Anne Finch (née Kingsmill), countess of Winchilsea

(April 1661 - 5 August 1720)
Anne Finch (1661-1720)

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Anne Finch (1661-1720)

Works in ECPA

alphabetical listing / listing in source editions

Source editions

  • Winchilsea, Anne Kingsmill Finch, Countess of, 1661-1720. Miscellany poems, on several occasions: Written by the Right Honble Anne, Countess of Winchilsea. London: printed for J. B. and sold by Benj. Tooke, William Taylor, and James Round, 1713. [8],390p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T94539; Foxon pp. 274-5; OTA K076314.000)

Biographical note

Born Anne Kingsmill at Sydmonton, near Newbury, youngest child of Sir William Kingsmill (1613-61) and Anne Haslewood (d. 1664), Anne Finch was privately educated. In 1682 she became a maid of honour to Mary of Modena (1658-1718), wife of James, Duke of York, later King James II. She entered the circle of Restoration court wits and began to write poetry. On 15 May 1684 she married Heneage Finch (1657-1726), second son of the third earl of Winchilsea, one of the Gentlemen of the Bedchamber to the Duke of York. The couple lived in Westminster Palace. Many of her early poems were domestic in nature, her husband often features in pastoral guise as "Daphnis", she adopted the pseudonym "Ardelia". She also wrote songs, pindarics, fables, epistles, translations, satires, and religious verses. Loyal to the Stuart cause, the couple fled London after the revolution of 1688 and for the next 20 years lived in the countryside. Anne's husband was arrested in 1690, but later released. Anne wrote several political poems during this period, such as The Change. Finch's poems circulated in manuscript and only occasionally appeared in miscellanies or magazines. Her best-known poem The Spleen (1701) was first published anonymously in Charles Gildon's New Miscellany of Original Poems (1701). After the accession of Queen Anne, the Finches returned to London. In 1712 Heneage succeeded as fifth earl of Winchilsea, Anne becoming countess. In 1713 she published Miscellany Poems, on Several Occasions, a collection of 86 poems, covering a wide range of subjects and written in a variety of genres. Finch's authorship was widely known, and many poets, including Nicholas Rowe, Swift, Pope, and later William Wordsworth, praised her as a poet. Finch continued writing poetry until the time of her death in 1720.


ODNB 9426; NCBEL 576-577; DMI 2337


  • Smith, Margaret M. Index of English Literary Manuscripts. Vol. III, 1700-1800 . London: Mansell, 1986-1997. Pt. 4 Sterne-Young. 535-570. Print. 4 volumes.


  • Keith, Jennifer and Claudia Thomas Kairoff, eds. The Anne Finch Digital Archive. University Libraries, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2013. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.
  • McGovern, Barbara and C. H. Hinnant, eds. The Anne Finch Wellesley Manuscript Poems: A Critical Edition. Athens, GA.: U of Georgia Press, 1998. Print.
  • Reynolds, Myra, ed. The Poems of Anne Countess of Winchilsea. Chicago: U of Chicago Press, 1903. Print.


  • Hinnant, Charles H. Selected Bibliography: Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea. c18 Bibliographies On-Line. Ed. Jack Lynch. Rutgers University, Newark, 22 Mar. 1999. Web. 20 Jan. 2012.


  • McGovern, Barbara. Anne Finch and Her Poetry: a critical biography. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1992. Print.

Reference works

  • Baines, Paul, Julian Ferraro, Pat Rogers, eds. The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Eighteenth-Century Writers and Writing, 1660-1789. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. 370-372. Print.
  • Radcliffe, David H., ed. Anne Finch (1661-1720). Spenser and the Tradition: ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830. Center for Applied Technologies in the Humanities, Virginia Tech, 2006. Web. 3 Oct. 2013.
  • Todd, Janet, ed. A Dictionary of British and American Women Writers 1660-1800. Paperback edition, revised. Lanham et al.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1987. 326-329. Print.


  • Barash, Carol. English Women's Poetry, 1649-1714: Politics, Community, and Linguistic Authority. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996. 259-87. Print.
  • Brower, Reuben A. Lady Winchilsea and the Poetic Tradition of the Seventeenth Century. Studies in Philology 42 (1945): 61-80. Print.
  • Genovese, Michael. Raising the Dead: Collecting Women Poets in the Eighteenth Century. Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 53(4) (2012): 492-497. Print.
  • Hinnant, Charles H. The Poetry of Anne Finch: An Essay in Interpretation. Newark, NJ: University of Delaware Press, 1994. Print.
  • Keith, Jennifer. The Poetics of Anne Finch. Studies in English Literature 38 (1998): 465-80. Print.
  • Kennedy, Deborah. Poetic Sisters: Early Eighteenth-Century Women Poets. Plymouth, England: Bucknell UP, 2013. 19-58. Print.
  • Lavoie, Chantel M. Collecting Women: Poetry and Lives, 1700-1780. Bucknell Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell UP, 2009. Print.
  • McGovern, Barbara. Finch, Pope, and Swift: The Bond of Displacement. Mell, Donald C, ed. Pope, Swift, and Women Writers. Newark and London: University of Delaware Press, 1996. 105-24. Print.
  • Mallinson, Jean. Anne Finch: A Woman Poet and the Tradition. Messenger, Ann, ed. Gender at Work: Four Women Writers of the Eighteenth Century. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1990. 34-76. Print.
  • Messenger, Ann. Publishing without Perishing: Lady Winchilsea's Miscellany Poems of 1713. Restoration 5 (1981): 27-37. Print.
  • Patey, Douglas Lane. Anne Finch, John Dyer, and the Syntax of Nature. Rivero, Albert J., ed. Augustan Subjects: Essays in Honor of Martin C. Battestin. Newark and London: University of Delaware Press, 1997. 29-46. Print.
  • Sena, John F. Melancholy in Anne Finch and Elizabeth Carter: The Ambivalence of an Idea. Yearbook of English Studies 1 (1971): 108-19. Print.
  • Somervell, Tess. Anne Finch: A Pre-Romantic?. The Wordsworth Trust, 6 Jan. 2017. Web. 1 Mar. 2017.