Admiral John Montagu (1719–1795) was a naval officer and colonial governor of Newfoundland.
He was born in 1719, son of James Montagu of Lackham in Wiltshire (died 1747), and great-grandson of James Montagu of Lackham (1602-1665), third son of Henry Montagu, 1st Earl of Manchester.
Montagu began his naval career in the Royal Naval Academy, Portsmouth on 14 August 1733.
He was promoted lieutenant in 1740 and served on HMS Buckingham and, in 1744, was present at the Battle off Toulon.
In 1757 he was present at the execution of Admiral John Byng. Promoted to Rear-Admiral in 1770, he served as Commander-in-Chief of the North American Station from 1771 to 1774.
He was promoted Vice-Admiral in 1776 and then appointed Governor and commander-in-chief of Newfoundland. Montagu captured St. Pierre and Miquelon for the British and defended Newfoundland from both French and American privateers.
By his swift actions he had prevented the French from capturing Carbonear and Harbour Grace.
In 1783 he was made Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth. His honorary appointments included Admiral of the Blue in 1782 and Admiral of the White in 1787.
In 1782 he was promoted Admiral of the Blue, and from 1783 to 1786 was commander-in-chief of Portsmouth. In 1787 he became Admiral of the White. He retired at Fareham in Hampshire, where he died in August 1795.
|Sir Henry Montagu|
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
BiographyAs 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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).
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
|Painted in mid 1800's|
Charles Edward Montagu, the 4th Earl who was created 1st Duke of Manchester in 1719, had many works of reconstruction carried out between 1690 and 1720. Sir John Vanbrugh and his assistant Nicholas Hawksmoor redesigned the facades of the castle in a classical style, but with battlements to evoke its history as a castle, the portico was later added by Alessandro Galilei.
The Venetian painter Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini redecorated some of the reconstructed rooms in 1708, including the main staircase and the chapel. Rich, gilded furnishings in a Louis XIV-inspired style were commissioned from French upholsterers working in London.
For a later duke, Robert Adam produced plans for the castle gatehouse and other garden buildings, including an orangery. Only one of these buildings, the gatehouse, was constructed in around 1764. Mews buildings were added to provide stables, and an avenue of Giant Sequoias was planted in the 19th century.
The furnishings were scattered in sales and some have come to national collections. There is limited public opening during the school holidays and at weekends.