MONTAGU, Henry (c.1563-1642), of the Middle Temple, London.

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. c.1563, 3rd s. of Edward Montagu I and bro. of Sidney and Edward Montagu II educ. Christ’s, Camb. 1583; M. Temple 1585, called 1592. m. (1) 1 June 1601, Catherine (d.1612), da. of Sir William Spencer of Yarnton, Oxon. 4s. 3da.; (2) 1613, Anne, da. of William Wincot of Langham, Suff., wid. of Sir Leonard Halliday, ld. mayor of London, s.p.; (3) 26 Apr. 1620, Margaret, da. of John Crouch of Corneybury, Herts., wid. of Allen Elvine, leatherseller, and of John Hare, 2s. 2da. Kntd. 1603; cr. Baron Kimbolton and Visct. Mandeville 1620; Earl of Manchester 1626.

Offices Held

Recorder, London 1603-16; reader, M. Temple 1606; KC 1607; serjeant-at-law 1611; King’s sergeant 1611; l.c.j. King’s bench 1616-20; PC 1620; ld. high treasurer 1620-1; 1st commr. of gt. seal May-July 1621; pres. of council 1621-8; master of ct. of wards 1624; chief commr. for Virginia inquiry 1624; ld. lt. Hunts. 1624; ld. privy seal 1628-d.; council for colonies 1634; high steward Camb. Univ. 1634-d.; commr. Treasury 1635-d.; commr. regency Sept. 1640, Aug.-Nov. 1641.2


Montagu was a lawyer who had a distinguished career under James I and Charles I. His return for Higham Ferrers may be explained by his family’s standing and connexions in Northamptonshire. In 1597 he was named to two committees concerning private transactions (25 Nov., 9 Dec.). He was probably the ‘Mr. Montague’ who was appointed to committees concerning defence (8 Dec.), tillage (13 Dec.) and soldiers and mariners (20 Dec.), although his brother Edward’s presence in this Parliament makes complete certainty impossible. The same problem of identity exists in 1601, but is complicated still further by the presence in the Commons of the younger brother Sidney. However, Henry was named to the following committees: private business (9 Dec.), letters patent (11 Dec.) and the Belgrave privilege case (17 Dec.). He reported a committee on Exchequer reform on 25 Nov. (a ‘Mr. Montague’—presumably Henry—was appointed to a committee on Exchequer reform on the same day), and he also reported the committee concerning soldiers and mariners (11 Dec.). He spoke on the subsidy on 7 Nov., and two days later ‘Mr. Montague of the Middle Temple’ argued against Serjeant Hele in the subsidy debate. It is highly likely that it was Henry:

... if all the preambles of the subsidies were looked upon, he [Hele] should find that [the subsidy] was of free gift. And although her Majesty requireth this at our hands, yet it is in us to give, not in her to exact of duty ...

On 19 Nov. he spoke in support of a bill to prevent the export of bullion. Two committees concerning the order of business (3 Nov.) and a private bill (28 Nov.) may have been attended by Henry, and he was also probably responsible for two speeches on monopolies—the first on 20 Nov.:

The matter is good and honest and I like this manner of proceeding by bill well enough in this matter. The grievances are great, and I would only note but thus much unto you, that the last Parliament we proceeded by way of petition, which had no successful effect.

The second on 23 Nov.:

Mr. Speaker I am loth to speak what I know lest perhaps I should displease. The prerogative royal is that which is now in question and which the laws of the land have ever showed and maintained. My motion then shall be but this: that we may be suitors unto her Majesty, that the patentees shall have no other remedies than by the laws of the realm they may have—and that our Act may be drawn accordingly.

Under James he received promotion, and died in 1642 with a moderate fortune. His eldest son was prominent on the parliamentary side in the civil war.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Authors: S. M. Thorpe / M.A.P.


  • 1. Folger V. b. 298.
  • 2. CP; DNB; Vis. Northants. ed. Metcalfe, 114-15; A. B. Beaven, Aldermen of London, i. 278; Foss, Judges, vi. 167-72.
  • 3. D’Ewes, 563, 570, 571, 572, 624, 633, 645, 649, 651, 657, 673, 679, 680, 688; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 205, 227, 233, 243, 313; HMC Hatfield, xi. 485; DNB.