The Kings Candlesticks - Family Trees

Charles FENN [14067]
(Abt 1818-1875)


Family Links

1. Sarah Isabella BRADSHAW [14068]

Charles FENN [14067]

  • Born: Abt 1818, Paddington MDX
  • Marriage (1): Sarah Isabella BRADSHAW [14068] on 3 Mar 1842 in St John Adelaide SA
  • Died: 17 Feb 1875, Childers St Nth Adelaide aged about 57
  • Buried: North Rd Cemetery Adelaide

bullet  General Notes:

Charles was a well known if somewhat controversial figure in Adelaide in the mid 19thC. He was a well respected lawyer, and for a time a member of the South Australia Legislature.

South Australian Vigneron and Gardeners' Manual (July 1843) - The list of subscribers reads like a "Who's Who" of SA colonists. At 24 June 1843 they were:
. . . . . Charles Fenn, Kensington. . . . .

The election for a member of the Legislative Council for East Torrens, took place on the 27th of June. On the following day the returning officer for the district, attended in front of the Globe Inn, Kensington, and declared Mr. Charles Fenn duly elected. The number of votes polled for Mr. Fenn was 370, and 360 were recorded for the unsuccessful candidate, Dr. Wait.
Ref Trove: Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875) Tuesday 11 July 1854

See also; EAST TORRENS ELECTION MR. FENN AT NORWOOD. A meeting convened when Charles was challenged to resign his seat as he was going out of the State for some months. Also further reports of his political life on Trove
Ref Trove: South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900 Wednesday 21 June 1854

Charles Fenn, Kensington
Justices of the Peace, South Australia 1862

In a long letter to the Editor by Henry Gawler, Solicitor to the Lands Titles Commissioners, headed "MR FENN AND THE REAL PROPERTY ACT" Charles is taken to task for his objections to the new system of land registration introduced to South Australia by Mr Torrens and now known (2012) as the Torrens System where it is used in the world. It was resisted by the legal fraternity for many reasons, including the impact on their legal practice.
However, interestingly, Gawler mentions that Charles had once been "a chemist in London, and subsequently a merchant in Adelaide" before going into the Law.
Ref Trove: South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) Saturday 9 July 1864

Fenn, Chas., Port Adelaide.
Ref: Legal Profession & Notary Public Adelaide Almanack 1867

The South Australian Government Gazette, Published 7/2/1867
Supreme Court Office, 6th February 1867
Certificates have been granted to the following gentlemen authorising them to practice
as Barristers, Attorneys, Solicitors and Proctors of the Supreme Court, for the year ending 5th January 1868
Fenn Charles Port Adelaide.

The Private Act of 1852 records the names of the trustees and parties connected with the sale of land in Section 2112 B, Port Adelaide. These include . . . . . Charles Fenn . . . . .
Many pioneering families of Port Adelaide would have lived in the houses constructed on these plots of land. A reunion of Port Adelaide's old residents took place at the Town Hall on October 20th, 1937, many of whom would have been descendants of the purchasers of land in Section 2112 B.

The South Australian Advertiser Friday 28 February 1873
A day or two since we announced the dangerous illness of Mr. Charles Fenn, solicitor, of Adelaide. We have now to announce his death, which occurred on Monday, 17th February, at the age of 56 years. For some months past it has been evident that his health was fast failing, and an accident which he met with a short time ago at the new Court Houses probably hastened his end, as, although the deceased gentleman was about town subsequently, he complained a good deal of the effects of the injuries he then received. Mr. Fenn was a South Australian of some 33 years' standing. In the early days of the colony he was in partnership as a solicitor with Mr. Johnson. Afterwards, this connection being dissolved, he took into partnership Mr. Wearing, the present Third Judge, and the well known firm of Fenn & Wearing lasted till some time after the junior partner received the appointment of Crown Solicitor. The late Mr. T. B. Bruce, who was articled to Mr. Fenn, became his partner, and remained in that position for some years, when he joined Mr. K. L Stow. Mr. Fenn for many years had a very large solicitor's practice, and enjoyed an excellent position in the colony. He was remarkably clearheaded, and as a sound lawyer he was considered second to none. The funeral took place on Wednesday afternoon, Feb ruary 19. His remains were interred in the North-road Cemetery, the service at the grave being conducted by Archdeacon Marryat. Amongst those present were Mr. C. F. Fenn, Mr. J. B. Fenn, and three younger brothers (sons of the deceased gentlemen), Mr. D. G, Gosse (son-in-law), the Acting Chief Justice (Mr. Justice Gwynne), Mr. Justice Wearing, the Hon. Geo. Stevenson, H.P. (attorney- General). Messrs. R. L Stow, Q.C., S. J. Way, Q. 0., W. O. Belt, J. P. Boucaut, M.P., J. C. Bray, M.P., G. A. Labatt, F. O. Bruce, J. B. Sheridan, F. R. Ayers, Fred. Ayers, J. W. Bakewell, W. Dearman, C. B. Hardy, A. J. Baker, H. P. Denton, F. J. Sanderson, F. Wicksteed, T. F. Wicksteed, W. H. Little, E. Holthouse, J. N. Blyth, W. B. Carter, W. P. Auld, H. Stodart, F. Rymill, C. H. Richard son, W. B. Neales, and Jay, and Drs. Wm. and Chas. Gosse.

FENN.-On the 17th February, at Childers street, North Adelaide, Charles Fenn, solicitor, aged 56.
Ref Trove: The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889) Tuesday 18 February 1873

17 February 1873 - Mr Charles Fenn, a well-known member of the South Australian Bar, aged 56.
Ref: The History of South Australia page 252.

The Friends of the late CHARLES FENN, Esq., are respectfully informed that his REMAINS will be removed from his late residence, Childers street, North Adelaide, THIS DAY, at 3 o'clock, for the North-road Cemetery.
Ref Trove: South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) Wednesday 19 February 1873.

bullet  Research Notes:

EDITORS OF NEWSPAPERS in America are said to write articles with revolvers beside them; and we shall be compelled to have recourse to some- thing similar here, if the example just furnished by Mr. Charles Fenn is to be drawn into a precedent. Our readers are aware that on Tuesday last in the Supreme Court we obtained a verdict in the case England v. Barrow ; and it is also well known that we commented in our next morning's publication upon what we considered the extraordinary licence taken by Mr. Fenn as counsel for the plaintiff. We heard nothing from Mr. Fenn on Wednesday, and nothing on Thursday ; but on the evening of the day last mentioned, as we were leaving town, we were violently assaulted by Mr. Fenn, who, in company with several other persons, waylaid us in Stephens place. It is no part of our object te go into the details of the assault, as these will all come to light in the course of the proceedings we are about to institute against the parties concerned in it; but as some time will elapse before those proceedings will be brought to an issue, and as in the meanwhile it is barely possible that some one else may attempt the same rash and unlawful line of action, we feel called upon to say two or three words for the benefit of whom they may concern. And first of all, with reference to this mode of obtaining " satisfaction." We had supposed in our simplicity that the days of physical violence for the redress of grievances had passed away ; and that the law now pointed out and provided the proper remedy for all aggrieved parties. We thought that Mr. Fenn, being a lawyer, would have known what the law was and that he would have sought legal redress, had he been the subject of a legal grievance. Of course he must have known that in committing an assault he was acting illegally ; and we therefore infer from his conduct that he was conscious he had no legally valid grievance. In olden days, when men look the law into their own hands, and ordered at their hotels "pistols for two and breakfast for one," there was at least a degree of manliness exhibited. If "satisfaction" could only be thus obtained, both parties were at all events on a level, the blow was not struck before the challenge was sent. Duelling, with all its barbarism, was conducted according to a certain code of honor ; the party aggrieved despising to avail himself of any advantage not equally possessed by the aggressor. And with regard to Mr. Fenn's last appeal, we should have been much better satisfied had he sent us a message apprising us of his belligerent intentions. We might then have both quietly retreated where that learned gentleman could have enjoyed the satisfaction of submitting his own shoulders to the whalebone, at the same time that he sought to extract " satisfaction " out of our's. It does not enhance our estimate of a man's courage, when he arms himself with a weapon to waylay and attack a person who is unsuspecting and unarmed. But a truce to badinage, as we want briefly to put before the public the real question at issue in these bellicose movements. The question is : May a counsel in open Court use language in respect of a citizen which that citizen may not retort upon the counsel ? May a lawyer libel an opposing witness, and himself be free from retaliation ? May a counsel attribute corrupt motives and bring charges which are not written in his brief, which he does not intend to support by the slightest evidence, but which he simply uses to give a high color lo his case and to unfairly bias the judgment of the Jury P May a counsel do this and be himself exempt from similar treatment ? May he attribute falsehood to a witness without proving it, and that witness not be allowed to retort upon his accuser ? May a counsel libel in Court as a privileged person,and without bringing forward a shred of evidence, slander the characters of witnesses and suitors may he do this, and, at the same time, be held sacred against retaliation on their part? These are the questions really involved in our dispute with Mr. Fenn. Mr. Fenn told the Jury in England's action that the defendant, who had denied seeing a certain advertisement before it was printed, had most likely assisted to concoct it. He also endeavored to persuade the Jury that the libel was admitted for the sake of the money paid for its insertion. These remarks were a most clear example of the suggestio falsi, and we want to know whether a counsel ought to be allowed to suggest falsehood to the mind of a Jury, in order to influence their verdict, contrary to the merits and justice of a case ? We say he ought not to be permitted so to do ; but if he will do it, and if the law allows him to do it, surely those whom he has wilfully misrepresented, are not to be precluded from defending themselves afterwards ? Surely, when he has defended himself, he is not bound to submit his defence to his caluminator, in order that the latter may strike out such words as he may think too " strong," or such allusions as may make him feel uncomfortable ? In the article which has so mortally offended Mr. Fenn there was nothing beyond a return of his own compliments. He told the Jury that we had written and published direct untruths. We reply that that statement is itself a lie, and we have a right to say so. If Mr. Fenn will make attacks in his forensic addresses, why may not we make attacks in our editorial articles ? If he may impute falsehood to us, why may we not hurl back the imputation upon him ? " What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander," though Mr. Fenn does not appear to think so. On his principle of action a lawyer may brand a man as a liar, but the individual assailed must not say to the learned gentleman "You're another." For our own part, however, we shall try whether an editor is not as free to write as a barrister is to speak ; and if Mr. Fenn would like to be addressed in silken language, let him avoid harsh words himself. We have selected no new weapon of attack against Mr. Fenn; we simply pick up the missile hurled by him at us, and send it back again to the original projector. Hinc sillae lachrymae ! Mr. Fenn for once has got paid in his own coin, and he does not like the ring of the metal. But we cannot help it. As Mr. Boebuck recently said "The time has not yet come when, if a man smite me on the one cheek, I am to turn to him the other. If a man smite me, I smite him," and we commend to Mr. Fenn's study this admirable piece of Sheffield philosophy. Had Mr. Fenn restrained himself within the limits observed by his junior, Mr. Stow, our references to him would have been different ; but having attributed falsehood and deception to us he has no right to complain if we indignantly repel the calumny. As for physical force demonstrations, we trust Mr. Fenn will be better advised than to have resort to them again. In every respect such a course is most mistaken. On no showing will street rioting benefit Mr. Fenn. He may rest assured that he will rather be the victim than the victor. We therefore recommend him to abstain from physical violence, and to redress legal wrongs by legal process. If an Editor is to be attacked in the streets for every sentence offensive to his readers, how could barristers like Mr. Fenn ever hope to make their exits from the Supreme Court in whole skins? We had much more right to attack Mr. Fenn on Tuesday for his gratuitous slander in the Supreme Court, than he had to assail us for our own " retort" in the columns of the Advertiser on Wednesday. It is doubtless unpleasant to be touched up in a leading article ; but it is equally disagreeable to be ridiculed and misrepresented by barristers in bombazine.


Charles married Sarah Isabella BRADSHAW [14068] [MRIN: 4705], daughter of R F BRADSHAW [15285] and Unknown, on 3 Mar 1842 in St John Adelaide SA. (Sarah Isabella BRADSHAW [14068] was born about 1823, died on 23 May 1875 in Childers St Nth Adelaide and was buried in North Rd Cemetery Adelaide.)

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