FENNYHOUSE : west Staffordshire

the surname appears with various spellings, including Fenyhowse, Fennehouse, Fynneyes, Fenies and Finnhowse.
My direct ancestor was John Fennyhouse, a farmer born 1709, who married Sarah Shutt at Longford, Shropshire, on 11 September 1739.  Their children included John, baptised at Blymhill, west Staffordshire, 10 Nov 1740; Mary, 5 Nov 1742; and Edward, 25 Jan 1745.  Sarah was buried at Blymhill on 26 July 1746, and John Fennyhouse subsequently married Eleanor Mason at Blymhill on 7 Feb 1747.

Eleanor Mason had been baptised at Eaton-under-Heywood, Shropshire, on 2 January 1719, daughter of Thomas and Eleanor Mason. 

John Fennyhouse and Sarah Shutt marriage bond 1739

The children of John and Eleanor included Matthew, baptised at Blymhill 21 Nov 1748 (died in infancy); Joseph, 7 Jan 1750; Ann, 17 Nov 1751; and Elizabeth, 6 July 1755.
 I am descended from Ann, who married John Shelton at Blymhill on 18 Dec 1768.  Their children included Gervase (1771) whose daughter Mary (1796) was my great-great-great-grandmother (see SHELTON family).
John Fennyhouse was buried at Blymhill on 19 Sept 1773, and his widow Eleanor subsequently married Thomas Farnell on 16 Oct 1774.  Eleanor was buried at Lapley on 1 February 1797.
The Fennyhouse family had been in the area of Blymhill and neighbouring villages Lapley, Wheaton Aston and Longnor for generations, and Elizabethan church records connect them with the Mill House.  During the Civil War (1642-49) when Lapley was a Royalist area, two members of the family, brothers John and Richard, forfeited their lands and property for supporting the Royalist cause.
Several members of the family have been churchwardens of Lapley, including John (1566), Thomas (1598) and Francis (1609). Bell no. 2 in Lapley church is dated 1655 and gives the names of the churchwardens for that year, Richard Finnehouse (sic) and John Corns.  Richard (died 1658) was a relation of Edward Fennyhouse of Longnor, a previous owner of the Lapley Estate, which later passed to the Vaughans of Blackladies Priory in the nearby parish of Brewood.  In his last will and testament (1673) Edward Fennyhouse gave to the poor of Lapley parish 40 shillings “to be set out by the churchwardens and overseers of the poor of the parish of Lapley, for the said poor the use thereof, to be yearly distributed by the said officers”.  In 1884 it was reported that all trace of this charity had been lost.
An earlier Richard Fennyhouse had lived at Wheaton Aston in Lapley parish during the reign of Elizabeth I.  When he died in 1580 his detailed will (reproduced below, the family name spelled Fenies) included a bequest to one of his sons, also named Richard, concerning money for lodging, clothing and studies.  This Richard subsequently became a church minister late in the reign of Elizabeth and during that of her successor James I.  His parishes included Barby in Northamptonshire and Stone in Staffordshire, and his will of 1617 (reproduced below) shows him to have been an advocate of Puritanism.  His son, Deliverance Fennyhouse (born 1605) was a theology student at Exeter College, Oxford, and was ordained a priest on 20th February 1629.  He served in his father’s old parish of Stone before becoming rector of Leigh, near Uttoxeter, where he remained from 1646 until 1666.

Signature in church register of Deliverance Fennyhouse, curate at Stone, Staffordshire 1645
Entry in burial register of Deliverance Fennyhouse, Rector of Leigh, Stafford, 1672

Another member of the family, John Fennyhouse Green (1727-1774) was under-clerk of works to the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal Company.  He has been described as “the founding father” of what is now Stourport-upon-Severn, having being responsible for the siting in 1768 of the canal’s inland port at a junction with the River Severn.

Less laudibly, in 1831 Joseph Fennehouse (sic) aged 26 was sentenced at Stafford Assizes to eight months prison and hard labour, having been found guilty of stealing poultry at Haughton from Rev. Charles Smith Royds while armed with a gun and bludgeon.  He was again imprisoned in 1840 for an assault on a peace officer.  

WILL OF RICHARD FENIES, 1580 (original text)

In Dei Nomine Amen Secundo die mensis Septembris Anno domini one Thousande five hundred eightie I Richarde Fenies of wheaton Aston of the parrishe of Lapley beinge sicke in bodie but thanks be unto god in whole minde and perfecte memorie doe constitute ordaine and make this my last will and Testamente in manner and forme followinge / First I give and bequeathe my soule to Almightie God my maker Redemer and savioure by whose deathe and passion I truste to be saved / And my bodie to be buried in the churcheyarde of Lapley / Item / I bequeathe to everie poore housholde within the parrishe one pence worth of Bread / Item / I give to everie one of my goddchildren foure pence / Item / I bequeathe to the chapaell of Aston Tenne shillinges (sinne) man to have it for hire payinge yearlie twelve pence towardes the reparacion of the saide chappell / Item / I bequeathe to Richarde Goldsmithes Twoe children twoe Lambes / Item / I bequeathe to william Fletchers children a strike of Barley / Item / I bequeathe to my Twoe youngest sonnes Francis and Edwarde either of them one heifor to goe forewarde with them by the choice of John theire brother / Item / I bequieathe to Richarde my sonne fortie shillinges yearlie for the (?) of the Rente of one pasture called millmore lieinge at little morley his bordinge and apparell and kepe him to learninge untill he come to the age of eighte and Twentie yeares / Item / I give and bequeathe the same pasture aforesaide called millmore lyinge at little morley and in the parrishe of Busburie (Bushbury) to my twoe youngest sonnes Francis and Edwarde and to their heires forever equallie to be devided betwixte them when they come to theire full age / Item / I will and bequeathe that Thomas my sonne shall give unto Dorathie my daughter Thyrtie poundes and unto my daughter Johan Twentie poundes / Item / I give and bequeathe to John my seconde sonne my house in Lapley where william Natton dwellethe with all the appurtenances thereto belonginge to him and his heires forever / Item / I give and bequeathe to margerie my wief The one half of my house in Aston where I dwelth with half the appurtenances thereto belonginge and halfe of my goodes movable and unmovable duringe her lief and the other halfe of my house with the appurtenance therto belonging I give and bequeathe unto Thomas my eldest sonne and heire And the other halfe of my goodes Movable and unmovable beinge unbequeathed / Item / I give and bequeathe unto the aforesaid Thomas my eldesst sonne and heire my house with the appurtenances thereto belonginge after the decease of his mother whollie to remaine to him and to his heires for ever Accordinge to custome and maner / Item / I will that if Thomas my sonne die havinge noe heire male Then the foresaide house and Lande to remaine to Francis his brother and if Francis die without heire male Then it shall remaine to Edward and his heires and for lacke of heires male of Edwarde to remaine to the nexte akinde soe stil kepinge it in the name of the Fenies / Item / I will that my wief have the By taxe which I hould by leasses to be stowe them either one Francis or Edwarde or ells on whome of my children she thinketh hathe moste neede / Item / I will Furthermore that if Thomas my sonne marie a wief and die before her she shall occupie halfe the livinge kepinge the name of the Fenies if she marrie to marie away / Item / I ordeyne and appointe for the true executinge of this my last will and Testamente to see it well and truelie performed my debtes paide I to be honestlie broughte home my legacies and funeralles discharged margerie my wief and my oldest sonne Thomas my true and lawfull exicutors / I constitute and appointe my faithefulle and loving supervisors of this my last will Thomas Fenies of Little morley and John Fenies my seconde sonne to see that it be truelie discharged and performed rightfullie and accordinglie to my will and minde / Item / the debtes which are owinge me are theis Mr Bonsres of Eyton dothe owe me Twentie pounds William Brook of Aston dothe owe me Twentie shillinges Alsoe Mr Bentley dothe owe me eighte shillinges These beinge witnesses to this my presente laste will and Testament John Burnt Thomas Chamberlene and Thomas Meyre with others
 WILL OF RICHARD FENNYHOUSE, 1617 (original text)
In the name of God : Amen : the thirteenth daye of August in the yeare of our Lord 1617.  I Richard ffenyhowse in the parish of Stone in the Countie of Stafford beinge sicke in bodie but (thankes be to god) of sounde and perfect memorie doe constitute ordayne and make this my last will and testament in manner and forme followinge
first I give and bequeath my soule to Almightie god my maker Redeemer and saviour and my bodie to be buried in the Church yarde of Stone aforesaid / Item / I give Thomas Bold for the ringinge of the greate bell twelve pence soe that he restraine all superstitious ringinge or he to have nothing / Item / I give and bequeath to the poore of Stone twentie shillinges to be distributed at the discretion of william Hakins of Hilderston and John Emry of Malton / Item / I give and bequeath unto Marie Chamberline my servant the least barrell all my Coles and wood and one (store?) I give and bequeath to Thomas Emry of Stone one booke called the state of a Christian and to George Nutshaw the resolutions of the Cases of conscience to John Emry the reformed Catholike to william Hakins ded. uppon the commandments to Thomas Hakins of Stone the rousinge of a sluggard And to Thomas ffrancis the seaven sermons of the plague at London / Item / I give and bequeath to Joane Hopkins twelve pence To Ellen Miller six pence To John Sharpe six pence To ffrancis Saunders six pence and all the Rest of my goodes moveable and unmoveable whatsoever either here in this parish of Stone or in the towne of Barby in the Countie of Northampton I give and bequeath to my sonne Deliverance ffenihowse and I ordaine and appointe Richard Belch of Barbye my sole executor and John Curtise and Richard Browne my supervisors to see this my will and testament faithfullie executed accordinge to my will and mynde  In wittnesse whereof I have hereunto sett my hand and seale the daye and yeare first above written.  By me Richard Fennyhowse ~~
(witnesses) John Povey william Hakins John Emerie
Probate was granted on 19th February the following year.
Note: The books which Richard Fennyhouse bequeathed (shown in bold above) reveal his Puritan leanings, and include The Rousing of the Sluggard by William Burton, A Discourse Concerning the State of a Christian by William Perkins, The Safe Religion, or Three Disputations for the Reformed Catholike Religion by Richard Baxter, and The Resolution of this Case of Conscience by Edward Fowler.