Vincent was born presumably in Northamptonshire, about 1584, third and youngest son of William Vincent (died 1618) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Mabbott of Walgrave, merchant of the staple. He early obtained a post in the Tower of London. He had access to the documents preserved there and occupied himself in making extracts from them. He became known as an antiquary, and on 22 February 1616 was appointed by patent Rouge Rose pursuivant extraordinary. The College of Arms was at this time quarrelsome. Vincent was the friend of William Camden, who in 1618 appointed him his deputy to visit Northamptonshire and Rutland, thereby annoying those of the opposite party, some of whom were passed over in favour of a younger man. The practice of visitation by deputy was in 1619 the subject of a formal complaint on the part of Sir William Segar, Garter King of Arms, and Sir Richard St. George, Norroy King of Arms to the Earl Marshal. Camden, however, was able to justify himself. Vincent was constituted Rouge Croix pursuivant by patent of 29 May 1621, and on 5 June 1624 he became Windsor herald. He died on 11 January 1626, and was buried at the church of St Benet, Paul's Wharf.
Vincent's only publication arose from his taking part on the side of Camden in his quarrel with Ralph Brooke. Brooke's Discoverie, his first printed denunciation of Camden, appeared in 1599; the fifth edition of Camden's Britannia, containing a reply, in 1600; and Brooke's Catalogue of Kings, Princes, continuing the squabble, in 1619 (2nd edition, enlarged, 1622). In reply to Brooke's Catalogue Vincent produced his Discoverie of Errours in the first edition of Catalogue of Nobility published by Ralfe Brooke, Yorke Herald... at the end whereof is annexed a Review of a later edition by him Stolne into the World, 1621, London, 1622. This volume, like the first (but not the second) edition of Brooke's Catalogue, was printed by William Jaggard. On his printer, Jaggard, Brooke had blamed for some of the errors in the first edition of his Catalogue. In his Discoverie, Vincent gave Jaggard space to reply to Brooke's comments on his skill as a printer. When, in 1623, Jaggard completed the printing of the first folio edition of Shakespeare, he presented to Vincent one of the earliest copies that came from the press.
Vincent also made collections for a baronage of England, called the Herωologia Anglica, on which his son John afterwards worked. William Burton, the historian of Leicestershire, and John Weever, author of Ancient Funeral Monuments, both speak of help from Vincent. Vincent's collections found their way, through his son and then through Ralph Sheldon, into the possession of the College of Arms.
Vincent married, on 30 June 1614, Elizabeth, third daughter of Vincent Primount of Canterbury, who came originally from Bivill la Baignard in Normandy. She married, before November 1630, Eusebius Catesby of Castor, Northamptonshire, and died on 6 August 1667. His son was also an antiquary.
- University of Toronto Libraries, British Armorial Bindings Retrieved 16 December 2015
- Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. .