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Stony Stratford


Fegan's Home

Boys' Home in Stony from 1900-1961

Fegans Home

Though still occasionally called Fegan's (pronounced "fee-gans"), this building was a school before and after its long period as a Boys Home.

frontage of St Paul's School
An Advertisement from 1864
In 1863 the Reverend G. Sankey built St. Paul's, which began life as a public school. The architect was Henry Woodyer (known as the 'Gentleman's Architect' after a book written about his work). The spire was of a considerable size and the school prospectus showed a very grand building, in keeping with Sankey's vision. He wanted to make Stony Stratford a centre of educational importance, hence the grand buildings of the school.

The text accompanying the advert (left) spoke of the school being "conducted on Church of England principles ... to be a place of religious and good secular education. The general course of instruction includes Latin, Greek , French, Mathematics, and the usual details of a sound English Education." St. Pauls School ran successfully until the death of Reverend Sankey in 1895.

The buildings became a cigar factory in 1896 for a very short period and then lay empty for approximately 4 years. The building was not proving easy to sell, until the arrival of J.W.C.Fegan in 1900 - a wealthy and religious man, who had dedicated his life to helping homeless boys in London. He was looking for a home for his 'bold, pert and dirty London sparrows' and came across St. Paul's School. It was valued at £40,000 but James Fegan offered only £4,500. He was given two weeks to raise the finances to buy the buildings, and was successful. It became Fegan's Home for Orphaned Boys from 1900 to 1961. During those years, 4000 boys were given a good home.

The school was sold and re-opened in 1962 as a Franciscan School. This closed in 1972.

The Chapel at Fegan's Home

Fegans Chapel - early view Fegans Chapel - later view
An early view of the Chapel,
probably on the occasion of a Harvest Festival
A Later View of the Chapel
Note the organ which had been added

The Chapel at Fegan's Home was part of the orphanage. It was known as an Evangelical Chapel and was under the guidance of  J.W.C.Fegan, where hearty evangelical services were held with assistance from the Salvation Army, the congregation expanded such that for huge summer revivalist meetings, large marquees were erected in the gardens.

Visit by General Booth to Stony Stratford
A Visit by General Booth of the Salvation Army
July 15th 1903

Speakers of great renown visited, sometimes at great expense, plus soloists, and produced many 'converts' who swapped allegiance from other local churches. These large losses in numbers of the other local congregations caused some consternation to the 'conformists'. Fegan was criticised heavily, but explained that people were still going to worship - just choosing a different church, and at least they were in a church, and not in a local Inn!

The orphanage finally closed in 1962, but Fegan's Homes still remain in operation today.

More information about Fegan's Child and Family Care today can be found at

For other information of Fegan's Home today, see Point 10 of the Town Tour