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Edward Montagu, Earl of Sandwich

Edward Montagu (Mountagu), 1st Earl of Sandwich is buried in General Monk's vault in the north aisle of Henry VII's chapel at Westminster Abbey.The inscription on the vault stone simply reads:

Edward Montagu Earl of Sandwich 1672

No monument was erected for him.

He was born at Barnwell in Northamptonshire on 27th July 1625, the eldest surviving son of Sir Sydney Montagu and his wife Paulina (Pepys). He was educated in Huntingdon and he married Jemima Crew at St Margaret's Westminster on 7th November 1642. He raised his own army regiment and fought on the side of the Parliamentarians under Cromwell. After taking part in several battles, including Naseby and Marston Moor, he served as a member of Parliament and was appointed a General at Sea. After Cromwell's death he became, with George Monk, an 'architect' of the Restoration of Charles II to the throne in 1660. The King created him Earl of Sandwich and made him a Knight of the Order of the Garter. The following year he took part in the king's coronation. Later he was elected to the Royal Society, appointed master of the King's swans, ambassador extraordinary to Portugal and in the Second Dutch War he commanded a squadron at the victory at Lowestoft in 1665. He was the patron of his cousin, the diarist Samuel Pepys. In 1672 at the battle of Sole Bay he was killed or drowned aboard his ship the Royal James. His body, still wearing his order of the Garter ribbon, was recovered on 10 June and was taken by sea to Deptford. From there his coffin was escorted by boat up the Thames on 3rd July for burial in the Abbey. The coffin was carried on foot from the river to the Church with the Abbey choir in attendance.

He had six sons and three daughters, his son Edward succeeding him as 2nd Earl of Sandwich.

Three other men who died in the same action at Sole Bay are buried or commemorated in the Abbey - Sir Freschville Holles, Charles Harbord and Clement Cottrell. A relief of the battle appears on the joint memorial to Harbord and Cottrell.

Further reading

"The life of Edward Montagu..." by F.R. Harris, 2 vols, 1912

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

A contemporary account of preparations for the funeral is at the British Library

Born

27th July 1625

Buried

3rd July 1672

Field

Soldier

Location

Lady Chapel

Memorial Type

Vault

Edward Montagu, Earl of Sandwich
Edward Montagu, Earl of Sandwich

Peter Lely [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Edward Montagu, Earl of Sandwich
Monk vaultstone

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

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