John William Fortescue

The Honourable Sir John William Fortescue KCVO FRHistS (28 December 1859 – 22 October 1933) was a British military historian. He was a historian of the British Army and served as Royal Librarian and Archivist at Windsor Castle from 1905 until 1926.

John William Fortescue
John William Fortescue
Fortescue arms
Fortescue arms

Early life

Fortescue was born on 28 December 1859 in Madeira, the 5th son of Hugh, 3rd Earl Fortescue by his wife Georgina, Countess Fortescue (née Dawson-Damer).[1] His family owned much of the area around Simonsbath on Exmoor since the twelfth century,[2] thus he joined the North Devon Yeomanry Cavalry latterly serving as a major.

Fortescue was educated at Harrow School and Trinity College, Cambridge later lecturing at Oxford (DLitt (Oxon)).[3]


Fortescue is best known for his major work on the history of the British Army, which he wrote between 1899 and 1930. Between 1905 and 1926 he worked as the Royal Librarian at Windsor Castle.

In 1911, Fortescue delivered the Ford Lectures at Oxford University. He served as President of the Royal Historical Society from 1921 to 1925[4] and was elected an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Fortescue was appointed KCVO in 1926.

Personal life

In 1914 Fortescue married Winifred Beech, daughter of the Revd Howard Beech, Rector of Great Bealings, Suffolk; they had no children. Lady Fortescue (who died in 1951) was a writer and actress. He died in Cannes.[5]


  • John William Fortescue (1895). A History of the 17th Lancers, Duke of Cambridge's Own. Macmillan & Company, Limited.
  • Dr John William Fortescue (1895). Dundonald. Macmillan and Co.
  • 1897 The Story of a Red Deer
  • Dr John William Fortescue (1899). The Drummer's Coat. Macmillan.
  • 1899–1930 A History of the British Army (in thirteen volumes, taking the story up to 1870) Available online for downloading
  • Dr John William Fortescue (1909). The County Lieutenancies and the Army, 1803–1814. Macmillan and Company, limited.
  • Dr John William Fortescue (1912). The Royal Visit to India 1911–1912. Macmillan and Co.
  • Dr John William Fortescue (1916). The Three Pearls. St. Martin's.
  • Dr John William Fortescue (1924). My Native Devon. Macmillan and Company, limited.
  • Dr John William Fortescue (1925). Wellington. London.
  • Sir John William Fortescue (1928). Six British Soldiers. William & Norgate.
  • Sir John William Fortescue (1928). The Empire and the Army. Cassell and Company.
  • Sir John William Fortescue (1928). Historical and Military Essays. Macmillan and Company, Limited.
  • Sir John William Fortescue (1928). A Short Account of Canteens in the British Army. The University Press.
  • 1930–1932 Royal Army Service Corps: A History of Transport and Supply in the British Army
  • Sir John William Fortescue (1931). Following the Drum. W. Blackwood & sons ltd.
  • Sir John William Fortescue (1932). Marlborough. Peter Davies Limited.
  • Sir John William Fortescue (1933). Author and curator. W. Blackwood.
  • Sir John William Fortescue (1934). The Last Post. W. Blackwood.

See also


  1. ^ Bond, Brian (2004). "Fortescue, Sir John William (1859–1933)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  2. ^ "Sir John William Fortescue". Everything Exmoor. Retrieved 27 November 2007.
  3. ^ "Fortescue, the Hon. John William (FRTC878JW)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. ^ "List of Presidents". Royal Historical Society. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
  5. ^ John William Fortescue and Exmoor Archived 9 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine

External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
Charles Oman
President of the Royal Historical Society
Succeeded by
Thomas Frederick Tout
1907 Birthday Honours

The 1907 Birthday Honours for the British Empire were announced on 28 June, to celebrate the birthday of Edward VII.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

Battle of Buxar

The Battle of Buxar was fought on 22 October 1764, during the Bengal War was between the forces under the command of the British East India Company, led by Hector Munro, and the combined armies of Mir Qasim, Nawab of Bengal till 1763; the Nawab of Awadh Shuja-ud-Daula; and the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II. The battle was fought at Buxar, a "small fortified town" within the territory of Bihar, located on the banks of the Ganges river about 130 kilometres (81 mi) west of Patna; it was a decisive victory for the British East India Company. The war was brought to an end by the Treaty of Allahabad in 1765.

Battle of Worcester

The Battle of Worcester took place on 3 September 1651 at Worcester, England, and was the final battle of the English Civil War. Oliver Cromwell's Parliamentarian New Model Army, 28,000 strong, defeated King Charles II's 16,000 Royalists, of whom the vast majority were Scottish.

Charles Oman

Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman, (12 January 1860 – 23 June 1946) was a British military historian. His reconstructions of medieval battles from the fragmentary and distorted accounts left by chroniclers were pioneering. Occasionally his interpretations have been challenged, especially his widely copied thesis that British troops defeated their Napoleonic opponents by firepower alone. Paddy Griffith, among modern historians, claims that the British infantry's discipline and willingness to attack were equally important.

Earl Fortescue

Earl Fortescue is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain that was created in 1789 for Hugh Fortescue, 3rd Baron Fortescue (1753–1841), a Member of Parliament for Beaumaris and Lord-Lieutenant of Devon.


An equerry (; from French écurie 'stable', and related to écuyer 'squire') is an officer of honour. Historically, it was a senior attendant with responsibilities for the horses of a person of rank. In contemporary use, it is a personal attendant, usually upon a sovereign, a member of a royal family, or a national representative. The role is equivalent to an aide-de-camp, but the term is now prevalent only in the Commonwealth of Nations.

Ford Lectures

The Ford Lectures, technically the James Ford Lectures in British History, are an annual series of public lectures held at the University of Oxford on the subject of English or British history. They are usually devoted to a particular historical theme and usually span six lectures over Hilary term. They are often subsequently published as a book.

Hector Munro, 8th laird of Novar

General Sir Hector Munro, 8th laird of Novar KB (1726 – 27 December 1805) was a British soldier who became the ninth Commander-in-Chief of India (1764–1765).

Hugh Fortescue, 3rd Earl Fortescue

Hugh Fortescue, 3rd Earl Fortescue DL (4 April 1818 – 10 October 1905), known as Viscount Ebrington from 1841 to 1861, was a British peer and occasional Liberal Party politician.

John Fortescue

John Fortescue may refer to:

Sir John Fortescue (judge) (c. 1394–1479), English lawyer and judge, MP for Tavistock, Totnes, Plympton Erle and Wiltshire

Sir John Fortescue of Salden (1531/1533–1607), third Chancellor of the Exchequer of England

John Fortescue Aland, 1st Baron Fortescue of Credan (1670–1746), English jurist

John Fortescue (MP) (1819–1859), British MP

Sir John William Fortescue (1859–1933), British statesman and military historian

John Fortescue (Captain of Meaux), English landowner and administrator

John Fortescue (MP)

The Honourable John William Fortescue (14 July 1819 – 25 September 1859) was a British Whig politician.

Novel of circulation

The novel of circulation, otherwise known as the it-narrative, or object narrative, is a genre of novel common at one time in British literature, and follows the fortunes of an object, for example a coin, that is passed around between different owners. Sometimes, instead, it involves a pet or other domestic animal, as for example in Francis Coventry's The History of Pompey the Little (1751). This and other such works blended satire with the interest for contemporary readers of a roman à clef. They also use objects such as hackney-carriages and bank-notes to interrogate what it meant to live in an increasingly mobile society, and to consider the effect of circulation on human relations.

Romanes Lecture

The Romanes Lecture is a prestigious free public lecture given annually at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, England.

The lecture series was founded by, and named after, the biologist George Romanes, and has been running since 1892. Over the years, many notable figures from the Arts and Sciences have been invited to speak. The lecture can be on any subject in science, art or literature, approved by the Vice-Chancellor of the University.


Simonsbath () is a small village high on Exmoor in the English county of Somerset. It is the principal settlement in the Exmoor civil parish, which is the largest and most sparsely populated civil parish on Exmoor, covering nearly 32 square miles (83 km2) but with a population, at the time of the 2001 census, of 203 in 78 households, reducing to 156 at the 2011 Census.

The River Exe rises from a valley to the north, and the River Barle runs through the village and is crossed by a triple-arched medieval bridge that was extensively repaired after floods in 1952.The settlement lies on the route of the Two Moors Way and close to the Macmillan Way West.

Theodorick Bland (surveyor)

Theodorick Bland (February 1663 – November 1700) made a survey in 1693 of the Howson Patent,

which is an area corresponding to present day Alexandria, Virginia. He also made a survey for Williamsburg, Virginia in 1699.Bland was the oldest son of Theodorick Bland of Westover and Anna Bennett, the daughter of Governor Richard Bennett. His brothers were Richard Bland (who had many notable descendants) and John Bland (who was the great-grandfather of Chancellor Theodorick Bland). Bland married Margaret Man and had two sons:

John Bland (born December 8, 1698); he married Ann West and had at least three children, John, Theodorick, and Mary.

Theodorick Bland, who died shortly after his father.When his father died in 1671, Bland inherited Westover Plantation and joined with his brother, Richard, in its ownership. The brothers eventually conveyed 1,200 acres of the property to William Byrd I in 1688 for 300L and 10,000 pounds of tobacco and cask. Byrd's grandson built a Georgian mansion there in the 1750s.

Thomas Frederick Tout

Thomas Frederick Tout, (28 September 1855 – 23 October 1929) was a 19th- and 20th-century British historian of the medieval period.

Timeline of the British Army

This timeline covers the main wars, battles and engagements and related issues for the Scottish, English and British Army, from 1537 to the present. See also Timeline of British diplomatic history.

William Pitt the Younger

William Pitt the Younger (28 May 1759 – 23 January 1806) was a prominent British Tory statesman of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. He became the youngest UK Prime Minister in 1783 at the age of 24. He left office in 1801, but served as Prime Minister again from 1804 until his death in 1806. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer for most of his time as Prime Minister. He is known as "the Younger" to distinguish him from his father, William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, called William Pitt the Elder or simply "Chatham", who had previously served as Prime Minister.

The younger Pitt's prime ministerial tenure, which came during the reign of George III, was dominated by major events in Europe, including the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. Pitt, although often referred to as a Tory, or "new Tory", called himself an "independent Whig" and was generally opposed to the development of a strict partisan political system. He led Britain in the great wars against France and Napoleon. Pitt was an outstanding administrator who worked for efficiency and reform, bringing in a new generation of outstanding administrators. He increased taxes to pay for the great war against France and cracked down on radicalism. To engage the threat of Irish support for France, he engineered the Acts of Union 1800 and tried (but failed) to get Catholic emancipation as part of the Union. He created the "new Toryism", which revived the Tory Party and enabled it to stay in power for the next quarter-century.

The historian Asa Briggs argues that his personality did not endear itself to the British mind, for Pitt was too solitary and too colourless, and too often exuded superiority. His greatness came in the war with France. Pitt reacted to become what Lord Minto called "the Atlas of our reeling globe". His integrity and industry and his role as defender of the threatened nation allowed him to inspire and access all the national reserves of strength. William Wilberforce said that, "For personal purity, disinterestedness and love of this country, I have never known his equal." Historian Charles Petrie concludes that he was one of the greatest prime ministers "if on no other ground than that he enabled the country to pass from the old order to the new without any violent upheaval ... He understood the new Britain." For this he is ranked highly amongst British Prime Ministers.

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