FINCH, Heneage, Lord Guernsey (?1683-1757).
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Family and Education
b. ?1683, 1st s. of Heneage Finch, M.P., 1st Earl of Aylesford, by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Sir John Banks, 1st Bt., M.P., of Aylesford, Kent; bro. of Hon. John Finch (b. ?1689). educ. Westminster; Ch. Ch. Oxf. 27 June 1700, aged 17. m. 9 Dec. 1712, Mary, da. and h. of Sir Clement Fisher, 3rd Bt., of Packington, Warws., 1s. 3da. suc. fa. as 2nd Earl 22 July 1719.
Master of jewel office 1711-16.
Guernsey’s father, a Hanoverian Tory, who had acquired by marriage the manor of Aylesford, carrying an interest at Maidstone where his family usually returned one Member, went over to the Whigs with his brother, the 2nd Earl of Nottingham, at the end of Anne’s reign. Classed as a Tory who might often vote Whig, Guernsey was allowed to retain his place after George I’s accession. At the outbreak of the rebellion of 1715 he declared to the Commons:
It was well known that he had, on many occasions, differed from some Members in that House; but being now convinced that our liberty, religion and all that is dear to Englishmen were aimed at, he would, laying his hand on his sword, rather die with his sword in his hand, than survive the Pretender’s coming in, though he were to enjoy the greatest honours and preferments.1
He subsequently told the 1st Lord Egmont that
The Earl of Nottingham was as violent as any to turn out the Tories, and in a great wrath with him (who was then in the House of Commons) for voting with the Tories. My Lord told him he was sorry it displeased him, but that his violence [would] soon turn him out himself, which soon came to pass.2
Turned out of office with Lord Nottingham and the rest of the Finches at the beginning of 1716 for opposing the execution of the rebel lords, Guernsey spoke against the septennial bill, observing that ‘if a man did not fall into all the measures of the ministry, and lap with them like the men of Gideon, he was immediately brow-beaten’, which exposed him to the retort that ‘he was of another opinion not many weeks before; so that what he now said must proceed either from resentment or disappointment’.3 He also spoke against the vote of supply for measures against Sweden (8 Apr. 1717); suggested (12 May 1717) that on being ordered by the King to disband part of the army, the ministry had by mistake disbanded convocation; and moved for the insertion of a clause against Socinianism in the bill for the repeal of the Occasional Conformity and Schism Acts in 1719. Succeeding to his father’s earldom in 1719 he became one of the Tory stalwarts in the Lords.4
He died 29 June 1757.