Hugh Montgomery, 1st Earl of Mount Alexander

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Hugh Montgomery, 1st Earl of Mount Alexander (c. 1623 – 15 September 1663), known as The Viscount Montgomery from 1642 to 1661, was an Irish peer. He was appointed to command his father's regiment, 1642. He was commander-in-chief of the Royalist army in Ulster in 1649 and seized successively Belfast, Antrim, and Carrickfergus. He surrendered to Oliver Cromwell, and was banished to Holland. At the Restoration in 1660 he was appointed life master of ordnance in Ireland and one year later created Earl of Mount Alexander.[1]


Hugh Montgomery was born about 1623, was eldest son of Hugh Montgomery, 2nd Viscount Montgomery, and his wife, Jean Alexander, eldest daughter of Sir William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling. In his childhood his left side was severely injured by a fall, and an extensive abscess was formed, which on healing left a large cavity through which the action of the heart could be plainly discerned[2] He wore a metal plate over the opening.[3]

Notwithstanding his deformity, he had a fairly good constitution, and before reaching his twentieth year travelled through France and Italy. On his return he was brought to Charles I at Oxford, who was curious to see the strange phenomenon presented in Montgomery's case. He remained some days with the king, and went home, after receiving tokens of the royal favour, and giving assurances of his own loyalty.[4]

By this time the Irish rebellion of 1641 had broken out, and Montgomery's father had raised troops in maintenance of the royal authority, but he died suddenly on 15 November 1642. Montgomery succeeded as 3rd Viscount, and was appointed to the command of his father's regiment. Under Scottish Major-General Robert Monro, who married his mother, Montgomery fought at the Battle of Benburb in June 1646. The king's troops were defeated, and the Viscount, when heading a charge of cavalry, was made prisoner. He was sent to Clochwater Castle, where he remained until October 1647, when he was exchanged for Richard, 2nd Earl of Westmeath.[5]

Montgomery took a leading part in proclaiming Charles II at Newtownards in February 1649.[6][7] At the same time the Solemn League and Covenant was renewed, and General George Monck, refusing either to take the covenant or declare for the king, was forced out of Ulster.Montgomery was thereupon commissioned by the king as commander-in-chief of the royal army in Ulster (14 May 1649), with instructions to co-operate with James, Marquis of Ormonde;[8] and in the warlike operations which followed, he successively seized Belfast, Antrim, and Carrickfergus, and, passing through Coleraine, laid siege to Londonderry. After a four-month investiture, however, he was compelled to retire, but joined Ormonde, and aided him in his final efforts against the English Commonwealth.[5]

Forced at last to surrender to Cromwell, he was, after appearing before Parliament in London, banished to Holland, under strict prohibition from corresponding with Charles II. In 1652 he solicited and received permission to return to London, and after much delay was allowed subsistence for himself and his family out of his confiscated estates.[9] He was afterwards permitted to return to Ireland, and lived there under strict surveillance, and for a time was imprisoned in Kilkenny Castle.[5]

On the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 Montgomery visited King Charles II at Whitehall. He was appointed for life master of ordnance in Ireland (12 September 1660), was placed on the commission for the settlement of Irish affairs (19 February 1661), and was created Earl of Mount Alexander on 20 June 1661. He died suddenly at Dromore on 15 September 1663, while engaged in investigating Major Blood's plot. He was buried in the chancel of the church at Newtownards.[5]


In personal appearance Montgomery is described as of medium height, ruddy complexioned, with curly reddish hair and a quick grey eye. He was twice married:[5]

  • First, in December 1648, to Mary, eldest daughter of Charles, 2nd Viscount Moore, by whom he had two sons Hugh and Henry, who were successively second and third earls of Mount Alexander and a daughter, Jean, who died unmarried in 1673;
  • Secondly, in 1660, to Catherine Jones, daughter of Arthur Jones, 2nd Viscount Ranelagh and Katherine Jones, Viscountess Ranelagh, and widow of Sir William Parsons of Bellamont.[10] They had one child, a daughter named Catherine who later married Sir Francis Hamilton, 3rd Baronet of Castle Hamilton. She died in 1692, aged 29 years.


  1. ^ Lee 1903, p. 894.
  2. ^ Paton 1894, p. 315 cites HARVEY, Works, Sydenham Society, pp. 382-4.
  3. ^ Paton 1894, p. 315.
  4. ^ Paton 1894, pp. 315,316.
  5. ^ a b c d e Paton 1894, p. 316.
  6. ^ Reid & Killen 1853, p. 102 footnote 20: The ceremonial at the proclamation of Charles II. at Newtownards may be seen in the Montg. MSS., p. 206.
  7. ^ "King Charles the 2d being proclaimed our King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland" (Montgomery & Hill 1869, pp. 68, 178).
  8. ^ Paton 1894, p. 316 cites State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1649-50, p. 140.
  9. ^ Paton 1894, p. 316 cites State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1651-2, pp. 99- 364, passim.
  10. ^ Paton 1894.


  • Reid, James Seaton; Killen, William Dool (1853). A History of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland: Comprising the Civil History of the Province of Ulster from the Accession of James the First ... 2 (2 ed.). Whittaker. p. 102.
  • Montgomery, William; Hill, George (compiler) (1869). The Montgomery manuscripts: (1603-1706) Comp. from family papers by William Montgomery, of Rosemount; and edited with notes. Belfast: Archer. pp. 68, 176.