MONTAGU, Hon. Charles (c.1658-1721), of Jermyn St., London and Belford, Northumb.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

1685 - 1687
1695 - 1702

Family and Education

b. c.1658, 5th s. of Edward Montagu†, 1st Earl of Sandwich, by Jemima, da. of John Crew†, 1st Baron Crew, of Stene, Northants.; bro. of Edward Montagu†, Visct. Hinchingbrooke, Hon. Oliver Montagu† and Hon. Sidney Wortley Montagu*.  educ. St. Neots g.s.; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1677; M. Temple 1677; Lincoln, Oxf. 1682.  m. (1) 3 Sept. 1685, Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Francis Forster of Easington Grange, co. Dur. and Belford, 1s.; (2) 31 Dec. 1691, Sarah, da. of John Rogers, merchant of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumb., 3s. 1da.1

Offices Held

Freeman, Durham 1683; constable, Durham Castle 1684–1715; v.-adm. co. Dur. 1685–90; spiritual chancellor of Durham dioc. 1687–90; sheriff, co. Dur. 1687–1709; alderman, Durham by 1687–d.; seneschal of Durham 1690–1709.2

Commr. for taking subscriptions to land bank, 1696.3

Biography

Son of a Huntingdonshire peer, Montagu accumulated numerous administrative offices in the county palatine and see of Durham prior to the Revolution. He owed this advancement to the patronage of his uncle Nathaniel Crew, bishop of Durham, and it was Crew’s continued favour in the 1690s that led to Montagu’s involvement in the north-east coal industry. Crew’s leases of mining rights to Montagu and his brother Sidney Wortley Montagu established the family among the region’s leading coal proprietors, and by the end of the 17th century Montagu’s pits in north Northumberland and south Durham were producing over 100,000 tons p.a. His growing wealth is perhaps indicated by his inclusion in 1694 upon a list of subscribers to the Bank of England, in which he was listed as having sufficient stock to qualify for election as a director. The bishop had secured Montagu’s return for Durham in 1685, and presumably assisted his re-election for the borough in 1695. Suggestions that Montagu stand for Northumberland, where he had gained property through his first marriage, came to nothing. He retained the seat until the end of the reign, but most of the recorded parliamentary activity under the name of ‘Charles Montagu’ applies to Montagu’s prominent Junto Whig cousin and namesake, the future Lord Halifax. Probably due to his recent entry to the Commons, Montagu was initially listed as ‘doubtful’ in the forecast of January 1696 for the division on the council of trade, but this was later amended to indicate his likely support for the Court. In February he promptly signed the Association. In the following session he voted, on 25 Nov., for the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†, and a comparison of the old and new Commons dating from September 1698 classed him as a Court supporter. He voted on 18 Jan. 1699 against the disbanding bill, and in early 1700 an analysis of the Commons listed him as a follower of his cousin Charles. In December 1701 Robert Harley* classed him as a Whig. Montagu did not stand for Parliament in 1702 or, as far as can be ascertained, at any later election. Having retired from the Commons, he appears initially to have continued his leading role in the north-east coal trade, being a member of the ‘coal office’ established by a number of coal owners in the early 1700s to help secure markets for their product. By 1708, however, when a cartel was established to control the production and price of the region’s coal, it seems that his son James (III*) had taken over the management of the family’s mining interests. Montagu died at Breda and was buried at Barnwell All Saints, Northamptonshire, on 29 June 1721.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks

Notes

  • 1. J. Hatcher, Hist. GB Coal Industry, i. 294-5; VCH Hunts. ii. 65; Collins, Peerage, iii. 464–5; New Hist. Northumb. i. 229, 392; info. from D. Levine; IGI, Northumberland.
  • 2. Surtees, Dur. iv(2), 23; Hutchinson, Dur. i. 565; ii. 256; Arc