Mary Fiennes (lady-in-waiting)

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Mary Fiennes
Herstmonceux Castle, Sussex, England
Died1531 (aged 35–36)
Noble familyFiennes
Spouse(s)Henry Norris
IssueSir William Norris
Edward Norris
Henry Norris, 1st Baron Norreys
Mary Norris
FatherThomas Fiennes, 8th Baron Dacre
MotherAnne Bourchier
OccupationMaid of Honour

Mary Fiennes (1495–1531) was an English courtier. She was the wife of Henry Norris. Norris was executed for treason as one of the alleged lovers of her cousin, Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII of England. Mary lived for six years at the French court as a Maid of Honour to queens consort Mary Tudor, wife of Louis XII; and Claude of France, wife of Francis I.

Family and early years[edit]

Mary was born at Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex in 1495, the only daughter of Thomas Fiennes, 8th Baron Dacre and Anne Bourchier. By both her father and mother she was descended from Edward III. She had two younger brothers, Sir Thomas and John. Her mother was an elder half-sister of Elizabeth Howard and Lord Edmund Howard, making queen consorts Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard a cousin of Mary. Her paternal grandmother, Alice FitzHugh, was sister to Elizabeth FitzHugh, grandmother of Catherine Parr, making her cousin to yet another queen consort of Henry VIII.

In 1514, Mary was appointed a Maid of Honour to Princess Mary Tudor and accompanied her to France when the latter married King Louis XII of France;[1] afterwards she served in the capacity to Queen Mary's successor, Queen Claude, consort of the new king Francis I of France. Among her fellow Maids of Honour were her cousins, Mary (a mistress of Henry VIII) and Anne Boleyn.

Marriage and issue[edit]

In 1520 upon her return to England, she married the courtier, Henry Norreys (1491 – 17 May 1536) of Yattendon in Berkshire, whom she had met that same year at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in France. Norris served King Henry VIII of England as a Gentleman of the Bedchamber, and was held in high favour by the King. He was later appointed Groom of the Stool and continued to enjoy the King's favour. According to biographer Eric Ives, Norris was "perhaps the nearest thing Henry had to a friend."[2] Norris had control of King Henry's Privy chamber.

Henry and Mary had three children:[2]


Mary died in 1531, a year after her mother. Five years later her husband was attainted and executed for treason as one of the five alleged lovers of her cousin Queen Anne Boleyn, who herself was beheaded at the Tower of London on 19 May 1536.

Their two orphaned children, one having already died in 1529, were raised by Norris's brother Sir John Norris.



  1. ^ Kathy Lynn Emerson, 'A Who's Who of Tudor Women, retrieved 26-11-09
  2. ^ a b c Ives, E. W. (May 2009) [First published 2004]. "Norris, Henry". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/20271. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ Colburn, Henry. A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire, Volume 1. 1869. p. 10. Google eBook
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Richardson, Douglas. Plantagenet Ancestry: A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families, 2nd Edition, 2011. pp. 148-150.