Thomas Anson, 1st Earl of Lichfield

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The Earl of Lichfield

Thomas Viscount Anson by Charles Turner 1823.jpg
Master of the Buckhounds
In office
24 November 1830 – 14 November 1834
MonarchWilliam IV
Prime MinisterThe Earl Grey
The Viscount Melbourne
Preceded byThe Lord Maryborough
Succeeded byThe Earl of Chesterfield
Postmaster General
In office
22 May 1835 – 30 August 1841
MonarchWilliam IV
Prime MinisterThe Viscount Melbourne
Preceded byThe Marquess Conyngham
Succeeded byViscount Lowther
Personal details
Born20 October 1795 (1795-10-20)
Died18 March 1854 (1854-03-19) (aged 58)
Political partyWhig
Spouse(s)Louisa Philips (d. 1879)
Alma materChrist Church, Oxford
Anson family memorial at St Michael and All Angels Church in Colwich

Thomas William Anson, 1st Earl of Lichfield PC (20 October 1795 – 18 March 1854), previously known as The Viscount Anson from 1818 to 1831, was a British Whig politician from the Anson family. He served under Lord Grey and Lord Melbourne as Master of the Buckhounds between 1830 and 1834 and under Melbourne Postmaster General between 1835 and 1841. His gambling and lavish entertaining got him heavily into debt and he was forced to sell off the entire contents of his Shugborough Hall estate.

Background and education[edit]

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 educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford.[1]

Political career[edit]

Anson 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.[1][2] Anson later served under Lord Grey and Lord Melbourne as Master of the Buckhounds from 1830 to 1834[citation needed] and under Melbourne as Postmaster General from 1835 to 1841.[1] He was admitted to the Privy Council in 1830[3] and in 1831 he was created Earl of Lichfield, of Lichfield in the County of Stafford, in William IV's coronation honours.[4]


Anson was also known for his excessive gambling and lavish entertaining at his Shugborough Hall seat. He also purchased the estate at nearby Ranton, Staffordshire, where he built Abbey House and developed the estate into a great sporting centre. However, his extravagant lifestyle and gambling put him and the family into debts of £600,000 and led to Anson's financial collapse in 1842. The entire contents of Shugborough Hall were sold off to pay for the debts.[5][6][7] Abbey House at Ranton burned down in 1942. The ivy-covered ruins can still be seen.


Louisa Philips, Countess of Lichfield (1800-1879) with two of her children by Sir George Hayter 1832

Lord Lichfield married Louisa Catherine, daughter of Nathaniel Philips, in 1819. They had four sons and four daughters. His second son the Honourable Augustus Anson was a soldier who received the Victoria Cross, and his fourth son the Right Reverend the Honourable Adelbert John Robert Anson was a clergyman who served as Bishop of Qu'Apelle in Canada. Lord Lichfield died in March 1854, aged 58, and was succeeded in the earldom by his eldest son Thomas. Lady Lichfield died in August 1879.[1] Lord Lichfield is buried at St Michael and All Angels Church in Colwich, a short distance from Shugborough Hall.



1. Hon Thomas George Anson, later 2nd Earl of Lichfield

2. Hon William Victor Leopold Horatio Anson (b. 1 Aug 1833; d. 1856)

3. Lt Col Hon Augustus Henry Archibald Anson VC, Member of Parliament for Lichfield 1859-68 (b. 5 Mar 1835; dsp. 17 Nov 1877), mar. 1 Dec 1863 Amelia Maria Claughton (b. c. 1844; mar. (2) 13 Aug 1881 as his second wife George Douglas [Campbell], 8th Duke of Argyll; dsp. 4 Jan 1894), sister of Sir Gilbert Henry Claughton, 1st Bt., and 1st dau. of Rt Rev Thomas Legh Claughton DD, Bishop of St Albans, by his wife Hon Julia Susanna Ward, 1st dau. of William Humble [Ward], 10th Baron Ward

4. Rt Rev Hon Adelbert John Robert Anson DD, Bishop of Qu'Appelle, Canada (b. 20 Dec 1840; d. 27 May 1909)


1. Lady Louisa Mary Ann Anson (bapt. 7 Dec 1819; d. 27 Aug 1882), mar. 26 Nov 1838 Lt Col Edward King-Tenison, of Kilronan Castle, co. Roscommon (d. 19 Jun 1878), and had issue

2. Lady Anne Frederica Anson (b. 22 Feb 1823; d. 22 Jul 1896), mar. 29 Aug 1843 as his first wife Francis Richard [Charteris-Wemyss-Douglas later Charteris], 8th Earl of Wemyss, and had issue

3. Lady Harriet Frances Maria Anson (b. 26 Dec 1827; d. 15 Feb 1898), mar. 7 Jun 1851 Augustus Henry [Venables-Vernon], 6th Baron Vernon, and had issue

4. Lady Gwendoline Isabella Anna Maria Anson (bapt. 12 Nov 1837; d. 14 Mar 1912), mar. 19 Apr 1865 Nicholas Power O'Shee, of Gardenmorris, co .Waterford (d. 30 Mar 1902), and had issue

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Thomas William Anson, 1st Earl of Lichfield
  2. ^ House of Commons: Yardley to Youghal
  3. ^ Privy Counsellors 1679-1835
  4. ^ "No. 18847". The London Gazette. 10 September 1831. p. 1857.
  5. ^ Michael Raven, A Guide to Staffordshire and the Black Country, 2004, ISBN 0-906114-33-0, p.253
  6. ^ History of Shugborough
  7. ^ Thomas Anson's Library and Art Collection
  8. ^ Cracroft's Peerage

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edmund Knowles Lacon
William Loftus
Member of Parliament for Great Yarmouth
With: Charles Edmund Rumbold
Succeeded by
Charles Rumbold
Hon. George Anson
Political offices
Preceded by
The Lord Maryborough
Master of the Buckhounds
Succeeded by
The Earl of Chesterfield
Preceded by
The Marquess Conyngham
Postmaster General
Succeeded by
Viscount Lowther
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Thomas Anson
Viscount Anson
Succeeded by
Thomas Anson
New title Earl of Lichfield