Heneage Finch, 3rd Earl of Winchilsea

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The Right Honourable
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[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed] The King created him Baron FitzHerbert, of Eastwell in the County of Kent, on 26 June 1660.[1]

Personal life[edit]

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[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire
Succeeded by
Honorary titles
English Interregnum Lord Lieutenant of Kent
jointly with The Earl of Southampton 1662–1667
The Duke of Richmond 1668–1672

Succeeded by
Custos Rotulorum of Kent
Preceded by Vice-Admiral of Kent
Preceded by Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lord Lieutenant of Somerset
Succeeded by
Preceded by Lord Lieutenant and Custos Rotulorum of Kent
Succeeded by
Peerage of England
Preceded by Earl of Winchilsea
Succeeded by
New title Baron FitzHerbert