The derivation of the name is slightly unusual: `Montacute is from French Montaigu, but the present form is a Latinization of the French name.' (The Norman Heritage: 1055-1200, Trevor Rowley)
Variations on this name ( Mons Acutus, etc.) correspond to a somewhat litteral translation of Acute Mount, roughly, Steep-Hill.
The red "triple diamonds" insignia, so common to the family, is an allusion to the name. From Rodney Dennys, Heraldry and the heralds:
"It would, of course, be wrong to think that every coat of arms tells its story... but it is surprising how many of the ancient arms have some kind of punning allusion to their owner's name. For instance, the three sharply pointed red fusils in fess of the Montagues are a play on the name Montaigu, the pointed hill which provided the place name of the manor in France after which they were called. ... There are many other examples of canting or allusive arms, also termed armes parlantes, ..." Dennys
Where does the "three-legged" emblem of Man come from?
Research funding agencies, here's a bit of a challenge:
Charles Montagu (1661-1715) was the lifelong patron (financial supporter) of Isaac Newton. Charles also started the Bank of England and had a long-term relationship with Newton's niece.
Ralph Montagu (1638-1709) was a principal patron of Robert Hooke (as in Hooke's law), the first Curator of Experiments of the Royal Society. Hooke conducted the nucleus of the society's scientific work from 1662 to 1703. Ralph also sheltered John Locke (as his personal physician) when Locke found it inexpedient to remain in Britain...
Henry Montagu (1563-1642) was close friend and principal political ally of Francis Bacon, the philosopher of science. The two formed a political duo, and were impeached together by Parliament...
John Montagu (1718-1792) had overall responsibility for the voyages of Captain Cook and the research voyages of the naturalist Joseph Banks in the Endeavour. It was John that arranged for an official journal of the voyages...
Charles Darwin, in The Descent of Man, claims that few more careful observers ever lived than George Montagu (1751-1815) (and cites him 4 times)...
John Montagu (1718-1792), 4th earl of Sandwich , was inventor of the sandwich. Political enemies claimed he needed to eat at the gambling table, but it appears he was simply a workaholic who needed to eat at his desk.
Sir Edward Montagu created the original Thanksgiving on November 5, 1605 as a political reaction to the Gunpowder Plot (a `plot' to kill all of Parliament and the King with the equivalent of a truck bomb).
Edward Montague worked closely for years with Benjamin Franklin and others on behalf of the American colonists. Edward was key in enunciating many of the legal and political issues that led to the revolution.
John de Montacute (1350?-1400) had his head set on London Bridge. Shakespeare tells much of the story in Richard II. He also nailed a list of grievances to the doors of a number of churches which he considered corrupt... (sound somewhat familiar?).
A famous turning point of the Hundred Years war is the story of how a boy playing on the French artillery at the siege of Orleans in 1428 accidentally triggered a canon that killed the leading English general, Thomas de Montacute . This was considered a sign from God, along with the appearance of Joan of Arc, and is also one of the earliest documented gunpowder causalities.
Edward Montague (1602-1671) was married in King James's bedchamber in 1623, with the bedridden king throwing his shoe at the bridal party as they left the room.
Alexander Hamilton used the assumed name James Montague, Esquire in 1780 when floating his plan, which was eventually adopted, for achieving financial stability of United States government.
The Order of the Garter, the oldest and most prestigious English order of chivalry, received its name due to an incident apparently involving two women in this timeline: Katherine, Countess of Salisbury and Joan, Fair Maid of Kent . We will probably never know the exact details, and perhaps it's best that way...
The Castle Montacute was named after the sharp hill upon which it was located in southern Somersetshire. It was named such by the earl of Moriton, cousin on his mother's side to William the Conqueror. The Saxon name was Biscopeston. Also known as St Michael's Hill, the hill was scarped to form an oval motte containing 3 baileys. It was attacked unsuccessfully by Saxons in 1069 and was abandoned between 1093 and 1104, becoming a Clunic Priory (a monastery).
What are the feudal ranks, and how can you remember them?
Medieval English Women.
Montague Place Names.
U.S. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index for Montague.
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