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John Feckenham


FECKENHAM, JOHN (c. 1515-1584), English ecclesiastic, last abbot of Westminster, was born at Feckenham, Worcester shire. Educated at Gloucester hall, Oxford, as a Benedictine stu dent, he was professed at Evesham. On the surrender of the abbey to the king (1540), he became chaplain to Bishop Bell of Wor cester and to Bonner of London, and in 1544 received the living of Solihull. About 1549 Cranmer sent him to the Tower of London, but being released by Mary in 1553, he was made prebendary of St. Paul's, rector of Finchley, then of Greenford Magna, chaplain and confessor to the queen, and dean of St. Paul's . He was sent by the queen to prepare Lady Jane Grey for death, and when Elizabeth was sent to the Tower Feckenham interceded for her, even at the cost of displeasing the queen.

The royal abbey of Westminster having been restored to its primitive use, Feckenham was appointed abbot in 1556. On the accession of Elizabeth, he opposed all legislation for changes in religion, and, when the hour of trial came, refused the oath of supremacy, rejecting also Elizabeth's offer to remain with his monks at Westminster if he would conform to the new laws. The abbey was dissolved (July 12, and within a year Fecken ham was sent by Archbishop Parker to the Tower. Af ter 14 years' confinement, he was released on bail and lived in Holborn, where he devoted himself to works of charity. In 1577 he was com mitted to the care of Cox of Ely with strict rules for his treat ment ; and in 1580 he was removed to Wisbeach castle where he died on Oct. 16, 1584.


E. Taunton, English Black Monks of St. Benedict (1897) . Bibliography in Dict. Nat. Biog.

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