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Overseas service during the Commonwealth

Written by Judith Curthoys, posted on Sunday, April 1, 2018

Deanery papers, DP ii.c.1, f.66Document of the month - April 2018

Christ Church Archives, Deanery Papers, DP ii.c.1, f.66
Click the small image on the right to view a large version.

George Annesley, the son of Baron Mountnorris, came up to Christ Church in 1647.

His father, powerful in Ireland, had had a tempestuous relationship with Thomas Wentworth, Lord Strafford, and had been imprisoned, probably on false or at least exaggerated charges. The family lay low, but on friendly terms with Cromwell during the Protectorate and George survived the purge of Royalist supporters from the University.

George’s behaviour was not always as sober as perhaps Cromwell would have liked – in 1653, he was admonished for drinking in a pub on a Sunday – but he nevertheless became a major in the Army and was granted leave of absence to serve in Flanders in 1658.

But it seems that the Dean and Chapter filled Annesley’s place while he was away so, on 14 April 1658, Cromwell wrote a stern letter from Whitehall requesting not only that George’s Studentship be kept open for him but that he should receive his stipend and any profits arising from his position. Annesley could appoint his own person to receive the monies on his behalf.

Cromwell sent the letter just four months before he died, and the strain of the Civil Wars and the Protectorate, the death from cancer of his daughter and his own ill-health, can be seen in the shaky signature at the top of the page.