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Fiennes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 added many new elements to an already vibrant culture. Among these were thousands of new names. The Fiennes family lived in Fiennes, in the region of Pas-de-Calais, Normandy.

Early Origins of the Fiennes family

The surname Fiennes was first found in Kent where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor, Lords of the Cinque Ports, and Constables of Dover Castle. They are said to be descended from Conon de Fiennes, the Earl of Boulogne, of the county of Boulounais in Normandy. John de Fiennes accompanied William, Duke of Normandy in his conquest of England at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. In England, William was the 1st Baron de Fiennes (circa 1160-1241). The family also remained in France where Robert de Fiennes was constable of France from 1350 to 1370.

Early History of the Fiennes family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fiennes research.
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1496, 1472, 1534, 1557, 1613, 1st , 1582, 1662, 1602, 1674, 1625, 1660, 1608 and 1669 are included under the topic Early Fiennes History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fiennes Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Finnes, Fienne, Fiennes and others.

Early Notables of the Fiennes family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Thomas Fiennes, 8th Baron Dacre (1472-1534), an English peer and soldier; Richard Fiennes, 7th Baron Dacre 'of the South' (c. 1557-1613) born at Herstmonceux Castle, Sussex, England, English peer; William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Sele (1582-1662), an English nobleman and politician, who helped establish a company for the settlement...
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fiennes Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Fiennes family to the New World and Oceana

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Fiennes or a variant listed above:

Fiennes Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Charles and Thomas Fiennes, who settled in Salem Massachusetts in 1630

Contemporary Notables of the name Fiennes (post 1700)

  • Ralph Fiennes (b. 1962), award-winning English actor
  • Susannah Fiennes (b. 1961), British artist and writer
  • Ranulph Fiennes (b. 1945), English polar explorer
  • Martha Maria Fiennes (b. 1964), award-winning British film director, writer and producer
  • Sophia Victoria Fiennes (b. 1967), English filmmaker
  • Joseph Fiennes (b. 1970), English film and stage actor
  • Mark Fiennes (1933-2004), English photographer and illustrator
  • Admiral Sir Cecil Fiennes Thursby KCB KCMG (1861-1936), Royal Navy officer, Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth

The Fiennes Motto

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Fortem posce animum
Motto Translation: Wish for a strong mind.

Fiennes Family Crest Products

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