John Montagu, 2nd Duke of Montagu, KG, KB, PC

John Montagu was born in 1690, styled Viscount Monthermer until 1705 ,and Marquess of Monthermer between 1705 and 1709. He was a son of Ralph Montagu, 1st Duke of Montagu and his first wife Elizabeth Wriothesley. His maternal grandparents were Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton and Lady Elizabeth Leigh. On 17 March 1705, John was married to Lady Mary Churchill, daughter of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. In 1739, the country's first home for abandoned children, the Foundling Hospital was created in London. Montagu was a supporter of this effort and was one of the charity's founding governors. He also financed the education of two notable black British figures of the age, Ignatius Sancho and Francis Williams, sending Francis to Cambridge University.

He was a notorious practical joker, his mother-in-law writing of him that "All his talents lie in things only natural in boys of fifteen years old, and he is about two and fifty; to get people into his garden and wet them with squirts, and to invite people to his country houses and put things in beds to make them itch, and twenty such pretty fancies as these." He is said to have once dunked the political philosopher Montesquieu in a tub of cold water as a joke. The duke's country place, Boughton House, Northamptonshire, was laid out by him as a miniature Versailles, and now belonging to the Buccleuch family. After his death, his town residence, Montagu House, Bloomsbury, on the present site of the British Museum, received and for many years held the national collections, which under the name of the British Museum were first opened to the public in 1759.

1715 Colonel of 1st Troop of Horse Guards (until 1721)
1717 Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians
1719 Knight of the Garter
1722 Governor of Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent in the West Indies
1725 Fellow of the Royal Society
1737 Colonel of 1st Troop of Horse Guards (reappointed for 2 months)
1740 Colonel of the 2nd Dragoon Guards
1740 Master-General of the Ordnance
1745 Raised Montagu's Carabineers
1749 Died on 5th July.

Regimental details | Colonels


Armed Forces | Art and Culture | Articles | Biographies | Colonies | Discussion | Glossary | Home | Library | Links | Map Room | Sources and Media | Science and Technology | Search | Student Zone | Timelines | TV & Film | Wargames | Library | Search | TV & Film | Wargames |

by Stephen Luscombe