"Interview" with Edward Montagu
Q Lord Montagu, what was it that lead you to take an active part
in the civil war?
A It was not, I think, for any strong beliefs in the first instance.
I should have been quite content to have stayed at Hinchingbrooke and
live quietly in the countryside around Huntingdon. However most of my
relatives - at Kimbolton, Boughton as well as my wife's family, the Crewes,
took up with the Parliamentary side and, being only 18, I found it easier
to follow them.
Q So In 1643 you raised a regiment of foot in the army of the Eastern
A Yes. This was commanded by my cousin the 2nd Earl of Manchester.
We saw action in 1644-5 at Marston Moor and Naseby and in the last assault
Q And won a reputation for bravery.
A I did my duty. I supported my family and friends.
Q And then you sat in Parliament.
A Indeed, as Member of Parliament for Huntingdon in 1645
Q And you took no part in the Second Civil War in 1647.
A That is correct. I returned to Hinchingbrooke following my father's
death in September 1644 and the family home took up most of my time.
One strange event occurred while I was there which nearly had me involved
again. On the 3rd June 1647 Cornet Joyce and other Parliamentarian troops
abducted the King and stayed overnight with him at Hinchingbrooke. I'm
glad to say that the King was nobly treated here.
Q What were the reasons for your returning to public life in April
A I was chosen by Oliver Cromwell to serve in the so-called Barebone's
Parliament. I think this was because I was seen as a moderate and because
Cromwell trusted me. So I was made President of the Council of State and
in1656 I became joint General-at-Sea in the fleet.
Q So how is it that you, who supported Oliver Cromwell and became
a close personal friend, became a favoured friend of the new King Charles
A I am not naturally a politician. I did however see the chance
that anarchy would engulf our great country with no King, and Cromwell
dead. In July 1659 I was negotiating a peace treaty in Denmark...
Q ... accompanied by your young clerk Samuel Pepys ...
A Indeed. I was approached by a Captain Whetstone bearing a message
from the exiled future Charles 11. He convinced me that a third civil
war could only be prevented if I restored the king to the throne of England.
I had taken no part in Charles 1's trial and execution and I wanted only
what was best for England. I believed that I could help restore the monarchy
for the good of the whole country and in May 1660 I used my own flagship
to bring the King back to England.
Q As result of which The Naseby was renamed the Royal Charles,
and you were very well rewarded.
A I was graciously appointed Knight of the Garter, made Earl of
Sandwich, master of the wardrobe and admiral of the narrow seas, 1660.
I was at last in a position to make significant improvements to Hinchingbrooke
and to be with my wife and children. The rest, as they say, is history