Arthur Finch of New England?

The index of early emigrants to America contains reference to an Arthur FINCH. We have tracked this reference down to the papers of Sir Richard SALTONSTALL (1586-1661), who was one of the driving forces behind the Winthrop Fleet. Among the papers of Saltonstall, there is a receipt from Saltonstall dated 2 Mar 1629 from Thomas MARSH for £33 6/8 for his adventure for the plantation in New England. The receipt is annotated ‘Attention Arthur FINCH’ and it appears that it is from this comment, that the suggestion that Arthur FINCH was an emigrant derives. However, we interpret the receipt to indicate it is more likely that Arthur FINCH was an agent involved in the supply of the fleet, rather than taking part in it himself. We have therefore looked for Arthur in London, from where it is believed the Fleet was supplied.

Arthur FINCH (c.1577-1644) of St Olave’s, Hart Street, London was a member of the Grocers’ Company, made free in 1599 having been the apprentice of William STANLAKE. The freedom suggests he was born about 1577 since freemen were often about 21 or 22 years old. In Harrow-on-the-Hill, just north of London, is the baptism of an Arthur FINCH in 1575, and, although the parents are not recorded, this might be the grocer. We have not found apprenticeship records that might confirm his parents. He was married in 1605 to Frances STOREY at St Giles Cripplegate, and then we find him in St Stephen’s, Coleman Street, London where four children are baptised. His first wife died and he married 1620 to Sarah SWISTER at St Olave’s, Hart Street. Sarah died during childbirth of their son James in 1621. James died in infancy in 1624, and was buried in the Mercer’s chapel. Arthur married again to a second Frances sometime after that date. In 1629, when the Saltonstall reference was written, Finch was in St Olave’s. Arthur died in 1644, and an administration was made to his third wife Frances.

Arthur FINCH family tree

Family Tree of Arthur FINCH of St Olave’s Hart Street, London

Of his known children, John and Edward are unaccounted for, although we are yet to check the burial registers of St Stephen’s Coleman Street. Interestingly, John (1608-) could be about the right age to be the emigrant to New England who arrived in 1630, although it has been suggested that the John FINCH of New England was already married when he arrived in America, and therefore would have been born before 1608. On balance we think it is unlikely that this is the John Finch of New England.