MONTAGU, Hon. Edward (c.1636-65), of Boughton, Northants.
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Family and Education
b. c.1636, 1st s. of Edward Montagu, 2nd Baron Montagu of Boughton by Anne, da. of Sir Ralph Winwood†, sec. of state 1614-17, of Ditton, Bucks.; bro. of Hon. Ralph Montagu. educ. Westminster; Christ Church, Oxf. 1651; Sidney Sussex, Camb. adm. 25 Sept. 1651, aged 15; Padua 1656. unm.
Member of queen mother’s council Nov. 1660-d.; master of the horse to Queen Catherine of Braganza 1662-4.1
Capt.-lt. King’s 1 Ft. Gds. 1661-d.
Commr. for assessment, Hunts. and Northants. 1661-3.
Montagu was descended from a family of Northamptonshire yeomen by the name of Ladde, who can be traced back to 1355 as householders in Hanging Houghton. They changed their name to Montagu about the middle of the 15th century, and achieved gentry status with Sir Edward Montagu, appointed lord chief justice in 1539. Montagu’s father supported Parliament in the Civil War, and was appointed to assessment commissions by the Rump, though he had opposed the King’s trial. Montagu himself was primarily responsible for bringing over to the Stuart cause his cousin Edward Montagu I ‘with whom he had a particular friendship’, and who vainly proposed him as candidate for Hastings and Weymouth in 1660. No doubt his failure increased his sense of being ‘not so well requited for his services as those with whom he acted’, though he was commissioned in the Guards and given a place at Court.2
Montagu was returned for Sandwich on the Admiralty interest at the general election of 1661, and listed by Lord Wharton among his friends in the Lower House. He was probably an inactive Member in the opening sessions of the Cavalier Parliament, being appointed by full name to only four unimportant committees, though in others there is the possibility of confusion with the Hon. William Montagu and George Montagu. He was sent to Lisbon with the fleet in January 1662, returning with the new Queen, who made him her master of the horse. ‘A grave, formal coxcomb’, he totally misjudged her character and influence, staking his career on gaining complete control of her household. ‘Strange it is’, wrote Samuel Pepys, who despised him, ‘that this man should, from the greatest negligence in the world, come to be the miracle of attendance.’ He picked quarrels with one of her gentlemen ushers, Sir Hugh Cholmley, and her lord chamberlain, the 2nd Earl of Chesterfield, from which he emerged with diminished reputation. He incensed his father by running into debt, and even managed to fall out with his cousin, now Earl of Sandwich. He was listed as a court dependant in 1664, but in May he was dismissed from Court, though retaining his appointments; his general unpopularity provided sufficient explanation, and only a few people in the inner ring knew that he had attempted to strengthen his position by making amorous advances to the Queen, who innocently reported them to her husband. His application to Sir Henry Bennet for reinstatement was apparently unsuccessful. In the second Dutch war he again accompanied Sandwich to sea and was killed in the attack on Bergen on 2 Aug. 1665 after behaving very bravely. Years later, a Portuguese nun told Sandwich that he had become a Roman Catholic in adolescence, and had received a papal dispensation to conceal his religion. The story seems incredible, but perhaps, like Bennet, Montagu had known Catholic sympathies.3
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Basil Duke Henning
- 1. HMC Buccleuch, i. 312; Pepys Diary, 8 Mar. 1662.
- 2. CP, ix. app. D; Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 229; Whitelocke, Mems. iv. 408; Clarendon, Rebellion, vi. 188-90; Pepys Diary, 3 Mar., 2 June 1660.
- 3. Kent AO, Sa/AC8, f. 152; S/N1, f. 174; Pepys Diary, 18 Jan., 14 Feb., 6 Aug. 1662, 20 May 1664; HMC Buccleuch, i. 465; CSP Dom. 1663-4, p. 675; 1664-5, p. 539; Burnet, ii. 151; F. R. Harris, Life of Sandwich, ii. 141.