FORTESCUE, Richard (by 1517-70), of Castle Hill in Filleigh, Devon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1517, 1st s. of Bartholomew Fortescue of Castle Hill by Ellen, da. of Maurice More of Moor Hayes in Cullompton. m. by 1544, Joan, da. of one Morton of Kent, at least 1s. 2da. suc. fa. 12 Sept. 1557.1

Offices Held

J.p. Devon by 1558/59-d.; sheriff 1562-3.2


Richard Fortescue was a great-grandson of Sir John Fortescue, the chief justice. He had a kinsman and namesake who lived at Spriddlestone in Devon until his death in 1543 or 1544. In the absence of an indenture for Tavistock in 1545 Fortescue’s return to the Parliament of that year is known from that of the knights for Devon and from the sheriff’s schedule. The fact that in both documents his name is written over an erasure, and the lack of any known connexion between his family and Tavistock, suggest that he was not the electors’ choice; he may have owed his nomination to his fellow-Member Sir Peter Carew, for whom he and several other Devonians stood bound in the Exchequer two years later for £2,500. After his father’s death Fortescue was named to the bench and pricked sheriff. He died at Castle Hill on 26 June 1570, seemingly intestate, and was buried in Filleigh church where there is a brass to his memory. He was the ancestor of the earls Fortescue.3

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/113/14, 114/57. Vis. Devon (Harl. Soc. vi), 110. T. Fortescue, Lord Clermont, Fortescue Fam. 126-7; C142/153/14.
  • 2. CPR, 1569-72, pp. 222, 223.
  • 3. W. G. Hoskins, Devon, 398; Vis. Devon, ed. Vivian, 353; LP Hen. VIII, xxi; C142/153/14; 219/18C/32, 33; CPR, 1550-3, pp. 398-9; Fortescue, 129; Mill Stephenson, Mon. Brasses, 92; Pevsner, N. Devon, 87.