He was the son of John Aneley, born in Haseley, in Warwickshire in 1620. His uncle was Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey. His father, a wealthy man, died when he was four years old. He started to read the bible at an early age In Michaelmas term, 1635, he was admitted a student at The Queen's College, Oxford, and there he proceeded successively B.A. and M.A. He underwent presbyterian ordination, on 18 Dec. 1644, and subscribed by seven presbyterian ministers, having possibly already received Episcopal ordination, and became chaplain to Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick, then admiral of the parliament's fleet, on the Globe.
He succeeded Griffin Higgs in the living of Cliffe, Kent, when Higgs was ejected for his loyalty to the king and treason to the Commonwealth. On 26 July 1648 he preached the fast sermon before the House of Commons, and around this time Oxford gave him an honorary doctorate. He was also again at sea with the Earl of Warwick, who was in action against the royalist navy. In 1657 he was nominated by Oliver Cromwell lecturer of St. Paul's, and in 1658 was presented by Richard Cromwell to the vicarage of St. Giles, Cripplegate. He was presented again there after the Restoration, but was ejected after the Act of Uniformity 1662.
He preached semi-privately, but his goods were distrained for keeping a conventicle, a meeting-house in Little St. Helen's. In 1669 he was preaching in Spitalfields to a congregation estimated at 800.
- The sacred bow he so divinely drew,
- That every shot both hit and overthrew;
- His native candour and familiar style,
- Which do so often his hearers' hours beguile,
- Charmed us with godliness, and while he spake,
- We loved the doctrine for the speaker's sake.
His writings consisted of sermons separately published, and in the various collections under the title Morning Exercises at Cripplegate and biographical works including a life of Thomas Brand. In addition to furnishing the first sermon for these Morning Exercises, Annesley edited this volume of sermons from prominent Puritan ministers considering practical issues of conscience and three sequel volumes, for each of which he provided the first sermon.
He had a large family, of whom one daughter, Elizabeth, married John Dunton, while another daughter, Susanna Wesley, became the wife of the Rev. Samuel Wesley, and the mother of John Wesley and Charles Wesley, the founders of Methodism.
- Dunn, Samuel (1844). Memoirs of the seventy-five eminent divines: whose discourses form the. London: Snow.
- Baker, T.F.T. (1998). "Stepney: Protestant Nonconformity to 1689". A History of the County of Middlesex 11: 81-83.
- John Trevor Cliffe, The Puritan Gentry Besieged, 1650-1700 (1993), p. 196.
- Robert C. Monk, John Wesley: His Puritan Heritage, 2nd Ed. (Lanham, MD:Scarecrow Press, 1999), 254
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Annesley, Samuel". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- The Morning Exercise at Cripple-gate or Several Cases of Conscience Practically Resolved by Sundry Ministers, September 1661
- A Supplement to the Morning Exercise at Cripple-Gate or Several More Cases of Conscience Practically Resolved by Several More Ministers (1674)
- The Morning Exercise: Questions and Cases of Conscience Practically Resolved by Sundry Ministers in October, 1682