Ancestors of a 21st century British family

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  • ID: I12328
  • Name: Elizabeth Heneage
  • Suffix: Countess of Winchilsea
  • Sex: F
  • Birth: 9 JUL 1556 in Copt Hall, Epping, Essex
  • Death: 13 MAR 1633 in Eastwell, Kent
  • Burial: 5 APR 1634 Eastwell, Kent
  • PCTS: Effigy now in V&A Museum
  • MEM: V&A Museum, London: Effigy on tomb, originally at St Mary?s church, Eastwell
  • Note: 1 2

    As a widow was first created Viscountess Maidstone in her own right in 1623.,and then Countess of Winchilsea in 1628, a title that was remaindered to her male heirs.

    In the nineteen years left to Elizabeth Heneage Finch, she acquired handles. First she and her fourth son, Sir Heneage Finch (our elder Heneage's great-uncle, the jurist and monument-maker) worked at it. He achieved knighthood in 1618. But it was not until 1623/4 after much politicking and the handing over of 6000l. to one Esme, Earl of March, Duke of Lenox, that Elizabeth Heneage Finch and her and Sir Moyle Finch's third son, Sir John Finch, achieved for her Viscountess Maidstone and for him the "Sir." Further similar efforts led in 1628, to Elizabeth Heneage Finch becoming first Countess of Winchilsea, which titles were to revert to the heirs male, in this case to her second son, Sir Thomas Finch, our elder Heneage's father (Physick 6-30; Cameron 38; Reynolds xxxi; I'Anson 52, 55). (The eldest boy, Sir Theophilus Finch died without issue.) About the character of this final deal, of which the later Finches were so proud, we have this gossip in a contemporary letter to Lionel, Earl of Middlesex:

    "Your Lordship's shee neighbour must needs have a fair large house, for her ordinary one cannot contain the honour; she is now Countess of Winchelsea, and Sir John Finch [her third son] drinks 5000l. by the bargain for his service to the late Parliament
    (Physick 7).
    Winchelsea House, Epping, was the seat of the Lord of the Manor of Epping Bury, Sir Moyle Finch. His wife Elizabeth was the daughter of Sir Thomas Heneage, owner of Copped Hall. In 1595, Sir Thomas Heneage left Copped Hall to his wife Mary for her lifetime, after which it went to his daughter. Elizabeth, Lady Moyle Finch, detested her stepmother, not least because she retained her title of Countess of Southampton whilst she was a mere baronet's wife. Elizabeth was heard to say that she would gladly give Copped Hall to anyone who could persuade the king to raise her to the rank of Countess alongside her stepmother.
    Her remark was overheard by Lionel Cranfield, an ambitious man who owned Pishiobury in Sawbridgeworth. When, in 1621, he became Lord High Treasurer, he remembered Lady Finch's words. He devised a highly complex plan to obtain a title for Lady Finch, pay off the debts of the Duke of Richmond & Lennox, a Royal favourite, and acquire Copped Hall for himself. The Duke was Lord Steward of the Royal Household and a kinsman of James. He was in debt to the sum of 10,000, approximately the value of Pishiobury. James agreed to make Lady Finch a Countess and Cranfield paid the Duke's debts, in return for Copped Hall. Unfortunately, James changed his mind at the last minute and Lady Finch had to make do with becoming Viscountess Maidstone. In 1628 Charles I made good his father's promise and made her Countess of Winchelsea. She only lived to enjoy her title for another five years before dying in 1633.Her eldest son, Sir Heneage Finch, Recorder of London and Speaker of the House of Commons, had died in 1631 and his brother, on becoming Earl of Winchelsea, sold Winchelsea House to William, Lord Grey of Wark.
    Ravenstone Priory was dissolved in 1524 by Cardinal Wolsey, prior to the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII between 1536 & 1540, to raise money for the Crown.
    A few years later the Finch chapel was built on to the south side of the church to receive the body of Lady Elizabeth Finch who succeeded to the estate on the death of her father in 1595, becoming one of the richest women in England. The chapel monument in black and white marble is inscribed in Latin and English and is attributed to either Joseph Catterns or William Stanton. Church Back View
    Lady Elizabeth?s grandson, Heneage, the First Earl of Nottingham also became Solicitor General and Baronet of Ravenstone in 1660. He lived at Nottingham House until 1689 when it was bought by William III who changed the name to Kensington Palace.
    The Gheerhaerts portrait was formerly in the Lenthall Collection at Burford Priory, and was purchased by the Earl of Radnor in 1808, and was as at Longford Castle in 1913.
    Seems there was a copy of the Gheerhaerts portrait, at Burley-on-the-Hill, in 1901.
    Also a portrait at Bradbourne, Kent, in 1949 (Arch. Cant.)
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  • Change Date: 28 APR 2009

    Father: Thomas Heneage b: 1533
    Mother: Anne Poyntz

    Marriage 1 Moyle Finch b: ABT 1556 in Eastwell, Kent
    • Married: 4 NOV 1572
    1. Has Children Heneage Finch b: 15 DEC 1580 in The Mote, nr Canterbury, Kent

    1. Text: I On Myself Can Live
      A Literary Biography of Anne Finch (1661-1720)1
      Unpublished book by Ellen Moody
    2. Type: Book
      Periodical: A.L.A. portrait index: index to portraits contained in printed books and periodicals
      Author: William Coolidge Lane, Nina Eliza Browne
      Publication: B. Franklin
      Date: 1906
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