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Adrian (ā′drĭ-an), the name of six popes. Adrian IV, the only English pope, was named Nicholas Breakspeare. He left England a poor man, went to Paris, became an ardent student, and was soon known for his learning and zeal. He was chosen abbot, then cardinal, and lastly pope in 1154. He was vigorous in maintaining his authority at Rome and throughout Europe. He died in Italy in 1159.