Note: L&M Call him 2nd Earl of Winchilsea, with dates 1628-89. Wikipedia says he was 3rd Earl of Winchilsea, with dates 1635-89.


This text was copied from Wikipedia on 11 July 2024 at 6:10AM.

The Earl of Winchilsea
English Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire
In office
MonarchCharles II
Preceded bySir Thomas Bendish
Succeeded bySir Daniel Harvey
Personal details
Heneage Finch

Died28 September 1689(1689-09-28) (aged 60–61)
Hon. Diana Willoughby
(m. 1645; died 1648)​
Lady Mary Seymour
(m. 1650; died 1673)​
Catherine Norcliffe
(m. 1673; died 1678)​
Elizabeth Ayres
(m. 1681)​
Children16, including
EducationQueens' College, Cambridge
Arms of Finch: Argent, a chevron between three griffins passant sable

Heneage Finch, 3rd Earl of Winchilsea (c. 1628 – 28 September 1689) was an English peer and diplomat who served as the English ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1660 to 1669.

Early life

Finch was the only surviving son of Thomas Finch, 2nd Earl of Winchilsea and the former Cecille Wentworth of Gosfield Hall, Essex.[1]

His paternal grandparents were Sir Moyle Finch, 1st Baronet and Elizabeth Finch, suo jure 1st Countess of Winchilsea. His father inherited his grandfather's baronetcy from his uncle, Sir Theophilus Finch, 2nd Baronet, who died without issue in 1619. His maternal grandparents were John Wentworth, High Sheriff of Essex and Cecily Unton. His first cousin was Heneage Finch, 1st Earl of Nottingham.[2]

He was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge.[3]


On his return from Ottoman territory in June 1668, King Charles II remarked to Finch, "My Lord, you have not only built a town, but peopled it too". Winchilsea, in an obvious reference to Charles' own brood of natural children, replied that after all, he was the King's representative.

Lord Finch was appointed by his friend George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle a Governor of Dover Castle, and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports in July 1660. He was also Lord Lieutenant of Kent and afterwards ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, and served in this capacity between 1668 and 1672.

Samuel Pepys first referred to him as the Lord Winchilsea.[4]

King Charles II had landed at Kent on his way to London to secure the throne on 25 May 1660. The King arrived in Dover with 20 ships and frigates, the Lord General and his lifeguard were accompanied by the Earl of Winchelsea to the cheer of the crowding locals gathered upon the beach to witness a salute fired from the guns of Dover Castle. The King created him Baron FitzHerbert, of Eastwell in the County of Kent, on 26 June 1660.[1]

Personal life

Earl of Winchelsea's Estate Act 1660
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act for the settling of the Priory of Watton, and other Lands belonging to the Earl of Winchilsea, in the County of Yorke, in the Hands of Trustees, for the Payment of Debts.
Citation12 Cha. 2. c. 5
Royal assent13 September 1660

Finch was married four times and was the father of at least sixteen children. His first marriage was on 21 May 1645 to the Hon. Diana Willoughby, the eldest daughter of Francis Willoughby, 5th Baron Willoughby of Parham and Elizabeth Cecil (a younger daughter and co-heiress of Edward Cecil, 1st Viscount Wimbledon). She died and was buried at Eastwell on 27 March 1648.[1]

His second marriage was in c. 1649 to Lady Mary Seymour (1637–1673), the second daughter of William Seymour, 2nd Duke of Somerset and Lady Frances Devereux eldest daughter of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex). Before her death in 1673, their children included:[1]

His third marriage was to Catherine Norcliffe on 10 April 1673. The daughter of Sir Thomas Norcliffe and Hon. Dorothy Fairfax (fifth daughter of Thomas Fairfax, 1st Viscount Fairfax), she was twice a widow from her marriages to Christopher Lister, of Thornton, York, and Sir John Wentworth, of Elmshall, York. She died in c. 1678.[1]

His final marriage was on 29 October 1681 to Elizabeth Ayres, only daughter and heiress of John Ayres of London.[7] Before his death in 1689, they were the parents of:[1]

Lord Winchilsea died on 28 September 1689. He was succeeded in his titles by his grandson Charles, as his eldest son William predeceased him.[1]


Through his daughter Frances, he was a grandfather of Henry Thynne (1675–1708), and Frances Thynne (who married Sir Robert Worsley, 4th Baronet).[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage, and Companionage: Comprising Information Concerning All Persons Bearing Hereditary Or Courtesy Titles, Companions of All the Various Orders, and the Collateral Branches of All Peers and Baronets. Dean and son. 1888. p. 743. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  2. ^ Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire. Burke's Peerage Limited. 1830. p. 831. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  3. ^ "Eminent alumni | Queens' College".
  4. ^ Note the difference in spelling from the modern place name, Winchelsea
  5. ^ Burkes' Peerage (1939).
  6. ^ l'ANSON, B. (1933). THE HISTORY of the FINCH FAMILY - Chapter 9 The Winchilsea Pedigree (PDF). Janson & Co London. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  7. ^ Hamilton, James (10 August 2017). Gainsborough: A Portrait. Orion. ISBN 978-1-4746-0053-8. Retrieved 21 December 2022.

External links

9 Annotations

First Reading

Phil  •  Link

Finch was the 2nd Earl of Winchilsea and ambassador to the Ottoman Empire 1660-9, according to the L&M index. Pepys calls him "Lord Winchelsea."

Paul Brewster  •  Link

Wheatley footnote:
Heneage Finch, second Earl of Winchelsea, constituted by General Monk Governor of Dover Castle, July 1660; Made Lord Lieutenant of Kent and afterwards ambassador to Turkey. Died 1689.

Paul Brewster  •  Link

"Finch, Sir Heneage, 2nd Earl of Winchilsea (1628-89) Of Eastwell, Kent; a friend Of Monck. Ambassador to Turkey 1660-9. There, it was said, he

Michael Robinson  •  Link

The L&M includes the following anecdote:

There [in Turkey] it was said he 'had many women. He built little houses for them.' On his return to England the King greeted him with the words: 'My Lord, you have not only built a town but peopled it too.' 'Oh, Sir,' was the reply 'I was your Majesties representative.'

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

FINCH, HENEAGE, second Earl of Winchilsea (d. 1689), was the son of Thomas, the first earl, whose mother Elizabeth had been created Countess of Winchilsea in her widowhood by Charles I (1628). Heneage, educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, succeeded to the title of Viscount Maidstone in 1633, and of Earl of Winchilsea in 1639. He distinguished himself on the royalist side during the great rebellion, providing auxiliary troops (horse and foot) at his own expense, and supplying 'with great hazard' Charles II's 'necessities in foreign parts.' He was a friend of Monck and was made governor of Dover Castle in 1660. Upon the Restoration he was created a baron, by the title of Lord Fitzherbert of Eastwell (from which family the Finches claimed descent), 26 June 1660, and on 10 July was appointed lord-lieutenant of Kent. Early in 1661 he went on an important embassy to Sultan Mahomet Chan IV, and published an account of it the same year. He remained as English ambassador at Constantinople eight years, and on his return journey wrote from Naples to the king a description, which was afterwards printed, of the eruption of Mount Etna. He was reinstated on his arrival in England lord-lieutenant of Kent and governor of Dover Castle, but was, with a long list of other lieutenants, dismissed from the former post in 1687. When James II was stopped at Feversham by the Kentish fishermen, he wrote to Winchilsea, who was at Canterbury, asking him to come to him. The earl arrived before night (12 Dec), and interposed on behalf of the king besides moving him to a more suitable lodging in a private house. When James fled for the second time, Winchilsea was one of those who voted for offering the vacant throne to William and Mary, and in March 1689 was again made lord-lieutenant of Kent. He died in August the same year. He married four times: (1) Diana, daughter of Francis, fifth lord Willoughby of Parham; (2) Mary, daughter of William Seymour, marquis of Hertford; (3) Catherine, daughter of Sir Thomas Norcliff; (4) Elizabeth, daughter of John Ayres, esq. Out of twenty-seven children sixteen lived to 'some maturity.'
---Dictionary of National Biography. V.19, 1889.

Bill  •  Link

Heneage Finch, who was made solicitor-general soon after the Restoration, rose by regular gradations to the high office of chancellor, for which he was eminently qualified. He presided in the Chancery when the whole kingdom was divided into factions; but had such a command of his passions, and was so nice in his conduct, that he always appeared to be of no faction himself. He was master of the powers of elocution in a very high degree; a talent extremely dangerous in the possession of a dishonest man. This he took every occasion of exerting: but it was only to enforce and adorn, never to weaken or disguise the truth. Several of his speeches are in print. Ob. 18 Dec. 1682.
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1779.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Sorry, Bill, the Attorney General is a cousin. The Finches were a big family, and as I recall there were quite a few Heneages. Just like there are too many Thomas Pepys for us to remember which one is which.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.