John Montacute, 3rd Earl of Salisbury

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John Montacute
Earl of Salisbury
Baron Montacute
Montacute Arms.svg
Coat of arms of John Montacute, 3rd Earl of Salisbury: Quarterly, 1st & 4th: Argent, 3 fusils conjoined in fess gules (Montagu); 2nd & 3rd: Or, an eagle displayed vert beaked and membered gules (Monthermer)[1]
Earl of Salisbury
Reign 3 June 1397 – 5 January 1400
Baron Montacute
Reign c. 1390 – 5 January 1400
Born c. 1350
Died 5 January 1400
Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England
Spouse Maud Francis
Issue Thomas Montacute, 4th Earl of Salisbury
Sir Richard Montacute
Robert Montecute
Anne Montacute
Margaret Montacute
Elizabeth Montacute
Father John de Montacute, 1st Baron Montacute
Mother Margaret de Monthermer

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

Early life[edit]

He was the son of Sir John de Montacute, 1st Baron Montacute (died in 1390), and Margaret de Monthermer.[3] 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), and granddaughter and heiress of Ralph de Monthermer, 1st Baron Monthermer, and Joan of Acre.[4] As a young man Montagu or Montacute distinguished himself in the 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, to the care of Sir John and his wife 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. 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 Manor and other estates. He continued as one of the major aristocratic allies of King Richard II, helping to secure the fall of the Duke of Gloucester and the Earl of Warwick. He persuaded the king to spare the life of 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.


By Maud Francis, John had three sons and three daughters:

Downfall and death[edit]

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 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 – 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 in 1461.


  1. ^ Debrett's Peerage, 1968, Montagu of Beaulieu (original form of), p.788
  2. ^ G. E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors. The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910–1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume IV, page 437.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h George Frederick Beltz., editor David Nash Ford. Memorials of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, 1841. Royal Berkshire History
  4. ^ Douglas Richardson, Kimball G. Everingham, Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families (2005), p. 576.
  5. ^ a b Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, pg 508–510.
  6. ^ George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, Vol. XI, pg 393.
  7. ^ John Burke. A general and heraldic dictionary of the peerages of England, Ireland, and Scotland, extinct, dormant, and in abeyance, 1831. pg 362. Google eBook
  8. ^ Prince, John, (1643–1723) The Worthies of Devon, 1810 edition, p.462, biography of Sir William Hankford]]; Risdon, Tristram (d.1640), Survey of Devon, 1811 edition, London, 1811, with 1810 Additions, p.64, manor of Bampton
  9. ^ Douglas Richardson, Plantagenet Ancestry, p. 373.
  10. ^ George Edward Cokayne, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom, Vol. XII/2, pg 665.


Peerage of England
Preceded by
William Montacute
Earl of Salisbury
1397–1400 (Forfeit)
Succeeded by
Thomas Montacute
(Restored 1421)
Preceded by
John de Montacute
Baron Montacute
c. 1390–1400
Succeeded by
Thomas Montacute