Skip to main content

James Montagu

In the north west tower chapel in Westminster Abbey is a free standing white marble statue to Captain James Montagu. A life size figure of James in naval uniform stands on a pedestal on which is a carved relief of a naval battle flanked by two lions. Behind and above his figure is one representing Victory and she originally held a laurel wreath above his head. At the back of the pedestal is a relief of two seated mourning sailors. At the sides are a trident with a crown and a laurel wreath formerly encircling the word 'Constitution'. The sculptor was John Flaxman, 1804. The monument cost over 3,000 pounds and originally stood one bay further east in the nave. The inscription reads:

Erected at the public expense to the memory of James Montagu, who was killed on board the Montagu, which he gallantly commanded in the memorable victory over the French fleet off Brest on the first of June 1794, in the forty second year of his age and twenty eighth of his service

He was born on 12th August 1752, a son of Admiral John Montagu (d.1795) and his wife Sophia (Wroughton). His brothers were Admiral George Montagu and Edward Montagu, an army officer. After several years at sea his father appointed him to the Mercury. He later served on the North American station and took papers announcing the capture of Rhode Island by Sir Peter Parker and General Clinton back to England. While sailing on the Hudson river his ship was sunk when it hit a submerged wreck but he was cleared at the court martial. Later he saw action off India and his last ship was the Montagu in which he was killed.

Further Reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004 (James, his father and brothers)

"The Glorious First of June 1794" edited M. Duffy and R. Morriss, 2001

Flaxman's design for the monument is at the Henry Moore Foundation, Leeds

Born

12th August 1752

Died

1st June 1794

Field

Sailor

Location

Nave

Memorial Type

Statue

Material Type

Marble

James Montagu
James Montagu memorial

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

James Montagu
Lion on James Montagu monument

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Related Commemorations

Andrew Bell

Andrew Bell

1753-1832
Priest
Engraving of John André

John André

1750-1780
Soldier
Charles James Fox & Henry V. Fox, Lord Holland

Charles James Fox & Henry V. Fox, Lord Holland

1749-1806
Writer, Statesman and Abolitionist
Thomas Telford

Thomas Telford

1757-1834
Engineer
Lord Robert Manners

Lord Robert Manners

1758-1782
Sailor

It’s a privilege to live and work here – the Abbey really is the heart of the country and its history.

spacer

Martin - The Dean’s Verger

Twitter logo Tweet this