Commemorating Archdeacon Fearon on the anniversary of his death

12 June 2020

Today marks the 135th anniversary of the death of the Reverend Henry Fearon, Rector of Loughborough’s All Saints Parish Church for almost four decades during the Victorian era and described by some as ‘a maker of modern Loughborough.’

Originally from Cuckfield in Sussex, where he was born on 20th June 1802 to the Rev Joseph Fearon and his wife Jane, Henry Fearon spent many years as a teacher before being offered the living of Loughborough All Saints Parish in February 1848.  He was installed as Rector on 3rd May the same year, earning an annual salary of £1000 (equivalent to around £120,000 a year today).

‘Universally respected’ for his ‘kindly sympathy and liberal disposition,’ Reverend Fearon was a driving force behind many of the social and environmental reforms carried out in the town, including education for children of all classes, the betterment of workers and the construction of reservoirs and waste treatment plants to bring clean, piped water to the town and improve public health.

He was Honorary Canon of Peterborough Cathedral from 1849 to 1876, and again from 1884 to his death, as well as Archdeacon of Leicester (1853 to 1884) and a Rural Dean (dates unknown.)

Many of Henry’s ideas could be considered progressive for his time and were shared widely in lectures and articles.  He wrote fiction, too, and though he warned against drunkenness, was known to think there was ‘nothing wrong with a jug of sound beer.’

‘He was never intolerant, nor did he undervalue the important work […] being carried on by other ministers of the town.  His garden parties at the Rectory were pleasant reunions of all denominations, and Nonconformist ministers spoke of him in the highest terms.’
(Loughborough Monitor & North Leicestershire Gazette, 18th June 1885)

‘He will be greatly missed from amongst us, and we shall be sorry not again to see his genial, kindly face and venerable form.’
(Sermon preached at Woodgate General Baptist Chapel shortly after Henry Fearon’s death)

Henry Fearon was eight days short of his 83rd birthday when he died on 12th June 1885.  The whole town is said to have come to a standstill on the day of his funeral, a mark of the affection and respect in which he was held.

Alison Mott

See Lynne Dyer’s article about Reverend Fearon for more information on his life, his funeral and where he is buried. Lynne also wrote an article about some of baptisms and marriages Rev Fearon officiated at, both in Loughborough and his home town of Cuckfield.

This text is largely drawn from ‘Henry Fearon – a Maker of Modern Loughborough’ by Wallace Humphrey, copies of which are available from The Old Rectory Museum, Rectory Place.