MONTGOMERY, Sir Nicholas II (d.1435), of Cubley and Marston Montgomery, Derbys.
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Family and Education
Commr. to make arrests, Derbys., Notts. Jan. 1414 (lollards at large); of array, Derbys. Mar. 1419, Rouen Aug., Oct. 1420, Jan. 1421,2 Derbys. Mar. 1427; to hold an inquisition Dec. 1427 (lands of Hugh Halle); raise a royal loan, Staffs. Mar. 1430, Mar. 1431.
Constable of the duchy of Lancaster castle of Tutbury, Staffs. 15 Feb. 1414-d.; master forester of Needwood chase, Staffs. 15 Feb. 1414-d.; steward of the lordship of Tutbury 24 Nov. 1416-Oct. 1422, the duchy manors of Melbourne by 28 June 1420 and Wirksworth, Derbys. by 28 Jan. 1428.3
J.p. Derbys. 8 July 1419-23.
Sheriff, Staffs. 5 Nov. 1430-26 Nov. 1431, Notts. and Derbys. 26 Nov. 1431-5 Nov. 1432.4
Nicholas was probably still quite young when a marriage contract was drawn up on his behalf, in July 1391, between his father and Sir Nicholas Longford, his future father-in-law. The former agreed to settle an annuity of 20 marks a year upon Nicholas and his bride for life, while the latter was not only to pay £153 in three instalments but also to secure a papal dispensation allowing the marriage to continue, despite the fact that the couple were doubly related in the fourth degree of kinship. The dispensation was duly awarded in the following February; and no more is heard of Nicholas until January 1414, when he served on his first royal commission. Within a matter of weeks, however, he was given a knighthood as well as being made constable of Tutbury castle and master forester of Needwood chase, two posts on the Staffordshire estates of the duchy of Lancaster which his father had occupied at the beginning of the century. Sir Nicholas the elder was still a dominant figure in Derbyshire society; and it was no doubt thanks to his influence that his son obtained these potentially lucrative offices, together with an annuity of £20 assigned for ease of collection upon the revenues of the lordship of Tutbury. He was, moreover, almost certainly responsible for the young man’s first return to Parliament in the following April, since the elections were actually held by him in his capacity as sheriff of Derbyshire. Yet the younger Sir Nicholas soon began to acquire authority on his own account, and he headed the list of witnesses named on the return to the next Parliament, in November 1414, as well as attesting others to the Parliaments of 1417, 1420, 1421 (May) and 1422. Moreover, just before taking his seat in the House of Commons, he received a further royal grant of the 40 marks p.a. which Sir Hugh Shirley’s* widow, Beatrice, had agreed to pay the Crown for the wardship of her young son.5
As a royal retainer of the house of Lancaster, Sir Nicholas was naturally anxious to take part in Henry V’s planned invasion of France, and in April 1415 he indented to serve for one year with a retinue of three men-at-arms and nine foot archers. A few days later he was assigned £26 4s.7d. as his first quarter’s wages, although we do not know exactly what part he played in the ensuing campaign. He returned to the theatre of war in June 1416, this time with a somewhat larger retinue of 27 men, whom he and two other knights agreed to keep in the field for a period of three months. The most distinguished prisoners taken by King Henry at Agincourt were the dukes of Orléans and Bourbon, whose safe custody posed quite a problem to the council. By June 1418 Bourbon had been entrusted to Sir Nicholas’s care at Tutbury castle, where he remained for over a year. Henry V’s fear that the more duplicitous Orléans might by ‘flattery and promises’ seduce his more susceptible guardian, Robert Waterton, into neglecting his duty, led to an exchange of prisoners; and in December 1419 Sir Nicholas took charge of Orléans instead. He too may have been captivated by the Frenchman’s blandishments, for in the following June Oréans was consigned to yet another royal castle, and Bourbon returned to Staffordshire where he remained until his release. All in all, Sir Nicholas received allowances of over £440 to cover his expenses in looking after the duke and escorting him on various journeys to London, although he probably remained out of pocket none the less. Fortunately by then he could rely on an additional salary of £20 p.a. as steward of the lordship of Tutbury, thus raising his annual income in fees and wages from the duchy alone to at least £48 13s.4d. He may also have derived some profit out of the war with France, as for part of this period he was in Rouen in personal attendance upon King Henry.6
The death of his father in about 1424 left Sir Nicholas heir to extensive estates in Staffordshire and Derbyshire, although the customary third of them (worth about £26 p.a.) was allocated to his widowed stepmother by way of dower. In 1428 he settled Marston Montgomery on trustees; and five years later he made a similar arrangement with regard to the family seat at Cubley, this time choosing his former parliamentary colleague, John de la Pole, and his kinsman, John Curson†, as feoffees. Sir Nicholas kept on friendly terms with his nephew, Ralph Longford, whose entire inheritance he held in trust. An action of dower brought against him in the court of common pleas in 1432 by Ralph’s widow was almost certainly collusive, although there was nothing fictitious about another lawsuit in which he was then involved as plaintiff for the render of accounts by four of his former employees. Sir Nicholas was twice commissioned in the early 1430s to raise loans in Derbyshire for the government, and in May 1430 he set an example to his neighbours by advancing 20 marks of his own money to the Crown. Needless to say, he was listed among the local gentry who, in May 1434, were required to take the general oath that they would not assist anyone who disturbed the peace, although he was quite prepared to lend support (as a member of a grand jury) to his friend and feoffee, Sir Henry Pierrepont*, who had been the victim of a brutal attack by his rivals for local hegemony, the Foljambes. Sir Nicholas died within the year, and was replaced as constable of Tutbury by the earl of Stafford.7
The MP was succeeded by his son and namesake, whose inheritance was greatly depleted through the survival not only of his widowed mother but of his grandfather’s widow as well. Between them, these two dowagers retained land to the value of £52 p.a., although Nicholas was still said to be almost as rich as them in 1436, by which time Joan Montgomery had successfully established a legal title to her share of her late husband’s property. Most of the young man’s income derived from the estates of his wife, Margery, a niece of the influential Derbyshire landowner, Thomas Foljambe*. Presumably, in light of this lucrative marriage alliance, the Montgomerys had soon abandoned their attachment to the beleaguered Pierrepont.8
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. CPL, iv. 442; HMC Hastings, i. 110; Huntington Lib. San Marino, Hastings ms HAP box II; EHR, xlix. 632; DL42/16 f. 1. Staffs. Parl. Hist. i (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), 269 confuses Montgomery with his son and namesake and mistakenly gives his wife as Margaret, da. and h. of Reynold Dethick.
- 2. DKR, xlii. 406, 431, 433.
- 3. Somerville, Duchy, i. 539, 542, 546; Derbys. Chs. ed. Jeayes, no. 2673. As DL29/402/6451 shows, it was this MP, not his father (as Somerville states) who occupied the stewardship of Tutbury. He was, moreover, granted the constableship at an earlier date than that given by Somerville (DL42/16 f. 1).