Charles Montague, 1st Earl of Halifax

Charles Montague (or Mountague), 1st Earl of Halifax, Knight of the Garter, is buried in the vault of General Monk in the north aisle of Henry VII's chapel in Westminster Abbey. There is a large monument nearby of various coloured marbles. There are two crouching griffins of bronzed lead each with a portculllis on its chest and a sculpted oval with heraldic arms with the Garter ribbon, surmounted by a coronet. The Latin inscription can be translated:

Here lies Charles Mountague, son of the Honourable George Mountague of Horton in the county of Northampton, nephew of Henry, Earl of Manchester, who was a scholar in the Royal College of this Church [Westminster School], fellow of Trinity College in Cambridge. He so studied the polite parts of learning, that he shone among our first poets and orators, although by a different bent of study, yet with an equal applause. Being well instructed in the liberal sciences, he left the academick walks, and came forth into the world, and from being first the ornament, soon arrived to be the encourager of learning; for this gentleman from his just oratory in Parliament, and his care in the Council, and his fine language, integrity and influence in both, applied himself to the affairs of our coin; where opportunely undertaking the intricate affairs of the Treasury, the silver coin being clipped, to the great loss of the public, he restored it to its pristine value. This vast and laborious undertaking, even at the time we were in a long war, he both engaged with and completed. And lest in the meantime the subsidies of the nation, and necessaries to it, should be wanting, he wisely took care that the private and public credit should not in the least be upon the totter. For these deserts to his country and his Prince, united with the well wishes to both, he added new titular honours to the ancient glory of his race, being created first Baron and then Earl of Halifax, being the 4th nobleman of the name of Mountague. He was lastly honoured with the [Order of the ] Garter. While for promoting the public welfare and profit he wholly employed his mind, labouring in the midst of these designs. He (O slippery fate of human things) died, with the grief of all good men, the 19th of May, Anno.Dom. 1715, aged 54

He was born on 16th April 1661 son of George, a politician, and his wife Elizabeth (Irby). He published verses on the death of Charles II and was introduced to London society by the Earl of Dorset. In 1688 he married Anne Yelverton. He was a great Parliamentary orator, brilliant financier and one of the founders of the Bank of England. He was also a patron of science and literature and a friend of Joseph Addison and Sir Isaac Newton. George I appointed him one of the Regents of England to govern the kingdom until he could arrive to take the throne. He was also Chancellor of the Exchequer, a Privy Councillor and was elected to the Royal Society. In his will he left money to Catherine Barton, who later married John Conduitt. His nephew George succeeded to his titles.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004


16th April 1661


19th May 1715


Poet; statesman


Lady Chapel

Memorial Type


Material Type


Charles Montague, 1st Earl of Halifax
Charles Montague, 1st Earl of Halifax monument

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