John Fortescue (Captain of Meaux)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Arms of Fortescue[a]

John Fortescue (died after 1432), of Shepham[2] in the parish of Modbury[3] in Devon, was an English landowner and administrator.[4] He may have been appointed in 1422 by King Henry V as Captain of the captured Castle of Meaux,[5] 25 miles (40 km) north-east of Paris, following the Siege of Meaux during the Hundred Years' War.


He was born in the 1370s, the second son of William Fortescue (died after 1406), of Whympston in the parish of Modbury in Devon (the earliest recorded English seat of the Fortescue family) by his wife Elizabeth Beauchamp, widow of Richard Branscombe, a daughter of Sir John Beauchamp of Ryme in Dorset by his wife Margaret Whalesborough, and a co-heiress of her brother Thomas Beauchamp of Ryme.[5]


1638 Mural monument in Weare Giffard Church

Ives (2005) stated that "he was not a soldier, as historians of the family have claimed, but a local administrator and man of affairs, above all in the service of the Courtenay family", the Earls of Devon.[4] However, older sources state that he was at the Battle of Agincourt (1415) and that he was appointed after the Siege of Meaux in 1422 as captain of the captured Castle of Meaux, returning to England before 1431 and living at Shepham in South Devon.[6]

Marriages and children[edit]

According to Ives (2005),[4] Fortescue's first wife was a certain Clarice, whose family name is lost. Ives states that she was the mother of his three children:

Earlier historians, however, make no mention of Clarice and state that his wife and the mother of his three children was a daughter and heir of William Norries,[b][2][7], named Elinor or Eleanor.[5][6]

Fortescue monument[edit]

On the south wall of the south aisle chapel ("Fortescue Chapel") of the parish church of Weare Giffard is affixed the Fortescue mural monument, erected in 1638[8] by Hugh Fortescue (1592-1661). It is dedicated to three generations of the Fortescue family and mentions the family origins at Whympston and Sir John Fortescue, Captain of Meaux.


  1. ^ Azure, a bend engrailed argent cottised or. Latin canting motto: Forte Scutum Salus Ducum ("A Strong Shield is the Salvation of Leaders").[1]
  2. ^ Or Norreis, or Norreys


  1. ^ Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.461
  2. ^ a b Pole, Sir William (died 1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, pp. 300-301.
  3. ^ "Conveyance, Shepham Hill, Elderberries, Easter Broadparks, House, Meadow and Holwell in Modbury parish, Devon, 24 acres, consideration: £226; 1) Sir Peter Fortescue of Wood, Devon, Edmund Parker of Boringdon, Devon, esquire", 1671, Plymouth and West Devon Record Office, Ref: 862/226
  4. ^ a b c Ives, E. W. (October 2005), "Fortescue, Sir John (c.1397–1479)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, retrieved 17 September 2017 
  5. ^ a b c d Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620. Exeter, 1895, pp.352–3.
  6. ^ a b Clermont, Lord (Thomas Fortescue) (d.1887), History of the Family of Fortescue in all its Branches, 2nd edition London, 1880, p.44
  7. ^ Risdon, Tristram (died 1640), Survey of Devon. With considerable additions. London, 1811, p.179
  8. ^ Cherry, Bridget & Pevsner, Nikolaus, The Buildings of England: Devon. Yale University Press, 2004. ISBN 978-0-300-09596-8. p.891