John William Fortescue

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For other uses, see John Fortescue (disambiguation).

The Honourable Sir John William Fortescue, KCVO (28 December 1859 – 22 October 1933) was a British military historian. He was the Librarian and Archivist at Windsor Castle and historian of the British Army.

Early life[edit]

Foetescue was born on 28 December 1859 in Madeira.[1] He was the son of Hugh Fortescue, 3rd Earl Fortescue and his family owned the area around Simonsbath for much of the twentieth century.[2]

Fortescue was educated at Harrow School and Trinity College, Cambridge.[3]


Fortescue is best known for his monumental work on the British Army, which he wrote between 1899 and 1930. During most of this time (from 1905 to 1926) he was working as the librarian of Windsor Castle.

Academic career[edit]

In 1911, he was elected to deliver the Ford Lectures at Oxford University. He served as president of the Royal Historical Society from 1921 to 1925.[4] He was an honorary fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Personal life[edit]

He was married in 1914 to Winifred Beech, of Great Bealings, Suffolk. They did not have children. She was a writer and actress.

Works by Fortescue[edit]


  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 2007-11-27. 
  3. ^ "Fortescue, the Hon. John William (FRTC878JW)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  4. ^ "List of Presidents". Royal Historical Society. Retrieved 20 December 2010. 

External links[edit]

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