ANSTIS, John (1669-1744), of West North, Duloe, Cornw.
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Family and Education
b. 28 Sept. 1669, 1st s. of John Anstis, registrar of the archdeaconry of Cornw., by Mary, da. and coh. of George Smith of Lantewy and Lunna, Cornw. educ. Exeter, Oxf. 1685; M. Temple 1690, called 1699, bencher 1722. m. bef. 1700, Elizabeth, da. and h. of Richard Cudlipp of Tavistock, Devon, 7s. 6da. suc. fa. 1692.
Commr. of prizes 1703-4; commr. to inspect and report on the records 1704, sole commr. 1711; receiver gen. of the stannaries 1704-14, Norfolk herald extraordinary 1707; Garter king of arms 1718-d.
Of a good Cornish family, Anstis possessed a considerable fortune. In his early days a practising lawyer, he was connected with George Granville, Lord Lansdowne, to whom he owed his return as a Tory for Launceston in 1715.1 In the autumn of 1715 he was thrown into prison with many other Cornish gentlemen suspected of supporting the Pretender. A pamphleteer wrote at the time that the ‘Government had intimation of their designs to raise an insurrection in Cornwall, the rather because their interest was very great amongst the tinners there, of whom Mr. Anstis was hereditary high steward’.2 He had received in April 1714 a reversionary patent for the office of Garter, but, while he was in prison, it fell vacant and another was appointed. Having cleared himself of the charge of treasonable practices, he prosecuted his claims to this office with such vigour that he not only secured it in 1718 but, although he had consistently voted with the Opposition, he succeeded in obtaining on 8 June 1727 a patent under the great seal granting the office of Garter to himself and his eldest son. In 1721 his name was sent to the Pretender as a probable supporter in the event of a rising.3
Anstis was the author of numerous works on heraldry and possessed an extensive collection of manuscripts. He died 4 Mar. 1744.