WORTLEY MONTAGU (formerly MONTAGU), Hon. Sidney (1650-1727), of Wortley, Yorks.
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Family and Education
b. 28 July 1650, end s. of Edward Montagu I; bro. of Hon. Charles Montagu, Edward Montagu, Visct. Hinchingbrooke, and Hon. Oliver Montagu. educ. Twickenham (Dr Fuller) by 1660; académie du Plessis, Paris 1662-4; travelled abroad (Spain, Flanders, Germany, Italy, France) 1666-71. m. c.1676, Anne New-comen, illegit. da. and h. of Sir Francis Wortley, 2nd Bt. of Wortley, 5s. (4 d.v.p.) 2da.1
Ensign, R. Ft. Gds. (later Grenadier Gds.) 1675.
Commr. for assessment, Hunts. and Huntingdon 1679-80, Hunts., Northants. and Yorks. (W. Riding) 1689-90; dep. lt. (W. Riding) 1680-?1, Oct. 1688-d.; j.p. Northants. 1689-d., (W. Riding) by 1690-d., Hunts. by 1701-d.2
Montagu was his father’s favourite child, and received a more liberal education than his younger brothers. He accompanied him in the fleet action at Bergen and on his embassy in Spain. He married his father’s ward, a great Yorkshire heiress who had been brought up at Hinchingbrooke, and added her father’s name to his own. Nevertheless for most of his long parliamentary career he relied on the traditional Montagu interest in the East Midlands. Returned for Huntingdon after a contested election in February 1679, he was marked ‘honest’ by Shaftesbury. He was nominated to the committee of elections and privileges in the first Exclusion Parliament, but made no speeches and was absent from the division on the exclusion bill (although his son afterwards claimed that he had voted for it). He was totally inactive in the second Exclusion Parliament, and in the third he was again appointed only to the elections committee. As a Yorkshire landowner with great coal interests, he was anxious that Danby should not form an unfavourable opinion of him from the ill behaviour of a kinsman, presumably Ralph Montagu*, and visited the former lord treasurer on his release from the Tower in 1684. After a brief canvass in Huntingdon in 1685, he abandoned the contest.3
On the news of the Dutch landing, Wortley Montagu wrote to a neighbouring squire: ‘Pray God send us soon rid of ill guests’. But encouraged by reports of desertion from James’s army, he took a prominent part in the Revolution. He occupied Sheffield with the West Riding militia, and was the second to sign the Yorkshire petition for a free Parliament. He was again returned for Huntingdon to the Convention, and again appointed only to the elections committee. But he was listed as supporting the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations. On the day after the division a motion was made on his behalf, showing that his wife had turned Roman Catholic and gone abroad. Leave was given to bring in a bill for a competent maintenance for their children, in case she survived him, and it received the royal assent before the dissolution. Wortley Montagu continued to sit in Parliament as a Whig with two brief intervals until his death on 9 Nov. 1727, shortly after contesting his 14th election. He was succeeded by his only surviving son Edward, who sat for Huntingdon, Westminster and Peterborough.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: John. P. Ferris
- 1. F. E. Harris, Life of Sandwich, i. 233-7; Pepys Diary, 28 Oct. 1660, 12 May 1669; Fanshawe Mems. 188.
- 2. CSP Dom. 1687-9, p. 315; Northants. RO, FH2226; Add. 29674, f. 160.
- 3. HMC Astley, 60.
- 4. A. B. Macdonald, Fortunes of a Fam. 95; HMC 14th Rep. IX, 444; Reresby, Mems. 528; Browning, Danby, i. 415; CJ, x. 523, 530.