Richard Fenton

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Richard Fenton (1746–1821) was a Welsh topographer and poet.

Richard Fenton


Fenton was born at St. David's, Pembrokeshire, received his education in the cathedral school there, and at an early age obtained a situation in London in the custom house. Later he entered the Middle Temple, and studied for the legal profession.

He became acquainted with literary and dramatic celebrities: Samuel Johnson, and Oliver Goldsmith, and of David Garrick, to whom many of his poems were addressed. After being called to the bar he attended the circuits in Wales for several years. The latter part of his life he devoted to literary pursuits. He was an intimate friend of William Lisle Bowles and of Sir Richard Colt Hoare, whom he frequently visited at Stourhead.

He died at Glynamel, near Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, in November 1821, and was buried at Manorowen.


Fenton's works are:

  • Poems, London 1773; 2 vols. 1790.
  • A Historical Tour through Pembrokeshire, London 1811, with thirty plates and a map. This was the work censured by Thomas Burgess, in his Bishops and benefactors of St. David's vindicated from the misrepresentations of a recent publication, 1812. Fenton's reply to the bishop remained in manuscript. Prefixed is the author's portrait, engraved by Thomas Woolnoth, from a painting by Samuel Woodforde; the original is at Stourhead.[1] The work made use of manuscripts of George Owen Harry.[2]
  • A Tour in quest of Genealogy through several parts of Wales, Somersetshire, and Wiltshire in a series of letters … interspersed with a description of Stourhead and Stonehenge … and curious fragments from a manuscript collection, ascribed to Shakespeare. By a Barrister, London 1811.
  • Memoirs of an old Wig, London, 1815, (anon.), a humorous work.
  • A translation of the Deipnosophistæ of Athenæus; manuscript deposited in the library of Richard Colt Hoare at Stourhead.
  • "Cromlech at Llanwnda, Pembrokeshire" in Archaeologia Cambrensis, No XII - October 1848 at p. 283[3]
  • Richard Fenton (ed John Fisher) Tours in Wales (1804-1813), Archaeologia Cambrensis, Supplementary Volume. 1917.

Fenton also left comedies in manuscript, and manuscript materials for the history of every county in Wales.


Fenton married the daughter of David Pillet, a Swiss military officer, the friend of the second Duke of Marlborough. By her he had a family who survived him.


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainStephen, Leslie, ed. (1889). "Fenton, Richard". Dictionary of National Biography. 18. London: Smith, Elder & Co.