Admiral George Anson – A Staffordshire Pirate

By Attributed to Thomas Hudson – Royal Museums Greenwich (dead link), Public Domain,

George Anson, son of William Anson and Isabella Carrier was born at Shugborough Manor, Staffordshire in 1697. Aged 15, he entered the Royal Navy during the War of the Spanish Succession.
At the age of 19 in 1716, he was promoted to Lieutenant, serving aboard the HMS Hampshire. During the rest of his naval career, he served on several other ships before being promoted to Commodore in 1737

This was when he was first ordered to attack Spanish possessions in South America. Spain controlled most of South America, the Caribbean and the Pacific and was becoming very rich from the proceeds. Naturally, as Britain was at war with Spain, the government wanted to get some of the action (and money).

George Anson took control of a squadron of eight ships, with the mission to attack Spanish ships and plunder them for their riches. In 1743, he struck gold. He captured the Nuestra Senora de Covadonga, off Cape Espiritu Santo. He secured 1,313, 843 pieces of eight (spanish dollars). This treasure was taken back to England, handed over in 1744. This victory not only set him up for life, but also gained him serious political standing. He became a MP for Hedon, Yorkshire and was also promoted eventually to Admiral.

The captured silver was passed over to the Royal Mint, using it to issue new coins in 1746. Crowns, Half Crowns, Shillings and sixpences struck that year, include ‘LIMA’ in the obverse legend. This was in tribute to Admiral George Anson’s success.

Three of these coins have been recorded on the PAS database.

YORYM-6188D1, a shilling found in Burghwallis, Doncaster.
SUSS-8BBF63, a sixpence found in Firle, Sussex.

WILT-86B9BB, a half crown found in Hindon, Wiltshire.

Shugborough, Admiral George Anson’s birthplace, is available to visit. It is now a popular National Trust site.