Fortescue, Adrian, Bl.
FORTESCUE, ADRIAN, BL.
Knight of St. John, Martyr; b. Hertsfordshire c. 1476; d. London, July 8, 1539. The Fortescues were an ancient, noble family dating from the period of the Norman conquest. Adrian's mother was Alice Boleyn, aunt of the future queen. Adrian was the second son. He married Anne Stonor c. 1499 and was knighted in 1503. In 1503 he was named a commissioner of levying "aids" and in 1511 commissioner for the peace—both in Oxfordshire. In 1513 he was at the "battle of the spurs," and in 1520 at the "field of the cloth of gold" in special attendance upon Queen Catherine. In 1530 he stood high in the King's favor, receiving lands from the estates of Wolsey. Perhaps he owed this favor to his close relationship to Anne Boleyn. About this time he married Anne Rede. In 1532 he was admitted as a "knight of devotion" of St. John of Jerusalem and in 1533 he joined the "fraternity" of the Blackfriars. In 1534 he was arrested and placed in the Marshalsea prison for the best part of a year. In 1539 he was again arrested and his name included in the Act of Attainder against Margaret Pole and others. The charges against him are most vague: that he traitorously refused his duty of allegiance and that he "hath commyted diverse and sundrie detestable and abominable treasons." He was executed on July 8 or 9, 1539, and beatified by Leo XIII in 1895.
Feast: July 11 (Knights of Malta; Archdiocese of Birmingham).
Bibliography: t. fortescue, A History of the Family of Fortescue (2d ed. London 1880). b. camm, Lives of the English Martyrs, 2 v. (London 1904). g. k. fortescue, Dictionary of National Biography from the Earliest Times to 1900 (London 1885–1900; repr. with corrections, 21 v., 1908–09, 1921–22, 1938; suppl. 1901–) 7:476–477.
[b. c. fisher]