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Heneage Finch

HENEAGE FINCH (1621-1682), first earl of Nottingham in the Finch line, lord chancellor -of England, was descended from an old family (see FINCH, FINCH-HATTON), many of whose members had attained to high legal eminence, and was the eldest son of Sir Heneage Finch, recorder of London, by his first wife Frances, daughter of Sir Edmund Bell of Beaupre Hall, Norfolk. In the register of Oxford university he is entered as born in Kent on the 23rd of December 1621, and probably his native place was Eastwell in that county. He was educated at Westminster and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he remained till he became a member of the Inner Temple in 1638. He was called to the bar in 1645, and soon obtained a lucrative practice. He was a member of the convention parliament of April 1660, and shortly afterwards was appointed solicitor-general, being created a baronet the day after he was knighted. In May of the following year he was chosen to represent the university of Oxford, and in 1665 the university created him a. D.C.L. In 1670 he became attorney-general, and in 1675 lord chancellor. He was created Baron Finch in 1674, and earl of Nottingham in May 1681. He died in Great Queen Street, London, on the 18th of December 1682, and was buried in the church of Ravenstone in Bucks.

His contemporaries of both sides of politics agree in their high estimate of his integrity, moderation and eloquence, while his abilities as a lawyer are sufficiently attested by the fact that he is still spoken of as " the father of equity." His most important contribution to the statute book is The Statute of Frauds." While attorney-general he superintended the edition of Sir Henry Hobart's Reports (1671). He also published Several Speeches and Discourses in the Tryal of the Judges of King Charles I. (1660) ; Speeches to both Houses of Parliament (1679) ; Speech at the Sentence of Viscount Stafford (1680). He left Chancery Reports in MS., and notes on Coke's Institutes.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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