Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fynch, Martin

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

FYNCH or FINCH, MARTIN (1628?–1698), ejected minister, was born about 1628, and entered the ministry about 1648. His maiden effort as an author was a criticism (1656) of the mystical theology of Sir Henry Vane. He was ejected from the vicarage of Tetney, Lincolnshire, by the uniformity act of 1662. In 1668 we find him in Norwich, where he acted as one of three ‘heads and teachers’ of a congregation of three hundred independents, who met for worship in the house of John Tofts, a grocer, in St. Clement's parish. On the issuing of the indulgence of 1672, Fynch took out a license to preach in the house of Nicholas Withers, in St. Clement's. He became pastor of the independent congregation in succession to John Cromwell (d. April 1685). Their meeting-place was the west granary in St. Andrew's parish. Fynch removed his flock to a brewhouse in St. Edmund's parish, which he fitted up as a meeting-house; and after the passing of the Toleration Act (1689) he secured a site in St. Clement's parish, being ‘part of the Friars' great garden,’ on which a handsome building was erected (finished 1693), originally known as the ‘New Meeting,’ but since 1756 called the ‘Old Meeting.’ John Stackhouse was Fynch's colleague from about 1691.

With the presbyterian minister at Norwich, John Collinges, D.D. [q. v.], who died 18 Jan. 1691, Fynch was in close relations, both personal and ecclesiastical. In accordance with the terms of the ‘happy union’ (mooted in 1690), these divines agreed to discard the dividing names ‘presbyterian’ and ‘independent’ and co-operate simply as dissenters. Fynch preached Collinges's funeral sermon, and defended his memory in reply to a pamphlet by Thomas Grantham (1634–1692) [q. v.]

Fynch suffered from failing eyesight, and was a victim to calculus, a malady prevalent in Norfolk. He died on 13 Feb. 1697 (i.e. 1698), and was buried in the graveyard on the north side of his meeting-house, immediately behind the pulpit. The epitaph on his flat tombstone is the main authority for the dates of his biography. After his death there was a rupture in his congregation, which lasted for twenty years.

He published: 1. ‘Animadversions upon Sir Henry Vane's … The Retired Man's Meditations,’ &c., 1656, 12mo. 2. ‘A Manual of Practical Divinity,’ &c., 1658, 8vo. 3. ‘A Treatise of the Conversion of Sinners,’ &c., 1680, 8vo. 4. ‘An Answer to Mr. Thomas Grantham's … Dialogue between the Baptist and the Presbyterian,’ &c., 1691, 8vo. 5. ‘A Funeral Sermon for … John Collinges, D.D.,’ &c., 1695, 4to.

[Calamy's Account, 1713, p. 448; Continuation, 1727, ii. 601; Palmer's Nonconf. Memorial, 1802, ii. 434 (a note by J. O., i.e. Job Orton, erroneously connects him with Peter, son of Henry Finch (1633–1704) [q. v.]); Browne's Hist. Congr. Norf. and Suff. 1877, pp. 260, 265 sq., 557 sq.; Fynch's Answer to Grantham.]

A. G.