Mary Fiennes (lady-in-waiting)

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Mary Fiennes
Born 1495
Herstmonceux Castle, Sussex, England
Died 1531 (aged 35-36)
Noble family Fiennes
Spouse(s) Sir Henry Norris
Sir William Norris
Edward Norris
Henry Norris, 1st Baron Norreys
Mary Norris
Father Sir Thomas Fiennes, 8th Baron Dacre
Mother Anne Bourchier
Occupation Maid of Honour

Mary Fiennes (1495–1531) was an English noblewoman and the wife of Sir Henry Norris who 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 and Claude of France, queen consort of Francis I of France.

Family and early years

Mary was born at Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex in 1495, the only daughter of Sir Thomas Fiennes, 8th Baron Dacre and Anne Bourchier. 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 another queen consort of Henry VIII, Catherine Parr.

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

In 1520 upon her return to England, she married the courtier Sir Henry Norris (1482- 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 the King's closest personal friend.[citation needed] Norris had control of King Henry's Privy chamber.

Henry and Mary had four 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 four orphaned children 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. ^ Emerson, A Who's Who of Tudor Women
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