Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester

Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester, KG, KB, FRS (1602  5 May 1671) was an important commander of Parliamentary forces in the First English Civil War, and for a time Oliver Cromwell's superior.[1]

The Earl of Manchester
Portrait of the Earl of Manchester by Sir Peter Lely, circa 1661-1665
Died5 May 1671 (aged 6869)
Years of service1642–1645
Battles/warsFirst English Civil War

Early life

He was the eldest son of Henry Montagu, 1st Earl of Manchester by his first wife, Catherine Spencer, granddaughter of Sir William Spencer of Yarnton, Oxfordshire, England, was born in 1602, and was educated at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (1618–22).[2]


Montagu accompanied Prince Charles during his 1623 trip to Habsburg Spain in pursuit of the Spanish Match. He was Member of Parliament for Huntingdonshire in the "Happy Parliament" of 1623–24, the "Useless Parliament" of 1625, and the Parliament of 1625–26. At the time of Charles I's coronation in February 1626, he was made a Knight of the Bath to reward him for his service to Charles in Spain. In May, with help from George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, Montagu was elevated to the House of Lords, receiving his father's barony of Kimbolton and being styled Viscount Mandeville as a courtesy title, since his father had been created Earl of Manchester in February when Parliament convened.

His first wife, who was related to the Duke of Buckingham, having died in 1625 after two years of marriage, Mandeville married in 1626 Anne Rich, daughter of Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick.[3]

The influence of his father-in-law, who was afterwards admiral on the side of the parliament, drew Mandeville to the popular side in the questions in dispute with the crown, and at the beginning of the Long Parliament he was one of the recognised leaders of the popular party in the Upper House, his name being joined with those of the Five Members of the House of Commons impeached by the king in 1642. At the outbreak of the Civil War, having succeeded his father in the earldom in November 1642, Manchester commanded a regiment in the army of Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex, and in August 1643 he was appointed Major-General of the parliamentary forces in the eastern counties (the Eastern Association), with Cromwell as his second in command.[3] He soon appointed his provost-marshal, William Dowsing, as a paid iconoclast, touring the churches of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire destroying all "Popish" and "superstitious" imagery, as well as features such as altar-rails.

Having become a member of the Committee of Both Kingdoms in 1644, he was in supreme command at the Battle of Marston Moor but in the subsequent operations his lack of energy brought him into disagreement with Cromwell, and in November 1644 he strongly expressed his disapproval of continuing the war. Cromwell brought the shortcomings of Manchester before Parliament in the autumn of 1644 and in April the following year, anticipating the Self-denying Ordinance, Manchester resigned his command. He took a leading part in the frequent negotiations for an arrangement with Charles, was custodian with William Lenthall of the Great Seal from 1646 to 1648, and frequently presided in the House of Lords. He opposed the trial of the king, and retired from public life during the Commonwealth but after the Restoration, which he actively assisted, he was loaded with honours by Charles II. In 1667 he was made a General, and he died on 5 May 1671. Manchester was made a Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1661, and became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1667.[3]

Men of such divergent sympathies as Baxter, Burnet and Clarendon agreed in describing Manchester as a lovable and virtuous man, who loved peace and moderation both in politics and religion.[3]

Marriages and children

Manchester was five times married, leaving children by two of his wives.[3]

He married firstly, 6 February 1623, Susannah Hill; they had no children.

He married secondly, 1 July 1625, Lady Anne Rich, daughter of Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick, with three children:

His second wife died on 16 February 1642, and on 20 December that year he married her first cousin Essex, widow of Sir Thomas Bevil and daughter of Sir Thomas Cheek by his wife Essex, daughter of Robert Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick; they had a daughter

His fourth wife was his second wife's stepmother Eleanor, daughter of Sir Richard Wortley and widow successively of Sir Henry Lee, of the 6th Earl of Sussex and of the 2nd Earl of Warwick. She died in 1666 and on 31 July 1667 Manchester was married a final time to Margaret, widow of James Hay, 2nd Earl of Carlisle and daughter of Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford. She survived him and died in 1676.[4]

Cultural references

Manchester was portrayed by actor Robert Morley in the 1970 film Cromwell. He is inaccurately depicted sitting in the House of Commons in Cromwell's presence although he had been a member of the Lords since 1626.

Further reading

  • Lord Clarendon: History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England. 7 vols. Oxford, 1839
  • Lord Clarendon: Life of Edward, Earl of Clarendon, Lord High Chancellor of England and Chancellor of the University of Oxford. Oxford, 1827
  • SR Gardiner: History of the Great Civil War, 1642-1649. 4 vols. London, 1886–1891
  • The Quarrel between the Earl of Manchester and Oliver Cromwell: documents collected by J. Bruce, with a historical preface completed by D. M. Masson. London, 1875 (Publications of the Camden Society. New Series, 12)
  • Sir Philip Warwick: Memoires of the Reigne of King Charles I, with a Continuation to the Happy Restauration of King Charles II. London, 1701.


  1. "Montagu, Edward (1602-1671)" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  2. "Montagu, Edward (MNTG617E)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3.  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: McNeill, Ronald John (1911). "Manchester, Earls and Dukes of". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 543–544.
  4. Manchester, Earl of (E, 1625/6). Accessed 28 January 2019.
Political offices
English Interregnum Lord Chamberlain
Succeeded by
The Earl of St Albans
Honorary titles
English Interregnum Lord Lieutenant of Huntingdonshire
jointly with The Earl of Sandwich

Succeeded by
The Earl of Sandwich
Custos Rotulorum of Northamptonshire
Succeeded by
The Earl of Northampton
Peerage of England
Preceded by
Henry Montagu
Earl of Manchester
Succeeded by
Robert Montagu
Baron Montagu of Kimbolton
(writ in acceleration)

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