Ramage Family History

Humphrey Fenn

Male Bef 1568 - Yes, date unknown


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  • Name Humphrey Fenn 
    Born Bef 18 Jan 1568 
    Gender Male 
    Died Yes, date unknown 
    Person ID I4446  Ramage | Young Lines
    Last Modified 18 Nov 2011 

    Family Agnes 
    Children 
    +1. Humphrey Fenn,   b. 26 Apr 1552, Wiggenhall St. German's, Norfolk, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   bur. 8 Feb 1633, Holy Trinity Church, Coventry, Co. Warwick, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 80 years)
    Last Modified 18 Nov 2011 
    Family ID F1576  Group Sheet

  • Notes 
    • "Humphrey Fenn was born probably at Wiggenhall St. German's, Norfolk, say 1526, and apparently remained in the area during his life. He reached the state of yeoman, or farmer [in the modern sense] of his own land, and his will indicates that he managed well. The registers of his parish are extant only after the mid 1600s and are thus no help with reconstructing his family. He named wife Agnes in his will ;the the 1585/6 will of their son William, she was called Annis. These names are interchangeable. She may have been a second wife, which is explained further on. After his death, widow Agnes married Nicholas Baxter, named in William's will." 1431

      "He was named in the 1567 will of his brother Thomas." 1431

      "Son Thomas, yeoman, a resident of Wiggenhall St. Mary's parish, prepared his will on 24 October 1567, and it was proved on 22 January 1567/8. Wiggenhall St. Mary's is about two walking miles from Wiggenhall St. german's, with the walk taking a person across St. German's bridge. In his will, Thomas named his wife Elizabeth; his children; mother Swayne, who was likely his wife's mother; his brother Robert Fenne, to whom he gave clothes; and his brother 'Umfrey,' with the request that Umfrey serve as executor." 1431

      "Young Humphrey started his studies at Cambridge on 12 November 1568, when he was 16 years of age. His father's will is dated 26 November 1568. Imagination suggests that his father accompanied this eldest son the forty or so miles south, over the fens (marshy areas), for his entrance to the world of vast knowledge available at the school. Upon father Humphrey's arrival back home, in Wiggenhall St. German's, Norfolk, he likely became concerned that he should make sure young Humphrey would be financially able to stay at Cambridge, and he wrote his will 'withe myne owne hande.' Or maybe his health was already poor, and someone else took young Humphrey to the university. In his will, he mentioned 'this the tyme of my sycknes,' but the illness could have come after son Humphrey's departure. Father Humphrey allowed 60 for his son's education. He detailed it as follows [spelling changed to present usage': 'I will that the said sixty pounds given to the said Jumfry my son shall be paid or bestowed upon him in manner and form following, that is to say ten pounds yearly by the space of six years next after my decesase if the said Hy[m]fry my son shall continue in learning in the university during the said ears; and if he shall depart from learning in the university, before the said six years be expired, then I will the reisdue or so much of the said legacy of sixty pounds to him before given as shall be then unbestowed upon the said Humfrye at his said departure shall be detained, and kept from thenceforth to his use in the hands of my executor until he shall attain and come to his full age of twenty-one years.' " 1431

      "Humphrey Fenn's will was dated 26 November 1568 and proved on 18 January 1568/9. The will is long. Following are extracts related to the present study [text to be entered] . . . to Anes my wyffe my meswage or tenement wth all the londs, meadows and pastuers therto belonginge . . .[about son Humfry, previously quoted] . . . to the seide Agnes my wiffe, all my stuffe of howsholde and my swyne and pultery withe all my fyrenge in the howse and yards and all my wheate strawe Rye strawe and beane strawe . . .The resdewe of all my goods and cattells . . . I gyve . . .them holy unto the seide Agnes my wiffe whome I order and make sole executrix of this my present testament and last will uppon condition that she shall within Thirtie daies next after my deceace uppn the reasonable request or demaunde of my Frynde, Clement Gybsonne stonde bounde withe sufficient sewertie or sewerties by a sufficient wrytinge obligatory unto the seide Clement Gybsonne his executors and assynes in two hundred pounds of Lawfull mony of englande, endorsed withe condition that she hir executors and assynes shall at hir or ther costs and chardgs well and honestly educate and brynge upp all my seide children untyll thei shall attayne and come to ther severall ages of seaventene years my seyd sonne humfrye excepted . . . and yf the seide Agnes my wyffe do refuse to seale and delyver, the seide obligation withe sufficient sewertye or sewertyes at the discreation of the seide Clement Gybson or shall not be able to Laye in sewertie or sewerties as aforeseide then I will my side wiffe shall Loose the benefyt of executor shipp savinge that then I gyve and bequeathe unto hir eight mylche neate, or the best my black geldinge xxti wether as thai rune xxti ewes as thei run ten eye hoggs of the best v combes of wheate fyve combes of rye and v combes of otes wch I will shallby delyvered unto hir, ymmediatly after suce refusall . . . and then I will that my brother in Lawe John wryght the elder shallbe my sole executor . . . ' " 1431

      "Humphrey Fen of Coventry would confess in 1591 that it was 'about eight years now last past' that he and others began to 'treat and confer of the Discipline.' That would palce the beginning of formal conference in Warwickshire in 1583." 1804

      "The militant voice fo the puritan press is a strong indication tat the leadership of the purtan movement had now found a sense of purpose and direction for which it was merely groping before 1584 . . 'Here have been a good company of godly brethren this Act,' Field was told by Edward Gellibrand of Magdalen, the secretary of the movement in Oxford, 'Master Fen, Wilcox, Axton, the Scottish ministers and we have had some meeting and conference, to our great comfort a=that are here.' " 1804

      "As luck would have it, we possess what even Bancroft never saw: the formal Latin Acta of this assembly, headed 'September 8, 1587'. Among other things this document furnishes us with a lsit of names, arranged under counties, which probably indicates those who were normally to be written to in their districts, rather than the delegated attending this meeting. The correspondents for . .. Warwickshire, Cartwright and his close collaborator, Humphrey Fen of Coventry. . . " 1804

      "At about the same time [the early weeks of 1588], the Discipline was subscribed in Warwickshire by twelve ministers, including cartwright; Humfrey Fen, vicar of Holy Trinity, Coventry, and after Cartwright the leading Warwickshire figure . . . The subscribers seem to have met either in Coventry or in Lord's vicarage of Wolston, six miles away." 1804

      "it would not be possible to come closer to separation fromt he Church of the bishops and yet avoid final, open rupture. The correspondence of the ministers whose common mind these acts express confirms that by 1588 they were close indeed to schism. Humfrey Fen held it unlawful to receive the saraments at the hands of a non-preacher and to 'come to the ordinary service read in the church except it be of purpose to hear a sermon.' " 1804

      "Private chaplaincies in puritan families lent themselves even more readily to presbyterian practice. . . When the earl of Leicester set out as captain-general for the Netherlands in 1585, his choice of Humbfey Fen of Coventry as a chaplain was confirmed by bothe the Warwickshire and London classes. 'I am ready to fun,' wrote Fen, 'if the Church command me, according to the hold decrees and orders of the Discipline.' " 1804

      "Leicester's death had been preceded by the slow attrition of his political influence, to the advantage of enemies who were diametrically opposed toe Elizabeth's old favourite int heir religious poicy. The evidence of his church patronage suggests that in his prime Leicester lent his support with some consistenc to those best described as Grindalians: zealous preaching proatestants who were moderate puritans in their attitude to current controveries and not disposed to stand on their ecclesiastical dignity. But in his later years he moved closer to the more extreme, presbyterian fringe. He was friendly to John Field, installed Cartwright as master of his hospital at Warwick, and took Humfrey Fen and John Dnewstub as chaplains to the Netherlands during his captaincy-general." 1804

      "On the following Sunday, February 9th [1589] Richard Bancroft preched at Paul's Cross a sermon which is rightly regarded as a minor landmark in English church history. . . . Surely this sermon was, as Whitgift later wrote, 'to special purpose', and no wonder that Stephen Egerton of Blackfriars wrote to humfrey Fen of Coventry: 'We expect no good in the cause of religion, we rather fear some evil.' " 1804

      "It was presumably by means of these examinations and on the basis of the documentry evidence already accumulted that the choice was made of the ministers who were later to appear together in the Star Chamber. They were . . . Thomas cartwright, Humfrey Fen, Daniel Wight and Edward Lord of Warwickshire . . . " 1804

      "[Stone] implies that this was one of a series of such meetings held in London at the hosues of Barber, Gardiner, Travers and Egerton throughout the emergency which had prevailed since the parliament of 1589, and attended from time to time by Chaderton of Cambridge, Brown of Oxford, Gifford of Essex, Allen of Suffolk and Sommerscales of Lincolnshire, as well as by those who were present in October 1590. The imprisoned ministers were by no means excluded fromt he urgent conference and correspondence with which the puritans were responding tot he crisis, and Snape's claim that he had been placed in 'close prison' should not be understood too literally. Cartwright was in the Fleet, King, Wight, Fen and Payne inthe clink. . . Fen had 'the liberty of the house and garden and access of friends', and he was allowed to go with his keeper to hear Lancelot Andrewes's sermons in St Paul's. Closer confinement followed his last appearance before the Commissioners in December. . . . Letters and forms of petition inevitably passed to and fro with the visitors." 1804

      "the chance survival of one such letter, from fen to Edward Fleetwood, rector of Wigan and leader of the lancashire preachers, preserves almost the only evidence we possess from the Elizabethan period of consultation between the puritan ministers north and south of the Trent. [details to be entered]. 1804

      "It was evidently in December or January 1590-91 that the prisoners began to ask their godly friends for more than prayers. The five ministers with parochial charges - Snape, Lord, Fen, Wight and Prowdlove - wrote to their congregations suggesting that they should petition the queen for their deliverance . . . A further indicatin of the lack of spontaneity of the petitions was that they were redrafted in London before being presented. Fen described a conversation with those who brought the petition from Coventry in which it was agreed that this should be done. The probability is strong that the puritan lawyers were responsibe for these alterations, as they may ahve been for the whole plan of concerted action. Robert Beale wrote to Whitgift on Fen's behalf, capitalizing his own connections with Coventry and referring to the appeals of his 'kinsfolk, allis and friends in those parts' and requesting Fen;s release on bail until the following term." 1804

      "In the winer and spring of 1590-91, the High Commissioners worked industriously to obtain some kine of confession of these matters. Fen made a further appearance before Chirstmas, which was again characterized by 'obstinate contempt'. " 1804

      "By this time [January, 1593], thanks to the queen's 'princely compassion', the prisoners in the Clink adn the White Lion - Wight, Fen, King, Payme and Lord - were allowed on a bail of forty poinds to go to church on Sundays, and Fen and King were permitted to leave their prisons on one other day in the week to conduct their necessary business. . . . One of the prisoners [ Not, I think, Fen, as the catalogue would sugget, but possible Prowdlove. there may have been some confusion of these documents in binding] had 'continually voided blood by urine' since October, and he bore the additional burden of a 'poor lame wife and seven small chidlren'. " 1804

      "In Northamptonshire, it was thought in August [1603] that the puritan representation would consist of Walter Travers, John Reynolds of Oxford and Laurence Chaderton of Cambridge, with Knewstub from Suffolk and John ireton and Arthur Hildersham from Leicestershire. A later list, apparently composed by Patrick Galoway, names Reynolds, Hildersham, Chaderton and Knewstub, but substitutes Humfrey Fen of Coventry for Ireton and adds the name of Cartwright, who would be dead by the time that the postponed conference met in mid-January . . The two surviving extremists, Fen and Hildersham, were later dropped from the list." 1804

      "As soon as it became clear that the new reign was to see not a new settlement of the Church but a coser definition and more active enforcement of the old, the solidarity of the puritan movement ont he carefully modulated programme of 1603 showed signs of foundering, witht he radicals complaining that their representatives had failed to convey the true gravity of the case. .. Humfrey Fen, himself a possible contender at Hampton Court, shared this conspiratorial view of 'that show of a dispute'. He is said to have written to Chaderton at the time with a pleas 'not to betray their cause', and almost thirty years later he would record the conviction that the spokemen had merely acted a part, like stage-players. They were men 'purposely chosen', who, 'excepting one reverene father, never took the question about ceremonies to heart.' " 1804

      "The subscribing majority could still be described as puritans, although, like the ministers of Baxter's youth, relatively few of them were nonconformists. Life for many of them was far from intolerable. A number of bishops were stll sympathetic, and under their indulgent rule the conversion of England continued, especially as the ranks of parish and market-town lecturers continued to well. Some presbyterian veterans, like 'old Mr Fen of Coventry', trained their vision unimpaired. In the preamble to a will which proved too hot for the bishop's court to handle, he reaffirmed his faith in the discipline of the Church in detail, and roundly declared that the Church of England maintined 'a hameful schism against all the reformed church of the gospel.' 'Yet I do not hold it lawful for these corruptions to separate from communon of the churches of England, if therein a Christian may enjoy true doctrine, with the sacraments, froma minister able to teach the truth', and where it was not possible to avoid subscription." 1804