FINCH, Heneage (1580-1631), of St. Bartholomew's and the Inner Temple, London; later of Kensington House, Kensington, Mdx. and Serjeants' Inn, Fleet Street, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



20 Dec. 1607

Family and Education

b. 15 Dec. 1580, 5th but 4th surv. s.1 of Sir Moyle Finch†, 1st bt. (d.1614) of Eastwell, Kent, and Elizabeth, suo jure 1st countess of Winchilsea, da. and h. of Sir Thomas Heneage† of Copt Hall, Essex, chan. of the duchy of Lancaster 1590-5; bro. of Francis*, John I*, Sir Theophilus* 2nd bt. and Sir Thomas, 3rd bt.* educ. Trin. Coll. Camb. c.1592, BA 1595-6; I. Temple 1598, called 1606. m. (1) aft. 1607 (?with 1,000 marks), Frances (d. 11 Apr. 1627), da. of (Sir) Edmund Bell† of Beaupré Hall, Outwell, Norf., 3s. 1da.; (2) 16 Apr. 1629, Elizabeth (d. c. Sept. 1661), da. of William Cradock, wid. of Richard Bennett (d.1628) of Beachampton, Bucks. and St. Olave’s Jewry, London, Mercer and alderman of London, 2da.2 kntd. 22 June 1623.3 d. 5 Dec. 1631.4 sig. Heneage Finche.

Offices Held

Commr. codification of penal laws 1610,5 trade 1625;6 member, High Commission, Canterbury prov. 1625-d.;7 commr. plantation of Virg. 27 June 1631-d.,8 repair of St. Paul’s Cathedral, 10 Apr. 1631-d.9

Reader, Lyon’s Inn 1612-14;10 steward’s auditor, I. Temple 1613, 1615, treas.’s auditor 1617, 1619, steward, reader’s dinner 1621, reader’s attendant 1621, bencher 1621-3, reader 1622;11 fee’d counsel, Charterhouse hosp. London 1617-at least 1622,12 to Prince Charles by 1619-at least 1621,13 Merchant Taylors’ Co. 1621-d.,14 Barber Surgeons’ Co. 1624-?d.,15 Maidstone, Kent 1626-d.,16 Cinque Ports 1630-d.;17 recorder, London 1621-d.;18 sjt.-at-law 1623-d.,19 to Prince Charles 1623-5, Charles I 1625-at least 1628,20 Henrietta Maria 1629-at least 1630.21

Freeman, Southampton 1614;22 steward, duchy of Lancaster lands in Essex 1614-d.;23 j.p. Kent, Surr., Essex, Mdx. and Westminster 1621-d.;24 commr. subsidy, London 1621, 1624-5, 1628, Mdx. 1621, 1624,25 oyer and terminer, Mdx. 1621-at least 1628, London 1621-d., Essex (highways’ repair) 1622, Home circ. by 1629-d.,26 gaol delivery, Newgate 1621-d.,27 sewers, London 1621-at least 1629, Herts. and Essex 1625-8, Havering and Dagenham levels, Essex and Bromley Marsh, Mdx. 29 Jan. 1631-d.,28 assurances, London 1621-d.,29 suppress illegal hunting, Mdx. 1622,30 new buildings, London 1625, 1630,31 charitable uses 1626, Surr. 1630,32 Forced Loan, London 1627,33 knighthood fines, Mdx. 1630-d.,34 survey and repair highways, Kent to London 16 June 1631-d.35

Freeman, E.I. Co. 1617, Haberdashers’ Co. 1621;36 member, Virg. Co. by 1624.37

Speaker of the House of Commons 1626.


Finch was the fifth of the seven sons of Sir Moyle Finch, and the second to be named after his maternal grandfather and godparent Sir Thomas Heneage (the first Heneage died in infancy). Born and baptized at The Moat, his father’s house near Canterbury, his remaining godparents were Elizabeth, wife of (Sir) Roger Manwood† and Nicholas St. Leger (Sellenger)†, his uncle by marriage.38 In about 1592, aged 11 or 12, he matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, along with his elder brother Thomas. On graduating a few years later he embarked upon a lengthy legal training at the Inner Temple. There he demonstrated a ready wit, composing a light-hearted lecture for the benefit of his fellow students on the supposed social consequences of innumeracy in preparation for the Christmas revels of 1600. Among those whom he singled out for mock pity were vagrants and impatient husbands who, ‘for want of numbering the weeks aright have had their new married wives brought to bed before either cradle provided or godfathers once thought on’.39

Called to the bar in July 1606 with his brother John, Finch was elected to Parliament for Rye in December 1607 following the death of the sitting Member, Thomas Hamon. His return was secured by his brother-in-law Sir William Twysden*, who owned property near Rye and used his influence to obtain a letter of recommendation from the lord warden of the Cinque Ports. This was Henry Howard, earl of Northampton, who commended Finch for his aptitude in legal affairs, spoke well of his father and laid great stress on his willingness to serve without parliamentary wages, an important consideration to the impoverished corporation.40

At the time of the Rye by-election Parliament was in recess, and consequently Finch was unable to take his seat until February 1610. Once at Westminster he soon demonstrated both ability and energy, although some of his colleagues were slow to recognize the newcomer. As late as 25 May Sir Julius Caesar referred to Finch as ‘a gentleman who ... made report to the House of a bill’.41 Perhaps Finch’s most significant contribution to the session was his speech of 2 July, which was addressed to the committee of the whole House. It concerned the legality of impositions, which had been levied on a range of commodities following the judges’ ruling in Bate’s Case (1606), and came near the end of a marathon debate which had started on 23 June. A full text survives among the papers of (Sir) Henry Yelverton*,42 but it is unclear whether it represents a faithful record of what was said, or a later version of the original, polished and extended for circulation. Jottings made by two diarists during the speech fail to record many of the points dealt with in the Yelverton manuscript, even in outline,43 but this may mean simply that the diarists concerned recorded only what they happened to hear or thought was worth committing to paper. Whatever the precise status of the Yelverton text, it communicates its author’s meaning better than the diarists’ accounts, which are confused. The anonymous diarist, for example, thought he heard Finch state that the king enjoyed absolute power over the coinage and the making of peace and war, whereas Finch actually held that none of these prerogatives ‘are so absolute but they are objects of our reason’. Like many other common lawyers, Finch feared that if the king alone could decide when there was a state of war he might abuse this power to announce that hostilities existed during peacetime, thereby enabling him to set aside the normal rule of law. Consequently the law rather than the king was the final arbiter of ‘what shall be called war at home or abroad’.44

The Yelverton text is a cogently expressed, closely argued essay which sought to demolish the case presented by the government’s chief law officers, principally the attorney-general Sir Henry Hobart*, Finch’s relative by marriage. Hobart had claimed on 29 June that it was not necessary for the king to demonstrate that he was entitled to impose in order for him to do so, but that it was incumbent on the subject to prove that he could not.45 Finch rejected this argument on the grounds that it was ‘against all course of proof to prove a negative’. Every man had the right to possess his own goods ‘and he that will take them from him must show his reason why he takes them’. Hobart had also maintained that, since the king had custody of the ports and could open or shut them at pleasure, he had a perfect right to lay impositions on the goods of those he allowed to pass through them. In reply, Finch conceded that there had been a time when kings had enjoyed the right to restrict the movement of foreign merchants, but that it had never been lawful for them to prevent the free traffic of English merchants. Even if it could be shown that the king had enjoyed the power to limit the movement of merchants, ‘yet by many acts of Parliament that power of restraint is given away and all merchants, subjects and strangers, set at liberty freely to import and export their merchandises’.46 Under exceptional circumstances, when the safety of the realm was threatened, the king was certainly entitled to close the ports for a time, but Finch argued that for the government to create ‘a perpetual imposition out of a temporary power of restraint is a child not like the father’. He was equally critical of Hobart’s assertion that the king was entitled to impose as he could not always wait for Parliament to assemble. There was only a remote possibility that such a situation would ever arise, and besides, if the king was going to plead the infrequency of parliaments as a reason for not seeking their consent he had only to summon them more often, as indeed the law required him to do.47

One of the central planks in the Crown’s argument was that the king’s right to customs duties, including impositions, was not conferred by Parliament but was exercised under the Common Law. Hobart claimed that customs duties preceded the first ever parliamentary grant in 1275, and that even after this date Edward I had levied impositions without reference to Parliament. This view had earlier been expressed by the Elizabethan chief justice (Sir) James Dyer†, and formed the basis of the ruling in Bate’s Case. However, as far as Finch was concerned the statute of 1275 clearly proved the parliamentary origins of customs duties. Besides:

If the kings of England had thought this power of imposing to be lodged in the Crown, is it likely that no King before Edward the First would have put it in practice or that Edward the First would have taken the demi-mark by Act of Parliament? Nay, when for urgent necessity in time of war, he raised the demi-mark to 40s., would he voluntarily, without any consideration have released the whole increase and bound himself by Act of Parliament to lay no more without assent of Parliament, and in the same Act been content to have called his own imposition maletolt if it had been rightfully imposed? Would Edward the Second, when he was to use money towards his wars of Scotland, after a declaration of his want of money and acknowledgment that the revenues of the Crown would not serve to supply his urgent necessities ... have concluded that by the advice of the merchants he had at length found out a way, which was to borrow upon every sack of wool exported 10s. over and above the demi-mark, and that with so much circumstance and trouble as to have the names of the lenders certified into the Exchequer, letters patent made to them witnessing their loan, and order given to secure their payment out of the customs, if so easy a way as an imposition had been opened to him?

Finch had many more examples to illustrate his case,48 but if he ever bombarded his listeners with them he was ignored by Hobart, who returned to the fray soon after.49 As a result of his participation in the great debate on impositions, Finch’s standing was undoubtedly enhanced, even if he made a somewhat shorter, less impressive speech than the Yelverton text suggests. Shortly thereafter he was one of a small group of Members, most of whom were lawyers, appointed to ‘digest the dispute on both sides’ and search the records in the Tower (10 July).50

Finch played only a minor role in the negotiations over the Great Contract. On 27 Apr. he was appointed to a 14-strong committee to consider a matter raised at the previous day’s conference with the Lords over tenures, while on 3 May he was one of nine Members instructed to help report proceedings at a forthcoming meeting with the Lords.51 On 16 July he reported from the committee established two days earlier to prepare for an impending conference with the Lords, announcing its dissatisfaction with the articles presented by the board of Green Cloth.52 Following this conference, at which the Commons’ representatives raised several additional grievances that they wished to see removed by the Contract, Finch and Sir John Sammes were deputed to make a record of the Lords’ reply to two of the items raised (18 July). These concerned the imprisonment of men who refused to lend to the king and the tendency by the Crown’s servants to claim privilege from arrest whenever they were pursued by their creditors. On 23 July Finch submitted a written report to the House, of which he was undoubtedly the author. It stated that James saw no reason to legislate on either of these matters, as no-one had ever been imprisoned for refusing to lend and there were only a handful of cases in which royal servants evaded imprisonment by seeking privilege.53 Finch also attended a conference with the Lords on the morning of 19 July, at which he was suddenly called upon to recollect from his notes some of the details discussed at the previous joint conference after lord treasurer Salisbury’s (Robert Cecil†) memory failed him.54 On returning to the Commons, he was named to a small committee to prepare a report on that morning’s conference.55

Impositions and the Great Contract were probably the two issues which most occupied Finch in the Commons, but other areas of business also interested him, as was demonstrated on 25 May, when he broke the silence which descended on the House after Sir Julius Caesar reported the king’s reply to the Commons’ petition against impositions. Seeing that it was past 11 o’clock, and supposing (incorrectly) that James’s answer would not be debated until the next morning, Finch decided to report the ecclesiastical leases bill. This ostensibly sought to undo legislation enacted in the reign of Henry VIII prohibiting members of the clergy from leasing lands, but its true purpose was to limit any minister who had cure of souls from holding lands beyond those necessary to provide food for his own household and hospitality for his guests. Finch’s close association with this measure, which he reported again on 14 June and 13 July, may suggest that, like his uncle Henry Finch*, he entertained puritan sympathies.56

During the course of the fourth session a Mr. Finch represented the Salters’ Company in a debate (19 Mar.) over the bill to assure the Salters’ and Brewers’ companies clear title to certain lands in the City against the rival claim of Thomas, 1st Lord Arundell of Wardour. A Mr. Finch was also present as counsel during the third reading debate concerning the sea sand bill (3 May),57 and on behalf of Edward Clere, who opposed a bill drawn up by the Norfolk corporation of Thetford (19 March). In each of these cases, however, the man concerned was probably Henry Finch. Indeed, in the case of the Thetford bill, Finch’s interests were diametrically opposed to those of Clere, as his brother-in-law and parliamentary sponsor, Sir William Twysden, was Member for Thetford.58 Finch’s links with Twysden presumably explain his nomination to the bill’s committee (15 June), and also his inclusion on the committee for the bill regarding marshland in Norfolk and Suffolk (20 Mar.), a measure in which he had no interest other than as an ally of Twysden, who opposed it.59 Marriage ties presumably underlay Finch’s membership of two other bill committees. The first concerned the Essex lands of (Sir) John Wentworth† of Gosfield (21 Mar.), one of whose daughters had recently married Finch’s older brother, Sir Thomas. The second dealt with the lands of Sir Francis Hobart (10 July), whose kinsman, Sir Henry Hobart, was related by marriage to Finch.60

The borough of Rye is not known to have issued any instructions to Finch during the fourth session. Nevertheless, on 14 July he successfully opposed a proposal to delete from the subsidy bill the traditional clause exempting the Cinque Ports. Moreover, on 18 July he spoke on the shipping and mariners bill, having been added to the committe on 8 May.61 During the fifth session, Finch’s constituents instructed him to help obtain for Rye an Act giving them the power to levy money on all ships using their harbour. However, though the lord warden also promised his assistance and lobbyists were sent to London, nothing was accomplished.62

Finch’s roots lay in north Kent rather than Sussex, and therefore it is not surprising that he was named to consider bills to enable Sir Henry Crispe of Quex, Isle of Thanet to sell lands and provide a jointure (12 Mar.); to restore (Sir) William Brooke* of Cooling Park in blood (31 Mar.); and to secure the purchasers of the late Lord Cheyne (19 June). He took a particular interest in the Crispe bill, reporting the committee’s proceedings on 2 Apr. and taking custody of the measure along with two other Members after the third reading (20 April).63 On 30 June Finch reported a bill to divide the Suffolk manor of Baddingham between Edward and Reginald Rous, but his interest in this measure, if any, has not been established.64

During the interval between the fourth and fifth sessions the Privy Council instructed Finch and five other leading lawyers to identify obsolete statutes in need of repeal and provide recommendations for codifying the rest of statute law. The king had told Parliament that he wished to overhaul the law, and therefore expected the new commissioners, led by Finch’s uncle Henry, to ‘neglect no time between this and the beginning of the next session of Parliament for the business’.65 He was not to be disappointed, for soon after Parliament reassembled three of the commissioners, including Finch, prepared a list of the laws in need of repeal.66 This document represented only the beginning of the commissioners’ labours, however, for about six years later they and the government’s senior law officers turned their attention to the problem of codifying the great bulk of statute law. Finch later recalled that he and his colleagues devoted ‘ten hours in a day, all one vacation, about this service’.67 This claim was no exaggeration, as the lengthy and detailed report of the commissioners clearly indicates.68

Following Parliament’s dissolution, Finch’s father purchased a baronetcy. The precise position of the newly created baronetage in the social order was initially unclear, for although baronets were senior to knights it was debatable whether they were equivalent to the younger sons of barons. It was equally uncertain whether a baronet was the same as a banneret, a title that had once been bestowed on the field of battle. These doubts led to a debate before the king in April 1612, at which both Finch and his father were present. Understandably, Finch saw this meeting as an opportunity not merely to defend his father’s interests but to bring his abilities to James’s attention, and consequently he attempted to impress the king by launching into a philosophical preamble in Latin. Far from endearing himself to James, however, Finch merely irritated James, who cut him short with a withering rebuke: ‘though I am a king of men, yet I am no king of time, for I grow old with this’. Undeterred, Finch proceeded to argue that baronets were identical to bannerets, but he was again interrupted, this time by his former patron Northampton, who demanded to know ‘whether he thought a military honour reserved for best in the field should really be heritable’. Finch was forced to concede that he did not, but with supreme self-assurance he then managed to convey the impression that he was instructing rather than advising the king. This was all too much for James, who exploded with ‘scornful indignation’, as one eye-witness later reported with unconcealed relish: ‘I marvel what this fellow means, that would seem to know what I intend, reasoning not only against what I have said but against what I may say’. As a result of this second reprimand, Finch at last fell silent. When the recorder of London (Sir Henry Montagu*) was invited to speak, James required him ‘to answer nothing to what young Mr. Finch had spoken, because he had said nothing worth the answering’.69 The final humiliation was that Finch was on the losing side of the debate.70 Instead of creating a favourable impression, Finch had left James with an abiding dislike of him. On being tipped for the recordership of London in November 1620, he was passed over in favour of Robert Shute. It was only after Shute unexpectedly died shortly thereafter that Finch succeeded in securing the post. Finch seems to have learned nothing from his bruising encounter with the king, whom he again irritated with a fawning speech in June 1623.71

Finch was not returned to the Addled Parliament, and so was unable to participate in the renewed parliamentary assault on impositions or to defend his family’s interests against those who clamoured for the abolition of the baronetage. Following the death of his father late that year he and several trustees assumed control of his family’s estates, much to the irritation of his elder brother Sir Theophilus, who was thereby deprived of his inheritance. Sir Theophilus subsequently attempted to overturn the provisions of his father’s will, but his own death in November 1619 ended the quarrel, as the Finch estate then passed into the hands of Sir Moyle’s second son, Sir Thomas.72 By this time Finch had entered the service of Prince Charles, who did not share the king’s low opinion of his abilities. Through Charles, Finch was nominated by the duchy of Cornwall for a parliamentary seat at Helston in December 1620.73 In the event this place was bestowed upon William Noye, but the duchy subsequently found Finch an alternative place at West Looe.

A few weeks after the Parliament began, Finch became recorder of London, which means that it is generally possible to distinguish him in the parliamentary records from his cousin John Finch II*, who also sat. As he was now a prominent lawyer, he was accorded a leading role in the parliamentary investigation of the monopolist (Sir) Giles Mompesson*. On 27 Feb. he was appointed to help search for precedents and recommend how best to proceed against Mompesson. Following the latter’s flight, Finch was employed by the Lords to track down Mompesson’s papers.74 Among the patents in which Mompesson was involved were grants to licence the manufacture and import of gold and silver thread. On 6 Mar. Finch was instructed to enumerate the abuses of Mompesson and his fellow patentees at a conference with the Lords two days later,75 a duty which he discharged two days later with great gusto. The patentees had broken into men’s houses and seized their goods, he declared, and their imprisonment of men without trial violated Magna Carta. The commission document from which they derived their authority was also seriously flawed as it failed to specify a quorum. As all the commissioners enjoyed equal status, the most lowly among them were able to function without reference to senior, more responsible figures such as the lord chancellor (Sir Francis Bacon*). Those commissioners who were active were so arrogant that they termed their meetings ‘Commission Courts’. Had Parliament not sat, observed Finch, half jokingly, they might have gone on to adopt the style ‘High Commission Courts’.76

As well outlining the abuses of the patentees, Finch and his fellow conference managers were instructed to identify the referees whose advice had led the king to award the offending patents. For the ambitious Finch, this must have seemed like a poisoned chalice, because the evidence pointed to the king’s favourite, the marquess of Buckingham and his dependants, most notably the lord chancellor. His detailed condemnation of the gold and silver thread commissioners for their proceedings thus contrasted with his reluctance, shared by several of his colleagues, to broach the subject of the referees. The day after the conference, Finch protested that he would have raised this issue even if this had meant speaking ‘against the greatest subjects’, but, somewhat lamely, added that he had lacked the grounds to do so, for ‘there being two patents, two indentures, two commissions and two Proclamations, he knew not to which they were referees’. Moreover, he argued that the evidence of the referees’ identity depended solely upon the testimony of the former attorney-general, Sir Henry Yelverton, who had been decidedly vague about this matter.77 The Commons, however, was furious at this rank cowardice, and Finch was ordered to return to the Lords the next day when, according to one diarist, he and his fellow manager Thomas Crewe ‘repaired their former omissions’.78 Thereafter Finch played no further part in the Commons’ pursuit of the referees, which culminated in the fall of Bacon.

As one of the leading lawyers in the House, Finch contributed to the efforts to punish the Catholic barrister Edward Floyd, but in so doing he abandoned his lawyer’s concern for due process. On 8 May he dismissed Hakewill’s well-grounded concern that no precedents could be found that might justify the Commons’ claim to punish those who were not its Members with the extraordinary assertion that ‘peradventure we may find precedents to confirm such a judicature’. He was equally untroubled that the Commons had not formally tried Floyd, or even extracted a confession from him. Had not the House of Lords in 1331 condemned Sir Simon de Bereford for being an accessory to the murder of Edward II without first asking him whether or not he was guilty, and was not Floyd, in slandering Princess Elizabeth, comparable to de Bereford? This cavalier disregard for due process seems extraordinary, especially when set alongside Finch’s earlier condemnation of the gold and silver thread commissioners for imprisoning men without trial. Finch’s arguments were rendered even less convincing by his failure to consider that the precedent of de Bereford concerned not the Commons but the Lords, who had not even been consulted over Floyd’s punishment. The Lords were understandably irritated at the Commons’ attempted usurpation of their judicial authority, but Finch urged his colleagues to resist any attempt to quash their judgment, as ‘a judgment given in Parliament cannot be reversed but in the same House where it was given’. However, by now Finch realized that the Commons’ position was untenable. On the afternoon of 8 May he suggested that the Commons should reassure the Upper House that it would not use the Floyd case as a precedent to undermine the judicial rights enjoyed by the Lords.79 He was not alone in tendering this advice, and by the end of the day the Commons had agreed to leave Floyd’s punishment to the Upper House.80

This was not the end of the matter, however, for the next day the Commons’ right to act in a judicial capacity threatened to resurface as an issue. It was Finch who first spotted the danger, after Sir Samuel Sandys recommended that the House interrogate witnesses on oath regarding a recent affray involving two of its Members, Sir Charles Morrison and Clement Coke. The power to administer oaths was central to the Commons’ claim to judicature, and also to its status as a court of record, but Finch advised that, ‘in respect of our difference with the Lords’ it would be wise not to administer an oath. Besides, it was not necessary to do so in this particular case, because the parties involved ‘in a manner confess all’. These wise words were duly heeded.81

As recorder of London, it was only natural that Finch should have headed the delegation appointed to serve the House’s arrest warrant on Sir John Bennet* at his London house on 23 April.82 Finch’s position also obliged him to help draft a bill on behalf of the City’s corporation regarding buildings and overcrowding in London and Westminster (24 Apr.), a measure which ultimately received just one reading (12 May).83 As London’s recorder, Finch expressed concern over the Welsh cloth bill on 26 Mar., a measure which attracted the close attention of London’s representatives, three of whom were among the bill committee’s 14 active members.84 In view of the fact that he was fee’d counsel for the Charterhouse hospital it is surprising that Finch was not named on 7 May to the committee for the bill introduced by the hospital.85 His connection to Prince Charles may have meant more to him, for on 22 Mar. he was appointed to consider the bill to naturalize two courtiers, one of whom was Sir Robert Douglas, treasurer of the prince’s Household.86 An untraced family connection may explain Finch’s appointment to a committee for a private bill concerning the Kent estates of John Ramsay, 1st earl of Holdernesse (13 March).87

In general, Finch’s appetite was whetted by public rather than private legislation. At Hakewill’s suggestion he was ordered to assist in drafting a bill to repeal the hundreds of obsolete statutes which he himself had previously helped identify (13 February).88 He was later required to help pen bills to prevent the exactions of proctors (21 Mar.) and the sale of offices (3 May), a practice of which he strongly disapproved since it undermined the fabric of both Church and Commonwealth.89 On 24 May he defended the bill to explain a clause in the 1563 Leases and Dilapidations Act after Sir Edward Coke argued that its retrospective nature rendered it unacceptable, but he failed to convince the House that it should be committed. He next offered the House an amendment to the jeofails’ bill which had been suggested to him by Sir Henry Hobart, now chief justice of Common Pleas. Hobart proposed that the courts should be permitted to amend pleadings where these contained minor clerical errors (known as jeofails), but once again Finch brushed up against Coke who, while conceding the law’s absurdity in allowing such errors to overthrow a verdict, persuaded the House that Finch’s amendment should form the substance of an entirely new bill.90 On the following day Finch vigorously defended legislation to limit the time which elapsed between the cause of a dispute and the commencement of legal proceedings. Unlike the bill’s main critic, Sir Henry Poole, whom he accused of chiding the measure rather than confuting it, Finch saw no reason why six years was insufficient time in which to institute an action for the recovery of a debt, nor did he think it unreasonable to set a maximum period of 20 years in which to bring a suit over land. Such a measure, if enacted, he later told the House (30 May), would greatly benefit the poorer sort.91 This was not the first time that Finch had clashed with Poole, as on 30 Apr. he and Poole had disagreed over a bill, reported by Poole, to prevent fines from being levied or recoveries made in the name of others without their knowledge. This measure was outwardly sensible as it aimed to stamp out a particular form of fraud which was, at that moment, exercising the judges in Star Chamber, but though Finch sympathized with the bill he considered it to be a ‘remedy worse than the disease’, for if the courts were empowered to void fines ‘so much will be shaken’ that no-one would be sure of their property rights.92

Finch played no recorded part in formulating or steering the two recusancy bills of 1621, although he attached considerable importance to the passage of at least one of them.93 The Commons’ attempt to obtain new recusancy laws at a time of sensitive diplomatic negotiations for a Spanish bride for Prince Charles evidently contributed to the king’s decision to adjourn Parliament for the summer.94 Like many other Members Finch was stunned by this decision, which threatened to prevent the completion of several pieces of important public legislation. A matter of just three weeks would have sufficed to allow Parliament to finish its work, he complained on 30 May, rather than the seven days’ notice which they had been given. Members were now faced with the disagreeable prospect of returning to their constituencies empty-handed unless they whittled down their legislative programme to ensure the passage of the most important bills. This latter course was the one he urged on the House, but with the rider that ‘whatsoever becomes of the bills, let us have care to preserve the Parliament’.95 Clearly, Finch, like many of his colleagues, feared that the forthcoming adjournment was merely the precursor of Parliament’s dissolution, and that soon the king would return to his previous attempt to rule without parliaments. Finch was subsequently appointed a spokesman at the conference with the Lords on 2 June, at which James offered to extend the sitting by ten days, but if he tried to persuade his colleagues to accept this concession he failed.96

When Parliament reconvened in November, Finch initially remained in the background. On 28 Nov. (Sir) Nathaniel Rich unsuccessfully proposed that he should chair the subsidy debate in committee following disagreements over the suitability of Sir Dudley Digges and Sir Edward Coke. On 1 Dec. he was named to the committee to examine the petition submitted by the deranged cleric Caleb Morley against one of the justices of Common Pleas, Sir Richard Hutton, whose reputation he was anxious to protect.97 Two days later he defended the House’s right to petition the king to break off the negotiations for a Spanish marriage after several royal spokesmen denounced the Commons for invading the royal prerogative. Asserting that there was ‘nothing in the petition but that we may petition of to the king’, he claimed to be perplexed at the government’s apparent volte face, for had not James himself raised the question of war with Spain? Moreover, as he pointed out, the Commons was not laying claim to James’s prerogative over foreign policy and the marriage of his son, merely the right to offer advice, ‘leaving resolution to the king’. However, the Commons had been invited to present no more than a vaguely worded petition urging the king to be ready to wage war in defence of the Palatinate, whereas the House had included several specific requests, most notably that Prince Charles should marry a Protestant. Finch did not deny that the Commons had exceeded its brief, but since, like many of his colleagues, he conceived of war with Spain primarily in religious terms, he did not see how it would be possible for Charles to marry a Catholic if war with Spain ensued. As James had announced that he had abandoned any hope of peace, was it not reasonable, Finch asked, for the House to ‘pray for and wish such a match as may be for the glory of religion and the good of the commonwealth?’ The Commons should submit its petition, for not to do so would be ‘a deserting of our religion’.98

The subsequent squabble with James over the Commons’ right to free speech saw Finch once again in the thick of things. Speaking on 17 Dec., he implicitly criticized James for describing the Commons’ Protestation as ‘anti-monarchical’ - a word which ‘stuck with me’ - while defending the House’s description of its privileges as ‘an undoubted right and inheritance’. Conceding that the word ‘inheritance’ had not previously been employed in this context, he claimed that synonyms had been used instead, and asserted that ‘if we may not call our privileges inheritances we can call them nothing’. He ended his speech by rejecting Sir Edward Coke’s motion to present a list of privileges to the king, ‘for then, if we leave out anything, we exclude ourselves from the rest; for the king will say if had any more privileges we would have claimed and expressed it in that writing’.99 In the event there was no time to prepare such a list as the House was adjourned the next day, at which time Finch was instructed required to attend Speaker Richardson at his house to view the clerk’s Journal.100

Following the formal dissolution of Parliament, Finch contributed £40 to the Palatinate Benevolence.101 In April 1622 the Privy Council ordered him to help examine the causes of the decay in the cloth trade and propose a remedy.102 During the interval between the 1621 and 1624 Parliaments, Finch’s legal career prospered. After serving as summer reader at the Inner Temple in 1622, he was knighted and made a serjeant. He was subsequently excused the need to read after the benchers of his former Inn disagreed over whether he or Orlando Bridgman, who had also been promoted, should take precedence.103

As recorder of London Finch was no longer dependent upon the duchy of Cornwall for a seat in Parliament, as holders of his office enjoyed an almost automatic right to represent the City. Consequently, he was elected for London in 1624. Nevertheless, he may have used his influence with the duchy to secure a burgess-ship for his younger brother Francis. Once in Parliament, Finch was named to the committee for privileges (23 February). He subsequently took an interest in several disputed returns, including one involving another of his brothers, John Finch I, whose election at Winchelsea was declared void.104 Having been vocal in defending the rights of the Commons in the previous Parliament, Finch was not surprisingly appointed to consider how best to defend its privileges (27 February).105 His skills as a draftsman were also frequently called upon, most notably on 10 Apr., when he was assigned to help draft the preamble to the subsidy bill.106

Finch played a prominent role in assisting the House to formulate its approach to relations with Spain in March 1624. A member of the sub-committee which drafted reasons for desiring James to break off the treaty negotiations (1 Mar.), he helped manage the conference with the Lords on 2 Mar. and assisted in preparing the report for the joint conference with the Lords on the 6th.107 In addition, he relayed to the Commons the king’s reply to a delegation from both Houses on the 8th.108 He received additional responsibilities on the 11th and 12th,109 and addressed the House three times, most notably on 20 Mar., when he spoke on the question of war finance.110 Although he was serjeant-at-law to Prince Charles, Finch seems, initially at least, to have been unenthusiastic about the prospect of war with Spain. Indeed, Pym’s notes, taken in sub-committee on 1 Mar., reveal that Finch advised discounting one of the reasons offered for breaking off the marriage treaties ‘because we could not obtain it’. Here Finch was probably echoing Barnaby Gooch, who had cautioned the House against recommending military action to recover the Palatinate on the grounds that it was ‘time lost to treat of impossibilities’.111 Moreover, on 5 Mar. Finch reacted unfavourably to the news that the Lords had tabled a resolution promising that both Houses would provide the king with financial assistance if he should abandon the treaties, reminding his listeners that the Commons had been asked for advice rather than subsidies. He added that, though no man would be unwilling to assist the king ‘to the best of his fortunes’, the House had not yet learned what size of grant James required.112 Finch’s lukewarm approach to the question of a Spanish war risked offending Prince Charles and harming his career prospects. By 11 Mar. at the latest he had apparently realized this, as he suggested that if the king were to break off the treaty negotiations the Commons should offer to ‘be ready to assist him ... with our bodies and goods to the uttermost’. This proposal was subsequently adopted, though not without some modification.113 Despite this apparent change of heart, Finch never came close to endorsing the king’s initial demand for six subsidies and 12 fifteenths. Instead he took up the government’s offer of a compromise, made by solicitor-general (Sir) Robert Heath on 19 March. Heath proposed that three subsidies and three fifteenths be voted for the time being, ‘with an intimation of further supply when we should be called together again as there shall be occasion’.114 Finch revived this suggestion the next day,115 and was immediately seconded by the master of the Jewel House, Sir Henry Mildmay, one of the duke of Buckingham’s allies. Other Members took their cue from these speeches, which may have been co-ordinated.116

Finch was accorded an important role in harassing the Catholic Member for Liverpool, Sir Thomas Gerrard, 2nd bt., who fled the House after refusing to take either the oaths or communion. Ordered to help examine Gerrard’s servant, he was also one of a select group of Members entrusted with the task of framing a short bill of praemunire against the hapless Gerrard in order to ‘start him and bring him in’ (13 March).117 An active member of the committee for grievances, Finch also played a key role in hounding lord treasurer Middlesex (Sir Lionel Cranfield*), who stood accused of taking bribes amounting to £1,000 from the farmers of the Great Customs and of introducing an imposition of £3 per tun on wines in order to reap the maximum financial benefit from large shipments already en route for England. Bribery was a form of behaviour which Finch deplored privately as well as publicly,118 but he was no less outraged at the surcharge on wines, which he described as amounting to ‘plain robbery’. Were it permissible to lay such a tax, he declared, then ‘it had been as lawful to impose £3 on every tun of wine in the merchants’ cellars’. If the new duty was not abandoned it would discourage trade and reduce customs receipts.119

As his attack on Middlesex demonstrates, Finch was at the forefront of the London merchant opposition to the lord treasurer.120 Indeed, in the previous year Finch had led a deputation of Londoners to Whitehall to complain about another of Middlesex’s new duties.121 Defence of London’s interests formed a significant part of Finch’s parliamentary activity in 1624. On 4 Mar. he described the letters patent incorporating the Goldwiredrawers’ Company as ‘a great grievance in the City of London’. His opposition to the Company’s attempt to secure statutory recognition for its patent persuaded the House to an examination of the patent by the committee for grievances.122 Finch again emerged as a defender of London’s trading interests in the debate over the monopoly to export dyed and dressed cloths enjoyed by the London-based Merchant Adventurers’ Company (5 May). When Sir Edwin Sandys argued that these privileges should be extended to the outports, Finch retorted that this would result in the Company’s dissolution.123 Finch’s concern for the City’s welfare was not, however, unlimited. He was the only London Member who failed to attend any of the committee meetings concerning the bill submitted by the artisan Clothworkers, despite the fact that London’s Court of Aldermen had ordered all the City Members to turn out in order to stifle the bill.124 Moreover, in certain matters Finch regarded London’s interests as ultimately less important than those of the country as whole. Take, for instance, the bill to punish abuses committed on the Sabbath, one of whose aims was to confine people to their parish of residence on a Sunday. This measure took no account of the fact that some urban parishes were so small that it would be impossible for a man to take even a short walk without breaking the law. As Finch pointed out, this ‘did most concern London’. However, Finch approved of the general thrust of the bill, which had failed to reach the statute book in 1621 despite having obtained the support of both Houses. Anxious that the bill should not be hindered any longer, he spoke in favour of engrossing it without securing any exemption for London (24 February).125

Finch was named to three legislative committees regarding London matters in 1624. One concerned the sale of lands in Kent to Martin Lumley, then lord mayor (12 Mar.), while another dealt with the New River Company (22 March).126 The third concerned the re-introduced bill to confirm the foundation of the Charterhouse hospital. It is unclear whether Finch, who was named to the committee on 13 Mar., continued to collect a fee as the hospital’s standing counsel, but he was certainly paid £10 by the Charterhouse ‘for several motions by him made in the Parliament House to have the said bill committee when the same was sine die’. Moreover, he permitted his servant to wait on the committee.127

On 7 Apr. Finch reported a land bill concerned with a Huntingdonshire manor belonging to Sir Thomas Cheke*, having previously acted as Cheke’s counsel in a Chancery suit over the title to this property.128 There is no way of knowing whether Finch ever attended committees for bills concerning the leases and tenants of the duchy of Cornwall (9 and 10 Mar.), but his appointment to both must have stemmed from his continued employment by Prince Charles.129 As in 1621, Finch was nominated to more committees concerned with public legislation than private bills. Among those subjects covered were probate (23 Feb.), concealments (24 Feb.), drunkenness (26 Feb.), secret offices and inquisitions (8 Mar.), wrongful imprisonment (9 Mar.), the continuance of expiring laws (13 Mar.), hospitals (18 Mar.) and new inns (1 April).130 They also included monopolies (26 Feb.), a subject in which he had not lost interest, as he was appointed to manage a joint conference with the Lords on the subject (7 April).131 In addition, he was named to consider a bill against the levying of fines (3 Apr.), but he did not attend the subsequent committee meeting.132

On 7 May Finch responded angrily to the news that the bishop of Norwich , Samuel Harsnett, had forbidden morning preaching in his diocese, describing the ruling as ‘the strangest thing that ever was heard of to come from a bishop’.133 His name is not featured in the parliamentary records thereafter, although Parliament continued to sit until the 29th. Either this indicates that Finch was insufficiently exercised by the business remaining before the House after the charges against Middlesex were sent to the Lords, or that he was beginning to suffer from the eye condition which disabled him throughout the summer. The latter explanation seems most likely, for as early as 15 May Finch pleaded physical indisposition for failing to carry out an important official duty. By October he had recovered sufficiently to be able to present London’s lord mayor to the Exchequer, but the length of his incapacity may have left him with a lack of faith in medical doctors. ‘Physicians’, he recorded in his commonplace book, ‘rather than they will betray want of skill in themselves, make the diseases want a name: every year they make a new disease’.134

In 1625 Finch was again returned to Parliament for London. He now focused his attention on religion, and in particular on the growing threat to the Church posed by Arminianism. From his earlier speech criticizing Bishop Harsnett it was clear that he was no friend to the Arminians, but after considering in the committee for religion the contents of Richard Montagu’s recently published books, A New Gagg for an Old Goose and Appello Caesarem, he launched a bitter attack on what he saw as the new doctrine and its adherents. On 7 July he announced that the entire committee held Appello Caesarem to be ‘a factious and seditious book, tending manifestly to the dishonour of our late king and to the disturbance of our Church and State’. He was especially angered by Montagu’s assertion that the Church contained within it a powerful faction of ‘puritans’. If Montagu was to be believed, puritans were worse than papists, and yet ‘by his opinion we may be all puritans’, even those who subscribed and conformed to the established rites and ceremonies of the Church. The New Gagg was no less offensive to Finch, as it contained many propositions which contradicted the Thirty-Nine Articles, such as the claim that the Church of Rome was a true church. Following his report to the House, Finch was appointed to help draw up charges against Montagu.135 His fear that the Church was threatened by Montagu and his ilk subsequently informed his approach to the king’s request for a grant of additional subsidies during the Oxford sitting, for on 10 Aug. he recommended giving the king the extra £40,000 he required ‘as part of our thankfulness to God for the satisfaction he has given to our petition of religion’.136 Similar fears may also explain why he was named to bill committees concerned with the Sabbath (22 June), recusancy (23 June), subscription (27 June) and ecclesiastical leases (11 July).137 The latter bill was perhaps introduced by Finch himself, as it was identical to the measure he had reported back in 1610, when it had been dismissed by one senior churchman as ‘squint-eyed’.

As a senior lawyer, Finch was naturally appointed to consider a bill to stamp out judicial corruption (29 June). He was also named to two committees concerned with writs of habeas corpus (27 June and 8 July), the first of which recommended that a short bill be drafted to restrain the use of these writs. Impositions did not feature prominently in the 1625 Parliament, but Finch was nevertheless named to consider a petition concerning an impost on wine (29 June). As in 1624, Finch’s skills as a draftsman were required to help draft the preamble to the subsidy bill (30 June). On 8 July he defended the right of Arthur Bassett to sit for Fowey on the grounds that the mesne process to which Bassett was subjected did not preclude public service. 138

Following the dissolution Finch was paid £50 by the corporation of London to compensate him for the extraordinary expenses he had incurred when as a result of the adjournment of Parliament to Oxford.139 It was also rumoured that he would soon replace Heath as solicitor-general, but in the event he was passed over for Sir Richard Shilton*.140 Soon after Christmas, however, he was notified by lord keeper (Sir Thomas) Coventry* that he had been chosen to serve as Speaker in a fresh Parliament summoned to meet in February 1626. Finch acknowledged that he was indebted to Buckingham for this honour, ‘as I am much otherwise’, but declined the employment. However, in a subsequent interview with Coventry he was persuaded to change his mind, and shortly thereafter he hired a house in Cannon Row belonging to Viscount Grandison (Sir Oliver St. John*) ‘in regard my house at St. Bartholomew’s was too far from the Parliament House’. Eight days before Parliament assembled Finch, who had again been returned for London, submitted for Coventry’s inspection the main points he planned to include in his forthcoming Speaker’s address.141 Delivered on 8 Feb. 1626, this speech consisted of the customary fawning oration to the throne, but in other respects, such as the praise lavished on Charles I for having responded so favourably to the previous Parliament’s petition on religion, Finch was clearly talking from the heart.142

Of all the Speakers of the 1620s, Finch has been described as having been ‘perhaps the most successful ... considering the difficulties he had to face’.143 However, it is hard to see how Finch’s occupancy of the Speaker’s chair can be considered successful. Less than three weeks after Parliament opened the Commons began to elbow Finch aside to make way for grand committees, in particular the committee for evils, causes and remedies, which was primarily concerned with investigating Buckingham. There were perfectly valid procedural reasons for doing this, as grand committees facilitated a more fluid debate,144 but the net effect was to prevent Finch from pursuing the Crown’s principal objective, a vote of supply. As the Commons’ investigation into Buckingham gathered pace, the committee for evils sat with increasing frequency. Between 11 and 20 Mar. its business swallowed up the bulk of eight consecutive working days, prompting the king to complain to Finch of the Commons’ ‘unreasonable slowness’ in voting subsidies. Moreover, in the five working days beginning on 3 June, the House turned itself into grand committee to consider its charges against the duke on no less than seven occasions. Charles regarded this as intolerable, and again wrote to Finch, this time threatening that, unless the subsidy bill was brought in by the end of the following week, he would adopt ‘other resolutions’.145 Finch, however, was powerless to force the Commons to consider supply against its will, and quite incapable of preventing himself from being turned out of the chair. Parliament, he recorded in his commonplace book, was ‘a sea unmanageable, especially if you sail by another compass’.146 The extent of the Speaker’s impotence was revealed following the arrest in open Parliament of Sir Dudley Digges and Sir John Eliot on 11 May. As news of the arrests reached the Commons, Finch, then in the chair, attempted to keep to the business in hand, but the House ‘refused to proceed’ and ‘abruptly broke off’. On the following day Finch urged a resumption of the earlier business, expressing his sorrow at ‘so general sadness and silence’, but he was now greeted with shouts of ‘sit down’.147 He did not try again: on entering the House the next morning he stayed only long enough to lead the House in prayer. Not until 23 May, three days after Digges and Eliot were released, did the Commons pick up where it had left off.148

Despite the humiliation to which he had been subjected on 11 and 12 May, Finch may not have been poorly regarded by his colleagues. On the contrary, when it was suggested on 1 May that he might have broken the rules of the House he was cleared ‘with one consent’.149 For his part, Finch was careful to protect the standing of the House, on one occasion gently reproving Sir John Hippisley*, then acting as a witness, for remaining seated while being addressed by the chair (23 Feb.), and on another displaying some vigour in pressing members of the Council of War to answer questions concerning the advice they had given Buckingham.150 Moreover, after Eliot and Digges were arrested, he took the protestation which declared that Eliot and Digges had not uttered the words imputed to them, although he may have done so out of a sense of compulsion (15 May).151

Following the collapse of the 1626 Parliament, Finch was among the first contributors to the Forced Loan and was a commissioner for its collection in London.152 Although appointed counsel for the Loan refusers in November 1627, his enthusiasm for this unpopular levy and his connections with the Court fatally wounded his chances of being returned to Parliament again in 1628. On 24 Feb. one commentator reported that the City’s voters had broken with tradition and ‘with great disgrace rejected their recorder ... for they find he hath relation to [one] whom they do not affect’.153 This was a clear reference to Buckingham, who had secured for Finch the Speakership in 1626. It seems that, despite the duke’s patronage of Arminians, Finch was regarded as a Buckingham client.

Over the summer of 1628 Finch courted a wealthy London widow named Elizabeth Bennett. Finch had been a widower since the spring of 1627, and was ‘very earnest’ in his pursuit of widow Bennett, whose first husband had reportedly left her the sum of £20,000 or even £30,000. However, when she announced that she would not marry anyone who had already started a family, Finch’s hopes were apparently shattered, as he had four children by his first wife, all under the age of seven. By December he evidently despaired of success. On being approached by his kinsman Sir Edward Dering*, who also wished to try his luck, he agreed to interpose himself on Dering’s behalf with the widow’s brother-in-law, (Sir) George Croke†. However, in April 1629 Finch secured the widow’s hand for himself, having overcome her earlier objections to his young family. Along the way he had afforded himself the pleasure of spiking the guns of at least one rival - Sir John Eliot - and of imprisoning another, Dr. Raven, who had broken into the widow’s chamber at dead of night and tried to climb into bed with her.154 Now possessed of a large fortune, Finch was able to purchase a splendid house in Kensington from one of the sons of the late clerk of the Crown, (Sir) George Coppyn†. Later in the century, this property was acquired by the Crown as Kensington Palace.155

Finch died after a lengthy illness aged 51 on 5 Dec. 1631.156 It has been fairly observed that, had he lived longer he ‘would certainly have risen well beyond the rank of serjeant and the recordership of London’.157 In the will which he drew up in April 1631,158 Finch placed his estate in the hands of seven trustees - his niece’s husband, Lord Grey of Warke (Sir William Grey*); justice Croke; the Exchequer baron (Sir) Thomas Trevor*; his cousin (Sir) John Finch II; and his fellow serjeant and close friend, John Bramston159 - who were instructed to raise £10,000 to purchase a jointure estate for his widow. Finch fixed the responsibility for executing the will on his nephew Thomas Twysden† and on his younger brother Francis, to whom he bequeathed his house in Kensington. Between them the executors were required to sell all his personal effects ‘except books printed and written’, which they were to distribute among his children. However, his copy of the Edinburgh Bible, containing the record of his children’s births and burials, was to pass to his heir. He left nothing to his mother, the countess of Winchilsea, on the grounds that she had enough already, but he nevertheless recorded his gratitude to her, as she had granted him the reversion to Daventry manor, Northamptonshire, a property owned by the duchy of Lancaster.160 Included among his minor bequests was a gift of 10s. each to 12 poor women of Kensington, ‘to whom I have for sometime given some small weekly relief’. It is not known whether he succeeded in recovering a debt in excess of £3,846 owed by the Crown to his wife’s first husband before he died.161

Finch asked to be buried at Eastwell in Kent, where he had been raised, but was instead interred in the south chancel of the church at Ravenstone in Buckinghamshire. A monumental inscription and bust were nevertheless erected at Eastwell.162 Finch’s tomb, a simple affair constructed from black and white marble costing £50, was built by Nicholas Stone and commissioned by Finch’s brother Francis, and includes a half-length effigy of Finch in his serjeant’s gown.163 A portrait of Finch, also depicting him robed as a lawyer and formerly in the possession of the Twysden family,164 hangs at Montacute House in Somerset. A miniature portrait of him by John Hoskins the elder is in the possession of the The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. Finch’s eldest son Heneage, the future lord chancellor and earl of Nottingham, represented Canterbury and Oxford University after the Restoration.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Andrew Thrush


  • 1. B. I’Anson, Finch Fam. 41.
  • 2. Vis. Mdx. 1663 ed. Foster, 1; Al. Cant.; I. Temple database of admiss. 148; CITR, ii. 21; Soc. Gen., St. Dunstan’s in the West par. reg.; Vis. Bucks. (Harl. Soc. lviii), 147; PROB 11/111, f. 70; Conway Letters ed. M.H. Nicolson, 196. His will indicates that he had other children who predeceased him, but their number, sex and maternity have not been ascertained: PROB 11/160, f. 504v.
  • 3. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 182.
  • 4. Le Neve, Mon. Angl. (1719), i. 132.
  • 5. Add. 11402, f. 160.
  • 6. T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 1, p. 59.
  • 7. R.G. Usher, Rise and Fall of High Commission, 350.
  • 8. Rymer, viii. pt. 3, p. 192.
  • 9. CSP Dom. 1631-3, p. 6.
  • 10. J.H. Baker and J.S. Ringrose, Cat. of English Legal Mss in CUL, 122; Harl. 1692, ff. 17-19v, 22v-3.
  • 11. CITR, ii. 75, 92, 104, 115, 124-6, 130.
  • 12. LMA, Acc/1876/G/02/1, pp. 78, 153.
  • 13. SC6/Jas.I/1682-4, unfol.
  • 14. GL, Merchant Taylors’ accts. vols. 12-15.
  • 15. GL, ms 5255/1, unfol.
  • 16. Recs. of Maidstone, 90.
  • 17. Add. 29622, ff. 200-1.
  • 18. Remembrancia ed. W.H. and H.C. Overall, 295.
  • 19. Order of Sjts.-at-Law ed. J.H. Baker (Selden Soc. suppl. ser. v), 333.
  • 20. DCO, ‘Inrollments of patents, Prince Chas. 1620-5’, f. 140; SC6/Jas.I/1687, unfol.; APC, 1628-9, p. 186.
  • 21. LR5/57, f. 28; E101/438/7.
  • 22. HMC 11th Rep. III, 23.
  • 23. Duchy of Lancaster Office-Holders ed. R. Somerville, 205.
  • 24. C231/4, f. 119; C66/2527; Cal. Assize Recs. Kent Indictments, Chas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 147.
  • 25. C212/22/20, 23; E115/112/100; 115/145/140.
  • 26. C181/3, ff. 21, 22, 68v, 244, 261; 181/4, ff. 98, 103.
  • 27. C181/3, f. 23; 181/4, f. 103.
  • 28. C181/3, ff. 27, 184v, 251, 255v; 181/4, f. 76.
  • 29. C181/3, f. 28; 181/4, f. 102.
  • 30. CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 352.
  • 31. Rymer, viii. pt. 3, p. 114; C193/8/58.
  • 32. C93/10/21; C192/1, unfol.
  • 33. Rymer, viii. pt. 2, p. 142.
  • 34. E178/7163, m.5.
  • 35. C231/5, p. 58.
  • 36. CSP Col. E.I. 1617-21, p. 99; Leics. RO, DG7 Box 4966 (Finch Pprs. xviii, Law 3), f. 1.
  • 37. Recs. Virg. Co. ed. S.M. Kingsbury, iv. 157.
  • 38. Soc. Antiq. ms 168, f. 186v.
  • 39. Sloane 1709, ff. 3v-4.
  • 40. HMC 13th Rep. IV, 135, 162.
  • 41. Procs. 1610 ed. E.R. Foster, ii. 117.
  • 42. Add. 48119, ff. 65-85, printed in Procs. 1610 ii. 225-48.
  • 43. ‘Paulet 1610’, f. 21v; Parl. Debates 1610 ed. S.R. Gardiner, 116.
  • 44. Procs. 1610, 235; J.P. Sommerville, Pols. and Ideology in Eng. 102.
  • 45. Parl. Debates 1610, 90.
  • 46. Procs. 1610, ii. 226-7.
  • 47. Ibid. 230.
  • 48. Ibid. 247-8.
  • 49. Ibid. 249-50.
  • 50. CJ, i. 447b. He had earlier been appointed to aid in a search of the Tower records, but had failed to participate: ibid. 423a, 435a.
  • 51. Ibid. 421b, 424b.
  • 52. Ibid. 450a; Procs. 1610, ii. 278-9.
  • 53. Procs. 1610, ii. 287, 293.
  • 54. ‘Paulet 1610’, f. 26v.
  • 55. CJ, i. 452b..
  • 56. Procs. 1610, i. 242-6; ii. 117; CJ, i. 421a, 432b, 438b, 449a.
  • 57. CJ, i. 424a.
  • 58. Ibid. 440a. For the bill, see THETFORD.
  • 59. CJ, i. 413a.
  • 60. Ibid. 413b, 447b.
  • 61. Ibid. 426a, 451b.
  • 62. HMC 13th Rep. IV, 146. See also RYE.
  • 63. CJ, i. 409b, 417a, 418a, 419b, 441a.
  • 64. Ibid. 432a, 444b.
  • 65. Add. 11402, f. 160r-v.
  • 66. Procs. 1610 , ii. 331n (but recte Foster, it was not Finch but his uncle Henry who submitted the doc. to Caesar); Lansd. 160, ff. 338-50v; CJ, i. 519b.
  • 67. Letters and Life of Francis Bacon ed. J. Spedding, vi. 71; CJ, i. 502a.
  • 68. Harl. 244.
  • 69. HMC 10th Rep IV, 8-10.
  • 70. L.L. Peck, Northampton, 116. Peck incorrectly asserts that Finch was himself a baronet.
  • 71. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 325; Remembrancia, 294-5.
  • 72. C2/Jas.I/F10/6.
  • 73. DCO, ‘Letters and Patents, 1620-1’, f. 39v.
  • 74. CJ, i. 530b, 539a.
  • 75. CD 1621, vi. 540a.
  • 76. Ibid. ii. 185-6.
  • 77. Ibid. iv. 139; v. 284; Nicholas, Procs. 1621, i. 137.
  • 78. CD 1621, v. 288.
  • 79. Ibid. iii. 207; v. 166; Nicholas, ii. 44; CJ, i. 614b. For other refs. to Finch in relation to Floyd, see CJ, i. 600b, 614a.
  • 80. R. Zaller, Parl. of 1621, p.114.
  • 81. Ibid. 109; CD 1621, iii. 216; iv. 323; v. 158.
  • 82. CJ, i. 588a.
  • 83. CD 1621, vii. 338; CJ, i. 619a.
  • 84. CJ, i. 575a; HLRO, main pprs. 24 Apr. 1621.
  • 85. CJ, i. 612b.
  • 86. Ibid. 570b. The other was Sir Robert Ayton, former sec. to Anne of Denmark.
  • 87. Ibid. 551b.
  • 88. Ibid. 519b, 520a; CD 1621, ii. 72.
  • 89. CJ, i. 567a, 606b; Leics. RO, DG7 Box 4966 (Finch Pprs. xviii, Law 3), end f. 5.
  • 90. CJ, i. 625b; CD 1621, ii. 384.
  • 91. CD 1621, iii. 303; iv. 393.
  • 92. CJ, i. 597b; CD 1621, v. 117-18; Nicholas, i. 356.
  • 93. CD 1621, iv. 393.
  • 94. Zaller, 132-3.
  • 95. CD 1621, iii. 362; iv. 393.
  • 96. CJ, i. 636b.
  • 97. Ibid. 650a, 655a.
  • 98. Ibid. 656a, 657b; CD 1621, ii. 493; v. 230; Nicholas, ii. 271.
  • 99. CD 1621, ii. 531; vi. 241-2; Nicholas, ii. 343; Zaller, 173.
  • 100. CJ, i. 669b.
  • 101. SP14/156/15.
  • 102. APC, 1621-3, p. 201.
  • 103. Order of Sjts.-at-Law, 331.
  • 104. CJ, i. 671b, 728a, 749b; ‘Holland 1624’, i. f. 26; ‘Earle 1624’, f. 65; ‘Hawarde 1624’, p. 189.
  • 105. ‘Holland 1624’, i. f. 5. However, he was not listed as being a member in CJ, i. 720a.
  • 106. CJ, i. 762a.
  • 107. Ibid. 724a, 725b, 730b.
  • 108. Ibid. 679b, 731a.
  • 109. Ibid. 683a, 683b, 684b.
  • 110. See below. The other occasions were on the 4th and 11th: ibid. 728a, 733b.
  • 111. ‘Pym 1624’, f. 13v; R.E. Ruigh, Parl. of 1624, pp. 182-3.
  • 112. CJ, i. 77b; Holles 1624, p. 22; ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 49v.
  • 113. ‘Spring 1624’, p. 107.
  • 114. ‘Pym 1624’, f. 34v.
  • 115. ‘Spring 1624’, p. 142, is the best record of his speech, but see also ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 97; ‘Holland 1624’, i. f. 66r-v.
  • 116. Ruigh, 226-7.
  • 117. CJ, i. 685a, 735b.
  • 118. Leics. RO, DG7 Box 4966 (Finch Pprs. xviii, Law 3), end f. 7: ‘He that takes sells himself’.
  • 119. ‘Holland 1624’, ii. ff. 4v, 11; ‘Spring 1624’, p. 209; ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 145r-v.
  • 120. Ruigh, 324.
  • 121. APC, 1621-3, p. 458.
  • 122. ‘Pym 1624’, f. 17v; ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 46.
  • 123. CJ, i. 784a; ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 193r-v.
  • 124. HLRO, main pprs. 9 Apr. 1624; Kyle thesis, 129-31.
  • 125. ‘Pym 1624’, f. 5v; ‘Nicholas 1624’, f. 7v.
  • 126. CJ, i. 683b, 745a.
  • 127. Ibid. 685b. LMA, Acc/1876/G/01/10/4. The payments probably relate to orders made by the House on 5 and 9 Apr.: CJ, i. 755a, 761a.
  • 128. CJ, i. 680a, 757a; C2/Jas.I/C2/72.
  • 129. CJ, i. 680a, 681a.
  • 130. Ibid. 672a, 673a, 674b, 679b, 680a, 736b, 738b, 739b, 751b.
  • 131. Ibid. 674b, 757b.
  • 132. Ibid. 754a; HLRO, main pprs. 7 Apr. 1624.
  • 133. CJ, i. 784b.
  • 134. Leics. RO, DG7 Box 4966 (Finch Pprs. xviii, Law 3), ff. 24v-5, 27, and end f. 5; CSP Dom. 1623-5, p. 246.
  • 135. Procs. 1625, pp. 240, 299, 283-4, 330-1, 335, 337.
  • 136. Ibid. 451. For his interest in the petition, see also ibid. 422, 424-5, 433.
  • 137. Ibid. 215, 226, 253, 368.
  • 138. Ibid. 268-9, 276, 347, 349, 360-1, 363-4.
  • 139. CLRO, Reps. 40, f. 53.
  • 140. T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Chas. I, i. 61.
  • 141. HMC Finch, i. 43-4.
  • 142. Procs. 1626, i. 31-4.
  • 143. C. Russell, PEP, 39n.
  • 144. S. Lambert, ‘Procedure in the House of Commons’, EHR, xcv. 756-7.
  • 145. Procs. 1626, ii. 324; iii. 406.
  • 146. Leics. RO, DG7 Box 4966 (Finch Pprs. xviii, Law 3), end f. 2v. His observation is undated.
  • 147. Procs. 1626, iii. 233, 236. He did not seek to apologize for the king’s actions, as Russell implies: Russell, 306.
  • 148. Procs. 1626, iii. 256, 313.
  • 149. Ibid. 108.
  • 150. Ibid. ii. 107, 239, 242.
  • 151. Ibid. iii. 263.
  • 152. E401/2322, unfol., payment of 18 Oct. 1626.
  • 153. Fairfax Corresp. ed. G.W. Johnson, i. 89. See also Harl. 7010, f. 75v.
  • 154. De Jure Maiestatis ed. A.B. Grosart, ii. 19; Procs. in Kent ed. L.B. Larking (Cam. Soc. lxxx), xiv-xvi, xix, xxxii.
  • 155. Conway Letters, 2; PROB 11/160, f. 504r-v.
  • 156. PROB 11/160, f. 503v.
  • 157. W. Prest, Rise of the Barristers, 118.
  • 158. PROB 11/160, ff. 503v-5v.
  • 159. For his friendship with Bramston, see Autobiog. of Sir John Bramston ed. P. Braybrooke (Cam. Soc. xxxii), 6-7.
  • 160. DL4/90/10.
  • 161. CLRO, Large RCE Pprs. no. 12, rough bk. 1628-32, unfol.
  • 162. P. Parson, Monuments and Painted Glass in Kent, 22.
  • 163. Notebk. and Acct. Bk. of Nicholas Stone ed. W. Lewis Spiers (Walpole Soc. vii), 88.
  • 164. R.G. and C.H. Hatton, ‘Notes on Fam. of Twysden’, Arch. Cant. lviii. 63-4.