Fenn, James, Bl.

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Widower, priest martyr; b. 1540, Montacute, near Yeovil, Somerset, England; d. Feb. 12, 1584. After completing his education at Corpus Christi and Gloucester Hall, Oxford, Fenn was a schoolmaster in Somerset. He married and fathered two children. On the death of his wife, he studied for the priesthood at Rheims, where he was ordained in 1580. He was indicted, Feb. 5, 1584, with Bl. George haydock, Bl. William dean, and six other priests for conspiring against the queen at Rheims. All were adjudged guilty two days later and sentenced to execution. Thereafter he was shackled in "the pit" in the Tower of London. Jesuit Fr. Pollen records an eyewitness account of the execution: "before the cart was driven away, he was stripped of all his apparell saving his shirt only, and presently after the cart was driven away his shirt was pulled of his back, so that he hung stark naked, whereat the people muttered greatly." Fenn's daughter Frances was present at the execution of her father. He was beatified by Pius XI on Dec. 15, 1929.

Feast of the English Martyrs: May 4 (England).

See Also: england, scotland, and wales, martyrs of.

Bibliography: r. challoner, Memoirs of Missionary Priests, ed. j. h. pollen (rev. ed. London 1924; repr. Farnborough 1969). h. foley, Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus, 7 v. (London 187782) 74, 103. gillow, Biblical Dictictionary of English Catholicism, (London and New York 18851902) III, 202; cf. III, 265; V, 142, 201. j. h. pollen, Acts of English Martyrs (London 1891) 252, 253, 304.

[k. i. rabenstein]