From Gruel to Gourmet: The Story of Fegan's Homes for Boys in Stony Stratford
The founder's story - preparing Fegan's boys for a better life

The History of the Building
The Life and Times of Mr. Fegan
Daily life at Fegan's Homes
Christmas for Fegan's Boys
Life on the training farm, Goudhurst
Moving On - life for the boys after Fegan's
Fegan's Boys - where are they now?
Contacting Fegan's Homes
Useful Links
Mr. Fegan knew that he had to secure a home in an environment away from the smoke and the pollution of London. Stony Stratford seemed the ideal rural location. Eventually, they would emigrate to Canada.
The building at Stony Stratford in North Buckinghamshire seemed to have everything: a chapel, schoolroom, dining room, large kitchen and playing fields. Many boys were to pass through this grand building and live safe, disciplined lives.
During the following years James Fegan took an active role in the running of all of his homes. Not all the boys James Fegan rescued stayed in Britian; Lord Blantyre, a close friend of James Fegan, suggested that he should make a journey to Canada to see if there were any opportunities for the boys in his care to make a fresh life there. Acting on this suggestion, he made the journey in 1884 taking ten boys with him, he was so impressed with the opportunities he saw, that he made another journey that year taking 50 boys. Lord Blantrye met the cost of taking the boys on the second expedition to Canada.

Farming in Kent - Canadian style
James Fegan also made a good friend in Canada, Mr Gooderham, a man who was willing to help the boys who were sent there. It was with his help that a distributing home was erected in Toronto. The boys would stay at the home until a place could be found for them within the farming community, now with the home erected a yearly journey was made from England to Canada for as many as 130 boys each spring.

Although sending the boys to Canada was a great success, it soon became evident that a lot of the boys lacked skills in working on the Canadian farm. James Fegan had an inspirational idea of recreating a Canadian-style farm in Britain. A farm was found and bought and all the farming implements were ordered from Canada so the boys could be trained in their usage before being sent to that country. The name of this farm was Home Farm and was situated at Goudhurst, in Kent.

It was here that James and Mary Fegan had a cottage built for them, called Blantyre Lodge. Gradually James Fegan's health deteriorated and he was confined to a wheelchair, but despite his difficulties he still kept working for the homes to which he had dedicated so much of his life.

James Fegan died on December 9th 1925 aged 73, leaving behind a legacy of goodness in the work he had done to help so many homeless boys.

Read about life on the training farm at Goudhurst in Kent
Moving On - life for the boys after emigrating to Canada