This clergyman was a native of Lancashire. He was Fellow of Pembroke Hall, in Cambridge University. For many years, he was “the painful, pious, learned, and beloved minister” of St. Stephen’s, Walbrook, London, to which he was admitted in 1601. He was also presented by the Queen to the Rectory of St. Bennet’s, Sherehog, which he resigned in 1606, for the vicarage of Chigwell, in Essex. He was also collated, in place of Bishop Andrews, to the Prebendship of Pancras in St. Paul’s cathedral, where he was Penitentiary of St. Paul’s. His prebendship of Pancras also made him, (so Newcourt says,) Rector of that church. He died January 16th, 1616, aged fifty years. He was buried under the communion-table of St. Stephen’s, where there is a monument erected to his memory by his parishioners, with an inscription expressing their affection toward him as a pastor eminent for his piety and learning.

His principal publication is described as a “solid treatise” against usury. His most intimate friend was Dr. Nicholas Felton, another London minister. The following singular incident is related of them by good old Thomas Fuller; --”Once my own father gave Dr. Fenton a visit, who excused himself from entertaining him any long. ‘Mr. Fuller,’ said he, ‘hear how the passing bell tolls, at this very instant, for my dear friend, Dr. Felton, now a-dying. I must to my study, it being mutually agreed upon betwixt us, in our healths, that the survivor of us should preach the other’s funeral sermon.’ But see a strange change! God, ‘to whom belong the issues of death,’ with the patriarch Jacob blessing his grand-children, ‘wittingly guided his hands across,’ reaching out death to the living, and life to the dying. So that Dr. Felton recovered, and not only performed that last office to his friend, Dr. Fenton, but survived him more than ten years, and died Bishop of Ely.” By that funeral sermon, it appears that Dr. Fenton was free of the Grocers’ Company, a wealthy guild, to whom belonged the patronage of St. Stephen’s Church. He was also Preacher of Gray’s Inn, a society or college of lawyers. Bishop Felton says of him, --”None was fitter to dive into the depths of school divinity. He was taken early from the University, and had many troubles afterward; yet he grew and brought forth fruit. Never a more learned hath Pembroke Hall brought forth, with but one exception.” This nameless exception was doubtless the great Bishop Lancelot Andrews. Dr. Fenton suffered severely in regard to health, in consequence of his sedentary habits. “In the time of his sickness,” says his friend, “I told him, that his weakness and disease were trials only of his faith and patience.” Oh no, he answered, they are not trials but corrections. *

* Non probationes, sed castigationes.

Ralph Hutchinson