Nottingham, Heneage Finch, 1st earl of

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Nottingham, Heneage Finch, 1st earl of (1621–82). Finch was a barrister, son of one Speaker of the House of Commons and nephew of another, Sir John Finch. He avoided public life during the Commonwealth but after the Restoration his rise was rapid. He was returned as MP for Canterbury in 1660, transferring to Oxford University in 1661. As solicitor-general in 1660 he prosecuted the regicides, was promoted attorney-general in 1670, granted a barony in 1674, and from 1675 to his death was lord chancellor. In 1681, sixteen days after the death of the previous holder of the title, he was created earl of Nottingham. A skilful, hard-working, and conciliatory lawyer, he steered a shrewd course amidst the rapids of Charles II's reign. His house at Kensington, with fine gardens, was purchased after the Glorious Revolution by William III and became Kensington palace. Pepys admired his eloquence greatly but Burnet seems to have found it old-fashioned and florid.

J. A. Cannon

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Heneage Finch 1st earl of Nottingham

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