1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Montagu

MONTAGU (Family). Dru of Montaigu or Montagud, the ancestor of the Montagus, earls of Salisbury, came to England with Robert, count of Mortain, half-brother of William the Conqueror. He is found in Domesday among the chief tenants of the count in Somerset, where Dru held the manor of Shepton, afterwards called Shepton Montagu. Upon the hill of Lutgaresburg, in Bishopston, Robert built the castle which he called Montaigu—but there is no reason for believing that Dru’s surname was derived from the castle, he being probably a Norman born—from Montaigu or Montaigu-les-bois, both in the neighbourhood of Mortain. The Domesday holding of Dru is represented in the return of 1166 by the ten knights’ fee upon which his descendant, another Dru, is assessed. William Montagu of Shepton is among the knights summoned by Henry III. to the Gascon War and to the Welsh border in 1257. His son Simon, the first of the family to make a figure in history, followed Edward I. in 1277 against Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, being then, as it would appear, a minor, and he served again in 1282, when Llywelyn’s power was broken for the last time. By a charter dated in 1290 his Somersetshire manors and the manor of Aston Clinton were confirmed to him by a grant from the Crown. In 1296 a ship under his command broke the blockade of Bordeaux. In 1298 he was summoned as a baron; and in 1301, as Simon lord of Montagu, he sealed the famous letter of the barons to the pope with his seal of the arms of Montagu, the counter seal showing a griffon. One of the earliest examples of quartered arms seen in England was afforded when Simon’s banner displayed at Falkirk in 1298 quartered this griffon, gold on a blue field, with the Montagu’s indented fesse of three fusils. He died in 1317 and was succeeded by his son William (d. 1319), a favourite of Edward II., whose household steward he became, and seneschal of Aquitaine and Gascony. His eldest son, another William, came of age in 1322, and in 1330 led the young king’s partisans by the secret way into Nottingham Castle, and carried off the earl of March. The day before Mortimer had denounced Montagu as a traitor, but Montagu struck at once and his success was rewarded by grants from the forfeited lands of March. In 1337 he was created earl of Salisbury, and on the death of Thomas of Brotherton in 1338 he was made marshal of England. His king employed him in missions to France, Scotland, Germany and Castile, but war was, as with most of the men of his house, the chief business of his short life. At some time between 1340 and 1342 he led an expedition of his own against the Isle of Man, winning from the Scots the little kingdom to which he had inherited a claim. His grandfather Simon is said to have married a certain Auffray or “Aufrica,” sometimes described as “daughter of Fergus and sister of Orray, king of Man,” and sometimes as the grand-daughter and heir of John de Courcy, the conqueror of Ulster, whose wife “Affreca” was sister of King Olaf II. John de Courcy, however, died childless, and in 1287 Simon names his wife as Hawise. The second Aufrica or Affreca claimed the island as heir of Magnus II. (d. 1265), a letter of Edward I. in 1293 citing John of Scotland to answer her appeal to king John' s suzerain. By her charter of 1306 the same Aufreca, styling herself “Aufreca of Counnoght, heir of the land of Man,” granted the island to Simon, and this grant, rather than the marriage universally asserted by Simon’s biographers, was probably the origin of the Montagu claim. The first earl died in 1344 and was buried in the Whitefriars Church in London. His wife, Katherine, daughter of William de Graunson, and co-heir, in her issue, of her brothers, is connected by a legend of no value with the foundation of the Order of the Garter. Between William, his son and heir, the second earl (1328–1397) and Joan of Kent, daughter of Edmund of Woodstock, there was a contract of marriage which was made null by the pope's bull in 1349. William was one of the knights founders of the Order of the Garter, fought at Crecy, and commanded the rearward battle at Poitiers. According to Froissart he attended the young Richard in Smithfield when the king faced the mob after the death of Wat Tyler. His only son was killed in 1383 at a tournament, and in 1393 the earl sold the lordship and crown of Man to William Scrope of Bolton. He was succeeded by his nephew John, the third earl (c. 1350–1400), son of Sir John Montagu by Margaret, the heir of the barons of Monthermer. The new earl was notorious as a Lollard, and was accused, after Henry IV.'s accession, of a share in Gloucester's death, from which he was to have cleared himself in combat with the Lord Morley. But he joined Kent, Huntingdon and Rutland in their plot against Henry, and was beheaded with the earl of Kent by the Cirencester mob. By his wife Maude, daughter of Sir Adam Francis, he had Thomas (1388–1428), who was summoned as an earl in 1409, his father's dignities being restored to him in 1421, by which time his services at Harfleur and Agincourt had earned him French lordships, the lieutenant-generalship of Normandy and the earldom of Perche. The last of a race of warriors, he ended his service at the famous siege of Orleans, a cannon-ball dashing into his face the stone and ironwork of the window from which he was gazing at the city. By his second wife, the daughter of Thomas Chaucer the Speaker, he had no issue. By his first wife, Eleanor, daughter of Thomas Holand, earl of Kent, he had an only daughter Alice, wife of Richard Neville, a younger son of the first earl of Westmorland, who clai med and was allowed the earldom of Salisbury in right of his marriage. The famous “ Richard Make-a-King,” earl of Warwick and Salisbury, was the grandson of the last of the Montagu earls.

Sir Edward Montagu of Boughton, a chief justice of the king's bench who died in 12557, was ancestor of three lines of peers, the dukes of Montagu, the dukes of Manchester, and the earls of Sandwich. These Montagus of Boughton claimed, by a false pedigree, descent from the third earl of Salisbury. It is possible that there may have been some kinship between the two families, but none, apparently, that could justify the persistent quartering by these later Montagus of the arms of Monthermer.

Authorities.—Collinson's Somerset; G. E. C.'s Complete Peerage; Victoria County History of Somerset (J. H. Round's introduction to Domesday); Rymer's Foedera; Palsgrave's Parliamentary Writs; Rolls of Parliament; Ramsay's Lancaster and York; Gesta Henrici V. (English Hist. Soc.); Chronicles of Walsingham, Knighton, Capgrave Wavrin, Frousart, Monstrelet, &c. Inquests, Post mortem, Close, Patent, Charter and Fine Rolls; Dugdale's Monasticon Publications of Somerset Record Society; Charters in British Museum and Public Record Office.  (O. Ba.)