Thomas Fiennes III

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Thomas Fiennes, 9th Lord Dacre

Birthplace: Herstmonceux, East Sussex, England
Death: Died in London, Greater London, England
Cause of death: Died on the scaffold
Place of Burial: London, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Thomas Fiennes, Kt. and Jane Fiennes
Husband of Mary Thursby, Baroness Dacre
Father of Gregory G. Fiennes, 10th Baron Dacre; Thomas Fiennes; Lady Margaret Fiennes, 11th Baroness Dacre and Margaret Lennard
Brother of John Fiennes; Anne Johnson and Mary Wheatleigh

Occupation: 9th Lord Dacre, 9th Baron Dacre, 9th Baron
Managed by: Glenna Davidson Murdock
Last Updated:

About Thomas Fiennes III

Thomas Fiennes, 9th Baron Dacre

Thomas Fiennes, 9th Baron Dacre (ca. 1515 – 1541) was an English aristocrat notable for his conviction and execution for murder.

Dacre was the son of Sir Thomas Fiennes and Jane Sutton daughter of Edward Sutton, 2nd Baron Dudley. When his father died in 1528 he became heir apparent to his grandfather's title and the family seat at Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex, and he succeeded to the title at the age of approximately 19 in 1533. In 1536 he married Mary Neville, daughter of George Neville, 5th Baron Bergavenny.

He was a member of the jury at the trial of Anne Boleyn in 1536, and of Thomas, Lord Darcy, and John, Lord Hussey in May 1537 (for their part in the Pilgrimage of Grace), and of Baron Montagu and the Marquess of Exeter in 1538 for the Exeter Conspiracy.

On 30 April 1541 Dacre led a party of gentlemen including his brother-in-law John Mantell, John Frowds, George Roidon, Thomas Isleie, and two yeomen Richard Middleton and John Goldwell, to poach on the lands of Sir Nicholas Pelham of Laughton. During the escapade they encountered John Busbrig (or Busbridge), James Busbrig, and Richard Summer who were servants of Pelham. The encounter turned into an affray during which John Busbrig was fatally wounded. Dacre and several others were charged with murder and arraigned before the Lord High Steward, Lord Audley of Walden on 27 June. Dacre originally entered a plea of not guilty but was later persuaded to change it to guilty and throw himself upon the King's mercy in the hope of a reprieve. Unlike many of his contemporaries he was not executed by beheading but was hanged at Tyburn on 29 June 1541. An account of the execution in Hall's Chronicle says:-

  • he was led on foot between the two sheriffs of London from the Tower through the city to Tyburn where he was strangled as common murderers are and his body buried in the church of St Sepulchre ; Hall's Chronicle, 842.

Mantell, Frowds and Roidon were also executed for the crime.

Dacre's family were stripped of their lands and title, but the title was restored to his second son Gregory in 1558 (the elder son Thomas died before the restitution aged 15).

Fiennes' case was briefly mentioned in the Showtime historical series, The Tudors.



  • Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 18
  • Fiennes, Thomas by Edmund Venables
  • FIENNES or FIENES, THOMAS, ninth Lord Dacre (1517–1541), was son of Sir Thomas Fienes, by Joan Sutton, daughter of Edward and sister of John, lord Dudley. Sir Thomas died in the lifetime of his father, Thomas, eighth baron Dacre of the South. The eighth baron married Anne, daughter of Sir Humphrey Bourchier, and granddaughter of John, lord Berners; was engaged in repressing Perkin Warbeck's insurrection 1496–1497, and after much public service died in 1534. He succeeded his grandfather in 1534–5, aged about 18. With the Duke of Norfolk and Lord Mountjoy he headed the cavalcade of knights and esquires who met Anne of Cleves [q. v.] on Rainham Down on New Year's eve 1539–40 (Holinshed, Chron. iii. 811). On the night of 30 April 1541 Lord Dacre and a party of youths left his castle of Hurstmonceux for a poaching frolic in the park of Mr. Nicholas Pelham at Laughton. On their way thither the company got divided. One party, not that, it would appear, to which Lord Dacre belonged, fell in with some persons, perhaps some of Pelham's servants, one of whom was mortally wounded in a scuffle. The whole company was indicted on the charge of murder. The innocence of the other party was so clear that the privy council hesitated long before ordering a prosecution, and then probably under pressure from the king (Froude, Hist. of England, iv. 120). Henry, now nearing his worst, ‘cruelly, royally vindictive’ (Stubbs, Lectures, pp. 200–1), was resolved that the young man should die, and his ‘surpassing self-wilfulness’ drove his councillors to a decision, though not without a long and stormy debate. The case was tried in the court of king's bench on 27 June, before the lord chancellor (Lord Audley of Walden), ‘sitting that day as high steward of England.’ Lord Dacre at first pleaded ‘not guilty;’ but, ‘overpersuaded by the courtiers, who gaped after his estate, to confess the fact’ (Camden, Elizabeth, ap. Kennett, ii. 580), he pleaded guilty, and ‘cast himself on the king's mercy, as the only way to save his own and his servant's life.’ A capital conviction necessarily followed. The judges thereupon used their influence with the king to obtain mercy. The king, however, was determined, and Dacre was ordered to be executed next day, 29 June, at 11 A.M., on Tower Hill. The execution was stayed by an order from the king, but carried out the same afternoon at Tyburn. Dacre was buried in St. Sepulchre's Church on Snow Hill. The popular compassion was deeply moved. Seven of his companions besides himself were indicted. Four of them were acquitted, and three shared his fate. The case has ever since been referred to as a notable precedent (Hall, Pleas of the Crown, i. 439; second part by Jacob, i. 47). Lord Dacre, by his wife Mary, daughter of George Neville, lord Abergavenny, left two sons, Thomas, who died, aged 15, in 1553, and Gregory [q. v.], who was restored to his honours in 1558, and a daughter, Margaret, who married Sampson Lennard, esq., of Chevening, Kent, and on the death of her brother without issue inherited his entailed estates, and was declared Baroness Dacre in 1604.
  • [Hall's Chronicle, p. 841; Holinshed's Chronicles, iii. 821; Froude's Hist. of England, iv. 120–2; Camden's Elizabeth, sub anno 1594; Hayley MSS. Brit. Mus. i. 743.]
  • From:,_Thomas_(DNB00)


  • Thomas Fiennes, 9th Lord Dacre1
  • M, #163735, b. circa 1516, d. 29 June 1541
  • Father Sir Thomas Fiennes1 b. c 1493, d. 26 Oct 1528
  • Mother Jane Sutton2 b. c 1493, d. Aug 1539
  • Thomas Fiennes, 9th Lord Dacre was born circa 1516 at Hurstmonceux, Sussex, England; Age 18+ in 1534.1 He married Mary Neville, daughter of Sir George Neville, Lord Abergavenny, Constable of Dover Castle, Warden of the Cinque Ports and Mary Stafford, in 1536 at England; She married (2) (Mr.) Wootton; (3) Francis Thursby.1 Thomas Fiennes, 9th Lord Dacre died on 29 June 1541 at Tyburn, Middlesex, England; Convicted of murdering a park keeper at Laughton Park, Sussex.1
  • Family Mary Neville b. c 1521, d. c 1576
  • Child
    • Gregory Fiennes, 10th Lord Dacre1 b. 25 Jun 1539, d. 25 Sep 1594
  • Citations
  • [S11568] The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, by George Edward Cokayne, Vol. IV, p. 10-11.
  • [S11568] The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, by George Edward Cokayne, Vol. IV, p. 10.
  • From:


  • Thomas Fiennes, 9th Lord Dacre1
  • M, #28724, b. circa 1516, d. 29 June 1541
  • Last Edited=21 Feb 2011
  • Consanguinity Index=0.04%
  • Thomas Fiennes, 9th Lord Dacre was born circa 1516.1 He was the son of Sir Thomas Fiennes and Joan de Sutton.1 He married Lady Mary Neville, daughter of Sir George Neville, 3rd Lord Abergavenny and Lady Mary Stafford, in 1536.2 He died on 29 June 1541, hanged.1
  • He succeeded to the title of 9th Lord Dacre [E., 1321] on 9 September 1533.1 In 1540 He was found guilty of the murder of a gamekeeper during a deer hunt at Laughton Park, Sussex, even though he was apparently elsewhere at the time, and the fatal blow was struck by a third party.1 His barony was judged forfeit.1
  • Children of Thomas Fiennes, 9th Lord Dacre and Lady Mary Neville
    • Gregory Fiennes, 10th Lord Dacre1 b. 25 Jun 1539, d. 25 Sep 1594
    • Margaret Fiennes, Baroness Dacre+1 b. 1541, d. 16 Mar 1611/12
  • Citations
  • [S37] BP2003 volume 1, page 1014. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S37]
  • [S8] BP1999 volume 1, page 17. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S8]
  • From:


  • Thomas FIENNES (3° B. Dacre of the South)
  • Born: 1516, Hurstmonceux, Sussex, England
  • Died: 29 Jun 1541, hanged at Tyburn
  • Buried: St. Sepulchre's, Newgate, England
  • Notes: See his Biography.
  • Father: Thomas FIENNES (Sir Knight)
  • Mother: Jane SUTTON
  • Married: Mary NEVILLE (B. Dacre of the South) 1536, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales
  • Children:
    • 1. Thomas FIENNES
    • 2. Gregory FIENNES (4° B. Dacre of the South)
    • 3. Margaret FIENNES (5° B. Dacre of the South)
  • From: FIENNES (3° B. Dacre of the South)


  • Thomas "9th Baron Dacre" Fiennes
  • Birth: 1516
  • Death: Jun. 29, 1541
  • Family links:
  • Spouse:
  • Mary Neville Fiennes (1520 - 1565)*
  • Children:
    • Gregory Fiennes (1539 - 1594)*
    • Margaret Fiennes Lennard (1540 - 1611)*
  • Burial: St Sepulchre without Newgate Churchyard, London, City of London, Greater London, England
  • Find A Grave Memorial# 7605560
  • From:


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Thomas Fiennes III's Timeline

Herstmonceux, East Sussex, England
Age 23
Of--, Hurstmonceux, Sussex, England
June 25, 1539
Age 24
Hurstmonceux, Sussex, England
January 1540
Age 25
Pontypool, Monmouthshire, England
Age 25
June 29, 1541
Age 26
London, Greater London, England
9th Baron of Dacre
London, Middlesex, England, United Kingdom