William de Montacute, 2nd Earl of Salisbury

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William de Montacute or William Montagu
The Earl of Salisbury
Baron Montacute
King of Mann
Salisbury 1430.jpg
"Conte de Salisbery, Will(ia)m", William de Montacute, 2nd Earl of Salisbury, KG, illustration from the Bruges Garter Book, c.1430. The arms of Monthermer (Or, an eagle displayed vert beaked and membered gules) shown quartered by Montagu on his tabard are apparently incorrect, as it was his younger brother John de Montacute, 1st Baron Montacute (c. 1330 - c. 1390) who married the Monthermer heiress.
Reign 30 January 1344 – 3 June 1397
Born (1328-06-25)25 June 1328
Donyatt, Somerset, England
Died 3 June 1397(1397-06-03) (aged 68)
Spouse Joan of Kent
Elizabeth de Mohun
Father William Montacute, 1st Earl of Salisbury
Mother Catherine Grandison
Arms of Montagu: Argent, three fusils conjoined in fess gules
Arms of Sir William de Montacute, 2nd Earl of Salisbury, KG, quartering Mann

Sir William II Montague, alias de Montacute, 2nd Earl of Salisbury, 4th Baron Montacute, King of Mann, KG (25 June 1328 – 3 June 1397) was an English nobleman and commander in the English army during King Edward III's French campaigns in the Hundred Years War. He was one of the Founder Knights of the Order of the Garter.


Montacute was born in Donyatt in Somerset, the eldest son of William Montacute, 1st Earl of Salisbury and his wife Catherine Grandison. One of his sisters, Philippa (d. 5 January 1382) was the wife of Roger Mortimer, 2nd Earl of March. Montacute succeeded his father as earl in 1344. In 1348, Montacute, at this time married to the King's first cousin, was one of the knights admitted at the foundation of the Order of the Garter.[1]

First marriage[edit]

In the early 1340s, Montacute was married to Joan of Kent, a first cousin of the King, and a princess of England. Both Montecute and his bride were of exactly the same age, and both were in their early teens. Montecute entered into the marriage in good faith, without knowing that Joan had already, at the age of twelve, secretly married Thomas Holland, just before the latter left England on crusade. Upon returning to England in 1348, Holland declared that Joan was his wife and demanded that she be restored to him. An inquiry was instituted to examine the question, and it found that Joan had indeed been married to Holland, and that that marriage was valid in law; consequently, Montecute's own marriage to Joan was invalid. During the proceedings of the inquiry, Montecute was dismayed and chagrined to find that Joan herself was in favor of her marriage to Holland being upheld, and her marriage to Montecute voided. Following the findings of the inquiry, and after several years of living together with her, Montecute's marriage with Joan, Fair Maid of Kent, was annulled by the Pope in 1349.

Military career[edit]

Montecute, by now twenty-one years of age, was showing signs of becoming a successful military commander. Despite the fiasco of his marriage with a member of the royal family, Montecute rose rapidly in the ranks of the army upon the strength of his own competence. He served as a commander of the English forces in France in many of the following years, including as commander of the rear guard of Edward the Black Prince's army in 1355, and again at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356, and further serving in 1357, 1359 and 1360. Later in 1360, he was one of the commissioners who negotiated the Treaty of Brétigny.

During the quieter years that followed the treaty, Montacute served on the king's council, working closely with King Edwaed III. He returned to the field in 1369, serving in John of Gaunt's expedition to northern France, and then in other raids and expeditions, and on some commissions that attempted to negotiate truces with the French. Montacute helped Richard II put down the rebellion of Wat Tyler. In 1385, he accompanied Richard II on his Scottish expedition.

In 1392/3, Montacute sold the Lordship of the Isle of Man to William le Scrope of Bolton.

Second marriage[edit]

Montacute married Elizabeth, daughter of John de Mohun, 9th Lord de Mohun of Dunster. They had a son and two daughters and lived at Bisham Manor in Berkshire. Their only son, Sir William Montacute, married Lady Elizabeth FitzAlan, daughter of Richard Fitzalan, 11th Earl of Arundel, but was killed in a tournament in 1383, leaving no children. Therefore, when Montacute died in 1397, the earldom was inherited by his nephew, John Montacute, 3rd Earl of Salisbury.


  1. ^ Beltz 1841, p. cxlix.


External links[edit]

Peerage of England
Preceded by
William I de Montacute
Earl of Salisbury
Succeeded by
John Montacute
Preceded by
William I de Montacute
Baron Montacute
Head of State of the Isle of Man
Preceded by
William I de Montacute
King of Mann
Succeeded by
William le Scrope