Fenwick, George (DNB00)

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FENWICK, GEORGE (1603?–1657), parliamentarian, son of George Fenwick of Brinkburn, Northumberland, and Dorothy, daughter of John Forster of Newham, was born about 1603 (Hodgson, Northumberland, ii. ii. 115). Fenwick was called to the bar at Gray's Inn on 21 Nov. 1631, and admitted ancient on 24 May 1650. He took an active part in the scheme for colonising Connecticut, signed the agreement of the patentees with John Winthrop the younger in 1635, and visited Boston in 1636 (Massachusetts Historical Collections, 5th ser. i. 223, 482). In 1639 he settled with his wife and family at the mouth of the Connecticut river, as agent for the patentees and governor of the fort of Saybrook (Winthrop, History of New England, i. 306).

Letters written by him during his residence in America are printed in the ‘Massachusetts Historical Collections,’ iv. 6, 365, v. 1, 223, and in the publications of the Prince Society, ‘Hutchinson Papers,’ i. 120. At the meeting of the commissioners of the united colonies in 1643, Fenwick, as agent of the patentees, was one of the two representatives of Connecticut (Trumbull, Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut, i. 90). On 5 Dec. 1644 he sold the fort at Saybrook and its appurtenances to the colony of Connecticut, pledging himself at the same time that all the lands mentioned in the patent should fall under the jurisdiction of Connecticut if it came into his power. The non-fulfilment of this promise led to numerous disputes, and in 1657 the colony refused to give his heirs possession of his estate until they paid 500l. for non-fulfilment of the agreement and gave an acquittance of all claims (Connecticut Records, i. 119, 266, 569, 584). Fenwick returned to England in 1645. While living at Saybrook he lost his first wife; her monument is said to be still extant there (Winthrop, i. § 306).

On 20 Oct. 1645 Fenwick was elected to the Long parliament as member for Morpeth. During the second civil war he commanded a regiment of northern militia, took part in the defeat of Sir Richard Tempest by Lambert, relieved Holy Island, and recaptured Fenham Castle (Rushworth, vii. 1177, 1253). On the surrender of Berwick he became governor of that place, apparently at first as deputy for Sir A. Haslerig (Moderate Intelligencer, 5–12 Oct. 1648). Fenwick was appointed one of the commissioners for the trial of the king, but did not act (Nalson, Trial of Charles I, p. 3). In 1650 he took part in Cromwell's invasion of Scotland, was made governor of Leith and Edinburgh Castle in December 1650, and took Hume Castle in February 1651 (Mercurius Politicus, Nos. 31, 37). He was also one of the eight commissioners appointed for the government of Scotland in December 1651 (Old Parliamentary History, xx. 82). In the two parliaments of 1654 and 1656 he represented Berwick, and was one of the members excluded from the second of those parliaments (Whitelocke, iv. 280, ed. 1853; Thurloe, v. 453). According to his monument in the parish church of Berwick, Fenwick died on 15 March 1656–7, and this is confirmed by the fact that a new writ for Berwick was moved on 26 March 1657 (Scott, Hist. of Berwick, 1888, p. 215; Return of Members of Parliament, pt. i. p. 505). His will, signed 8 March 1656–7, is printed in the ‘Public Records of Connecticut’ (i. 341, 574). In some accounts Fenwick is confused with Lieutenant-colonel Roger Fenwick, who was killed in the battle of Dunkirk, 4 June 1658 (Mercurius Politicus, 3–10 June 1658). Fenwick was twice married: first, to Alice, daughter of Sir Edward Apsley of Thakenham, Sussex, and widow of Sir John Boteler of Teston, Kent (he died 2 Aug. 1634) (Hasted, Kent, ii. 291; Berry, Sussex Genealogies, p. 150); secondly, to Catherine, eldest daughter of Sir Arthur Haslerig, born in 1635, who married, after the death of Fenwick, Colonel Philip Babington, and died in 1670 (Hodgson, Northumberland, ii. i. 346).

[Pedigree of the Fenwicks of Brinkburn in Hodgson's Northumberland, II. ii. 115; Return of Names of Members elected to serve in Parliament, 1878, pt. i.; Savage's Dict. of New England, vol. ii.]

C. H. F.