Monday, 1 February 2016

1st Earl of Mount Alexander


This is a scion of the noble house of MONTGOMERY, Earls of Eglinton, in Scotland.

ROGER DE MONTGOMERIE, who came into England with WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, was Earl of Arundel, Chichester, and Shrewsbury, and gave his name to the town and county of Montgomery in Wales.

ROBERT DE MONTGOMERIE, supposed to be his grandson, settled in Scotland and obtained from Walter Stewart, High Steward of Scotland, the manor of Eaglesham, Renfrewshire.

Sixth in descent from him was

JOHN DE MONTGOMERIE, of Eaglesham, who, in 1388, at the battle of Otterburn, captured the celebrated Henry Percy, commonly called Hotspur.

He wedded Elizabeth, daughter and sole heir of Sir Hugh de Eglinton, with whom, besides other considerable property, he obtained the baronies of Eglinton and Ardrossan.

His grandson,

SIR ALEXANDER MONGOMERIE, was raised to the Scottish peerage, about 1448, by the title of LORD MONTGOMERIE.

He wedded Margaret, second daughter of Sir Thomas Boyd, of Kilmarnock, and had issue,
ALEXANDER, of whom we treat;
George, ancestor of Montgomery of Skelmorlie;
Thomas (Rev);
Margaret; Elizabeth; Agnes.
The eldest son,

ALEXANDER, Master of Montgomerie, who married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Sir Adam Hepburn, of Hales.

This Alexander died before his father, in 1452, leaving three sons and a daughter, namely,
1.  Alexander, succeeded his grandfather, as 2nd Lord Montgomerie. His son and heir, HUGH, 3rd Lord Montgomerie, was created, in 1507-8, EARL OF EGLINTON;
2.  ROBERT, Laird of Braidstane;
3.  Hugh, of Hislot;
1.  Margaret, m to Alexander, 1st Lord Home.
The second son of the Master of Montgomerie, and brother of the 2nd Lord,

ROBERT MONTGOMERY obtained for his patrimony, from his grandfather, Alexander, 1st Lord, in 1452, the lands of Braidstane, and thus became its laird.

He was succeeded by his son,  

ROBERT, 2nd Laird of Braidstone, who left a son and heir, 

ROBERT, 3rd Laird, whose son and successor, 

ADAM, 4th Laird, had two sons, of whom the eldest, 

ADAM, who inherited as 5th Laird, and purchased other lands from Hugh, Earl of Eglinton, married and had four sons, viz.
HUGH, of whom hereafter;
George (Rt Rev), Lord Bishop of Meath;
Patrick, a colonel in the army;
The eldest son,

SIR HUGH MONTGOMERY, 6th Laird (1560-1636), settled in Ulster, and was raised to peerage, in 1622, as Viscount Montgomery, of the Great Ards, County Down.
He had previously, in 1605, obtained a grant from from JAMES I of the third part of Conn O'Neill's great territory in the counties of Down and Antrim.
His eldest son,

HUGH, 2nd Viscount (1616-42).
Little is known about his life, though after a “liberal education” he travelled abroad, including to Italy. He returned to Ulster and, in 1623, married Jean Alexander, whose father was Sir William Alexander, who had been tasked with planting Nova Scotia in Canada.
Their marriage was solemnised at Kensington Church in London in 1623. 
Sir Hugh built a large manor house on a gently rising bill outside Comber for the happy couple and called it Mount Alexander Castle.
From this we get the present Castle Street and Castle Lane. The stone for the building came from the ruins of the old Cistercian Comber Abbey.
Upon the decease of Sir Hugh Montgomery, 1st Viscount, in 1636, the 2nd Viscount moved back to the parental home of “Newtown House”. He was appointed to the Irish Privy Council in 1637 and continued to manage the Scottish estates his father had bought.

When the 2nd Viscount's father-in-law Sir William Alexander died, bankrupt, in 1640, his widow – Janet Erskine, Countess of Stirling - moved to Mount Alexander and is believed to have spent the rest of her life there. She was still alive in 1656, and when she died was buried at Newtownards Priory in the Montgomery vault.
This nobleman died suddenly at Newtownards in 1642 and was likely buried at Newtownards Priory.

He was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUGH, 3rd Viscount (c1625-63), who was advanced, in 1661, to the dignity of EARL OF MOUNT ALEXANDER.

This nobleman espoused firstly, in 1648, Mary, eldest daughter of Charles, 2nd Viscount Moore, by whom he had issue,
HUGH, 2nd Earl;
HENRY, 3rd Earl;
Jean, died unmarried, 1673.
His lordship wedded secondly, in 1660, Catherine, daughter of Arthur, 2nd Viscount Ranelagh.

Dying in 1663, this nobleman was succeeded by his eldest son,

HUGH (1651-1717), 2nd Earl, on whose demise, in 1717, the honours devolved upon his brother,

HENRY (c1652-1731), 3rd Earl. 

This nobleman was said to have been a kind, easy-tempered man, residing in Comber with his two sons, Hugh and Thomas.

He devoted himself to farming.

He was succeeded by his son

HUGH, 4th Earl (c1680-1745), to whom he left in his will £20, as he had made ample provision for him before his death.

This nobleman was said to be a "good-looking proper man" who devoted himself to farming.

He married Elinor Barnwell in 1703. They had five children, all of whom died in childhood.

The 4th Earl died in 1744 and was buried at Howth, County Dublin.

He was succeeded by his brother,

THOMAS, 5th Earl, said to have been a witty and nimble boy.
He married, in 1725, a Huguenot - the young widow of Philip Grueber, a London merchant. She had been Marie Angelique de la Cherois, daughter of Daniel de la Cherois of Lisburn.
Much of Thomas Montgomery’s time in the early years of the marriage was spent in Dublin on supposed business connected with lawsuits. The last seventeen years of his life were spent in the Manor House at Donaghadee.
He died in 1757 at Hillsborough Castle, County Do.

Lady Mount Alexander survived her husband and when she died the remnants of the great estate went to her cousins, Samuel de la Cherois, of Donaghadee, and Nicholas Crommelin, of Carrowdore Castle.

The titles expired on the death of the 5th Earl in 1757.

Grey Abbey House

THE MONTGOMERYS have been of great antiquity and historical importance in Ulster and the Ards Peninsula.

Sir Hugh Montgomery (1560-1636), 1st Viscount, was founder of Newtownards.

The name, Grey Abbey, which is also that of the adjacent village, derives from the late 12th century Cistercian Abbey at the site.

The ruins of the abbey can be seen from Grey Abbey House. 

The manorial demesne, long known as Rosemount, was established in the early 17th century and the present house was built during the early 1760s.

Originally the property of the Clandeboye O’Neills, Grey Abbey was granted in 1607 to Sir Hugh Montgomery.

William Montgomery, who lives with his family at Grey Abbey demesne today, is descended from the younger brother (Sir James) of the 1st Earl of Mount Alexander, who was given the Grey Abbey estates which remain, in part, with the family today. 

The present family is, therefore, of the same family though not directly descended from him. 

In mid-Victorian times, the Montgomerys owned land in the Ards Peninsula extending to some 5,000 acres.

They also owned the Tyrella Estate in County Down - it having come into the family through the marriage of William Montgomery to Suzanne Jelly in 1749.

Mount Alexander arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in November, 2010.

1 comment :

Peregrine's Bird Blog said...

My family used to own the Tyrella estate from 1880's to 1940's and my sister is called Tyrella. Even today in the study there is a stain glass window with our family crest on it.