Obituary to Lord Saye and Sele (1920-2024), Patron of UCARE

Nathaniel Fiennes, Lord Saye and Sele owner of Broughton Castle and patron and friend of UCARE died at the age of 103.

He gave much of his life and energy to the maintenance of Broughton Castle, the beautiful moated mansion near Banbury, after inheriting the castle from his father in 1968. The castle had been in the family since 1377, and Nat was the 21st in succession to the first Lord Saye, who fought at Agincourt in 1415. Over the years the 8th Lord Saye was a key person in opposition to King Charles 1st, siding with the Parliamentarians although he opposed the execution of the King.

Educated at Eton and New College Oxford, Nat excelled at cricket. He captained Eton and the Public schools XI in 1939, but his cricketing career was cut short by the war. At the time of his death, he was the oldest member of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).

During the war he joined the 8th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade and served with them as Adjutant, arriving in Normandy on June 12th, (D Day+6). In April 1945 he was one of the first into Belsen with two fellow officers, despite the warnings of Typhus. He remembered the rows of people lying in huts, difficult to tell the living from the dead. He later said, It was a sight you wouldn’t have believed possible to see…if anyone ever denies the Holocaust, I’m very glad to stand up and tell them that I saw Belsen.

He married Mariette in 1958 and they had five children. Sadly in 1968 their third son Thomas died at the age of three and later in 2001, Richard of an epileptic seizure at the age of forty-one. This story was poignantly written up by their son William in his book “The Music Room.” Suzanna is an artist, William a writer and Martin, who as the elder son, inherits the title and the castle.

Nat and Mariette were great supporters of UCARE and opened Broughton Castle several times to UCARE events there. We are so grateful to them for their support over the years and grieve with them over their loss.

David Cranston, UCARE Founding Trustee [Retired]