Mementoes of the English Martyrs and Confessors – Venerable James Fenn, Priest, 1584

main article for Blessed James FennArticle

Ordained priest when a widower of mature age, he laboured first in his own county, Somersetshire. He was soon apprehended, and to complete his disgrace was exposed to the people, chained and fettered, on a market-day. Removed to the Marshalsea, where his priesthood was unknown, he spent his time in strengthening the Catholics, administering the Sacraments and reconciling Protestants to the Church. The main objects of his charity, however, were the criminals and pirates under sentence of death. These he visited and exhorted with great affection to make good use of the time by repenting of their sins and seeking pardon through the power Christ had left with His Church. Many responded to his call, among them one noted pirate, till then in despair at the load of his sins, cast himself at his feet and desired to be reconciled. This was done, and so staunch was this convert that he absolutely refused the prayers and communion of the Protestant minister, and on the scaffold publicly professed his faith. As Father Fenn was being laid on the hurdle his little daughter Frances came weeping to take leave of him. The good man lifted his pinioned hands as far as he could and gave her his blessing, and was drawn to Tyburn, 12 February 1584.

MLA Citation

  • Father Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Venerable James Fenn, Priest, 1584”. Mementoes of the English Martyrs and Confessors, 1910. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 April 2019. Web. 31 July 2021. <>