Fenys History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Fenys is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Fenys family lived in Fiennes, in the region of Pas-de-Calais, Normandy. [1]

Early Origins of the Fenys family

The surname Fenys 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. [2]

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 Fenys family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fenys research. Another 80 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1496, 1450, 1405, 1472, 1534, 1557, 1613, 1582, 1662, 1602, 1674, 1625, 1660, 1608, 1669, 1595, 1557, 1539, 1594 and 1541 are included under the topic Early Fenys History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fenys Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Finnes, Fienne, Fiennes and others.

Early Notables of the Fenys family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was James Fiennes Lord Say (or Saye) and Sele (d. 1450), the second son of Sir William de Fiennes (d. 1405) and Elizabeth, daughter of William Batisford, a great Sussex heiress. Thomas Fiennes, 8th Baron Dacre (1472-1534), an English peer and soldier; and 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), was an English nobleman and politician, who helped establish a company for the settlement of the Providence Island colony and later established the New England...
Another 128 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fenys Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Fenys family

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Fenys or a variant listed above: Richard Fine, who sailed to Virginia in 1624; Charles and Thomas Fiennes, who came to Salem Massachusetts in 1630; Margery Fynes, who arrived in America in 1756.



The Fenys 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.


  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.


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