Yoeman farmer. Raised in a family with Catholic and Protestant members, he was able to closely observe each side; John became a strong and faithful Catholic. Married layman. His home became a center for covert missionary work, and he hid and harboured priests. Parish clerk and catechist.
On Christmas 1581 he and Father George Ostliffe were ambushed and arrested. Finch was kept prisoner in the house of the Earl of Derby, alternately tortured and offered bribes to get information about covert Catholics; the authorities spread the story that he had turned in Father George himself, was taking refuge with Derby, and was voluntarily giving up the name of every Catholic he knew. John spent time in the Fleet prison, Manchester, and in the House of Correction, spending months in dungeons, being dragged by his heels to Protestant churches. He and three priests were brought to trial for their faith in Lancaster on 18 April 1584. While waiting execution, he ministered to condemned felons in his cell. Martyred with James Bell.
- if you have information relevant to the canonization of Blessed Francis, contact
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
39 Eccleston Square
London SW1V 1BX, UNITED KINGDOM
- Book of Saints, by the Monks of Ramsgate
- Catholic Encyclopedia
- Catholic Online
- Katherine Rabenstein
- Martirologio Romano, 2005 edition
- Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints
- Santi e Beati
- “Blessed John Finch“. Saints.SQPN.com. 20 March 2014. Web. 29 July 2014. <>