Heneage Finch, 4th Earl of Aylesford

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The Right Honourable
The Earl of Aylesford
PC, FRS, FSA
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard
In office
1783–1804
Monarch George III
Prime Minister Hon. William Pitt the Younger
Henry Addington
Preceded by The Earl of Cholmondeley
Succeeded by Lord Pelham
Lord Steward of the Household
In office
1804–1812
Monarch George III
Prime Minister Hon. William Pitt the Younger
The Lord Grenville
The Duke of Portland
Hon. Spencer Perceval
Preceded by The Earl of Dartmouth
Succeeded by The Earl of Cholmondeley
Personal details
Born 4 July 1751 (1751-07-04)
Syon House, near London
Died 21 October 1812 (1812-10-22)
Great Packington, Warwickshire
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Lady Louisa Thynne
(1760–1832)
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

Heneage Finch, 4th Earl of Aylesford PC, FRS, FSA (4 July 1751 – 21 October 1812), styled Lord Guernsey between 1757 and 1777, was a British peer, politician and artist.

Background and education[edit]

Aylesford was the son of Heneage Finch, 3rd Earl of Aylesford, and Lady Charlotte Finch, daughter of Charles Seymour, 6th Duke of Somerset. He was born at his paternal grandfather's residence, Syon House, near London. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford.[1]

Political career[edit]

Aylesford was returned to parliament for Castle Rising in 1772, a seat he held until 1774,[1][2] and then represented Maidstone until 1777,[1][3] when he succeeded his father in the earldom and entered the House of Lords. He was a Lord of the Bedchamber to George III between 1777 and 1783.[1] The latter year he was sworn of the Privy Council[4] and appointed Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard[4] by William Pitt the Younger. He retained this office until 1804, the last three years under the premiership of Henry Addington. When Pitt resumed office in 1804, Aylesford was made Lord Steward of the Household. He continued in this office until his death in 1812, under successively Lord Grenville, the Duke of Portland and Spencer Perceval.[1]

Aylesford also held the honorary position of High Steward of Sutton Coldfield from 1796 until his death.[citation needed]

Artistic career[edit]

Apart from his political career Lord Aylesford was an artist of some repute in the British landscape tradition. Tate Britain has 50 watercolours, drawings and prints by Finch in its collection. In 1795 an Album of Etchings by Lord Aylesford and Others was published.[5] A. P. Oppe wrote an article giving some background and listing 85 of Aylesford's etchings titled The Fourth Earl of Aylesford. The Print Collector’s Quarterly 1924, Vol 11, p. 263.


Lord Aylesford was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1773 and was a trustee of the British Museum between 1787 and 1812.[1]

Family[edit]

Lord Aylesford married Lady Louisa Thynne, daughter of Thomas Thynne, 1st Marquess of Bath, on 18 November 1781. They had twelve children:

  • Charles Finch, Lord Guernsey (d. 18 July 1784)
  • Heneage Finch, 5th Earl of Aylesford (1786–1859)[1]
  • Hon. Daniel Finch (25 February 1789 – 17 January 1868), artist.
  • Lady Frances Finch (c. 1791 – 12 July 1886), unmarried
  • Hon. Edward Finch (1792 – 9 April 1830)
  • Lieutenant-General the Hon. John Finch (1793 – 25 November 1861), married in 1835 Katherine Ellice (d. 1872)
  • Hon. Henry Finch (1795–1829)
  • Lady Charlotte Finch (d. 17 January 1869), married Charles Palmer on 22 January 1823.
  • Hon. Charles Finch (b. 1799)
  • Lady Mary Finch (d. 24 July 1823)
  • Lady Elizabeth Finch (d. 1 June 1879)
  • Lady Henrietta Finch (d. 1828)
  • Lady Caroline Finch (d. 1821)[citation needed]

Lord Aylesford died at Great Packington, Warwickshire, in October 1812, aged 61, from gout in the stomach. He was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, Heneage. The Countess of Aylesford died in December 1832, aged 72.[1]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Thomas Whately
Crisp Molineux
Member of Parliament for Castle Rising
with Crisp Molineux

1772–1774
Succeeded by
Alexander Wedderburn
Robert Mackreth
Preceded by
Charles Marsham
Robert Gregory
Member of Parliament for Maidstone
with Sir Horace Mann

1774–1777
Succeeded by
Sir Horace Mann, Bt
Hon. Charles Finch
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Cholmondeley
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard
1783–1804
Succeeded by
Lord Pelham
Preceded by
The Earl of Dartmouth
Lord Steward
1804–1812
Succeeded by
The Earl of Cholmondeley
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Marquess of Bath
High Steward of Sutton Coldfield
1796–1812
Succeeded by
The Lord Middleton
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Heneage Finch
Earl of Aylesford
1777–1812
Succeeded by
Heneage Finch