Thomas Anson, 1st Earl of Lichfield

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The Right Honourable
The Earl of Lichfield
File:Thomas Viscount Anson by Charles Turner 1823.jpg
Master of the Buckhounds
In office
24 November 1830 – 14 November 1834
Monarch William IV
Prime Minister The Earl Grey
The Viscount Melbourne
Preceded by The Lord Maryborough
Succeeded by The Earl of Chesterfield
Postmaster General
In office
22 May 1835 – 30 August 1841
Monarch William IV
Prime Minister The Viscount Melbourne
Preceded by The Marquess Conyngham
Succeeded by Viscount Lowther
Personal details
Born 20 October 1795 (1795-10-20)
Died 18 March 1854 (1854-03-19)
Nationality British
Political party Whig
Spouse(s) Louisa Philips (d. 1879)
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

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

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

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.


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.

See also


External links

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