FIENNES, James (c.1603-1674), of Broughton Castle, Oxon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



19 July 1625
1640 (Apr.)
1640 (Nov.)

Family and Education

b. c.1603, 1st s. of William, 1st Visct. Saye and Sele and Elizabeth, da. of John Temple of Burton Dassett, Warws. and Stowe, Bucks.; bro. of John† and Nathaniel Fiennes†.2 educ. Queens’, Camb. 1618, Emmanuel 1622; travelled abroad 1624-5; L. Inn 1628.3 m. bef. 1631, Frances (d.1684), da. and coh. of Sir Edward Cecil*, Visct. Wimbledon, 3s. d.v.p. 2da. suc. fa. as 2nd Visct. 14 Apr. 1662. d. 15 Mar. 1674.4

Offices Held

J.p. Oxon. 1632-6, 1641-8, c.1660-d.;5 commr. sewers, Oxon. and Berks. 1635,6 oyer and terminer 1641,7 execution of ordinances, Oxon. 1644, assessment 1644, Glos. and Oxon. 1647, 1657, 1660-2, appeals, Oxf. Univ. 1647, militia, Glos. and Oxon. 1648, 1660;8 dep. lt. Oxon. 1660-8, ld. lt. 1668-d.;9 freeman, Oxford 1668.10

Commr. exclusion from sacrament 1646, scandalous offences 1648.11


Fiennes’s father, the 1st Viscount Saye and Sele, nicknamed ‘Old Subtlety’ for his puritan scheming against Charles I, dominated Banbury from his residence at Broughton, three miles away.12 Fiennes was returned for the borough after Sir William Cope* was unseated on 23 June 1625. Having missed the opening communion of the Parliament, Fiennes was admitted with a licence on the second day of the Oxford sitting. However, this permission had to be renewed a week later since he had been ‘enforced the last Sabbath day to go out of town’.13 He left no other trace on the records of the first Caroline Parliament.

Fiennes took the senior county seat in 1626, when he was appointed to attend conferences with the Lords on the duke of Buckingham’s activities as lord admiral (4 Mar.) and defence (7 March). On 5 Apr. he was also one of those instructed to wait upon the king with a Remonstrance defending the privileges of the House.14 He sat again in the Parliament of 1628, when his appointments in the first session included a conference on a petition for a fast (21 Mar. 1628), a bill for the better maintenance of the ministry (7 May) and a committee to hear a petition against Sir Simeon Steward* (10 May).15 In the second session, in 1629, he was among those appointed to consider a bill against the begging of forfeitures before attainder (23 Jan. 1629), and to attend the king with a petition for another fast (27 January). He made no recorded speeches.16

Fiennes and his father were removed from the commission of the peace in 1636, in punishment for the viscount’s encouragement of local resistance to Ship Money.17 Unlike his brother Nathaniel, Fiennes took little part in the Civil War except to be appointed by the Long Parliament to various commissions, and was ‘reputed an honest cavalier and a quiet man’.18 Having succeeded his father as the 2nd Viscount Saye and Sele he was summoned to the Lords in February 1663. He died intestate on 15 Mar. 1674, and was buried at Broughton, leaving his estates to be divided between two daughters.19 No further member of the family sat in the Commons.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Alan Davidson / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. Did not sit after Pride’s Purge, 6 Dec. 1648; readmitted 21 Feb. 1660.
  • 2. CP, xi. 488.
  • 3. Al. Cant.; APC, 1623-5, p. 392; LI Admiss.
  • 4. CP, xi. 489.
  • 5. C231/5, pp. 75, 219, 431; C193/13/2, ff. 53-4; C220/9/4.
  • 6. C181/4, f. 179.
  • 7. C181/5, f. 400.
  • 8. A. and O. i. 456, 542, 927, 966, 972, 1083, 1090, 1136, 1237, 1241; ii. 1077, 1376, 1432, 1440.
  • 9. SP29/11, f. 223; 29/42, f. 115v.
  • 10. Oxf. Council Acts ed. M.G. Hobson (Oxf. Hist. Soc. n.s. ii), 27.
  • 11. A. and O. i. 853, 1209.
  • 12. VCH Oxon. ix. 88-92.
  • 13. Procs. 1625, pp. 378, 429.
  • 14. CJ, i. 830a, 832a, 844a.
  • 15. Ibid. 874a, 893a, 895a.
  • 16. Ibid. 922a, 923a.
  • 17. CSP Dom. 1636-9, pp. 121-2; N.P. Bard, ‘The Ship Money Case’, BIHR, l. 179n.
  • 18. Ath. Ox. iii. 546-50.
  • 19. PROB 6/49, f. 33; CP, xi. 489.