Charles Anstey (Royal Navy 1700s/1800s)

by Gary. M. Ansteychief researcher of the Anstey story project.

For some bizarre reason ‘Anstey’s who joined the Royal Navy in the 1700s and 1800s were often called ‘Charles’ – as such it is proving quite difficult to connect them. Thus far this is the state of the research

Charles Anstey (Prisoner of War 1779/1780)

Currently all we know of this ‘Charles Anstey‘ (b c1740??) was that he was involved in the Anglo-French War (1778-1783). On 1 July 1779 Charles Anstey, a “Lieutenant under Captain Andrew Breedon“, was a Prisoner of War in Bayonne. He was still a Prisoner of War in December 1779, by now referred to as “pilotte“. By his placing in the list of prisoners it looked like he was third in command of the ship on which he sailed.

It would be helpful to find out more of the Captain Andrew Breedon, to see which ship they were sailing on when it was captured in 1779.

Charles Anstey (b 1763 Scotland)

Charles Ainstey was baptised on 6 February 1763 in South Leith, Midlothian, Scotland to parents William Ainstey and Jean Wilson. They had married on 13 April 1762 in South Leith, Midlothian.

Charles (as Anstey) joined the Royal Navy “aged 28” in 1790 with a £3 bounty serving on the following ships as an ‘Able Seaman’:

  • Courageous from 30 May 1790 to 15 Feb 1791 “aged 28
  • Romulus? from 23 July 1793 to 25 October 1797 “aged 29
  • Goliath from 26 Oct 1797 to 6 Dec 1799 “aged 35
  • Elephant from 7 Dec 1799 to 3 January 1805 “aged 39
  • Ramillies from 4 Jan 1805 to 12 August 1807
  • Magnamine from 13 August 1807 to 22 September 1808

As such, Charles Anstey certainly fought in the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) – indeed whilst serving on the ‘Elephant’ he would have fought in the famous Battle of Copenhagen in 1801 under Admiral Horatio Nelson.

On 10 October 1808 another document indicates “Charles Anstey age 53 unmarried born in Edinburgh; last residence ‘Anchored time? Charing Cross?’ with 16 years in the King’s Service; a seaman whose last ship was ‘Magnamin’ wounded – lost finger on right hand

Also on 10 October 1808 yet another document indicates “DD Charles Anstey July 29 1813” [DD = ‘Date of Discharge?] and yet another “Charles Anstey, dates served: 30 May 1790 – 22 Sept 1808; when admitted to Greenwich Hospital: 8 Oct 1808.

Anybody who would like to add anything to these biographies, or can connect any of the ‘Charles Anstey’ to their respective Anstey sub-branches, please contact us at

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