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Heneage Finch, 1st Earl of Aylesford (1647?-1719), Lord Chancellor

Sitter in 11 portraits
Called to the Bar in 1677, Finch moved into politics two years later, and was appointed Solicitor General. Although loyal to the new king, James II, Finch also supported the anti-Catholic cause. In 1686, the king dismissed him as solicitor after he refused to pass a warrant appointing a Catholic to the mastership of an Oxford college. In 1688, he successfully defended the seven bishops who petitioned James against his Declaration of Indulgence. After James fled the country in 1688, Finch was consulted about the prevailing legal situation. He argued that the king's departure had not made the throne vacant, and recommended offering a regency rather than the crown to William and Mary.