FINCH, Francis (1586-c.1658), of the Inner Temple, London and Bromley Hall, Bromley, Mdx.

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




Family and Education

b. 24 Mar. 1586, 6th but 5th surv. s. 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 Heneage*, John*, Sir Theophilus* and Sir Thomas, 3rd bt.*.1 educ. Corpus, Oxf. 1601; I. Temple 1605, called 1614.2 m. 16 Feb. 1613,3 Anne (bur. 8 Nov. 1623), da. and h. of Michael Barker of Bromley, 1s. d.v.p., 1da. d.v.p.4 d. by 18 Jan. 1658.5

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Suss. and Kent 1618, Suss. 1628.6

Assoc. bencher, I. Temple 1628.7

Member, Fishery Soc. 1632;8 Hon. Art. Co. of London 1635.9


Finch is sometimes confused with a namesake nephew, a poet whose work, according to Anthony Wood, ‘falls not short of the best’.10 The fifth son of Sir Moyle Finch, of Eastwell Kent, Finch, like his elder brothers, John and Heneage, was called to the bar of the Inner Temple. He apparently practised on the Home circuit, despite marrying the niece of Robert Barker*, who brought him the manor of Harrolds, near Ipswich.11

In 1624 Finch was elected, on the nomination of Prince Charles’s Council, for the borough of Eye, where the manor formed part of the prince’s estates.12 He presumably owed his selection to his brother (Sir) Heneage, the prince’s serjeant-at-law. He left no trace on the surviving records of the last Jacobean Parliament, and indeed is known to have been absent from Westminster on 25 Mar., the last day before the Easter recess, when he was the one of the ‘eye and ear witnesses’ to his brother John’s election victory at Winchelsea.13

Finch was subsequently re-elected at Eye for the first three Caroline Parliaments, presumably as a Court nominee. He left no trace on the parliamentary records in 1625, and in 1626 he made no recorded speeches, even though his brother Heneage was Speaker. Nevertheless, he was appointed to 15 committees, among them those concerned with privileges (9 Feb.); a bill to restrain the abuse of Exchequer procedure in actions for debt (28 Feb.); a conference with the Lords on 7 Mar. about defence; the bill to restrict citations from ecclesiastical courts (9 Mar.); and the drafting of a bill for to prevent contagious diseases (29 April). On 13 June he was among those to whom the bill to confirm the privileges of Parliament was committed.14

In the third Caroline Parliament Finch was again named to the committee of privileges (20 Mar. 1628), but he received only four other nominations. On 19 May he was appointed to consider the bill against scandalous ministers and a month later he was added to the committee for the Medway navigation bill. He was one of the Members instructed to attend the king on 22 June, when the Speaker, his cousin John Finch II, asked in the Commons’ name for an adjournment rather than a prorogation.15 In the second session he was named to two legislative committees, one to prevent the begging of forfeitures before attainder (23 Jan. 1629) and another on corruption in ecclesiastical and university appointments (23 February).16

There is no evidence that Finch sought re-election in the 1640s. He was given a pass to France on 10 Aug. 1643 as escort to Sir Heneage Finch’s widow and her daughters; but he may not have utilized it as he is recorded as having paid his assessment at Haberdashers’ Hall three months later. His date of death is unknown and, his children having died in infancy, his sister-in-law was the sole beneficiary of his nuncupative will, made at Kensington on 14 Dec. 1657 and proved the following month.17

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Soc. Antiq. ms 168, f. 186v; Collins, Peerage, iii. 383; Misc. Gen. et Her. ii. 337.
  • 2. Al. Ox.; I. Temple database of admiss.
  • 3. St. Mary Magdalene Milk Street ed. A.W. Hughes Clarke (Harl. Soc. reg. lxxii), 5.
  • 4. PROB 11/94, f. 111; Mdx. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lxv), 132; LMA, Bromley St. Leonard par. reg.
  • 5. PROB 11/272, f. 5A.
  • 6. C181/2, f. 328v; 181/3, f. 209v.
  • 7. CITR, ii. 170,
  • 8. SP16/221/1.
  • 9. Ancient Vellum Bk. ed. G.A. Raikes, 52.
  • 10. Collins, Peerage, iii. 383; A. Wood, Fasti Oxon. ii. 102.
  • 11. I. Temple Admiss.; PROB 11/94, f. 111; 11/115, f. 273v; W.A. Copinger, Manors of Suff. vi. 26.
  • 12. DCO, ‘Prince Charles in Spain’, f. 35.
  • 13. East Suss. RO, WIN 55, f. 284.
  • 14. Procs. 1626, ii. 7, 147, 216, 238; iii. 97, 432.
  • 15. CD 1628, ii. 29, 564; iii. 463; iv. 404.
  • 16. CJ, i. 922a, 932b.
  • 17. LJ, vi. 174; CCAM, 270; PROB 11/272, f. 5A.