Fiennes


Select Fiennes Surname Genealogy

Fiennes, pronounced as fiynz, is a surname of Norman origin.  Fiennes was a commune in what is today the Pas-de-Calais department.

Select Fiennes Resources on The Internet

Select Fiennes Ancestry

EnglandThe first of the Fiennes would appear to have been Ingelram de Fiennes, who hailed from Fiennes in Normandy, married well (Sybil de Boulogne, the heiress to the Counts of Boulogne), but was killed at the Battle of Acre in Palestine in 1190.  It was a later de Fiennes, Sir John de Fiennes, who also married well and established himself in the early 1300ís at Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex.

James Fiennes was killed by a Kentish mob in 1450.  But a third providential marriage brought together a few years later his son William Fiennes and Margaret Wykeham of Broughton Castle in Oxfordshire.  Broughton Castle was to be the family home of the Wykeham-Fiennes and later of the Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes (to give the family its full spelling). 

Thomas Fiennes fared badly at the time of Henry VIII, being stripped of his lands and titles and hanged as a common criminal in 1541.  But the family did later return into favor. 
William Fiennes, nicknamed Old Subtlety, wavered between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians at the time of the Civil War.  He eventually supported Parliament.  However, the execution of King Charles proved a step too far and, almost 70, he retreated into exile.  Come the Restoration eleven years later, he was brought back at the age of 80 as a Privy Councillor. 

The family history was colorfully described in Ranulph Fiennesí 2010 book Mad Dogs and Englishmen.   

The 19th century Frederick Fiennes, 16th Baron Saye and Sele, had two notable lines of descendants:  
  • via grandson Sir Eustace Fiennes who was a distinguished soldier, politician and colonial administrator, and made a baronet.  His grandson Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the 3rd Baronet, is the famous explorer.
  • via great grandson Sir Maurice Fiennes who was a noted industrialist, Chairman of the Davy-Ashmore steelworks in Sheffield.  His son Mark was a photographer and illustrator, his grandsons Ralph (pronounced Rafe) and Joseph famous film actors.
Select Fiennes Names

Celia Fiennes was a pioneer English woman traveller of the late 17th century.  Her travel memoirs, written in 1702, were eventually published in 1888.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes
is a well-known British adventurer and holder of several endurance records (including the oldest to climb Mount Everest).
Ralph Fiennes
is a well-known English film actor.
 

Select Fiennes Today
  • 500 in the UK (most numerous in London)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

Click here for reader feedback
Click here for return to front page