Select Montague Miscellany

 

Here are some Montague stories
and
accounts over the years:

 

William de Montagu and the Knights of the Garter

 

William de Montagu helped Edward
III throw off the tutelage of his mother Queen Isabella and her lover
Roger Mortimer.
For this he was richly rewarded by the King, made the Earl of
Salisbury
and appointed Earl Marshal of England for life.
William had married Catherine, daughter of Lord
Grandison.  She was a lady of great
beauty and
history records that she was as good as she was beautiful.
Upon one occasion
while attending a feast at Windsor Castle she was dancing with Edward III and lost
her garter which the King took up from the floor.  Some of the nobles that stood around were
seen to smile, whereupon the King remarked:
“The time should shortly come when the
greatest
honor imaginable should be paid to that garter.”


Thus originated the Royal Order of the Knights of the Garter, with
its motto in French “Honi soit que mal y pense.”


Hinchingbrooke House and the Montagues


Sir Sidney Montague purchased Hinchingbrooke House
in Huntingdon from Sir Oliver Cromwell in 1627.
He had
married
Paulina, daughter of John Pepys of Cottenham, great aunt to Samuel
Pepys.  Their eldest son had drowned in the
moat of
their home at Barnwell, which partly explained their move to
Hinchingbrooke
House.

When
Sir Sidney died in 1644 ownership of the house passed to his son Edward.  At this time the Civil War was raging and he
walked a fine line between the two competing forces.
He served Cromwell loyally in the
1650’s, but went on to play a considerable part in the Restoration of
Charles
II and was rewarded with several Court offices and the title of the
Earl of
Sandwich.

Edward
Montague was second cousin and patron to Samuel Pepys the diarist, who
worked
as a secretary for a time at Hinchingbrooke House.
Both the house and estate figured largely in
his diaries.  Edward was an Admiral of the Fleet during the
Anglo-Dutch Wars, but
died at the Battle of Solebray in 1672.

From
1627 until 1962 Hinchingbrooke House was a Montague family home.   Although the family made structural
changes
over the centuries the house would not return to being the centre of
entertainment which had ruined the earlier Cromwell owner.

There was a final
irony.  In order to pursue a political
career Victor Montague relinquished any claim to his family titles.  He consequently sold Hinchingbrooke House to
Cambridgeshire County Council in 1962 .

 

John Sandwich,
Earl of Sandwich, and the Sandwich

The following was one early account
of the history of the sandwich:

“A
minister of state passed four and twenty hours at a public
gaming-table, so
absorbed in play that during the whole time he had no subsistence but a
bit of
beef between two slices of toasted bread, which he ate without ever
quitting
the game. This new dish grew highly in vogue during my residence in
London.  It was called by the name of the
minister who invented it.”

This
report does not
seem to have any foundation.  There is no
doubt, however, that Lord Sandwich was the real author of the sandwich,
in its
original form using salt beef of which he was very fond.

The
alternative
explanation is that he invented it to sustain himself at his desk.  This seems plausible since we have ample
evidence of the long hours he worked from an early start, in an age
when dinner
was the only substantial meal of the day and the fashionable hour to
dine was
four o’clock.

 

Francis Montague, A
Catholic Priest
Who Got Married

Francis Montague came from a
priestly family in county Tyrone.  He
himself was ordained in 1842 and became curate, first at Kilmore, then
at
Magherafelt, and finally at Drogheda.
There he fell in love with Rosa McCabe the daughter of Felix
McCabe, a
merchant in Drogheda.

The two ran away together to England and got married in
Brighton in 1858.  The next year Francis
returned to Ireland and accepted the appointment as parish priest at
Cookstown
in Tyrone.  There he officiated for two
years until, inevitably, the cat got out of the bag and the fact that
he had
broken his vow of celibacy and concealed that fact for the best part of
three
years became known to the parish.

He left under a cloud.  Rumor
had it that the parishioners collected
a fund to help him to live after he left.
But the facts were that he was expelled from the church and from
his
family.  He left Ireland, never to
return, dying in London in 1893.

Still, he and Rosa did raise four sons in
London and launched them into successful careers.  Francis
became a Professor of History at
University College, London; Frederick a successful London solicitor;
Charles a
noted journalist and writer; and Alfred a doctor of medicine, the Chief
Medical
Officer in Fiji.

 

 

The Life and Times of Edward Montagu, Third Baron Montagu

Edward Montagu’s birth in 1926 came as a great relief
to his father, who at the age of 61 was desperate for a male heir to
his title
and Beaulieu estate.  After finally
fathering the son he had longed for, it was a sad irony that John
Montagu died
three years later – leaving Beaulieu to be managed by his widow and
trustees
until Edward reached the age of 25.

Although his background was unremittingly
conventional for a man of his aristocratic standing – Eton, then Oxford
and a
spell in the Grenadier Guards – Edward became a self-confessed bohemian
who
enjoyed affairs with both men and women.
However, at that time the political atmosphere was virulently
anti-homosexual.  And Montagu – together
with Peter Wildeblood, the diplomatic correspondent of the Daily
Mail
, and Michael Pitt-Rivers, a Dorset landowner – were
charged in 1954 with the offenses of “consensual homosexual practices.”

All
three men were convicted.  But the
prosecution provoked a wave of sympathy from the Press and the public
alike,
many of whom felt it amounted to little more than an unedifying
witch-hunt.  Montagu was met with cheers
when he left the courtroom.

Undeterred by his conviction, Montagu returned to
Beaulieu and threw himself into new ventures there.
His passion for vintage motor cars turned
into the Montagu Motor Museum in 1959.
He had also started the first of his Beaulieu Jazz Festivals.  By the mid-1960s, Beaulieu was attracting
more than half a million visitors a year.

Over the course of the next
five decades, he would speak out on motoring, tourism, museums,
historic
buildings, conservation and the New Forest.
And he played as hard as he worked.  He was a keen shot,
loved foreign travel,
went wind-surfing off his own foreshore and regularly competed in
historic
motorsport events.  He also had a passion
for the theatre, opera, gourmet restaurants and parties, for which he
never
lost enthusiasm despite mobility difficulties in later life.

He also regularly
attended the House of Lords.  When the
1999 reforms were implemented he was one of the Conservative hereditary
peers
elected to remain.  He died in 2015.

 

Captains Moses and Gordon Montague

Descendants of Richard Montague of
Hadley, Massachusetts, these captains – father and son – led
interesting but
different lives.

Moses was captain of a sailing ship that was captured by the
French and taken to France.  He too
disappeared there for a very long time.
In the end he lost both his vessel and its cargo.
He submitted a claim at the Court of Claims
in 1800.  He died four years later at the
age of 41.

His son Gordon had more success against the British in the War of
1812.  He was on-board the privateer Joel
Barlow
that had captured a British vessel.
He became its Prize Master and successfully brought the ship to
New
London, Connecticut with its valuable salt cargo.  Later
he embarked by ship for California at
the time of the Gold Rush.  But he didn’t
stay there long and returned to Connecticut.

Alice Montague and Her Daughter Wallis Simpson

Alice Montague, daughter of a Baltimore insurance
salesman William
Latané (Wallis) Montague,
was the mother of Wallis Simpson who married a King and afterwards
became the
Duchess of Windsor.

Alice was a well-born beauty
from a prominent old Virginia family.  But these Montagues had
fallen on hard
times and only a good pedigree, refined speech, proper etiquette and a
few
pieces of family silver survived by the time Alice married Teackle
Warfield in
1895.

However, Warfield died the following year
following the birth of their daughter Wallis, leaving Alice
impoverished.  She ran a boarding house in
Baltimore where
Wallis grew up craving a life of high society.
Fortunately, a wealthy uncle assumed the burden of looking after
her and
provided her with a proper upbringing and education in the finest finishing school
in Baltimore.  Her adventure in life had
started.

 

 


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