Ralph Montagu 1638-1709

From Book Owners Online

Ralph MONTAGU or MONTAGUE, 1st Duke of Montagu 1638-1709

Biographical Note

Born in London, 2nd son of Edward Montagu, 2nd Baron Montagu of Boughton (1616-1684). Joint keeper of Hartleton Lodge in Richmond Park in 1661; gentleman of the horse for Anne, Duchess of York in 1662. Appointed ambassador-extraordinary in 1669. In 1671 he became master of the great wardrobe, replacing his cousin the Earl of Sandwich. His diplomatic career came to a halt c.1678 Following a row with Barbara Palmer, Duchess of Cleveland (d.1709). He served as MP for Northampton and Huntingdon in 1679 and became involved in the exclusion of the Duke of York. Following James' accession in 1685 he lost his post as master of the great wardrobe but eventually regained favour. After the 1688 revolution, he voted in support of the Bill of Rights and was created Viscount Monthermer and Earl of Montagu the following year. He became Duke of Montagu as a result of his son John Montagu's marriage to Lady Mary, daughter of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough. By this point, Montagu's political influence had waned and his primary focus became the re-modelling of his family houses. He married Elizabeth (d.1690), 6th daughter of Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton; after her death in 1690, he married Elizabeth, (1654-1734), daughter of Henry Cavendish, 2nd Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Characteristic Markings

Bookplate of Ralph Montagu, 1st Duke of Montagu (BM Franks Collection *11)

Used an engraved armorial bookplate dated 1705; books with his armorial stamp survive.