Family Tree Tuesday – John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich
John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich was a British statesman ho succeeded his grandfather, Edward Montagu, 3rd Earl of Sandwich, as the Earl of Sandwich in 1729, at the age of ten. He was Postmaster General, First Lord of the Admiralty and Secretary of State for the Northern Department. He is best known for the claim that he was the inventor of the sandwich.
John Montagu was born on November 13, 1718 to Edward Montagu, Viscount Hinchingbrooke and Elizabeth Popham. Edward Montagu died when John was four years old, leaving him as his heir. John Montagu married Dorothy Fane who was the daughter of Charles Fane, 1st Viscount Fane and they had a son John, Viscount Hinchingbrooke. Their son later became the 5th Earl of Sandwich. While Dorothy’s health was deteriorating, he began an affair with opera singer Martha Ray. He had many children with Ray including Basil Montagu who was a writer, jurist and philanthropist. Ray was murdered in April 1779 in the foyer of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden by a jealous suitor. The events surrounding Ray’s murder were depicted in a popular novel Love and Madness by Herbert Croft.
The sandwich was named after the 4th Earl of Sandwich, but the circumstances of its invention and original use are still subject to debate. One rumor was noted in a travel book called Tour to London by Pierre Jean Grosley, the 4th Earl of Sandwich was a very conversant gambler and did not take the time to have a meal during his long hours playing at the card table, so he would ask his servants to bring him slices of meat between two slices of bread. It was a habit well known among his gambling friends. Others began to order “the same as Sandwich!” which was how the ‘sandwich’ was born.
Check out John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich’s family tree and see how you may be related!