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John Francis Edward Acton (1736 - 1811)

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Sir John Francis Edward "6th Baronet Acton of Aldenham" Acton
Born in Napoli, Campania, Regno delle Due Siciliemap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married before (to ) in Napoli, Campania, Regno delle Due Siciliemap
Descendants descendants
Died in Palermo, Sicilia, Regno delle Due Siciliemap
Profile last modified | Created 20 Oct 2015
This page has been accessed 178 times.


John Francis Edward Acton was born at Besançon in 1736, the son of Edward Acton and his wife, Catherine Gray. He served in the navy of Tuscany and was well regarded for his bravery at the Invasion of Algiers in 1775. In 1779 he was appointed by Grand-Duke Leopold of Tuscany to reorganise the Tuscan navy. So able was he that he was rapidly advanced to Commander-in-Chief of the army and the navy, minister of finance and finally prime minister.

In 1791 he succeeded to the baronetcy on the death of the fifth baronet, Sir Richard Acton, a distant cousin.

With the success of French arms in 1798 John accompanied King Ferdinand and the Queen Maria Carolina together with the British Ambassador, Sir William Hamilton, in their flight to Palermo. The king was restored the following year and John established a reign of terror.

Around 1800 John, by then aged over 60 married his niece, 13 year old Mary Ann, daughter of his brother, Joseph. A Papal dispensation was obtained to permit the marriage. She bore him three children.

When the French entered Naples in 1806 he fled to Sicily with the King and the Queen.

John died at Palermo on on 12 August 1811 and was succeeded in the Baronetcy by his son, Ferdinand.


  • Stuart Reid, ‘Acton, Sir John Francis Edward, sixth baronet (1736–1811)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 accessed 16 June 2017. This is a subscription site but access is free to readers of British libraries whose library subscribes.
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John is 29 degrees from Rosa Parks, 20 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 10 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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