Born to the English nobility, the son of Sir John Fortescue, and a cousin of Anne Boleyn. Made a Knight of Bath in 1503, frequently serving in the royal court of King Henry VIII. Fought for England in France in 1513 and 1522. Married twice, and father of seven. Made a Knight of Saint John in 1532. He collected several lists of proverbs and folk sayings, often writing them in the margins of his Book of Hours. On 29 August 1534, for reasons never explained, he was arrested by the king‘s order, and imprisoned for several months. Arrested again on 3 February 1539, and sent to the Tower of London. Without trial, he was condemned to death in April for treason, though no specific act was alleged, only general “sedition and refusing allegiance”, a consquence of his loyalty to Rome. Martyr.
O God, since all things are within your power, grant through the prayers of blessed Adrian, your martyr, that we who keep his feast today may become stronger in the love of your name and hold to your holy Church even at the cost of our lives. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. – Missal with readings of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes, and of Malta, London 1997
O God, you specially strengthened Blessed Adrian with a wonderful spirit of holiness and courage. Hear the prayers of your people and from his renowned example may we learn to be obedient to you rather than to human authority. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. – General Calendar of the Order of Preachers
- “Blessed Adrian Fortescue“. CatholicSaints.Info. 6 April 2015. Web. 29 November 2015. <>