Born on 31 July 1846 at Richmond, Yorks, he began work as a draper's apprentice in Stockton, was appointed manager of a silk mercer's in Newcastle upon Tyne and in 1882 launched his own high-class fashion store on Northumberland Street, where the business still operates under his family name. A WM with Swaledale roots, he was circuit steward in the Newcastle (Brunswick) Circuit. With Thomas H. Bainbridge he financed a new WM church in Jesmond, where they served jointly as Sunday School Superintendents. He died at Jesmond on 9 July 1905.
His eldest son Frederick Burnand Fenwick (1874-1961), educated at The Leys School, successfully expanded the family business. His daughter married into the Bainbridge family. He received an honorary MA from Durham University for his long-standing service to the Newcastle Dental Hospital.