led an extravagant life, entertaining lavishly at Shugborough. One of his purchases, the estate at nearby Ranton, Staffordshire was developed into a great sporting estate and centre of lavish hospitality. This lavish spending, together with huge family expenses and the Earl’s love of gambling, led to his financial collapse in 1842. The entire contents of the house were sold in a sale lasting two weeks." [ [ "History of Shugborough"] ] Abbey House at Ranton, Staffordshire, built by Anson in 1820, burned down in 1942 and the ivy-covered ruins can still be seen.

"Thomas’s collection of books and art treasures was offered up for sale almost in its entirety in 1842 to pay for the disastrous gambling debts of Thomas, 2nd Viscount Anson (1795-1854). A few important pieces were saved but most was lost. The 1842 sale catalogue shows the content of Thomas’s library and is a guide to his interests though it is easy to forget that he must have had other treasures and other books at 15 St James Square." [ [ "Thomas Anson's Library and Art Collection"] ]


*Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). "Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage" (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990.
* [ Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page]
* []


ee also

:Ranton, Staffordshire:Shugborough Hall

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