Fenn, John

, an eminent scholar and translator, was born at Montacute, in Somersetshire in his youth he was for some time a chorister, which gave him an opportunity of being instructed in Latin as well as music. Being afterwards sent to Winchester school for academical education, he was admitted of New college, Oxford, and chosen fellow in 1552, studying chiefly the civil law. In queen Mary’s reign he was made chief master of a noted free-school at St. Edmundsbury, in Suffolk, where he acquired great reputation as a teacher. This station he retained for some part of queen Elizabeth’s reign, but an information having been laid against him, as unqualified by the laws of the reformation, he was obliged to quit it. Some time after he went to Flanders, and afterwards to Rome, where he was admitted into the English college, studied theology for four years, and took orders. Returning afterwards to Flanders, he became confessor to the English nuns at Louvain, where he lived forty years, employing his leisure hours in translating several books favourable to the Roman catholic religion. He died at an advanced age, Dec. 27, 1615, with an excellent character from those of his persuasion, for learning and piety. His publications are, 1. “Vitae quorundam martyrum in Anglia,” which is inserted in Bridgwater’s “Concertatio Ecclesise Catholicae in Anglia.” 2. Several of bishop Fisher’s English works, translated into Latin. 3. “Catechismus Tridentinus,” translated into English. 4. Osorius’s treatise against Walter Haddon, translated into English, Louvain, 1568, 8vo. 5. “The Life of St. Catherine of Sienna,” from the Italian, 1609, 8vo. 6. “A Treatise on Tribulation,” from the Italian of Caccia Guerra. 7. “Mysteries of the Rosary,” from Caspar Loartes. Fuller says that he proceeded Bachelor of Laws at New college, till (in 1562) for his popish activity, he was ejected by the queen’s commissioners. Wood, who mentions this in his Annals, although not in his “Athens,” leaves it doubtful whether he did not resign it of his own accord. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. I. Wood’s Annals. Dodd’s Ch. Hist, vol. I. Fuller’s Worthies.