David Montagu, 4th Baron Swaythling

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The Lord Swaythling
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
In office
1990 – 1 July 1998
as a hereditary peer
Preceded byThe 3rd Baron Swaythling
Succeeded byThe 5th Baron Swaythling
Personal details
Born6 August 1928[1]
Died1 July 1998(1998-07-01) (aged 69)[1]
Spouse(s)Christiane Françoise Dreyfus
ChildrenFiona Yvonne Montagu, Charles Edgar Samuel Montagu, Nicole Mary Montagu.
Parent(s)Stuart Montagu, 3rd Baron Swaythling OBE, and Mary Violet Levy
EducationEton College, Trinity College, Cambridge
Known forBanker and businessman

David Charles Samuel Montagu, 4th Baron Swaythling (6 August 1928 – 1 July 1998), was a British peer who held prominent positions in a number of notable British companies. He succeeded to the title of 4th Baron Swaythling in 1990 on the death of his father, Stuart Albert Samuel Montagu, 3rd Baron Swaythling OBE.

His photographic portrait by Godfrey Argent was commissioned for the National Photographic Record in 1969,[2] and is held at the National Portrait Gallery.[3] He appears in two other photographs (taken in 1928 and in 1948) in the archives of the National Portrait Gallery.[4]

Background and early life[edit]

Montagu was the son of Stuart Montagu, 3rd Baron Swaythling, and Mary Violet Levy.[1] His parents divorced in 1942 when he was 13, and he lived with his mother and her second husband.[5] He was educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating with a degree in English literature.

Business career[edit]

Montagu held prominent positions in several notable British companies. He became chairman of his family's banking firm, Samuel Montagu & Co., in 1970 aged 41, having become a director of the firm in 1954 aged 26.[5] In 1973, the firm was bought out by the Midland Bank, and Montagu declined the offer of the post of non-executive chairman.[5] He was chairman and chief executive of Orion Bank from 1974 to 1979,[6] director of J. Rothschild Holdings from 1983 to 1989,[6] and chairman of Rothmans International plc from 1988 until his death.[6] In 1990 he became a member of the Board of Banking Supervision of the Bank of England, a position which he held until 1996.[6] He was also a founding director of London Weekend Television for 21 years and a director of The Daily Telegraph between 1985 and 1996.[6]

Political career[edit]

As a peer, he took his seat in the House of Lords, but rarely attended, making his maiden speech on 5 June 1990, when he spoke strongly in support of the War Crimes Bill which would have permitted British courts to prosecute alleged Nazi war criminals living in Britain. His speech included the words: “The Jewish faith is centered on the idea of justice, not revenge. Those who believe that an eye-for-an-eye means revenge have no knowledge or understanding of the basic tenets of Judaism. The phrase means only that justice demands equal treatment." He suggested that trials of alleged war criminals would help to keep alive the awareness of the horrors of the past.[7] The Act was rejected by the House of Lords, but the Parliament Acts were invoked and so it became law in 1991 as the War Crimes Act.

Other interests[edit]

Montagu was involved with a number of charities, many within the Jewish community.[6] He was a keen racehorse owner (his most famous horse was Zongalero, which came second in the 1979 Grand National), and a founder member of the British Horse Racing Board. He was a bridge player, an art collector and a supporter of the Royal National Theatre.[6]


Montagu married Christiane Françoise Dreyfus on 14 December 1951 and they had three children:[8]

Montagu died in London on 1 July 1998 from leukemia.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Hall, Margaret and David. "Family History of Margaret Macculloch and David Hall c1150-2006". Retrieved 24 October 2007.
  2. ^ "Godfrey Argent". The Independent. London. 15 June 2006. Archived from the original on 27 May 2010.
  3. ^ "National Photographic Record (NPR): List of subjects commissioned – 1969". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 24 October 2007.
  4. ^ "David Charles Samuel Montagu, 4th Baron Swaythling - National Portrait Gallery".
  5. ^ a b c "Obituary: Lord Swaythling". The Daily Telegraph. 4 July 1998. Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2007.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Courtney, Cathy (13 July 1998). "Obituary: Lord Swaythling". The Independent (London). Retrieved 24 October 2007.[dead link]
  7. ^ "House of Lords Defeats British War Crimes Bill". 6 June 1990.
  8. ^ The Peerage, entry for 4th Lord Swaythling
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Baron Swaythling
Member of the House of Lords
Succeeded by