John Montagu, 3rd Earl of Salisbury

John Montagu, 3rd Earl of Salisbury and 5th and 2nd Baron Montagu, KG (c. 1350 – 7 January 1400) was an English nobleman, one of the few who remained loyal to Richard II after Henry IV became king.[1]

Early life

He was the son of Sir John de Montagu, 1st Baron Montagu (died in 1390), and Margaret de Monthermer.[2] His father was the younger brother of William Montagu, 2nd Earl of Salisbury. His mother was the daughter of Thomas de Monthermer, 2nd Baron de Monthermer (1301 – Battle of Sluys, 1340), and Margaret de Brewes[3] and granddaughter, and heiress, of Ralph de Monthermer, 1st Baron Monthermer, and Joan of Acre.[4] As a young man, Montagu distinguished himself in the war with France, and then went to fight against the pagans in Prussia, probably on the expedition led by Henry Bolingbroke (the future Henry IV of England). Bolingbroke was to entrust his young son and heir, later Henry V, to the care of Sir John and his wife Maud following the death of his wife Mary de Bohun. Lady Salisbury cared for the young boy at a Montagu house in Welsh Bicknor near Monmouth until her death in 1395.

He was summoned to parliament in 1391 as Baron Montagu. Montagu was a favourite of the King during the early years of the reign of Richard II. He accompanied the King during his expeditions to Ireland in 1394 and 1395 and, as a privy councillor, was one of the principal advocates of the King's marriage to Isabella of Valois. During the trips to France associated with the marriage, he met and encouraged Christine de Pisan, whose son was educated in the Montagu household. Montagu was a prominent Lollard, and was remonstrated by the king for this.

With the death of his mother around this time, John inherited the barony of Monthermer and its estates. In 1397, he became Earl of Salisbury, on the death of his uncle, and inherited Bisham Manor and other estates. He continued as one of the major aristocratic allies of King Richard II, helping to secure the fall of the Duke of Gloucester and the Earl of Warwick. He persuaded the king to spare the life of Warwick. He received a portion of the forfeited Warwick estates and, in 1399, was made a Knight of the Garter.

Early in 1399, he went to France on a successful mission to prevent the proposed marriage of Henry Bolingbroke and a daughter of the Duke of Berry. In May, he again accompanied Richard II on an expedition to Ireland. When news reached them of that Bolingbroke had returned to England, Montagu was sent to Wales to raise opposing forces. When these deserted, Montagu advised King Richard to flee to Bordeaux. Instead Richard was imprisoned, Henry took the throne and, in October, Montagu was arrested along with many of Richard's former councillors, and held in the Tower of London.


By Maud Francis, John had three sons and three daughters:

Downfall and death

Montagu had to answer charges related to the arrest and subsequent death of the Duke of Gloucester in 1397. Eventually, he was released, due to the intercession of King Henry's sister Elizabeth, Countess of Huntingdon. Not long after his release, Montagu joined with the Earl of Huntingdon and a group of other barons in the Epiphany Rising, a plot to kill King Henry IV and restore Richard II. After the plot failed, mob violence ensued, and he was caught by a mob of townspeople at Cirencester, held without trial, and executed by beheading on 7 January 1400. His eldest son, Thomas – by Maud Francis daughter of London citizen, Adam Francis – eventually recovered the Earldom, though the attainder against John Montagu was not reversed until the accession of Edward IV in 1461.


  1. G. E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors. The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910–1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume IV, page 437.
  2. George Frederick Beltz., editor David Nash Ford. Memorials of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, 1841. Royal Berkshire History
  3. Douglas Richardson Royal Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families (2013), p.205. Our Royal, Ititled, Noble, and Commoner Ancestors
  4. Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families (2005), p. 576.
  5. Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, pg 508–510.
  6. George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, Vol. XI, pg 393.
  7. John Burke. A general and heraldic dictionary of the peerages of England, Ireland, and Scotland, extinct, dormant, and in abeyance, 1831. pg 362. Google eBook
  8. Prince, John (1643–1723) The Worthies of Devon, 1810 edition, p.462, biography of Sir William Hankford; Risdon, Tristram (d.1640), Survey of Devon, 1811 edition, London, 1811, with 1810 Additions, p.64, manor of Bampton
  9. Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 373.
  10. George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, Vol. XII/2, pg 665.


  • Hunt, William (1894). "Montacute, John de" . In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 38. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 205–206.
Peerage of England
Preceded by
William Montagu
Earl of Salisbury,
Baron Montagu

1397–1400 (Forfeit)
Succeeded by
Thomas Montagu
(Restored 1421)
Preceded by
John de Montagu
with Margaret de Monthermer
Baron Montagu,
Baron Monthermer

c. 1390–1400
Succeeded by
Thomas Montagu
(Restored 1421)
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