Born: BEF 1515, Ponsbourne, Hertfordshire, England
Died: 1576, Faulkbourne, Essex, England
Father: John FORTESCUE of Ponsbourne
Mother: Phillipa SPICE
Married 1: Elizabeth STAFFORD BEF 1546
1. Francis FORTESCUE
2. Son FORTESCUE
3. Son FORTESCUE
4. Son FORTESCUE
5. Catherine FORTESCUE
6. Dau. FORTESCUE
7. Dau. FORTESCUE
8. Dau. FORTESCUE
9. Dau. FORTESCUE
Married 2: Mary DANIEL (dau. of James Daniel) (w.1 of Edward Darrell - w.2 of Phillip Mansell) 22 Mar 1557
10. Dudley FORTESCUE
The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.
Born by 1515, only son of John Fortescue of Ponsbourne, Herts. by Phillippa, dau. and heiress of Humphrey Spice of Black Notley, Essex. Married first, by 1546, Elizabeth, dau. of William Stafford of Bradfield Berks.; and second, settlement 22 Mar 1557, Mary, dau. of James Daniel of London, wid. of Sir Edward Darrell of Littlecote, Wilts. and of Phillip Mansell. Suc. family 8 Aug 1517. Commr. relief, Essex 1550, sewers 1554; gent. usher by Apr 1553; esquire of the body by 1559; j.p. Essex 1558/59-d.; duchy of Lancaster steward and receiver Essex 1559-d.; sheriff, Essex and Herts. 1563-4.
Henry Fortescue inherited extensive lands in Essex and neighbouring counties from his father, who had married a rich heiress and who died when Fortescue was an infant. In 1522 his wardship was acquired by his stepfather Sir Francis Bryan, who also obtained through the marriage a life interest in the Faulkbourne property, which thus passed to Fortescue only on Bryan's death in 1550. Bryan soon sold the wardship ‘for great sum of money’ to Sir Andrew Windsor. After Fortescue had been in Windsor's custody for 12 years by which time he was approaching his majority he was allowed to see his mother; following a ten-day visit he absconded from Windsor's house and was sued with his mother and stepfather by Windsor in Chancery, with what result is unknown.
It may have been Bryan who introduced Fortescue at court, but the young man had other notable kin and connexions. He was a distant cousin of Princess Elizabeth and his uncle Sir Adrian Fortescue's widow was to marry the princess's servant Sir Thomas Parry, and her son John Fortescue to be one of Elizabeth's tutors, while her youngest son Anthony, who adhered to his father's Catholicism, married Cardinal Pole's niece and became comptroller of the Cardinal's household. Among Fortescue's other relatives by marriage was Sir Thomas Wentworth, 1st Baron Wentworth, who joined with Sir Adrian Fortescue, George Brooke, 4th Lord Cobham and others in standing surety for him in a sum of £5,000 in Feb 1539. With such diverse patronage to aid him Fortescue's meagre record of public achievement suggests that he either lacked political ambition or was otherwise inhibited, perhaps by financial troubles: of his extensive landed inheritance he sold more than £2,500 worth between 1538 and 1559, the purchasers including Thomas Audley, Baron Audley, Thomas Mildmay and Richard Rich, Baron Rich.
Fortescue's election for Maldon to the Parliament of Mar 1553 was a last-minute affair occasioned by Anthony Browne's decision to sit for Preston after he had been returned for both Maldon and Preston; Faulkbourne, north of Witham, lies within a few miles of Maldon. On Mary's accession Fortescue sued out a pardon, but his only public employment during her reign was as a sewer commissioner; he was one of the Essex men summoned before the Privy Council in Oct 1556 to explain their failure to contribute to the forced loan, for which he had been assessed at £100. He was to be more active under Elizabeth as a Member of her first Parliament, justice of the peace and sheriff, and holder of a duchy of Lancaster stewardship. He died on 6 Oct 1576.
T. Fortescue, Lord Clermont, Fortescue Fam.
DNB (Fortescue, Sir Anthony)
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