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William Montacute 2nd Earl of Salisbury, Lord of the Isles of Man and Wight 1328-1397

Also known as Montagu

Born: 20 June 1328 Donyatt, Somerset, England


Died: 3 June 1397

Buried: Bisham, Berkshire

Parents: William Montacute (born 1301 Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, died 30 January 1344, of wounds received in the tournament at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England), married (1327 Welsh Bicknor, Herefordshire, England) Katharine/Catherine/Alys Grandison (born about1304, Ashford, Herefordshire, England, died 23 April 1349, Bisham, Berkshire, England) daughter of William de Grandison 1st Lord Grandison (born 1255, near Lake Neufchatel, Switzerland, died 27 June 1335) married Sybl de Tregoz (born 1270 died 21 October 1334)


Married 1:

Spouse 1: contracted to marry Joan of Kent (born 29 September 1328, died August 1385) annuled by Papal bull dated at Avignon, 13 November 1349

Married 2: after 1349

Spouse 2: Elizabeth Mohun (born 1343, died 14 January 1415) daughter of John, Lord Mohun of Dunster (born about 1320, died 1375) married Joan de Burghersh (died 1404)


William Montacute (born about 1361 Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, died 6 August 1382, killed at a tilting match at Windsor castle, by his father) married Elizabeth Fitzalan (born 1371, died 8 July 1425) daughter of Richard Fitzalan Earl Of Arundel (born about 1346, died 21 September 1397 Cheapside, buried Church Of The Augustine Friars, Bread Street) married Elizabeth De Bohun (died 3 February 1385, buried Lewes) Elizabeth Fitzalan married 2: (July 1384, Arundel castle) Thomas lord Mowbray, Earl Marshal of England Thomas Mowbray Duke of Norfolk (born 22 Mar 1367, died 22 September 1399 Venice, of the plague), married 3: (bef 19 August 1401) Robert Goushill (died 21 July 1403, From wounds at Battle of Shrewsbury), married 4: (before 3 July 1414) Gerard Usflete (died 1420)

Heraldic Coat of Arms: argent three lozenges conjoined in fess gules, quarterly with, gules, three armed legs flexed, and conjoined argent garnished or. Described by George Beltz as argent three lozenges conjoined in fess gules.

Crest: Out of a ducal coronet, Gules, a griphons head between two wings Argent.

Knight of the Garter 1348, Founder Member, Stall 7

Joan of Kent spent her childhood under the care of William Montague (1st earl of Salisbury) and Catherine/Katharine Montague, along with two of her three future husbands, Edward, Prince of Wales (the Black Prince), and William Montague 2nd earl of Salisbury.

William was in France in 1346 and received knighthood, if not the degree of banneret, upon landing at La Hogue and at the Siege of Caen and at Crécy. In the two following years, he was again on service in France and, about this period, he contracted a marriage with the Lady Joan Plantagenet, "the Fair Maid of Kent". However, Sir Thomas Holland petitioned Pope Clement VI, alleging that she had previously been his wife, in virtue of a marriage lawfully solemnised, and that, during his absence in distant parts, the Earl had married and then unjustly detained her from him. The case was referred, by the Holy See, to the investigation of Cardinal Ademar, who, having examined witnesses on both sides, reported that the marriage between Holland and Joan had been legally celebrated. The Pope thereupon, by his bull dated at Avignon, 13 November 1349, decreed the contract with Montacute to be null and void, and ordered restitution of the lady to Holland, her lawful husband.

In 1349 William made proof of his age and had livery of his lands, and, before the end of the year, succeeded, upon the death of his mother, to the lands which she had held in dower. In 1350, William was in the naval engagement with the Spaniards off Winchelsea and, on 24 October 1353, did homage to Edward III at Westminster, in the presence of Prince Edward, for his Barony of Denbigh.

An indenture dated at Westminster 10 July 1355, between the King and Prince Edward, stipulated that the Prince Edward's retinue would be paid by the king for 6 months in advance from the day of their embarkation and should conisist of the Earls of Warwick, Suffolk, Oxford and Salisbury, Sir John de Lisle and Sir Reginald de Cobham, 433 men-at-arms and 700 archers, of whom 400 should be mounted and 300 on foot; which force, as well as the men-at-arms and archers. During the campaign of 1355 he led the rearguard with the Earl of Suffolk, and spent the winter at Sainte-Foy-la-Grande. With his younger brother Sir John Montacute, he embarked at Plymouth for Gascony, on 1 January 1356 with the retinue of Prince Edward. He had, with him, letters to the Seneschal for his special protection against any demand upon him during two years, on account of the debts of his ancestors. William was involved in the foray, with the Earls of Warwick, Suffolk and Oxford, in Languedoc, on which occasion they burnt the suburbs of Narbonne, destroyed Carcassonne and returned, over the district of Armagnac, to Bordeaux.

In 1356 William again campaigned with Prince Edward and at the battle of Poitiers led the rearguard and continued in France during 1357. In 1359, William appears to have been in attendance on the King in his French expedition and also in 1360. William was present, in 1368, at the conclusion of the truce and, in 1369, was sent, with the Earl of Warwick and others, under the command of the Duke of Lancaster, to Calais. In 1370, he was, at Westminster, one of the witnesses to the celebrated letter for the redress of grievances in Aquitaine. In 1372, he embarked with the King at Southampton and sailed towards Rochelle with a view to relieve Thouars, but the fleet was forced to return to England, by unfavourable winds. In March 1373 William landed at Saint-Malo with more than 800 soldiers. In 1374 William Montacute relieved the siege of Best. In 1376, William was made Admiral of the Fleet for the South and West of England and also in 1376, was found by inquisition to be one of the co-heirs of his cousin, Thomas, Lord Grandisson.

From January to June 1377 William was one of the envoys who negotiated with the French at Boulogne and Calais for a peace treaty. In 1377, William was appointed to secure the sea-coasts in the counties of Hampshire, Dorset & Somerset and, in 1378, was Governor of Calais. In 1382 William convoyed to England the Richard II's intended Consort, daughter of Charles, King of the Romans. In 1384, William was ordered to march against the Scots. The Isle of Wight and the Castle of Carisbrooke were granted to William for life in 1385, and in 1387 he was made Admiral for all of England. In this capacity he defeated a combined Franco-Spanish-Flemish fleet off of Margate in 1387. The Lordship of the Isle of Man (Island of Euboniaw) was sold in 1393 to William Le Scrope.

William continued in public employment until his death on 3 June 1397, at the age of sixty-nine. He made his will on 20 April 1387, under the titles of Earl of Salisbury and Lord of the Isles of Man and Wight, and directed his interment in the conventual church of the Priory of Bisham in Berkshire, which had been founded by his father adjoining the family home. The will was proved on 27 June 1397, having ordered by his will, that every day until his corpse should be interred at Bisham, distribution should be made of one pound five shillings to three hundred poor people, and that twenty poor men should bear torches on the day of his funeral, each torch eight pounds weight, and each of them wearing a gown of black cloth with a red hood and also, that there should be nine wax lights about his corpse, and upon every pillar of the church there should be fixed banners of his arms, moreover that £30 should be given to the religious, to sing "rentals" and pray for his soul.

William Montacute had accidentally killled his only son at at tilting match at Windsor on the 6 August 1382 and was therefore succeeded in the Earldom by his nephew, John. Elizabeth, Countess of Salisbury, took the veil some years after the death of her husband; and was received into the sisterhood of the convent of St. Albans on 10 October 1408. She made her will on the eve of St. Katherine, 1414, and died on 14 January 1415, leaving Philippa, Duchess of York, her younger sister, and Richard, Lord Strange of Knockyn, son of Maud her other sister, her next heirs.

William Montacute is a character in Sir Nigel by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Memorials Of The Most Noble Order Of The Garter From Its Foundation To The Present Time, George Beltz, 1841

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