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Adrian Fortescue (martyr)

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Blessed Adrian Fortescue
Born 1476, probably Ponsbourne Park, Hertfordshire, England
Died July 9, 1539 (aged 62), Tower Hill, London, England
Venerated in Catholic Church
Beatified 13 May 1895 by Pope Leo XIII
Canonized pending
Feast July 9

Blessed Sir Adrian Fortescue (1476 — 9 July 1539) was a courtier at the court of King Henry VIII of England who was executed in 1539 and later beatified as a Roman Catholic martyr.

Sir Adrian was the son of Sir John Fortescue of Ponsbourne Park at Newgate Street Village in Hertfordshire, and a cousin of Anne Boleyn's father. He was made a Knight of the Bath in 1503 and participated in England's wars against France in 1513 and 1523. He was made a Knight of the Order of St. John in 1532. Sir Adrian was also a Dominican Tertiary. On 29 August 1534, he was arrested without any stated reason but was freed after a period of months.[1] In 1539, he was one of sixteen people condemned for treason without a trial by Parliament for unspecified acts presumably relating to hostility to Henry VIII's church policies. He was beheaded at the Tower of London on 9 July 1539. His widow married Thomas Parry, Comptroller of the Royal Household.

The Order of St. John of Jerusalem has advocated devotion to Blessed Adrian as a martyr since the 1600s and Leo XII beatified him on 13 May 1895.[2]


  1. John Hungerford Pollen, Bl. Adrian Fortescue, Catholic Encyclopedia 1909
  2. Ibid.

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