The family of Finch in Dunstable were undoubtedly related to the Finches of Redbourn since ‘Thomas Finch of Dunstable’ appears in the court rolls of Redbourn in the time of Henry VIII. I have made suggestions as to how this branch of the family linked into the Redbourn Finches but the link is not entirely clear. Thomas of Dunstable’s choice of the name ‘Roger’ for his second son indicates that he may be related to Roger FINCH of Redbourn, but beyond that there is little clear evidence to show how he linked in. Dunstable and Redbourn are separated by just a few miles along the old Roman Road of Watling Street and Dunstable was at the time an important trading centre. It is likely that Thomas was apprenticed to a Dunstable draper some time ~1505 although to whom remains unclear.
The Dunstable Finches were an important branch of the family. They acquired status and wealth as drapers in Dunstable, and used it to invest in land in other villages including Houghton Regis and Luton. Thomas’ eldest son (Thomas) followed his father as a draper and similarly prospered. The influence of the family began to enter London, as Thomas’ daughter Joan married Thomas BULL, a freeman of the Merchant Tailors in London, and arranged freedom for his younger sons Roger and Richard in the same company. The links with the merchant tailors remained in place for some generations. On Thomas’ death, he left a considerable estate to his wife Elizabeth and on her death in 1607 established a charity for the poor, known subsequently as ‘Finch’s charity’.
FINCH of Dunstable
Thomas FINCH (c. 1495-1558), yeoman of Dunstable, born in Redbourn and appears on court rolls there ~1520. His choice of the name Roger for his son may indicate he was related to Redbourn lineage 2. Bought land in Houghton Regis 1525 from William SEAMAN (deed in British Library). Married first Alice by whom he had two sons, of whom below. He then married Elizabeth. He died 1558 and had his will proved in the Archdeaconry Court of Bedford. His sons were:
- Thomas FINCH (~1525-1586) of whom following,
- Roger FINCH (~1530-1556), singingman of Luton, but with property in Houghton Regis. Married Agnes and had children Rowland FINCH, Thomas FINCH, Collett and Alice. Rowland may be Roland FINCH (d. 1590) of St George the Martyr, Southwark whose will was proved in the Archdeaconry Court of Surrey.
Thomas FINCH (c.1525-1586), Draper of Dunstable and married Elizabeth ~1550 and had at least 5 sons and four daughters. She died 1607 establishing ‘Finch’s charity’ in her will, proved at the Archdeaconry Court of Bedford. Thomas died 1586 with property in Houghton Regis. His children were:
- Edward FINCH (~1552-1588) of Aylesbury, Bucks (see Dunstable Lineage B below).
- John FINCH (~1555-1631) of Dunstable. Married 1571 Christian LESSAM (who died 1594) and had at least two sons and a daughter: Elizabeth (1572-1581), Thomas FINCH (1574-?) and Andrew FINCH (1579-1579).
- Richard FINCH (1558-1640), Citizen and Merchant Taylor of London and Dunstable. Apprenticed to Thomas BULL (brother in law) and free of the Merchant Taylors’ Company 1580. Took apprentice younger brother Roger ~1582. Died without issue 1640 and had will proved at the Archdeaconry Court of London.
- Thomas FINCH (1562-1626) of Amersham. Appears to have married ~17 years old and has issue Richard FINCH, Andrew FINCH (1580-?), Elizabeth (1580-?) who married HOLMES, Thomas FINCH (1581-?), Daniel FINCH (1583-1590), Mary (1585-?) and Phoebe (1587-?) who married 1602 to Nicholas PHILLIPS, Roberta, Christine (1594-?), Rebecca (1596-?) who married 1619 to Thomas HUNT, Susannah.
- Roger FINCH, (1567-?) of whom following.
- Joan (~1550-?). Married first Thomas BULL, Citizen and Merchant Taylor (master to Richard FINCH). He died before 1583, when she remarried Thomas COLE at Dunstable.
- Alice (?-1568) burial at Dunstable.
- Alice (?-?). Married WAKEFIELD.
- Elizabeth (~1556-?). Married STONE.
Roger FINCH, (1567-?) Citizen and Merchant Taylor of London, apprenticed to elder brother Richard ~1582, free 1592. Worked as a linen-draper. Married 1592 Elizabeth HADDON at All Hallows by London Wall with whom he had seven children. She died 1616 and he married Winifred COOK in 1621. She died in 1633; his death unknown. His children are:
- Roger FINCH (1593-1652) of whom following.
- Edward FINCH (1595-?), Citizen and Scrivener. Also free 1625 of the Merchant Taylors’ Company by patrimony. Married Katherine and had a daughter Hannah.
- Hannah (1597-?), married 1631 Thomas CLEAVER of Little Cuddesden.
- Rebecca (1599-1599)
- Samuel FINCH (1600-?)
- Samuel FINCH (1604-?)
- Daniel FINCH (1607-1607)
Roger FINCH (1593-1652), Citizen and Merchant Taylor of London apprenticed to father ~1606, free 1616. Lived in Dunstable. Married first Hannah BEDFORD 1628 by whom he had three children. She died c.1634 and he remarried Jane WEEDON and they had a further four children. He died 1652 and had his will proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. His children with Hannah were:
- Samuel FINCH (1632-?)
- Daniel FINCH (1633-1693) of whom following.
- Hannah (1629-?)
and then with Jane,
- Thomas FINCH (1636-?)
- Elizabeth (1639-?)
- Mary (1642-?)
- Sarah (?-1642)
Daniel FINCH (1633-1693) born in Dunstable, married Sarah (who died 1702). The Prerogative Court of Canterbury proved his will. They had children:
- Daniel FINCH (?-1706), will proved PCC.
- Sarah who married John PRENTICE
Dunstable Lineage B
Edward FINCH (c.1552-1587), Mercer of Aylesbury, Bucks with land in Dunstable, born ~1552 in Dunstable. He married Margaret and had children. The Archdeaconry Court of Buckingham proved administration of his goods in 1588. He had children:
- Richard FINCH (c.1574-?) of Aylesbury, Bucks. He had at least two sons: Edward FINCH and Thomas FINCH
- Edward FINCH (1576-1603), Citizen and Painter-stainer of London and Aylesbury. Administration proved at the Commissary Court of London.
- Thomas FINCH (1578-1642) of whom following.
- Mary FINCH (1579-?)
- Robert FINCH (1582-1588)
- Elizabeth FINCH (1584-1595)
- John FINCH (1585-?)
Thomas FINCH (c.1578-1642) grocer, Citizen and Tyler and Brickmaker of London. Apprenticed 1592 to John PRESTON of the Merchant Taylor’s Company in London at which time he would have been ~14 years old. Lived in parish of St Peter Paul’s Wharf, London. He was churchwarden of St Benet Peter’s Wharf in 1619, 1620 and 1624. Will Prerogative Court of Canterbury. He had at least five children:
- Grace (c.1608-?), married John MADDOCK.
- Thomas FINCH (1609-?)
- Frances (1611-?), married William SHEFFIELD.
- Richard FINCH of whom following.
- Barbara (1608-1610) Baptism in St Peter Paul’s Wharf is entered as 1618 but likely to be a mistake for 1608. Buried in Amersham, Bucks.
Richard FINCH (c.1615-1657), Citizen and Tyler and Brickmaker of London, lived in St Giles Cripplegate. He had at least two sons. Died 1657 and had his will proved by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. His children were:
- John FINCH
- William FINCH (~1648-?), citizen and carpenter, apprenticed 1662 to Edward LEA [LEIGH] via the Carpenters’ Company, free 1669.