Henry Pole, 1st Baron Montagu

Henry Pole, 1st Baron Montagu (also written Montague or Montacute; circa 1492 January 1539), the only holder of the title Baron Montagu under its 1514 creation, was one of the relatives whom King Henry VIII of England had executed for treason.

Henry Pole, 1st Baron Montagu
Bornc. 1492
Died9 January 1539
Spouse(s)Jane Neville
Parent(s)Sir Richard Pole
Margaret Pole, 8th Countess of Salisbury


Henry Pole was the oldest son of Sir Richard Pole and Margaret Plantagenet, daughter of George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence and his wife Isabel Neville. As his maternal grandfather, the 1st Duke of Clarence was a brother of the York kings Edward IV and Richard III. Henry's maternal grandmother, Isabel, was daughter to one of the most powerful men of his time, Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick. Warwick was cousin to the York brothers by his paternal aunt, Cecily Neville, Duchess of York. The 16th Earl and Countess of Warwick were, in their own right, both descendants of King Edward III.


He was invested as a knight by King Henry VIII in 1513 and summoned to Parliament as Baron Montagu in the Peerage of England on 12 October 1514. He was appointed steward of manors belonging to the Tewkesbury Abbey in 1526. From 1530 on he became justice of the peace for Somerset, Dorset, Hampshire and Sussex.[1][2] In May 1536, Henry was one of the peers in the trial of Anne Boleyn.

Imprisonment and execution

On 4 November 1538, Montagu along with his wife's brother, Edward Neville,[3] and other relatives, were arrested on a charge of treason by Henry VIII, although Thomas Cromwell had previously written that they had "little offended save that he is of their kin". Montagu's brother Reginald, was in exile at the time due to his opposition of Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon. They were committed to the Tower of London and Lord Montagu was attainted and his honours forfeited on 2 December 1538. Neville was beheaded on 8 December 1538, and another cousin, Henry Courtenay, 1st Marquess of Exeter, was executed on 9 December 1538.[4] On 9 January 1539, all of the remaining arrestees were beheaded, with the exception of Henry's brother Geoffrey Pole.

Ten days after Montagu's arrest, his mother was arrested and questioned by William Fitzwilliam, and Thomas Goodrich, Bishop of Ely. They reported to Thomas Cromwell that although they had "travailed with her" for many hours she would "nothing utter," and they were forced to conclude that either her sons had not included her in their plans for "treason" or she was "the most arrant traitress that ever lived". On 27 May 1541, the 67-year-old Lady Salisbury was beheaded in the Tower of London. Lord Montagu's son Henry was committed to the Tower at the same time as his father. It was expected that he would follow his grandmother to the block, but the king did not want to risk unfavorable public opinion and so he was deprived of a tutor and imprisoned in the Tower until his death, possibly from starvation, in 1542 or later.[5]

Marriage and issue

In May 1510 or before May 1520, Pole married Jane Neville, daughter of George Nevill, 5th Baron Bergavenny, and Joan Arundel. They had the following children:


Cultural depiction

Actor Jake Maskall appeared in Showtime's historical fiction television series The Tudors as Sir Henry Pole for a single episode.[7][8]


  1. Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), p. 136
  2. Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, 2 volumes (Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 1999), volume 1, pp. 16, 18.
  3. According to Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, 2 volumes (Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 1999), volume 1, p. 18, his wife had already died, before 26 October 1538.
  4. J. P. D. Cooper, ‘Courtenay, Henry, Marquess of Exeter (1498/9–1538)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, January 2008
  5. The Princes in the Tower by Alison Weir (New York, 1992) pgs. 250-251
  6. Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 106th edition, 2 volumes (Crans, Switzerland: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 1999), volume 1, p.–16.
  7. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0758790/fullcredits/%7Cdate=June 2018}}
  8. Utah, Space Camp (27 May 2010). "AN AMERICAN DYNASTY: Another Great Grandfather Who Lost His Head! Sir Henry Pole (Lord Montagu), Our 14th Great Grandfather, (Mattson Line)". AN AMERICAN DYNASTY. Retrieved 23 May 2019.

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