Fienne History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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

Early Origins of the Fienne family

The surname Fienne 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 Fienne family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fienne research. Another 80 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1496, 1450, 1405, 1472, 1534, 1557, 1613, 1582, 1662, 1606, 1676, 1657, 1602, 1674, 1625, 1660, 1608, 1669, 1595, 1557, 1539, 1594 and 1541 are included under the topic Early Fienne History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fienne 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 Fienne 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 131 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fienne Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Fienne family

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 Fienne 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 Fienne 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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