The Fiennes-Lennard Connection to the Mary Leonard-Samuel Bliss Line


Last month's feature presented information about Margaret Fiennes and her husband, Sam(p)son Lennard. They are the parents of Thomas Leonard (1577-1638) who married Lydia White. Lady Margaret descends from the Neville family through her mother, Mary.  

Sam(p)son Lennard served as High Sheriff of Kent and was a Member of Parliament for several constituencies. "Sampson Lennard, a prominent gentleman of Kent and Sussex, claimant to the barony of Dacres in right of his wife, and a person with friends at Court, sat for Newport (Cornwall) in 1571, Bramber (Sussex) in 1584, St. Mawes (Cornwall) in 1586, Christchurch (Hampshire) in 1589, St. Germains (Cornwall) in 1583, Rye (the Cinque Port) in 1597, Liskeard (Cornwall) in 1601, and Sussex in 1614." (Source: The Elizabethan House of Commons by J. E. Neale, Yale University Press, 1950).   He seems to have been a learned man as he translated Pierre Charron's Of Wisdome, published about 1612, with a dedication to Prince Henry. (Source: Middle-Class Culture in Elizabethan England by Louis B. Wright, The University of North Carolina Press.) In addition, Sampson Lennard was  Bluemantle Pursuivant, responsible for conducting some of the Visitations described below. (See Dorset, Somerset, and Wiltshire.)

A great-granddaughter of this union, Mary Leonard, married Samuel Bliss of Springfield. This month's feature continues information about the Fiennes-Lennard and Mary Leonard-Samuel Bliss families.

The Fynes and Lennard pages contain information from the Visitations made by the College of Arms between 1529-1686, many of which have been published by the Harleian Society.  The Visitations were conducted for the following reasons:

"By the 14th century the number of families entitled to bear arms had grown to the extent that the heralds, who supervised tournaments, etc, were given the responsibility for regulating the design and the wearing of armorial bearings.  This duty was consolidated in 1485 in the College of Heralds.  By then bearings had become hereditary.

College of Arms. The College, alternatively called the College of Heralds, was established 1485; it is responsible for the granting, control and confirmation of coats-of-arms in England.  At its head is the Earl Marshal, an hereditary title held by the Duke of Norfolk.  He has thirteen principal officers: three Kings of Arms - Garter, Clarenceux and Norroy, six heralds - Chester, Lancaster, Somerset, Richmond, Windsor and York, and four pursuivants - Rouge Croix, Rouge Dragon, Portcullis and Bluemantle.  

Visitations. From 1529/30 the College of Arms made visitations to parts of the country to establish if coats-of-arms were being used correctly, and also to investigate new applications.  The last visitation was in 1686.  Many of the visitation records have been printed by the Harleian Society." [Source: Pg. 213, The Local Historian's Encyclopedia, John Richardson, 1974,Historical Publications, ISBN 0 9503656 7]


Click on the Fynes tab to view information about Margaret Fiennes' lineage, according to the Visitations.


Click on the Lennard tab to view information about Sam(p)son Lennard's lineage, according to the Visitations.


Click on the Leonard-Bliss tab to view information about the descendants of Thomas Leonard and Lydia White.


Click on the Resources tab to find links to more information about Herstmonceux Castle, the Fiennes and Lennard families, and the College of Arms.

Thank you to cousin Linda Peterson for sharing information about the Margaret Fiennes-Sam(p)son Lennard connection. Linda is a fellow researcher who has made available documents from the library of the Society of Genealogists in London.