William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Sele

William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Sele (28 June 1582 – 14 April 1662) was an English nobleman and politician, known also for his involvement in several companies for setting up overseas colonies.[1]

William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Sele
Engraving of Lord Saye by Wenceslas Hollar, mid-seventeenth century.
Born28 June 1582
Died14 April 1662
Burial placeBroughton, Oxfordshire
Spouse(s)Dorothy Waldegrave
ChildrenJames Fiennes
Parent(s)Richard Fiennes, 7th Baron Saye and Sele, Constance Kingsmill

Early life

He was born at the family home of Broughton Castle near Banbury, in Oxfordshire, the only son of Richard Fiennes, 7th Baron Saye and Sele, and his wife Constance, daughter of Sir William Kingsmill.[2] He was educated at New College, Oxford. He was a descendant and heir of the sister of William of Wykeham, the college's founder. Fiennes succeeded to his father's barony in 1613.[3]


During the latter part of James I's reign Saye was one of the most prominent opponents of the court. In 1621 he was active against Francis Bacon, and urged that he should be degraded from the peerage. In 1622 he opposed the benevolence levied by the king, saying that he knew no law besides parliament to persuade men to give away their own goods; he spent six months in the Fleet Prison, and then had a period of house arrest. When George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham returned from Spain and proposed to break the Spanish match, the duke and baron became temporary allies; and Saye became Viscount Saye and Sele in 1624.[4] He pressed home the attack on Lionel Cranfield, 1st Earl of Middlesex.[2]

In the parliament of 1626 Saye was back in opposition; he defended the privileges of the peerage against the new king Charles I in the cases of John Digby, 1st Earl of Bristol and Thomas Howard, 21st Earl of Arundel, and intervened on behalf of Dudley Digges when Buckingham accused him of speaking treason. In the autumn of the same year he was among those who refused to pay the forced loan. In the parliament of 1628, he employed with success the right of peers to protest. In the debates on the Petition of Right he opposed the reservations and amendments of the court party.[2]


During the personal rule of Charles I, Saye devoted time and money to schemes of colonisation: his motives were in part financial, but also religious and political.[2]

Providence Island

In 1630 he established, in conjunction with Robert Greville, 2nd Baron Brooke, John Pym, and others from the group of Puritan entrepreneurs, a company for the settlement of the Providence Island colony on what is now Isla de Providencia in the Caribbean Sea, part of the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina, a department of Colombia.[2]

New England

Saye obtained a patent for a large tract of land on the Connecticut River on 19 March 1632 from Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick and the New England Company, in association again with Lord Brooke and ten others. They appointed John Winthrop the younger to act as governor and established a fort at the mouth of the river, to which they gave the name of "Sayebrook;" they then sent over a shipload of colonists. In 1633, Saye and Brooke also purchased a plantation at Cocheco or Dover, in what is now New Hampshire, from some Bristol merchants. They both contemplated settling in New England, but they demanded the establishment of an emigrant hereditary aristocracy as a preliminary, from which the governors were to be chosen. After a hostile reception to Saye's constitutional ideas, the partners in the colony compromised to obtain colonists.[2]


Saye concentrated his energies on the settlement of Providence Island, while spreading disparaging reports about New England, including its climate and land. He soon abandoned his enterprises there and surrendered his rights. The New Hampshire settlements were made over to Massachusetts in 1641, and Sayebrook was sold to Connecticut three years later.[2]

Saye was one of the commissioners for the government from Westminster of the plantations appointed on 2 November 1643.[2]

Old Saybrook, Connecticut is named after Viscount Saye and Lord Brooke.

1630s politics

Leading puritans, including John Pym, who were members of the Providence Island Company met Saye at Broughton Castle to coordinate their opposition to the King. On several occasions Saye outwitted the advisers of Charles I by his strict compliance with legal forms earning him the nickname "old subtlety".

Although Saye resisted the levy of ship money, he accompanied Charles on his march against the Scots in 1639; but, with only one other peer, he refused to take the oath binding him to fight for the king "to the utmost of my power and hazard of my life". Then Charles I sought to win his favour by making him a Privy Councillor and Master of the Court of Wards.

Civil War and Restoration

When the Civil War broke out, however, Saye was on the committee of safety, was made Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Cheshire, and raised a regiment that occupied Oxford. He was a member of the committee of both kingdoms; was mainly responsible for passing the self-denying ordinance through the House of Lords; and in 1647 stood up for the army in its struggle with the parliament.

In 1648, both at the treaty of Newport and elsewhere, Saye was anxious that Charles should come to terms, and he retired into private life after the execution of the king, becoming a privy counsellor again upon the restoration of Charles II. He died at Broughton Castle on 14 April 1662.


Fiennes married Elizabeth, daughter of John Temple of Stowe, in 1600. Their eldest son James (c. 1603–1674) succeeded him as 2nd viscount; other sons were the Parliamentarians Nathaniel Fiennes and John Fiennes. His daughter Bridget married her remote cousin Theophilus Clinton Fiennes, 4th Earl of Lincoln, son of the 3rd Earl of Lincoln.

The viscounty of Saye and Sele became extinct in 1781, and the barony is now held by the descendants of John Twisleton (d. 1682) and his wife Elizabeth (d. 1674), a daughter of the 2nd viscount.[5]


  1. ^ John Burke, A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire, Volume 2 (H. Colburn and R. Bentley, 1832), 402.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Fiennes, William" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  3. ^ Arthur Collins and Sir Egerton Brydges, Peerage of England: genealogical, biographical, and historical (F.C. and J. Rivington, 1812), 31-32.
  4. ^ The Peerage of England, Scotland, and Ireland: The peerage of Scotland (W. Owen [and 2 others], 1790), 296.
  5. ^ Arthur Collins and Sir Egerton Brydges, Peerage of England: genealogical, biographical, and historical (F.C. and J. Rivington, 1812), 32.



Peerage of England
New creation Viscount Saye and Sele
1st creation
Succeeded by
James Fiennes
Preceded by
Richard Fiennes
Baron Saye and Sele
1st creation
Succeeded by
James Fiennes
1639 in England

Events from the year 1639 in England.

Celia Fiennes

Celia Fiennes (7 June 1662 – 10 April 1741) was an English traveller. Born at Newton Tony, Wiltshire, she was the daughter of Nathaniel Fiennes, an English Civil War Parliamentarian colonel and his second wife Frances née Whitehead. Nathaniel was in turn the second son of William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Sele.

Clement Walker

Clement Walker (died 1651) was an English lawyer, official and politician. As a member of the Long Parliament, he became an outspoken critic of the conduct of its affairs, and allied himself to William Prynne. Author of the History of Independency, which as a project with several editions included also his Anarchia Anglicana, he was a strong opponent of religious factionalism, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London, where he died without being brought to trial. He used the pseudonym Theodorus Verax.

Edward Gee of Eccleston

Edward Gee (1613–1660) of Eccleston was an English presbyterian minister, active against the government in the late 1640s.

High Steward of Banbury

The High Steward of Banbury is a ceremonial title bestowed by Banbury Town Council in Banbury, Oxfordshire, England.

The stewardship was established by royal charter in 1554, during the reign of Mary I. By the same charter, Banbury became a parliamentary borough, which the seat remained until 1885. The High Steward was a major figure within the corporation, and the role was closely associated with the town's Parliamentary representation. In today’s civic hierarchy the High Steward, who is usually a peer and has to be at least a knight of the realm, is an ‘officer of dignity and influence’ but with few specific duties and no monetary rewards.For several hundred years the title was held by members of the North and Fiennes families, the major landowners in north Oxfordshire. In 1818 the title is recorded as having been "hereditary" for the Earls of Guilford, although this recording appears to be erroneous. The role fell dormant following the death of the 20th Baron Saye and Sele in 1968; it was revived in February 2016 for Sir Tony Baldry.

James Cranford

James Cranford (c.1592–1657) was an English presbyterian clergyman. He was active as a licenser of theological publications during the 1640s, and belonged to the heresy-hunting wing of the London presbyterians, writing a preface to the Gangraena of Thomas Edwards.

James Fiennes, 2nd Viscount Saye and Sele

James Fiennes, 2nd Viscount Saye and Sele (c. 1602 – 15 March 1674) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1625 and 1660.

List of Puritans

The Puritans were originally members of a group of English Protestants seeking "purity", further reforms or even separation from the established church, during the Reformation. The group is also extended to include some early colonial American ministers and important lay-leaders. The majority of people in this list were mainstream Puritans, adhering strictly to the doctrine of Predestination. The more moderate ones, who tended towards Arminianism, have the label "Arminian" behind their names.

Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire

This is a list of people who have served as Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire. Since 1694, all the Lord Lieutenants have also been Custos Rotulorum of Gloucestershire.

Edmund Brydges, 2nd Baron Chandos 1559–?

Giles Brydges, 3rd Baron Chandos 17 November 1586 – 1 February 1594

William Brydges, 4th Baron Chandos 9 September 1595 – 18 November 1602

Henry Berkeley, 7th Baron Berkeley 13 August 1603 – 20 November 1613

Grey Brydges, 5th Baron Chandos 23 December 1613 – 10 August 1621

William Compton, 1st Earl of Northampton 16 March 1622 – 24 June 1630

Spencer Compton, 2nd Earl of Northampton 17 July 1630 – 1642 jointly with

George Brydges, 6th Baron Chandos 3 August 1641 – 1642

William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Sele 1642 (Parliamentary)


The Duke of Beaufort 30 July 1660 – 1689

The Earl of Macclesfield 22 March 1689 – 7 January 1694

The Earl of Berkeley 25 May 1694 – 24 September 1710

The Earl of Berkeley 30 November 1710 – 1712

The Duke of Beaufort 6 March 1712 – 24 May 1714

The Earl of Berkeley 21 October 1714 – 17 August 1736

The Earl of Berkeley 21 April 1737 – 9 January 1755

The Lord Ducie 19 February 1755 – 1758

The Lord Chedworth 13 November 1758 – 9 May 1762

The Lord Botetourt 4 June 1762 – 1766

The Earl of Berkeley 5 July 1766 – 8 August 1810

The Duke of Beaufort 15 September 1810 – 2 December 1835

The Lord Segrave 18 December 1835 – 10 October 1857 (created Earl FitzHardinge in 1841)

The Earl of Ducie 13 November 1857 – 1911†

The Earl Beauchamp 17 July 1911 – 1931†

The Duke of Beaufort 6 November 1931 – 5 February 1984†

Martin Gibbs 1984–1992

Sir Henry Elwes 17 February 1992 – 24 October 2010

Dame Janet Trotter 25 October 2010 - 29 October 2018

Edward Gillespie 29 October 2018 -

† Lord Lieutenant of the County of Gloucester, and of the City and County of the City of Gloucester, and of the City and County of the City of Bristol.

Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire

This is a list of people who have served as Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire. Since 1689, all Lords Lieutenant have also been Custos Rotulorum of Oxfordshire.

Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk 1545


Sir Francis Knollys in 1565

Henry Norris, 1st Baron Norreys 17 September 1586 – 27 June 1601 jointly with

Sir Francis Knollys 12 September 1586 – 19 July 1596 and

William Knollys, 1st Earl of Banbury 4 November 1596 – 25 May 1632 jointly with

Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Berkshire 26 March 1628 – 1642

William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Sele 1642 (Parliamentary)


Henry Cary, 4th Viscount Falkland 17 July 1660 – 2 April 1663

Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon 19 June 1663 – 11 March 1668

James Fiennes, 2nd Viscount Saye and Sele 11 March 1668 – 15 March 1674

James Bertie, 1st Earl of Abingdon 1 April 1674 – 21 November 1687

Edward Lee, 1st Earl of Lichfield 5 December 1687 – 3 May 1689

James Bertie, 1st Earl of Abingdon 3 May 1689 – 15 May 1697

Thomas Wharton, 1st Marquess of Wharton 15 May 1697 – 11 June 1702

Montagu Venables-Bertie, 2nd Earl of Abingdon 11 June 1702 – 8 February 1706

John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough 8 February 1706 – 17 May 1712

Montagu Venables-Bertie, 2nd Earl of Abingdon 17 May 1712 – 14 October 1715

Francis Godolphin, 2nd Earl of Godolphin 14 October 1715 – 26 January 1739

Charles Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough 26 January 1739 – 20 October 1758


George Spencer, 4th Duke of Marlborough 21 March 1760 – 29 January 1817

George Parker, 4th Earl of Macclesfield 10 May 1817 – 20 March 1842

George Spencer-Churchill, 6th Duke of Marlborough 22 April 1842 – 1 July 1857

John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough 25 August 1857 – 4 July 1883

Sir Henry Dashwood, 5th Baronet 17 August 1883 – 23 June 1887

Victor Child Villiers, 7th Earl of Jersey 23 June 1887 – 31 May 1915

Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough 3 August 1915 – 30 June 1934

Vivian Smith, 1st Baron Bicester 15 August 1934 – 26 November 1954

George Parker, 7th Earl of Macclesfield 26 November 1954 – 28 May 1963

Sir John Thomson 28 May 1963 – 2 January 1980

Sir Ashley Charles Gibbs Ponsonby, 2nd Baronet 2 January 1980 – 20 March 1996

Sir Hugo Laurence Joseph Brunner 20 March 1996 – 31 August 2008

Timothy Stevenson 1 September 2008 -

Ralph Kettell

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Robert Pink

Robert Pink D.D. (Pinck, Pincke, Pinke) (1573 – 2 November 1647) was an English clergyman and academic, a supporter of William Laud as Warden of New College, Oxford, and later a royalist imprisoned by Parliament.

Sir John St Barbe, 1st Baronet

Sir John St Barbe, 1st Baronet (c. 1655 – 7 September 1723), of Ashington, Somerset and Broadlands, Hampshire, was Member of Parliament for Ilchester in 1681. He was created a baronet on 30 December 1662 at the age of 7.

Sir Thomas Temple, 1st Baronet, of Stowe

Sir Thomas Temple, 1st Baronet (9 January 1567 – February 1637) was an English landowner and Member of Parliament.

Theophilus Clinton, 4th Earl of Lincoln

Theophilus Clinton, 4th Earl of Lincoln, KB (1599 – 21 May 1667), styled Lord Clinton until 1619, was an opponent of Charles I during and preceding the English Civil War.

Treaty of Newport

The Treaty of Newport was a failed treaty between Parliament and King Charles I of England, intended to bring an end to the hostilities of the English Civil War. Negotiations were conducted between 15 September 1648 and 27 November 1648, at Newport, Isle of Wight, on the initial proviso that they would not take longer than forty days (negotiations had effectively broken down by 27 October but continued formally to November). Charles was released on parole from his confinement at Carisbrooke Castle and lodged in Newport.Charles began proceedings by withdrawing his declarations against Parliament but also insisted that no concessions he made should be valid until a complete scheme of settlement should be arranged; this led to an air of unreality from the beginning. This is heightened by the fact that Charles secretly sent word to James Butler, 1st Marquis of Ormond not to abide by any settlement reached at Newport.

Parliament appointed fifteen Commissioners: Denzil Holles led a faction that represented a more conservative, Presbyterian interest, and were more inclined for a settlement that favoured the Crown; Henry Vane the Younger lead a faction that represented a more moderate, Independent interest, and though they were by no means radical, they acted to secure a settlement which would guarantee the rights gained by Parliament in the Puritan Revolution. It was the influence of the Presbyterians that led to the Parliamentary decision to rescind the Vote of No Addresses from earlier in 1648 in order to allow the talks to occur.Other commissioners included: John Glynne; Nathaniel Fiennes; William Pierrepont; John Crewe; John Potts; Samuel Browne; John Bulkeley; Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke; William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Salisbury; James Cranfield, 2nd Earl of Middlesex; Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland; William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Sele; and Thomas Wenman, 2nd Viscount Wenman.

Presbyterian and Middle Group MPs were prepared to continue negotiating with Charles in order to reach a permanent settlement. However, Army radicals had lost patience with him and grew angry when Parliament appeared willing to allow him to come to London to complete the settlement and Vane and Henry Ireton decided to return Charles to Hurst Castle on the mainland.

The purged Parliament annulled the Treaty of Newport on 13 December 1648 and preparations for the trial went ahead.

Viscount Saye and Sele

Viscount Saye and Sele was a title in the Peerage of England. It was created on 7 July 1624 for William Fiennes, 8th Baron Saye and Sele and became extinct on the death of Richard Fiennes 6th Viscount on 29 July 1781.

William Fiennes

William Fiennes may refer to:

William Fiennes (author) (born 1970)

William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Sele (1582–1662)

William Fiennes, 3rd Viscount Saye and Sele (c. 1641 – 1698)

Ancestors of William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Sele
Richard Fiennes, 4th Baron Saye and Sele
Edward Fiennes, 5th Baron Saye and Sele
Elizabeth Crofts
Richard Fiennes of Broughton, 6th Baron Saye and Sele
Sir John d'Anvers of Culworth, Dantsey/Dauntsey and Waterstock
Margaret Danvers
Lady Anne Stradling
Richard Fiennes, 7th Baron Saye and Sele
Thomas Fermour of Whitney
Richard Fermour
Emmote Hervey or Harvey
Ursula Fermor
Sir William Browne
Anne Browne
Margaret or Katherine Shaw
William Fiennes
Sir John Kingsmill
Sir John Kingsmill of Sidmanton
Joane or Jane Gifford
Sir William Kingsmill of Sidmanton
John Goring of Burton
Constance or Elizabeth Goring
Constance Dyke
Constance Kingsmill
Sir Edward Raleigh
George Raleigh
Ann or Anne Chamberlaine
Bridget Raleigh
maybe Sir Humphrey Coningsby
Joan or Jane Coningsby
maybe Alice Ferreby of Lincolnshire

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