Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2006-03 > 1142568057

From: "John H" <>
Subject: Re: Early de Fiennes
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 14:30:57 +1030
References: <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Could you post the email address of the Dover museum please.
John H

"SomersetSue" <> wrote in message
An interesting development in this puzzle.

I decided that Dover Castle was a good place to start so I contacted
the museum in Dover. I've had some informative e-mails today which
might solve the problem.
This is what one of the curators had to say on the subject.

"I'm afraid the Museum does not hold much in the way of records that
would answer your queries. Fiennes appears in a lot of records but they
are all held in national repositories, mainly the National Archives
(Public Record Pffice at Kew) and the British Library.

We do have a brief biography on Fiennes which should be of interest
(attached). This was compiled from local history books which you should
be able to order on inter-library loan at your local library or find at
any good research/University library. The best two books for info on
Fiennes are;
The history of the town and port of Dover and of Dover Castle by J.
Lyon, Printed by Ledger & Shaw for the author, 1813-14 (Volume 2; Dover
The History of the Castle, Town and Port of Dover by the Rev. S.P.H.
Statham, Longmans Green & Co., 1899
Eustace of Boulogne is a central character in the Norman Invasion and
almost any good book on the Norman Conquest or on Harold I (or on
Dover) will have a chapter on him. If you are indeed related you may be
interested to know that the hated Eustace and the battle of Dover
(which left 20 Dovorians dead and 19 Normans dead) led directly to
Williams decision to invade and take the Crown of England. The entire
history of the British Empire could have been vastly different if
Eustace hadn't been such a thoroughly nasty character!"

This is the attached account..........

John de Fenes

William I appointed John de Fenes (Fiennes), a relation of his own, as
the Guard of Dover Castle in 1084 and to support him in the defence of
it he assigned him 56 knights fees. The office was made an
hereditary one, and was held by several of John de Fenes descendants.

He took over from Odo, Earl of Kent and William Is half-brother, after
he was disgraced and arrested in 1084

Fenes was the 3rd son of Eustace of Boulogne. He died in Normandy in
1084/5 and so held his post for a very short time. Nothing else is
known of him. Presumably, John must have been in the famous fight
between Eustace and his entourage and the Dover Townsmen in 1051, which
led to the banishment of Earl Godwin and Harold and then in turn to
Williams Conquest

Fenes is sometimes described as the first Lord Warden of the Cinque
Ports and Constable of Dover Castle but the office of Lord Warden dates
to the reign of Henry III. The records show Fenes was Constable only;
William dAveranche was the first to hold both appointments, from 1226,
since when the 2 posts have been continuously held together.

John was succeeded as Constable by his son James de Fenes (1048-1111)
who died at Folkestone. James son, John, took over in 1111, but sided
with Matilda during the civil war with King Stephen and on Stephens
victory in 1148 he removed John from office and the office from the
hereditary line of the Fenes family

In a later e-mail this information followed........

We have " John de Fenes, 3rd son of Eustace Earl of Boulogne by Alice,
daughter of Silvesse, Lady of Ardres, and brother of Conan de Fenes"
and "Eustace, son of Conan de Fenes, Earl of Boulogne in 1012". So that
gives you 3 generations - I don't think you had Conan as father of
Eustace father of John and Conan?

There is also a (unrelated?) Prince Eustache who was Constable of Dover
Castle, dying in office in 1153, and also described as "rough and

So it looks as if a solution could be that John de Fiennes of Dover was
the brother of Eustache I de Fiennes and that some folks have got their
descents from the wrong brother.

Any thoughts?


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