Matthew Montagu, 4th Baron Rokeby

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Matthew Montagu, 4th Baron Rokeby (23 November 1762 – Montagu House, Portman Square, 1 September 1831), FRS, 6th Bart., known as Matthew Robinson until 1776, was a British Member of Parliament, and briefly a baronet and Peer of the Realm.

Montagu was born Matthew Robinson, the son of Morris Robinson of the Six Clerks' Office, Chancery Lane and nephew of Matthew Robinson, 2nd Baron Rokeby.

He was Elizabeth Robinson aka Mrs. Montagu's favoured nephew, under whose wish he took the name of Montagu in 1776. He changed his name and arms by Royal Licence to Montagu in advance of inheriting the estate of his paternal aunt at Sandleford Priory in Berkshire, and elsewhere, on 3 June 1776. Wraxall in his Memoir described Montagu's upbringing by his aunt: At her feet he was brought up, a school more adapted to form a man of taste and improvement than a statesman or a man of the world.[1] Aside from his aunt's valuable training he was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge. A 'faithful follower of Pitt', he represented the Cornish constituencies of Bossiney (1786–90), Tregony (1790–95) in the Parliament of Great Britain and St Germans (1806–12) in the Parliament of the United Kingdom.[2]

Matthew Montagu, William Wilberforce, and Sandleford[edit]

A view south from Newtown or Sandleford by George Arnald (1763-1841), Wood gatherers, with Highclere Castle, and Beacon and Siddon hills in the distance, 1805.

Montagu was a friend and supporter of William Wilberforce, and thus favoured the abolition of the slave trade.[3] Wilberforce, stayed at Sandleford, 27–28 July 1789:

27th. Set off for Bath and reached Sandleford. The old lady [Elizabeth Montagu] wonderfully spirited, are all very kind in their reception. 28th. Almost compelled to stay with the Montagus all day. Mrs. Montagu senior has many fine, and great, and amiable qualities. Young Montagu all gratitude and respect and affection to her and of most upright and pure intentions.[4]

Wilberforce was at Sandleford one night in July 1791:

Monday 28 July. Off betimes on Sierra Leone business-reached Sandleford (M. Montagu's) in the evening. Dr. Beattie was already arrived.[5]

Fellow of the Royal Society[edit]

Montagu was elected a fellow in 1795, when he was described as: Matthew Montagu, Esq., of Manchester Square, Member of Parliament, a Gentleman well versed in many branches of Literature and Science. His proposers were: Arden; Lucas Pepys; J Rennell; John Sinclair; G Shuckburgh Evelyn; Wm Marsden; Morton; Pat Russell; G Atwood; John Henniker Major; and C F Greville.[6]

Wife and children[edit]

Sandleford Priory (west front). Montagu inherited the lease from his renowned aunt.

He married on 9 July 1785, Elizabeth (died 7 March 1817), daughter and heir of Francis Charlton of Kent, who bore him six sons and seven daughters:[7]

  • Edward Montagu, 5th Baron Rokeby, (1787-1847);
  • Francis-William;[8]
  • William (died 1815);[9]
  • Lt.-Col. Hon. John Montagu, Coldstream Guards, (died 1843);[10]
  • Henry Robinson-Montagu, 6th Baron Rokeby, (1798-1883);
  • Hon. Spencer Dudley Montagu, (1807-), late clerk to the Secretary to Ireland, of Wargrave;
  • Henrietta Mary Montagu, married Colonel Hon. Alfred Nathaniel Curzon;
  • Emily Jane Montagu (biographer of her great-great aunt),[11] married Rev. J. Climenson;
  • Hon. Caroline Montagu, (died 1867), married (1843) Lt. the Hon. William Godolphin Osborne (1804-1888), a son of Francis Osborne, 1st Baron Godolphin;
  • Hon. Elizabeth Montagu, (died 1875), married Charles Oldfield Bowles;
  • Hon. Catherine Montagu, (died 1865), married Edward Goulburn (1787-1868), of the Royal Horse Guards; he wrote The Blueviad, a satyrical poem;[12][13]
  • Hon. Jane Montagu, (died 1857), married (1811) Rt. Hon. Henry Goulburn, MP; Goulburn, New South Wales, was named after him;[14]
  • Hon. Mary Montagu, (died 1877), married (1820) Colonel Robert Ellison, Grenadier Guards;
  • Hon. Eleanor Montagu, (died 1847), married John-Nicholas Fazakerley, esq., MP;[15]
  • Hon. Emily Montagu, (died 1832).


  1. ^ Wraxall's Memoirs, edited by Wheatley, iv. 377-9 (via: The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, edited by R. Thorne, 1986).
  2. ^ The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, edited by Lewis Namier, John Brooke, 1964.
  3. ^ R. G. Thorne in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, edited by R. G. Thorne, 1986
  4. ^ The life of William Wilberforce, by Robert Isaac and Samuel Wilberforce, 1839, page 236.
  5. ^ The life of William Wilberforce, by Robert Isaac and Samuel Wilberforce, 1839, page 306.
  6. ^ Royal Society archive,
  7. ^ The Peerage of the British Empire, Edmund Lodge, London, 1839
  8. ^ The Gentleman's Magazine, 1831
  9. ^ The Gentleman's Magazine, 1831
  10. ^ The Gentleman's Magazine
  11. ^ Elizabeth Montagu, the Queen of the Bluestockings. Her correspondence from 1720-1761, John Murray, London, by Emily J. Climenson, 1906
  12. ^ son of Munbee Goulburn, of Amity Hall and Bogue livestock Pen, Vere, Jamaica, and Prinknash Park, Gloucestershire, by his wife (married 1782) Hon. Susannah Chetwynd (died 1818), daughter of 4th Viscount Chetwynd.
  13. ^
  14. ^ son of Munbee Goulburn, of Jamaica, by his wife (married 1782) Hon. Susannah Chetwynd (died 1818), daughter of 4th Viscount Chetwynd.
  15. ^ The Gentleman's Magazine, 1831


Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Hon. Charles Stuart
Bamber Gascoyne
Member of Parliament for Bossiney
With: Hon. Charles Stuart
Succeeded by
Hon. James Archibald Stuart
Humphrey Minchin
Preceded by
Robert Kingsmill
Hon. Hugh Seymour Conway
Member of Parliament for Tregony
With: John Stephenson 1790–4
Hon. Robert Stewart 1794–6
Succeeded by
John Nicholls
Sir Lionel Copley, Bt
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James Langham
Lord Binning
Member of Parliament for St Germans
With: Sir Joseph Yorke 1806–10
Charles Philip Yorke 1810–12
Succeeded by
Hon. James Archibald Stuart
Henry Goulburn
Baronetage of England
Preceded by
Morris Robinson
Robinson baronets
(of Rokeby Park)
Succeeded by
Edward Montagu (1787–1847)
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Morris Robinson
Baron Rokeby
Succeeded by
Edward Montagu