John Montacute, 3rd Earl of Salisbury

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John Montacute

Also Known As: "3rd Earl of Salisbury"
Birthdate: (43)
Birthplace: Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Death: January 7, 1400 (43)
Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England (Beheaded)
Place of Burial: Bisham, Berkshire, England
Immediate Family:

Son of John de Montacute, 1st Baron Montacute and Margaret de Montecute
Husband of Maud Montacute
Father of Anne Montagu, Duchess of Exeter; Robert de Montagu; Thomas Montacute, 4th Earl of Salisbury; Richard Montagu; Elizabeth Montacute and 2 others
Brother of Sir Simon de Montagu; Eleanor Montagu; Sybil de Montagu, Nun; Katherine de Montagu; Thomas de Montagu, Dean Of Salisbury and 4 others

Occupation: 1st Duke of Exeter, 3rd Earl of Salisbury; 5th and 2nd Baron Montacute
Managed by: Private User
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About John Montacute, 3rd Earl of Salisbury

Primary Sources

Inquisitions Post Mortem for John de Monte Acuto, Earl of Salisbury, Writ 16 Feb. 1400.
He died on 7 Jan [1400]. Thomas his son and heir was aged 12 on 25 March.


John Montacute, 3rd Earl of Salisbury and 5th and 2nd Baron Montacute, Order of the Garter|KG (1350 – 5 January 1400) was an England|English nobleman, one of the few who remained loyal to Richard II of England|Richard II after Henry IV of England|Henry IV became king.

Early life

He was the son of Sir John de Montacute, 1st Baron Montacute (died in 1390) and Margaret de Monthermer. His father was the younger brother of William Montacute, 2nd Earl of Salisbury. His mother was the daughter of Thomas de Monthermer, 2nd Baron de Monthermer (1301 - Battle of Sluys, 1340) and Margaret Teyes (died in 1349), granddaughter and heiress of Ralph de Monthermer, 1st Baron Monthermer and Joan of Acre (Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families (2005), p. 576).

As a young man Montagu or Montacute distinguished himself in the Hundred Years' War|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 of England|Henry V, to the care of Sir John and his wife Maud Montacute, Countess of Salisbury|Maud following the death of his wife Mary de Bohun. Lady Margaret cared for the young boy at a Montacute house in Welsh Bicknor near Monmouth until her death in 1395.

He was summoned to parliament in 1391 as Baron Montagu. Montagu was a favorite of the King during the early years of the reign of Richard II of England|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 Montacute household. Montacute 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 Abbey|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 Thomas of Woodstock|Duke of Gloucester and the Thomas de Beauchamp, 12th Earl of Warwick|Earl of Warwick. He persuaded the king to spare the life of Thomas de Beauchamp, 12th Earl of Warwick|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 on a successful mission to France 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, Montacute was sent to Wales to raise opposing forces. When these deserted, Montacute advised King Richard to flee to Bordeaux. Instead Richard was imprisoned, Henry took the throne and, in the October, Montacute was arrested along with many of Richard's former councillors, and held in the Tower of London.

Downfall and death

Montacute 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, Montacute joined with the John Holland, 1st Duke of Exeter|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 Montacute, 4th Earl of Salisbury|Thomas – by Maud Francis daughter of London citizen, Adam Francis – eventually recovered the earldom, though the attainder against John Montacute was not reversed until the accession of Edward IV of England|Edward IV in 1461.


  • William Hunt, John de Montacute or Montagu, 3rd Earl of Salisbury, Dictionary of National Biography volume=38 pages=205–206, 1894

External links

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John Montacute, 3rd Earl of Salisbury's Timeline

Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Age 27
Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Age 28
Of, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
March 25, 1388
Age 31
Age 31
Age 32
Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
Age 36
January 7, 1400
Age 43
Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England
January 7, 1400
Age 43
Bisham, Berkshire, England