MONTAGU, Edward (c.1602-1671), of Kimbolton Castle, Hunts.; later of Manchester House, Westminster

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



1626 - 22 May 1626

Family and Education

b. c.1602,1 1st s. of Sir Henry Montagu* of Kimbolton Castle and 1st w. Catherine, da. of Sir William Spencer† of Yarnton, Oxon.; bro. of James*.2 educ. Eton 1613-17; Sidney Sussex, Camb. 1618; travelled abroad (France, Low Countries) 1621-2; MA, Oxon. 1665.3 m. (1) 6 Feb. 1623, Susan (d. Jan. 1625), da. of John Hill, innkeeper of Honiley, Warws. 1da. d.v.p.;4 (2) 1 July 1626 (with £6,000), Anne (d. 14 Feb. 1642) da. of Sir Robert Rich*, 2nd earl of Warwick, 1s. 2da.;5 (3) 20 Dec. 1642, Essex (d. 28 Sept. 1658), da. of Sir Thomas Cheke* of Pirgo, Essex, wid. of Sir Robert Bevill of Chesterton, Hunts., 6s. 2da.;6 (4) settlement 15 July 1659, Eleanor (d. 20 Jan. 1667), da. of Sir Richard Wortley of Wortley, Yorks., wid. of Sir Henry Lee, 1st bt. of Quarendon, Bucks., Sir Edward Radcliffe*, 6th earl of Sussex and Robert Rich, 2nd earl of Warwick, s.p.;7 (5) lic. 1 Aug. 1667, Margaret (d. Nov. 1676), da. of Sir Francis Russell*, 4th earl of Bedford, wid. of James Hay, 1st earl of Carlisle, s.p.8 cr. KB 2 Feb. 1626;9 styled Lord Mandeville from 5 Feb. 1626, summ. to Lords as Lord Kimbolton, 22 May 1626;10 suc. fa. as 2nd earl of Manchester 7 Nov. 1642;11 cr. KG 1 Aug. 1661.12 d. 5 May 1671.13 sig. E[dward] Mountagu.

Offices Held

J.p. Hunts. 1624-49, 1660-d.;14 dep. lt. Hunts. 1624-?42, lord lt. (sole) 1642-4, (jt.) 1660-d.,15 Northants. 1643; commr. subsidy, Hunts. 1624, Forced Loan 1626;16 ranger, Weybridge Forest, Hunts. (jt.) 1627-d.;17 commr. sewers, Gt. Fens 1629, 1631;18 chan. S. Wales (jt.) 1635,19 Camb. Univ. 1649-51, 1660-d.;20 chamberlain, Chester, Cheshire (jt.) 1647-50, S. Wales 1660-d.;21 high steward, Westminster 1660-d., Kingston-upon-Thames, Surr. 1660-?d.22

PC, Feb. 1641-2, June 1660-d., [S] 1661-?d.;23 treas. (jt.), payment of Scots army 1641;24 commr. defence, W. Indies 1643;25 member, cttee. of safety 1642-4, cttee. of Both Kingdoms 1644-6, Derby House cttee. 1646-8;26 commr. gt. seal 1646-8,27 Admlty. 1647-9;28 ld. chamberlain, June 1660-d.;29 commr. Marshalsea ct. 1662.30

Col. of ft. (parl.) 1642-5, 1667;31 maj. gen. Eastern assoc. 1643-5.32

Member, assembly of divines 1643;33 commr. scandalous offences 1646-8.34

Speaker, House of Lords 1642-8 (intermittently), 1660.35

FRS 1665-d.36


As the eldest son of an ambitious politician, Montagu’s early life was tailored to fit his father’s priorities. He and his brother Walter were educated together at Eton and at Sidney Sussex, where their uncle James Montagu had formerly been master.37 He was subsequently sent abroad, first to France as a member of Lord Doncaster’s embassy in 1621, then to the Low Countries in July 1622, either as a tourist or as a volunteer in the Dutch army.38

Montagu’s marriage was an issue of prime concern, especially after his father’s abrupt replacement as lord treasurer by Sir Lionel Cranfield* in September 1621.39 Mandeville attempted to use his son’s marriage to cement an alliance with the marquess of Buckingham, by whose means he reportedly hoped to prise the chancellorship away from lord keeper Williams. Thus in March 1622 Montagu was spoken of as a possible match for one of the daughters of Buckingham’s brother-in-law, the earl of Denbigh, and after his father reportedly declined a dowry of £25,000 offered for a match with a daughter of the London alderman Sir William Craven, he married the favourite’s cousin Susan Hill.40 The union was solemnized in the king’s Bedchamber on 6 Feb. 1623 by Williams, and although the bride brought with her no dowry, Buckingham arranged for half the £20,000 which Mandeville had paid for the treasurership in December 1620 to be reimbursed.41 The marriage also revived Mandeville’s hopes of securing the chancellorship, although this prospect receded when Buckingham left for Madrid with Prince Charles a few weeks later.42

Montagu was one of a number of young courtiers who joined the prince in Madrid in April, where he was probably charged with keeping his father’s hopes for preferment alive.43 He clearly had some success, as rumours of Mandeville’s impending promotion resurfaced at the end of the year, together with reports that Montagu, Lord Kensington (Henry Rich*) and Buckingham’s brother the earl of Anglesey were in contention to succeed the earl of Kellie as captain of the king’s guard.44 Neither of these hopes bore any fruit, as both Williams and Kellie remained in office.

In the spring of 1624, Montagu was returned as senior knight for Huntingdonshire on the interest of his father, a major landowner within the county since his purchase of Kimbolton Castle. He left little trace on the records of the session, being named to the committee for the estate bill of the Sussex Catholic Viscount Montagu (5 Apr.) - no relation - and another for the bill to confirm the division of the newly drained Erith and Plumstead marshes in Kent (10 April).45 On 7 May, the Commons’ Journal mistakenly named Sir Edward Montagu*, by then a peer, as the man who joined Sir Francis Barrington in a vote on another private bill; this must either have been Montagu or his uncle Sir Charles, MP for Higham Ferrers.46

Montagu’s first wife died, probably in childbirth, in January 1625, whereupon Buckingham (now a duke) assured Montagu that the severance of their family ties would not diminish his regard.47 While this did not presage any political dividend for the family, at the Coronation in February 1626, Montagu became a knight of the Bath, while his father was elevated to the earldom of Manchester.48 Returned to the first two parliaments of Charles’s reign, Montagu kept a low profile, presumably due to the growing volubility of attacks on Buckingham. He was not mentioned in the records of 1625, and in 1626 he attended a single conference with the Lords about discrepancies in the accounts of the Council of War, which had supervised the disbursement of the 1624 parliamentary subsidies (7 March).49 On 22 May, Montagu was summoned to the Lords to strengthen the duke’s faltering attack on the earl of Bristol (Sir John Digby*). According to a newsletter, Buckingham’s opponents countered this move by citing a precedent which said ‘that no Lords called or created sedente parliamento shall have voices during the session’, but the Parliament was dissolved before the issue could be put to the test.50

Although his father served as lord privy seal throughout the 1630s, Montagu kept out of the limelight until the summer of 1640, when he was one of the 12 peers who petitioned Charles to call another Parliament rather than resume the war against the Covenanters. A leading radical in the Long Parliament, he was the only peer whom the king proposed to impeach along with the ‘Five Members’ in January 1642.51 He raised a regiment at the outbreak of the Civil War, and shortly after succeeding his father as earl of Manchester he was given command the army of the Eastern Association, where he became embroiled in a quarrel with his subordinate, Oliver Cromwell*, over the desirability of achieving total victory. Although removed from his military command under the Self-Denying Ordinance of April 1645, he continued as Speaker of the Lords and a member of the Derby House committee until Pride’s Purge.52

Manchester re-emerged from obscurity in the Convention Parliament of 1660, when he was made Speaker of the restored House of Lords. While he failed to impose conditions on a restored monarchy, he was appointed lord chamberlain, and remained an important political figure to the end of his life.53 He died on 5 May 1671 ‘of a fit of the colic’, and was buried in the family chapel in Kimbolton church on 13 May; his will, in which he made provision for his (fifth) wife, his daughter and several younger sons, was proved a month later.54 His eldest son Robert, who sat in the Convention and Cavalier Parliaments, was the first of many descendants to follow him into the Commons as knight for Huntingdonshire. The family retained their Kimbolton estate until 1950.

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Simon Healy


  • 1. He d. aged 69: Lansd. 921, f. 39.
  • 2. Vis. Northants. ed. Metcalfe, 115.
  • 3. Eton Coll. Reg. comp. W. Sterry, i. 234; Al. Cant.; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 391; APC, 1621-3, p. 287; Al. Ox.
  • 4. HMC Mar and Kellie, ii. 149; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 476, 599; HMC 8th Rep. ii. 29.
  • 5. Northants. RO, IL981; Lansd. 921, ff. 38-9.
  • 6. Vis. Northants. ed. Metcalfe, 115.
  • 7. Vis. Northants. (Harl. Soc. lxxxvii), 140-1; CP (earl of Manchester).
  • 8. CP (earl of Manchester); Lansd. 921, f. 39.
  • 9. Shaw, Knights of Eng. i. 161.
  • 10. LJ, iii. 648b.
  • 11. CP (earl of Manchester).
  • 12. Shaw, i. 35.
  • 13. Lansd. 921, f. 39.
  • 14. C231/4, f. 172.
  • 15. Ibid. f. 173; Add. Ch. 33168; A. and O. i. 1-4; Hunts. RO, D/DM20B/9.
  • 16. C212/22/23; T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 144.
  • 17. Hunts. RO, D/DM50/3-4; C66/2440/3.
  • 18. C181/4, ff. 29, 93v.
  • 19. C66/2714/19.
  • 20. Al. Ox.
  • 21. CP (earl of Manchester).
  • 22. Ibid.; Hunts. RO, D/DM86.
  • 23. PC2/53, ff. 43-4; C. Russell, Fall of Brit. Monarchies, 263; Diurnal of Thomas Rugg 1659-61 ed. W.L. Sachse (Cam. Soc. ser. 3. xci), 92; SP29/5/109; Reg. PC Scot. 1661-4, p. 2.
  • 24. SR, v. 123.
  • 25. A. and O. i. 331-2.
  • 26. CJ, iii. 392b; A. and O. i. 382, 437; CSP Dom. 1648-9, p. 1.
  • 27. A. and O. i. 885-7, 995, 998.
  • 28. G.F. James and J.J. Sutherland Shaw, ‘Admiralty Admin. and Personnel, 1619-1714’, BIHR, xiv. 18.
  • 29. CSP Dom. 1671, p. 224; Diurnal of Thomas Rugg, 93.
  • 30. SP29/53/79.
  • 31. CSP Dom. 1641-3, p. 366; SP28/143, unnumb. (accts. of Essex’s army, 1642-4).
  • 32. A. and O. i. 215-19.
  • 33. Ibid. 181.
  • 34. Ibid. 853, 1208.
  • 35. LJ, v. 150a, 181a; x. 625a; xi. 35.
  • 36. CP (earl of Manchester).
  • 37. Eton Coll. Reg. i. 234; Al. Cant. (Edward, James Montagu).
  • 38. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 391; APC, 1621-3, p. 287.
  • 39. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 399.
  • 40. Ibid. ii. 426, 455, 476.
  • 41. Ibid. ii. 476; HMC Mar and Kellie, ii. 149; T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Jas. I, ii. 361; CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 489; Bodl. Tanner 290, f. 31.
  • 42. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 455; CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 486; R. Lockyer, Buckingham, 135-7.
  • 43. Chamberlain Letters, ii. 491.
  • 44. Ibid. 532, 535.
  • 45. CJ, i. 755a, 762a.
  • 46. Ibid. 699a.
  • 47. Duke of Manchester, Ct. and Soc. from Eliz. to Anne, i. 314, 324; Chamberlain Letters, ii. 599.
  • 48. Shaw, i. 161; CP.
  • 49. CJ, i. 832a.
  • 50. Ibid. 862b; LJ, iii. 648b; C. Russell, PEP, 319-20; T. Birch, Ct. and Times of Chas. I, i. 106.
  • 51. CSP Dom. 1640, p. 640; Russell, Fall of Brit. Monarchies, passim.
  • 52. CSP Dom, 1648-9, p. 1; LJ, x. 625a.
  • 53. R. Hutton, Restoration, 117, 126-7.
  • 54. Lansd. 921, f. 39; CSP Dom. 1671, pp. 220, 239; PROB 11/336, ff. 204-5.