Our History

Over 180 years of legal practice

The history of Fearon & Co. dates back to the early nineteenth century and in particular to 1820 when John Peter Fearon was articled at the age of sixteen to his mother's cousin, John Clutton. John Peter Fearon then qualified five years later and subsequently entered into partnership with John Clutton under the firm name of Clutton & Fearon and practiced from 1 Crown Office Row in The Temple. John Peter Fearon was a distinguished parliamentary lawyer and acted for the major railway companies at that time. He also acted for the Meuse and Sambre railway in Belgium. He was also a Solicitor to the Attorney General in Charity Affairs. He was, among many other matters, also responsible for the drafting of new Charters for New College, Oxford and St Cross, Winchester. In the latter part of his career John Peter Fearon practiced in partnership with John Moxon Clabon under the firm name of Fearon & Clabon at 21 Great George Street, Westminster, SW1 and Fearon, Clabon & Fearon until his death in 1873. John Moxon Clabon was Solicitor to the Attorney General in Charity Affairs and to the Charity Commissioners from 1873 until his death in 1898. John Moxon Clabon was also a distinguished President of the Incorporated Law Society in 1880 and first Editor of the Solicitors’ Law Journal. Francis Fearon entered into partnership with his father and John Moxon Clabon under the firm name of Fearon, Clabon & Fearon although such partnership was dissolved in 1877. Francis Fearon then moved to 25 Parliament Street, Westminster, SW1 and practiced at that address until 1897 when he moved to 11 Victoria Street, Westminster, SW1.

John Francis Fearon opened an office on his own account in The Broadway, Woking, Surrey in 1896, his father at that time being a Director and Solicitor for the Suburban Land Building Society (which company was at that time involved with development of many estates in and around London and Heathside Road, Heathside Park Road, Ashwood Road and Hillview Road in Woking. Early in this century John Francis Fearon bought several plots (amounting to 3.5 acres) at the junction of Hillview Road and White Rose Lane and Ockenden (its address was Ockenden Woking until the last war). It had a private telephone line from The Broadway office. After the war it was sold to the Charitable Ockenden Trust and then later developed to the present complex. Ockenden had one of the most perfect oak trees in the country but it was eventually struck by lightning, after surviving a near miss from an oilbomb in 1940 (a stick aimed at Victoria Arch). John Francis Fearon was a leading member of the Woking Amateur Dramatic Club and Chairman of the Woking Cottage Hospital. He prepared Trust deeds for the Earl and Countess of Meath and the Meath Home for Epileptic Women and Girls at Godalming. John Francis Fearon and his father Francis Fearon went into partnership in 1910 as Fearon & Co. at 11 Victoria Street, Westminster, SW1 and at 12 The Broadway in Woking only a few years before the death of Francis Fearon. John Francis Fearon took Sir Charles Bardolf Locock into partnership in 1937 in The Broadway. Sir Charles Bardolf Locock was the great grandson of Sir Charles Locock, First Baronet and First Physician Accoucheur to HM Queen Victoria and a prominent legal figure.

George Henry Sturgess who joined the firm at the turn of the century under Francis Fearon assumed responsibility for the firm in the war years and contributed over sixty years of distinguished service with the firm. John Raymond Fearon having served in the Royal Artillery and Royal Marines from 1939 to 1945, re-opened the offices of Fearon & Co. at 11 Victoria Street, Westminster, SW1 and in 1947 entered into partnership with Sir Charles Bardolf Locock. John Raymond Fearon ran the Westminster office and Sir Charles Bardolf Locock ran the Woking office. In 1961 11 Victoria Street was redeveloped and the London offices relocated at 12 Ashley Place, Westminster, SW1 which office was in turn redeveloped in 1970. The decision was then taken to consolidate the firm’s practice from the Woking office. Eric Reginald Thompson entered into partnership with John Raymond Fearon in 1980 but died shortly after. Timothy Peter Fearon, having qualified in London, then took over the family firm and entered into partnership with Alexander John Phillips in 1983. For a period they were also joined in partnership by Timothy Simon Rafter. Francesca Louise Ellen Nash joined the practice in 1998 and went on to become a salaried partner, leaving in 2016. Timothy Peter Fearon retired in May 2000, at which time Alexander John Phillips took over as Senior Partner and now remains as Principal. The firm continued to practice from the Woking address until July 2004 when the firm moved to new purpose built offices in Guildford, Surrey. The firm had practiced from the Woking address since construction of the building in 1896.

The firm continues to act for past clients in the areas of Property, Probate, Litigation and Commerce but from a modern changed environment. The location of the firm enables it to service the requirements of both persons and companies at home and abroad with its proximity to Heathrow and Gatwick airports and high speed rail link to London Waterloo. The firm is dedicated to the provision of high quality legal services and the majority of its client base comprises Solicitors working in law firms abroad and the firm’s dedication to the provision of legal services in the area of Commercial Property led in 1989 to agreement by the College of Law (now The University of Law) in Guildford to the donation of a prize (The Fearon Prize) to the most capable Law Student in the areas of Contract and Land law. We can be justifiably proud of the firm’s history. A JOHN PHILLIPS Principal