MONTAGU, Edward II (1562-1644), of Boughton, Northants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Family and Education

b. 1562, 1st surv. s. of Edward Montagu I and bro. of Henry and Sidney educ. Christ Church, Oxf. c.1574, BA Mar. 1579; M. Temple 1581. m. (1) 21 Sept. 1585, Elizabeth (d.1611), da. and h. of (Sir) John Jeffrey of Chiddingly, Suss., 1da.; (2) 24 Feb. 1612, Frances (d.1620), da. of Thomas Cotton of Conington, Hunts., 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 1da.; (3) 16 Feb. 1625, Anne, da. of John Crouch of Corneybury, Herts., wid. of Robert Wynchell, painter-stainer, of Richard Chamberlain, and of (Sir) Ralph Hare of Stow Bardolph, Norf., s.p. suc. fa. 1602; KB 1603; cr. Baron Montagu 1621.3

Offices Held

J.p. Northants. from c.1595, sheriff 1595-6, commr. musters 1596, dep. lt. from 1602, ld. lt. from 1642; dep. keeper, Rockingham forest by 1593.4


The heir to one of the principal estates in Northamptonshire, Montagu, once his formal education was over, divided his time between London and Boughton. As deputy keeper of Rockingham forest Montagu left a musters book that has survived containing letters directed to him, and copies of those he despatched. After his marriage Montagu abandoned attempts to find a suitable residence in the county on the grounds that his wife’s health necessitated her staying in London. In a letter to his mother announcing his intention of residing at Boughton when in Northamptonshire, he wrote:

And I may be set so to work that I may at my father’s hands earn my victuals, for which I may keep him company at chess, and if need be I may take his part at double-handed Irish, and if there be occasion of weightier matters, as punishing rogues and such like, if it please him to employ me, [it] may ease him. And to do you some service I may in summer time [gather aprico]ts and peaches, or some such like work ... And if [none of] all these pains do deserve my meat and drink, yet truly they would be well bestowed of me, because they will be well seen by me especially if I may have fromenty and cheesecakes.5

In 1584 a seat was found for Montagu at the new parliamentary borough of Bere Alston. The patron was presumably Lord Mountjoy, perhaps acting through his relative Edward Lane, who was Montagu’s cousin. In 1597 he represented Tavistock, where his fellow-Member was Valentine Knightley. Knightley had earlier represented the borough under Russell patronage, and may by 1597 have had enough influence to secure Montagu’s return. During this Parliament he sat on a committee considering a bill for the town of Northampton, 16 Nov., and another concerning a bill for tellers and receivers, 12 Dec. His return for Brackley in 1601 was probably procured by his friend Robert Spencer. On 3 Dec. 1601 Montagu made a charitable motion

which I hope will tend to a charitable end, and briefly it is this: that no private bill may pass this House but the procurers to give something to the poor ... Because I offered to the consideration of this House this motion first, I will presume also more particularly to deliver my opinion. I think for every private bill for sale of lands, ten pounds a reasonable benevolence; and for every estate for life or for jointure, five pounds.

The bills against drunkenness and for the proper observing of the Sabbath day were committed to him on 4 Nov., and he spoke in the subsidy debate on 7 Nov. His name appears in a list of Members served with subpoenas in the course of the 1601 Parliament.

In Jame’s reign Montagu successfully claimed a county seat in all the elections before his elevation to the peerage. It is just possible that his reference, in a letter to Robert Spencer, Lord Spencer, during 1625 ‘I have not a son fit to join with yours, as your lordship and I once did, for the service of the country’—implies that they unsuccessfully contested the county seat in Elizabeth’s reign, but it is more probable that it is concerned with their preparations to fight the county seat against Anthony Mildmay, at the election they expected early in 1603, before Spencer’s elevation to the peerage.6

James I thought Montagu ‘smelt a little of puritanism’, and he certainly supported the 1605 petition in favour of puritan ministers. In 1642 he was arrested by Parliament because they feared his influence on the county, where he was popular as a hospitable neighbour and a good landlord. He died in captivity in 1644 and was buried in Weekley church 26 June.7

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: S. M. Thorpe


  • 1. Folger V. b. 298.
  • 2. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 3. Vis. Northants. (Harl. Soc. lxxxvii), 137; Vis. Northants. ed. Metcalfe, 114-15; CP; DNB.
  • 4. Musters, Beacons and Subsidies in Northants. ed. Wake (Northants. Rec. Soc. iii), p. cxvi; HMC Buccleuch, i. xix.
  • 5. Lansd. 78, f. 166; 81, f. 79; HMC Buccleuch, i. pp. xix, xx, 224, 225, 228, 231, 233, 234, 235; iii. 41, 52, 55, 65, 66; HMC Montagu, 26, 28.
  • 6. D’Ewes, 557, 572, 626, 637, 665; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 279, 280; HMC Buccleuch, iii. 74-5, 172-3, 257; HMC Hatfield, xi. 485.
  • 7. HMC Buccleuch, i. p. xx; DNB; CP.