ANNESLEY, James, Lord Annesley (c.1645-90), of Farnborough, Hants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679

Family and Education

b. c.1645, 1st s. of Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Anglesey. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. matric. 4 Dec. 1661, aged 16; Padua 1665; travelled abroad (Italy) 1665. m. settlement 17 Sept. 1669, Lady Elizabeth Manners (d. 7 Dec. 1700), da. of John Manners, 8th Earl of Rutland 3s. 2da. suc. fa. as 2nd Earl of Anglesey 6 Apr. 1686.1

Offices Held

Capt. of horse [I] 1663-70.2

J.p. Hants and Surr. 1674-81; col. of militia ft. Hants ?1675-81, custos rot. 1676-81; freeman, Portsmouth 1676, Winchester 1677; commr. for assessment, Hants 1677-80, Surr. 1679-80; dep. lt. Hants by 1680-81.3

FRS 1663-82.

MP [I] 1666.


A vacancy was created for Annesley in the Irish House of Commons when his brother-in-law was raised to the peerage; but he could only have sat for a few months. His correspondence is ‘affectionate and complimentary’ rather than political. His father-in-law proposed him as candidate for Leicester in 1676, but he did not go to the poll. He settled on his father’s property in Hampshire, near the Surrey borders, and was returned to the Exclusion Parliaments for Winchester. Shaftesbury, who had married his son to Annesley’s sister-in-law, marked him ‘base’ in 1679; but, like his father, he was hostile to Danby. On 21 Mar. he was sent to the Lords to demand the imprisonment of the lord treasurer, and he spoke against the banishment bill as ‘contrived ... to have Danby fall easily, that he may come again into his employment, and do the same things he has done’. A moderately active Member, he was appointed to the committee of elections and privileges, and those to examine the disbandment accounts, to continue the prohibition of cattle imports from Ireland, and to provide for the speedier conviction of Popish recusants. He was absent from the division on the first exclusion bill, but he was probably re-elected as a court supporter, since on 6 Jan. 1680 the King expressed his willingness to assist him in building a house for himself at Farnborough.4

In the second Exclusion Parliament Annesley was again moderately active, with four committees. When the informer Dangerfield denounced his father as a crypto-Papist, Annesley told the House:

If my lord privy seal be guilty of what Dangerfield charges him with, I am sorry I am related to so ill a man. I hope I shall not suffer in the opinion of the House for my relation to him. I desire you may immediately go upon the accusation of these great men.

He was the first Member named to the committee to prepare an address for a pardon for the opposition journalist Benjamin Harris, and after being added to the committee to examine Sheridan’s papers for evidence about the Irish Plot he was given leave to visit the suspect. But he could not prevent the impeachment of his brother-in-law, now Earl of Tyrone, or win the support of the Marquess of Winchester (Charles Powlett I), the leader of the country party in Hampshire, at the general election of 1681. In the Oxford Parliament he was appointed only to the elections committee. A few months later he was replaced as custos by Edward Noel, and his father was dismissed in the following year. He did not contest the next general election, and on succeeding to the peerage was reckoned among the opponents of James II. On 17 Nov. 1688 he supported the petition for a free Parliament. He died on 1 Apr. 1690, leaving an estate in England and Ireland of £4,000 p.a. His youngest son sat for Cambridge University as a Tory from 1702 until he inherited the title.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. Works of Sir Thomas Browne ed. Wilkin, i. 83-84.
  • 2. HMC Ormonde, i. 355; ii. 54; HMC Rutland, ii. 14.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1679-80, p. 368; R. East, Portsmouth Recs. 362; Winchester corp. assembly bk. 6, f. 100.
  • 4. HMC Rutland, ii. 20; HMC 8th Rep. pt. 1 (1881), p. 439; VCH Hants, iv. 16; Grey, vii. 61; CSP Dom. 1679-80, p. 368.
  • 5. Grey, vii. 360; CJ, ix. 678; Luttrell, i. 301; Irish Peerage, iv. 127.