Baron Saye and Sele
is a title in the Peerage of England
. It is thought to have been created by letters patent
in 1447 for James Fiennes
for his services in the Hundred Years' War
. The patent creating the original barony was lost, so it was assumed that the barony was created by writ
, meaning that it could descend to heirs-general, and not only heirs-male. However, several authorities, including Burke's Peerage
, agree that the assumption was erroneous, and that the original creation was by patent. His son, the second baron, was summoned to Parliament but killed at the Battle of Barnet
in 1471. His son, the de jure
third Baron, was known as Lord Saye and Sele but was never summoned to Parliament. The peerage is therefore considered to have become dormant (unclaimed) on the death of the second Baron. His great-great-great-grandson, Richard Fiennes, the de jure
seventh baron, claimed the title in 1573. For years, he remained unsuccessful, but in 1603 James I
granted him letters patent confirming his right to the title. The patent confirmed that the barony created in 1447 belonged to Richard Fiennes, but on the condition that, for the purposes of precedence
or seniority, it would be considered as having been created in 1603, and also provided that no future Baron Saye and Sele would assert the precedence of 1447. The patent, furthermore, allowed the title to pass to heirs-general, based on the erroneous assumption that the barony was created by writ.
His son, the eighth Baron, was created Viscount Saye and Sele in 1624. On the death of his son, the second Viscount, the two titles separated. The barony fell into abeyance between the late Baron's daughters Hon. Elizabeth, wife of John Twisleton, and Hon. Frances, wife of Andrew Ellis. The Viscountcy could only be passed on to male heirs and was inherited by the Baron's nephew, the third Viscount. He was the son of Nathaniel Fiennes, second son of the first Viscount. When his son, the fourth Viscount, died, this line of the family also failed. He was succeeded by his cousin, the fifth Baron. He was the son of John Fiennes, third son of the first Viscount. He was in his turn succeeded by another cousin, the sixth Viscount. On his death in 1781 there were no more male heirs left of the first Viscount, and the title became extinct.
By 1715, all of the coheirs to the Barony of Saye and Sele had died save one; Cecil Twisleton, de jure tenth Baroness Saye and Sele. She was the daughter of the aforementioned Hon. Elizabeth, daughter of the first Viscount Saye and Sele. However, the barony was only formally called out of abeyance in favour of her great-grandson, Thomas Twisleton, who became the thirteenth Baron Saye and Sele. He was a General in the Army. His son, the fourteenth Baron, assumed the additional surnames of Fiennes and Eardley in 1825. He was succeeded by his son, the fifteenth Baron, who in his turn was succeeded by his cousin, the sixteenth Baron. In 1849 he assumed the additional surnames of Wykeham-Fiennes (the first Viscount Saye and Sele was a descendant of the sister and heiress of William of Wykeham). His grandson, the eighteenth Baron, served as Comptroller of the Household from 1912 to 1915 in the Liberal government of H.H. Asquith. As of 2007 the title is held by his grandson, the twenty-first Baron. In 1965 he relinquished the additional surnames of Twisleton and Wykeham.
Another member of the Fiennes family was Eustace Edward Fiennes, second son of the seventeenth Baron, who represented Banbury in Parliament and also served as Governor of the Leeward Islands. In 1916 he was created a Baronet, of Banbury in the County of Oxford. As of 2007 this title is held by his grandson, Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 3rd Baronet, of Banbury. Actors Ralph Fiennes and Joseph Fiennes are from a cadet branch of this family, also being descended from Eustace Edward Fiennes.
Through the marriage of the second Viscount to a daughter of Edward Cecil, 1st Viscount Wimbledon, the family descends from William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, as well as the Plantagenet Kings of England.
Barons Saye and Sele (1447)
- James Fiennes, 1st Baron Saye and Sele (c. 1395-1450)
- William Fiennes, 2nd Baron Saye and Sele (c. 1428-1471)
- Henry Fiennes, 3rd Baron Saye and Sele (c. 1460-1476)
- Richard Fiennes, 4th Baron Saye and Sele (1471-1501)
- Edward Fiennes, 5th Baron Saye and Sele (c. 1500-1528)
- Richard Fiennes, 6th Baron Saye and Sele (c. 1520-1573)
- Richard Fiennes, 7th Baron Saye and Sele (c. 1557-1613)
- William Fiennes, 1st Viscount Saye and Sele, 8th Baron Saye and Sele (1582-1662)
- James Fiennes, 2nd Viscount Saye and Sele, 9th Baron Saye and Sele (c. 1603-1674) (barony abeyant 1674; see below for continuation)
- William Fiennes, 3rd Viscount Saye and Sele (c. 1641-1698)
- Nathaniel Fiennes, 4th Viscount Saye and Sele (1676-1710)
- Laurence Fiennes, 5th Viscount Saye and Sele (c. 1690-1742)
- Richard Fiennes, 6th Viscount Saye and Sele (1716-1781)
Barons Saye and Sele (1447; continued)
- Cecil Twisleton, de jure 10th Baroness Saye and Sele (d. 1723) (became sole heir in 1715)
- Fiennes Twistleton, de jure 11th Baron Saye and Sele (1670-1730)
- John Twisleton, de jure 12th Baron Saye and Sele (1698-1763)
- Thomas Twisleton, 13th Baron Saye and Sele (c. 1735-1788) (abeyancy terminated in his favour)
- Gregory William Eardley-Twisleton-Fiennes, 14th Baron Saye and Sele (1769-1844)
- William Thomas Eardley-Twisleton-Fiennes, 15th Baron Saye and Sele (1798-1847)
- Frederick Benjamin Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 16th Baron Saye and Sele (1799-1887)
- John Fiennes Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 17th Baron Saye and Sele (1830-1907)
- Geoffrey Cecil Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 18th Baron Saye and Sele (1858-1937)
- Geoffrey Rupert Cecil Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 19th Baron Saye and Sele (1884-1949)
- Ivo Murray Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 20th Baron Saye and Sele (1885-1968)
- Nathaniel Thomas Allen Fiennes, 21st Baron Saye and Sele (b. 1920)
- Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990.
- Leigh Rayment's Peerage Page