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  • The Fiennes Collection in the Old and New Worlds with Kudos to Hollywood: Part 1

    Danny D. Smith

    Published Date : March 15, 2001

    The Fiennes family has acquired new interest with the meteoric rise to fame of two brothers, Ralph Fiennes and Joseph Fiennes, Shakespearean actors turned Hollywood stars. The name is pronounced Fynes1, and the elder brother insists that the English pronunciation of Rafe is the proper one2. The family is an ancient one in England and France, paralleling the Plantagenets in antiquity and marital alliances. They have a surprising number of connections in New England where they made lasting political and cultural impressions in the seventeenth century. In the nineteenth century they again entered New England history through a marriage and social connections with the leading families of Boston.

    Counts of Boulogne (Fiennes in Artois)
    The Fiennes family established their high position in England through the patronage of two Queens: Maud, wife of Stephen, and Eleanor of Castile, wife of Edward I. They were originally châtelains of Fiennes in Artois whose fortuitous alliances to the Counts of Boulogne elevated them to great power. Their ancient Christian names have retained currency in the family of Lord Saye and Sele, head of the Fiennes family. The name of Alberic II, Count of Dammartin, common ancestor of the Fienneses and later Plantagenet kings, is borne today by the actor Joseph Alberic Fiennes. The names Eustace and Ingleram (Enguerrand is the Anglo-Norman equivalent) have likewise retained favor among the twentieth-century relatives of Lord Saye and Sele, and as recently as the late seventeenth century the name Pharamus was revived for a son of the sixth Viscount Saye and Sele.

    The Fiennes lineage commences with Eustace de Fiennes who married Adele de Furnes, but their rise to power came when their great-grandson Ingleram (Enguerrand) de Fiennes (d. 1189) married Sibyl de Tingry, daughter and heiress of Pharamus, Baron of Tingry, a close relative through a bastard line of Maud of Boulogne (d. 1152), queen consort of Stephen (d. 1154) of England. The Fienneses inherited extensive lands in England which Stephen had bestowed upon Pharamus3.

    Kindred of Eleanor of Castile, Queen of England
    In the next generation, William de Fiennes I (d. 1241) married Agnes de Dammartin, the grandaunt of Eleanor of Castile. The Dammartin connection comes into the Plantagenet lineage through Eleanor’s mother Jeanne (d. 1279) who married Ferdinand III (d. 1252), King of Castile. Jeanne’s father Simon (d. 1239) was a younger son of Alberic II (d. 1200), Count of Dammartin, the common ancestor of the Plantagenets and Fienneses. William de Fiennes I was father of Ingleram II (d. 1270), father of William de Fiennes II (d. 1302), father of Margaret de Fiennes who married Edmund Mortimer, and of Joan de Fiennes who married John, first Lord Wake (1286-1300)5.

    The patronage of Eleanor of Castile after she married King Edward of England in 1254 put the Fiennes family on sure footing in England and made them adhere to the English crown. Within weeks of the royal marriage, Eleanor helped her relatives from France. Receiving preferment in England were the Viscounts of Beaumont in Maine, a cadet branch of the Counts of Brienne, Crusader Kings of Jerusalem; and the Lords of Fiennes in the County of Boulogne. The number of these marriages of convenience is striking when compared to the violent political reaction with the favors shown by Henry III to the relatives of his wife, Eleanor of Provence. Eleanor of Castile brought no Spanish kin to England, but instead she advanced her French cousins who appeared less alien to the English. When Eleanor did find wives with fortunes for her male relatives, the husbands were younger sons of the Fienneses. Eleanor avoided the impression of nepotism6.

    Kindred of the Plantagenets
    The son of Margaret de Fiennes Mortimer was Roger Mortimer, first Earl of March (1286-1330) whose great-grandson Roger Mortimer, fourth Earl of March 1377-1398) became the father of Anne Mortimer who married Richard, Earl of Cambridge (1374-1415), son of Edmund, Duke of York (1341-1402), son of Edward III. Their son, Richard, Duke of York (1411-1460) married Cicely Neville and were parents of Edward IV, King of England, who by his wife Elizabeth Wydville, was father in turn of Elizabeth Plantagenet (1465-1503), wife of Henry VII, ancestors of all subsequent sovereigns of England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom7.

    To revert to Joan de Fiennes who married John, first Lord Wake, Margaret, their daughter and eventual heiress, became Baroness Wake in her own right upon the death of her brother Thomas in 1349. Margaret, Baroness Wake, married as her second husband Edmund, Earl of Kent (beheaded 1330), younger son of Edward I, by whom she had two sons who died young and a daughter and eventual heiress, Joan, the Fair Maid of Kent, and Baroness Wake in her own right, wife of the Black Prince and mother of King Richard II. She was the bewitching lady in honor of whose garter the noble Order was founded. The Fair Maid’s descendants carried the representation of the Wakes into the royal house of York whose dukes added the Wake torteaux to their own coats of arms. From King Edward IV the representation of the Wakes passed to the Dukes of Bavaria8.

    Geoffrey de Saye, Magna Carta Surety
    A brother of William de Fiennes II (d. 1302) was Giles de Fiennes whose grandson John Fiennes (d. 1351) married before 1331 Maud Monceux who brought Herstmonceux Castle into the Fiennes family. Eventually their grandson Roger Fiennes inherited Herstmonceux Castle where his line of descendants, Barons Dacre of Herstmonceux, were seated until their extinction. However, it is the son of John and Maude (Monceux) Fiennes, William Fiennes (1357-1402) who married into another baronial family whose title has been central to the identity of the Fiennes family from the time of Magna Carta until the present, that of the ancient barony of Saye, originally named from Saye or Sai in Normandy9.

    William de Saye I (d. 1144) settled in England with the Earl of Essex to fight against King Stephen. He perished in the Battle of Burwell. His son William de Saye II who died in 1177 captured several knights single-handed at the Battle of Saintes, and at the Battle of Lewes he fought with Henry III against the barons. His brother Geoffrey de Saye I who died in 1214 helped ransom King Richard I from the Germans and was one of the twenty-five barons pledged as surety to uphold Magna Carta against King John. His son Geoffrey de Saye III who died in 1321 fought for King Edward II against the Scots. His son Geoffrey de Saye IV who died in 1359 fought at Crecy in 1346 and was Admiral of the Fleet, capturing the French fleet at the battle of Sluys10.

    Clinton Earls of Lincoln
    The baronial line of Saye became extinct with the death of John de Saye, fourth Baron Saye, in 1382 according to ancient peerage doctrine, or in 1399 when his sister Elizabeth, Baroness Say in her own right, died, according to modern peerage doctrine. In either case the representation fell into abeyance between the descendants of the sisters of the third Baron Say: (1) Idonea who married the third Baron Clinton and (2) Joan who married Sir William Fiennes (1357–1402), noted above as the son of son of John and Maude (de Monceux) Fiennes11.

    Idonea de Say married about 1350 Sir John Clinton, Knight, of Maxtock, co. Warwick, third Baron Clinton. Their grandson, the fourth Baron Clinton, styled himself without royal leave, as Lord Saye from 1399, as did his successors till the seventeenth century. The fourth Baron, a soldier in the military campaigns of Edward III and the Black Prince, was succeeded by his grandson, William, the fourth Baron Clinton, in turn by his only son John, fifth Baron Clinton, who amplified the Fiennes family connection by marrying Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Fiennes, Baron Dacre of Herstmonceux Castle, co. Sussex. The succession then passed through eldest sons for four generations, when Edward, ninth Baron Clinton, was elevated to the Earldom of Lincoln by Queen Elizabeth I. He was an eminent naval officer during the reigns of Henry VIII and his three immediate successors. He was sworn to the Privy Council in 1550 and constituted Lord High Admiral in 155112.

    The great-grandson of the first Earl, Theophilus, fourth Earl of Lincoln, married first Bridget, daughter of William Fiennes, eighth Baron and first Viscount Saye and Sele; and second Elizabeth, widow of Sir Robert Stanley, and daughter of Sir Arthur Gorges. The fourth Earl was succeeded by his grandson, Edward, the fifth Earl who died without issue. The Barony fell into abeyance between his three aunts and eventually passed into the Rolle family while the Earldom of Lincoln reverted to descendants of the second son of the second Earl of Lincoln. The sixth Earl of Lincoln was succeeded by his elder son Henry, seventh Earl of Lincoln who married the sister of the first Duke of Newcastle. The younger son of the seventh Earl married his cousin, a niece of the first Duke of Newcastle, and was favored with a special remainder to the Dukedom of Newcastle. On the demise of the first Duke of Newcastle, the ninth Earl of Lincoln assumed by Royal License the surname of Pelham-Clinton and succeeded as the second Duke of Newcastle. The Dukedom passed through sons in successive generations until the seventh Duke was succeeded by his brother the eighth Duke whose son was the ninth Duke as well as the sixteenth Earl of Lincoln. When the male line of the Pelham-Clintons failed in 1988 causing the extinction of the Dukedom of Newcastle, a descendant of Sir Henry Clinton, the third son by the second marriage of the second Earl, became the eighteenth Earl of Lincoln13. The Barony of Clinton descended in the Holle family, and they are the only descendants of Theophilus, the fourth Earl14. The Clinton family of New York state claims descent from the second wife of Sir Henry Clinton15.

    Barons Dacre, extinct senior line of the Fiennes family
    The Dacre family offers the leading case in peerage law involving issues of conflict arising from land tenure and representation of blood. Joan Dacre, according to modern peerage doctrine, was the seventh Baroness Dacre. She married in 1446 Sir Richard Fiennes, son and heir and Sir Roger and Elizabeth (Holland) Fiennes, son of Sir William and Elizabeth (Battisford) Fiennes, and grandson of Sir William and Joan (de Say) Fiennes, discussed above. The younger brother of Sir Richard Fiennes was James Fiennes, first Baron Saye and Sele from whom the present family at Broughton Castle descends. Another sister, Phillippe Dacre, married Robert Fiennes, brother of Sir Richard and James Fiennes, but she died without issue within her grandfather Dacre’s time. Sir Richard Fiennes was hereditary keeper of Herstmonceaux Castle, an office which descended in the family until the execution of the ninth baron. By patent of 7 Nov. 1458 (37 Henry VI) the king accepted him as Lord Dacre, and by two writs in 1459 and 1482 Fiennes was summoned to Parliament as Baron Dacre. In 1473 the king made the final award of the lands of the sixth Baron Dacre between the heir male, Humphrey Dacre, the younger of Joan’s two uncles; and the heir general, Richard Fiennes, in right of his wife Joan Dacre. Most of the estates went to the heir male with remainder to the heir general while the peerage went to Richard Fiennes in right of his wife. Peerage lawyers have claimed that Richard Fiennes’s summons to parliament created a new barony; for, though his wife was a peeress in her own right, his summons was not a courtesy one. J. Horace Round held that the award of 1473 assigning the heir general and her husband precedence of the old barony, over that of the heir male, was a recognition of his wife’s accession to the original barony16.

    The Barony of Dacre skipped generations twice. First Thomas Fiennes, grandson of Richard and Joan, inherited as eighth baron. He took part in the defeat of the Cornish rebels in 1497 and in 1530 signed, with other lords, a petition to the Pope in favor of Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon. The eighth Baron died in 1534 and was succeeded by his grandson another Thomas Fiennes as ninth Baron, one of the most lamented members of the family. Aged eighteen or more in 1534 he was summoned to Parliament as Lord Dacre. He received special favor from Henry VIII when he served as a juror in the trial of Anne Boleyn and was appointed one of the bearers of the canopy at the funeral of Jane Seymour and escort of Anne of Cleves. One night in 1541 he, with other hunters, poached a deer from Sir Nicholas Pelham’s park. Although he was in a distant section of the park when one of Pelham’s gamekeepers was killed, Dacre was convicted and executed for the murder on 29 June 1541 at Tyburn. His forfeited title was restored in 1558 to his son Gregory, then recognized as the tenth Baron Dacre but without restoration of Herstmonceux Castle. However the tenth Baron died without issue in 1594, and he was succeeded by his sister Margaret who had married in 1564 Samson Lennard. The barony continued to descend among her descendants who bore the surnames of Lennard, Barrett, and Brand until the death in 1965 of Thomas Henry Brand, twenty-sixth Baron Dacre and fourth Viscount Hampden, when the barony fell into abeyance between his two daughters. The viscounty passed to his surviving brother17.

    Connections in the New World
    In the Clinton-Fiennes family, a grandson of the first Earl of Lincoln, Thomas Clinton (died 1619), third Earl of Lincoln and ninth Baron Clinton, provides many links to the New World18. He was father of five children who “had more intimate connections with the New England settlements and must have felt a deeper interest in their success than any other noble house in England.” (1) Bridget, wife of the fourth Earl, held meetings in Lincolnshire to plan for the Puritan colonization of New England. Governor Thomas Dudley kept her apprised of developments in New England19. She was also the daughter of William Fiennes, eighth Baron and first Viscount Saye and Sele, founder of two settlements in New England to be discussed below. (2) Charles came to New England in Winthrop’s flagship in 1630. (3) Arabella married Isaac Johnson of Clipsham, co. Rutland, and accompanied her brother Charles in Winthrop’s flagship renamed Arbella in her honor. (4) Susan married John Humphrey of Chaldon, co. Dorset, and accompanied her husband to New England. (5) Frances married John Gorges, son of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, sole heir to the province of Maine20.

    Creation of the Barony of Saye and Sele in 1447
    James Fiennes (born c 1395 and died 4 July 1450) was the second son of Sir William and Elizabeth (Battisford) Fiennes and younger brother of Sir Roger Fiennes, father of Richard Fiennes who claimed the Barony of Dacre discussed above. For service in the Hundred Years War in France, Henry V awarded him with the lordship of Court-le-Comte, the governorship of Arques, and Captain-Generalship of towns on the Seine. He built Knole, co. Kent, with spoils from service in France. From the time he attended Henry VI at his coronation in Paris in 1431, he steadily advanced in royal offices including those of King’s Serjeant, Knight of the Body, Constable of Dover Castle, Warden of the Cinque Ports, King’s Chamberlain, member of the Privy Council, Constable of the Tower, and finally Treasurer of England. This latter position he held from 22 September 1449 until 22 June 1450 when the weak Henry VI yielded to the indictment of the House of Commons scapegoating Fiennes for the loss of Anjou and Maine and remanded him to the Tower. While awaiting trial, Jack Cade’s mob seized him in the Tower and dragged him to the Standard at Cheapside where he was beheaded—his gory end being dramatized in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, scenes 4 and 721.

    James Fiennes was created Baron Saye and Sele by Letters Patent from Henry VI by 24 February 1447 and summoned to Parliament for the first time 3 March 1447. Geoffrey White concluded that although the actual patent disappeared and was never enrolled there could be no doubt that the remainder vested to the heirs male of the body of the grantee and that the title did not arise from a writ of summons that at that time probably would have descended to heirs general. These tangled claims have led historians and genealogists astray22. This compound title was partly personal, commemorating the grantee’s descent from his grandmother’s family, the Lords Say, a title since 1399 in abeyance between the heirs of Idonea Say Clinton and Joan Say Fiennes; and partly territorial, after Sele, formerly called Beeding, a priory in Saumur, co. Kent. After becoming a peer, he abandoned the Fiennes arms, Azure, three lions rampant or, for those of the Lords Say, Quarterly, or and gules23. Sir Anthony Wagner links these arms with the families of Beauchamp of Bedford, Clavering, Lacy, and Vere because they, as well as the Saye family, were all connected with the rebel Earl of Essex, Geoffrey de Mandeville, who died in 1144. They are based on the quarterly coat of or and gules adopted by Essex24.

    William of Wykeham, benefactor of the Fiennes Family
    James Fiennes was succeeded by his only son William Fiennes, second Baron Saye and Sele, born about 1428 and was killed at the Battle of Barnet 14 April 1471 for the cause of Edward IV and the Yorkists. He was Constable of Porchester Castle and of Pevensey Castle for life, Vice Admiral to the Earl of Warwick, then High Admiral of England. He accompanied Edward IV on his flight into Flanders and his triumphal return to England at Ravenspur25.

    The marriage of the second baron accounts for the rise of this branch of the family. He married Margaret Wykeham (died shortly before 30 May 1477), daughter and heiress of William Wykeham, otherwise Parrott, of Broughton Castle, Oxford. Her father was son and heir of Sir Thomas Wykeham, otherwise Parrott, third and only son to leave issue of William Parrott of Ash, near Overton, Hants, by Alice Champneys, daughter and heiress of William Champneys by Agnes, sister of William of Wykeham (1324–1404), Bishop of Winchester from 1367 until death. By this marriage the Fiennes family acquired Broughton Castle which remains in 2000 the seat of the Lords Saye and Sele26. William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, founded Winchester College, first public school in England. Scholars from Winchester had rights at New College, Oxford University, also founded by Wykeham. The sons in the Fiennes family had privileges as Founder’s Kin at Winchester and New Colleges. Although the Royal Commission for Oxford abolished kinship privileges at New College in 1857, the Fienneses, maintained association with their ancestral college well into the twentieth century27.

    Broughton Castle, near Banbury, Oxfordshire
    Broughton Castle came to public attention in 1999 through the motion picture, Shakespeare in Love, recipient of thirteen Oscar nominations. Many scenes were filmed at Broughton Castle, and it was a coincidence that Joseph Fiennes who stared in the titular role is a cadet member of Lord Saye and Sele’s family. It was exactly the right period setting because the castle was complete externally in the reign of Queen Mary and internally in the last years of Elizabeth I. The crenellated gatehouse by the moat provided breath-taking vistas on the silver screen28.

    This is a fourteenth-century brick moated manor house. Two sixteenth-century chimney pieces and some eighteenth-century plasterwork are the only alterations to the organic late medieval fabric. Part of the interior dates as early as the fourteenth century. The chimneys, indented facades, fenestration, and gables evince the Tudor style of architecture. Major restoration work in the 1860s under the architect George Gilbert Scott stabilized the building, and since 1968 the present Lord Saye and Sele has undertaken the requisite work to preserve the stone-tiled roof and stonework of the fabric. The rooms vary in style from the fourteenth-century Wykeham chapel to the late eighteenth-century Gothic Gallery. In the crossroads of battles of the English Civil War, Broughton Castle was a mere twenty miles from Royalist headquarters at Oxford. However, Puritan leaders, Hampden, Brooke, and Pym, meeting in the upstairs council chamber, secured victory for Cromwell. Broughton Castle is now open to public visitation29. Since May 1999 Broughton Castle has maintained its own website(www.broughtoncastle.demon.co.uk).

    Revival of the Barony of Saye and Sele
    For the next five generations, a thin line of only sons inherited Broughton Castle, but they did not assume the title and were never called to Parliament. The title was dormant, meaning that the rightful claimants never asserted their title. The second but eldest surviving son of the second baron, Henry Fiennes, died 1 August 1476, used the title of Lord Saye, but he was never summoned to Parliament. His only son and heir, Richards Fiennes, de jure fourth Lord Saye and Sele, born on Good Friday 1471 and died 30 September 1501. He was never summoned to Parliament. His only son and heir, Edward Fiennes, de jure fifth Lord Saye and Sele, born about 1500 and died 7 March 1528, never used the title. His only son and heir, Richard Fiennes, de jure sixth Lord Saye and Sele, born about 1520 and died 3 August 157330.

    In the sixth generation, the family returned to public life. Richard Fiennes, only son of the de jure sixth Lord Saye and Sele, was born about 1557 and died shortly between 17 July 1612 when he executed his will and 6 February 1613 when it was proved. He was educated at Winchester where he was admitted as Founder’s Kin in 1569. The Privy Council committed sixteen recusants to his charge at Broughton Castle in 1590. Queen Elizabeth knighted him in the thirty-fifth year of her reign. He was sheriff of Oxford, accompanied his cousin the Earl of Lincoln, Ambassador to the Landgrave of Hesse in 1596, traveled to Florence and Verona, and accompanied the Earl of Hereford, Ambassador to the Archduke Albert at Brussels in 160531.

    From his father’s death in 1573, Richard Fiennes, de jure seventh Baron, pressed in vain for eighteen years to be recognized as the Baron Saye and Sele. Upon the succession of James I, who was more lenient in matter of titles than Elizabeth I, Lord Burghley intervened upon behalf of Richard Fiennes in 1603 to obtain a patent confirming to him and the heirs of his body the (1) name, style, title, rank, dignity, and honor of Baron Saye and Sele of the 1447 creation, (2) creation of him as Baron of Saye and Sele with the same remainder, and (3) the grantee and his heirs should not claim precedence of the old Barons of Saye and Sele but should rank next after the Barons then existing. Because it was assumed in 1603 that the 1447 creation was by writ of summons, and not by patent, the succession was altered from that of heirs male to those of the heirs general, thereby allowing the title to pass through daughters. It was not the intention of James I to create a new barony, but the 1603 patent did. The reduction in precedence from that of 1447 to 1603 was a blow to the Fiennes family’s pride, but they yielded in order to claim the title that had been dormant since the death of the second baron in battle in 1471. The failure of seventeenth-century peerage lawyers to distinguish titles created by writ of summons from those created by patent caused confusion. This familure, exploited by lawyers was to the consternation of Round32.

    A possible further connection to the New World: Anne Hutchinson
    Richard Fiennes, seventh Baron married first in or before 1581 Constance Kingsmill, eldest daughter of Sir William Kingsmill, of Sidmanton, Hants, by Bridget, only child, by his second wife, of George Raleigh, of Thornborough, co. Warwick. She was living April 158733.

    F. N. Craig in a recent Register article, mentions George Ralegh, who died by 1546 when his will was proved (PCC, 27 Alen); married (1) Jane Connysby, daughter of William Connysby, knight, (2) the widow of Sir Thomas Fitzgarethe, (3) Anne Erneley. In this will George Raleigh named Symon Ralegh his son and heir apparent, his married daughter Sibill Butler, and unmarried daughters Joan and Brygett. He mentions lands in Farnburgh (Farnborough) according to the Register article, but possibly Thornborough, co. Warwick34.

    Chronology and social status appear similar. William Fiennes was born in 1582. Conceivably his mother Constance Kingsmill (married in 1581) was born in 1562 and her mother Bridget Raleigh was born in 1541 (noting that George Ralegh of the Register article was dead by 1546). If Bridget Raleigh married Sir William Kingsmill about 1560, there are plausible intervals between the generations when each woman was married at age nineteen or twenty.

    George Ralegh’s sister Bridget married Sir John Cope by whom he had among others, daughters Elizabeth Cope who married John Dryden whose descendants in the third and fourth generations included John Dryden, poet laureate, Jonathan Swift, and Anne (Marbury) Hutchinson; and Jane Cope whose daughter Elizabeth Boyle married Edmund Spenser, the Elizabethan poet35.

    Old Subtlety, adroit politician
    William Fiennes, born at Broughton Castle 28 May 1582 where he died 14 April 1662, was only son and heir of Richard Fiennes, seventh Baron Saye and Sele. He succeeded to his father’s title in 1613 as the eighth Baron Saye and Sele, and as Founder’s Kin he prepared at Winchester for admission as a Gentleman Commoner at New College, Oxford in 1596. He was a vociferous opponent of James I, and in an attempt to reconcile him to the king, Saye and Sele’s sister’s brother-in-law, and royal favorite, George Villiers (1592–1628), Duke of Buckingham, persuaded the king to raise him a step in the peerage in 1624 as Viscount Saye and Sele. His astuteness as a parliamentary tactician earned him the nickname of “Old Subtlety.” His refusal to pay the forced royal loan in 1626 was a precipitating event of the English Civil War. Thereafter he and leading Puritans became defenders of increasingly apparent ancient liberties. By 1642 he was a member of the committee of safety, lord lieutenant of several counties, and organizer of a parliamentary regiment. As a parliamentary commissioner, he negotiated with Charles I at Newport, Isle of Wight, but, after the king’s execution, Saye and Sele retired from public life, declining Cromwell’s appointment as a member of the upper house. At the Restoration he took his seat in the Convention Parliament and was appointed a member of the Privy Council36.

    Links by marriage to the New World
    William Fiennes, eighth Baron and first Viscount, married about 1602, Elizabeth Temple, sixth and youngest daughter of John Temple (died 1603) of Stowe, co. Buckingham, by his wife, Susan, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Thomas and Dorothy (Spencer) Spencer of Everton, Northamptonshire. Elizabeth died in 1648 and was buried at Broughton Castle where her portrait, attributed to Van Somers, exhibiting her father’s sharp features is still on display. The portrait with her dress painted in black except for white cuffs and a ruff is the Puritan dress of the period. Elizabeth Temple Fiennes was a grandaunt of Sir Thomas Temple (1614–1674), Governor of Nova Scotia, of whom below; Dorothy Temple Alston, in grandmother of John Alston who settled in St. John’s Parish, South Carolina and of another John Alston who was probably the settler of Chowan Co., North Carolina; and of Mary Temple Nelson, from whom Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882–1945), thirty-second president of the United States is descended37.

    Sir Thomas Temple (1614–1674), Governor of Nova Scotia, requires comment because Lord Saye and Sele was responsible in securing the grant for his grandnephew. Unlike the majority of his relatives, Temple had Royalist leanings, and Saye and Sele advised him to leave England in 1656. Temple bought the territory now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and that part of Maine as far west as the St. George River from Sir Charles St. Etienne de la Tour. Cromwell and the Council confirmed the patent to Nova Scotia Sir Thomas Temple and Colonel William Crowne which they held until the territory was ceded to the French by the Treaty of Breda in 1667. After Temple’s surrender of Nova Scotia, he prospered as a Boston merchant until 1670 when he returned to England. He bequeathed his uncompensated claims to Nova Scotia to the descendants of his sister Mary Nelson of Boston38.

    Founder of settlements in the New World
    Many historical works mention Lord Saye and Sele’s colonizing work in the New World, but a thorough study of his efforts remains to be written. In 1630, he was a member of a company to colonize Providence Island, off the coast of Nicaragua39. Sayebrook, Connecticut, was named for him and his business partner, Lord Brooke in 163240. He combined with his business partners to form the Bristol Company and purchased that part of Dover, New Hampshire, now Newington in 1633. He abandoned his settlements in the New World when he failed to establish provisions for a hereditary aristocracy41.

    Descendants of the First Viscount
    The devolution of the viscounty through the five successors of the first viscount is an apt illustration of the defects perpetuated by seventeenth-century lawyers that J. Horace Round excoriated with gusto. The first viscount was succeeded by his eldest son James Fiennes (1603–1674) as the ninth baron of the 1447 creation, the third baron of the 1603 creation, and the second viscount of the 1626 creation. With the creations of 1447 and 1626 descending only through the male lineage, when the second viscount died 1674, the representation passed to his nephew William Fiennes (son of his brother Nathaniel Fiennes by his first wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Eliot) who died in 1698 and was succeeded by his son Nathaniel as fourth viscount and eleven baron of the 1471 creation. He died unmarried in 1710 and was succeeded by his first cousin Lawrence Fiennes as the fifth viscount and twelfth baron of the 1471 creation. Lawrence died unmarried in 1742 and was succeeded by his first cousin once removed, Richard Fiennes, who died without issue in 1781 when the viscounty of 1626 and the barony of 1447 became extinct. Richard, the sixth viscount and eleventh baron was the last male of his house, and all subsequent bearers of the surname have claimed representation as heirs of the line and done so by leave of Royal License42.

    The barony of 1603 passed into abeyance at the death of James Fiennes in 1674, the last person to hold all three titles. Two titles passed to his male relatives as noted above, but the 1603 barony devolved upon his three surviving daughters. Eventually the lines of two of the daughters expired, and there remained only one representative, Cecil Twisleton (d. 1723), de jure Baroness Saye and Sele, daughter of Elizabeth Fiennes (1613–1674) who had married John Twisleton (died 1682). Elizabeth Fiennes was in turn the eldest daughter of James Fiennes (1603–1674). Cecil Twisleton married first about 1669 George Twisleton whose relationship to her father’s family is unknown. This George Twisleton is the agnatic ancestor of all subsequent holders of the barony of 1603. However, Cecil Twisleton Twisleton (d. 1723) never claimed the title. She should have been the fourth holder of the 1603 barony. At her death, the representation passed to her son Fiennes Twisleton (1670–1730) de jure fifth Baron Saye and Sele, at whose death the representation passed to his sole son, John Twisleton (1698–1763) who petitioned unsuccessfully for recognition as the sixth Baron Saye and Sele43.

    Finally, the second but eldest surviving son of the de jure sixth baron, Thomas Twisleton (1735–1788) who was de jure from his father’s death in 1763 Baron Saye and Sele became de facto in 1781 seventh Baron Saye and Sele when his claim to the 1603 creation was allowed. His son Gregory William Twisleton (1769–1844) succeeded as eighth Baron Saye and Sele and assumed the additional surnames of Fiennes and Eardley becoming Eardley-Twisleton-Fiennes. Eardley was in recognition of his wife’s descent from the Eardley-Wilmot baronets. His son William Thomas Eardley-Twisleton-Fiennes (1798–1847) became the ninth Baron Saye and Sele, but he died unmarried when the title passed to his first cousin Frederick Benjamin Twisleton (1799–1887). Frederick assumed by Royal License in 1849 the surnames of Wykeham and Fiennes after that of Twisleton, and his descendants are now the Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes family44.

    Institutional memory failed, and contemporary references to Frederick, the tenth Baron Saye and Sele, describe him as either the thirteenth or sixteenth Baron Saye and Sele. Those who describe him as the thirteenth baron do not count the fourth, fifth, and sixth de jure holders of the title. Most writers describe him as the sixteenth Baron Saye and Sele, not recognizing the extinction of the 1447 barony at the death of the sixth viscount in 1781. Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage through the 1975 edition enumerates him as the sixteenth baron and his descendant, the present Lord Saye and Sele, as the twenty-first baron. Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage in 1999 rolled the numbers back to the sequence starting from 1603 to agree with the numbering in The Complete Peerage45.


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