The body in pain

This is the only complete surviving copy of this printed missal, produced in France for the English market. It bears two extraordinary bodily marks. The first is the ownership inscription and motto of Sir Adrian Fortescue (c.1481-1539), who was distantly related to Anne Boleyn, and beheaded for treason in 1539. Now the Blessed Adrian, he is treated as a martyr for the Catholic faith, although the treason charge may have been for political and familial reasons. Indeed here a note in Fortescue’s hand, dated 1536, affirms Henry VIII’s authority over the English church. The second point of interest is a bill of prayer pasted in separately on a fly-leaf, which is a unique survival. It contains prayers to be said at mass for Queen Mary, ‘beinge with childe’. The postcommunion asks almighty God to answer the supplications for the safe preservation from all misfortunes of her majesty Queen Mary during her pregancy: Adesto supplicationibus nostri omnipotens Deus, et famulam tuam Mariam Reginam nostram in partu ab omni infortunio clementer preserua. Rumours began circulating about the pregnancy shortly after the Queen’s wedding to Philip II of Spain, in September 1554. By August 1555, it was clear that there would be no baby, and Mary emerged from her confinement, her belly once again flat. BC

Missale secundum vsum insignis ecclesie Sarum (Rouen: Martin Morin, 1510), verso of title page.

Prayers or collectes to be sayd in the Masse for the Quenes highnesse, beinge with childe (London: Johannes Cawood, 1554), pasted fly-leaf.

LPL: H2015.S2.01**

Further Reading

Richard Rex, ‘Fortescue, Sir Adrian (c.1481–1539)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004).

Judith M. Richards, Mary Tudor (London, 2008), pp. 173-9.

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