Montgomery, William (DNB00)
|←Montgomery, Walter||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 38
|Monthermer, Ralph de→|
MONTGOMERY, WILLIAM (1633–1707), historian, son of Sir James Montgomery, second son of Hugh, first Viscount Montgomery of the Great Ards, by Katharine, daughter of Sir William Stewart, was born on 27 Oct. 1633 at Aughaintain, co. Tyrone. He was a delicate child, and was of small stature in a tall family, but used to exercise with a real pike and musket made for his size. He was drilling with a company of foot commanded by his grandfather, Sir William Stewart, at four in the afternoon, on 23 Oct. 1641, when a fugitive brought news of the Irish rising. The next day he was sent by Strabane to Derry, and thence to Glasgow, where he went for a year to the high school, and was well grounded in Despautere's grammar. In 1642 he returned to Derry, where he studied heraldry and painted coats of arms. In May 1644 he went to his father's seat of Rosemount, co. Down, for the first time. His education was there continued by Alexander Boyd till, in June 1646, the Irish victory of Benburb caused him to be sent to Carrickfergus for safety. He went to Glasgow University in 1649, learnt Greek, and did so well that he began to hope he might gain an estate by his book. War for the third time interfered with his education, and after the battle of Dunbar he sailed from Inverness to Leyden, and there studied philosophy, dancing, French, and Dutch. His chamber-fellow was a Frenchman, and they conversed in Latin, and were both instructed by a Dr. Adam Stewart, to whom he dedicated his graduation thesis, his first published work, in 1652. In June 1652 he heard of his father's death in a sea-fight, and went to London and thence, in 1653, to Dublin. Soon after, with some difficulty, he obtained possession of Rosemount, which became thence-forward his principal residence. He heard Richard Cromwell proclaimed in Dublin in 1658, and having been a consistent royalist was delighted at the Restoration. In June 1660 he married Elizabeth Montgomery, his cousin, daughter of Hugh, second viscount Montgomery of the Ards, and at his wedding was attended by the heads of six branches of the Montgomery family in Ulster. He was returned member of parliament for Newtownards 18 April 1661; lived on his estate, and from 1667 began to write historical books, of which the chief are: 'Incidentall Remembrances of the Two Ancient Families of the Savadges,' 'The Narrative of Gransheogh,' 'Some few Memoires of the Montgomeries of Ireland,' 'Some Memoires of William Montgomery of Rosemount,' 'An Historical Narrative of the Montgomerys in England and Scotland.' The first was printed in 1830; the last four were printed in full at Belfast in 1869, with notes by the Rev. George Hill, and parts of them had been printed in the 'Belfast Newsletter' in 1785 and 1786, and in 1822, and in a duo-decimo volume edited by Dr. James Macknight of Londonderry in 1830, under the title of 'The Montgomery Manuscripts.' He also wrote in 1683 a treatise on the duties of the office of custos rotulorum, which is not extant, and a 'Description of the Ards,' published at Dublin in 1683. He speaks of his 'Treatise on Funeralls,' but it is not now known. His writings are interesting, resembling those of Sir William Mure of Rowallan [q. v.] in style, but containing more of their author's personal experience. His conversation was sought after in his own time; he enjoyed the friendship of James
Butler, first duke of Ormonde [q. v.], and dined with Jeremy Taylor, who found him a warm supporter of episcopacy. He visited his kinsmen in Ulster and in Dublin, and took an active part in all local affairs, being high sheriff of Down in 1670. He died 7 Jan. 1707, and was buried at Grey Abbey, co. Down, where his monument was restored in 1839. He left one son, James, who married in 1687 Elizabeth, daughter of Archibald Edmonstone of Duntreath, and had several children, but the male line of his descendants became extinct in the next generation.
[Montgomery Manuscripts, Belfast, 1830 (this contains, p. 325, a catalogue of his works made by himself in 1701); Montgomery Manuscripts, ed. by the Rev. George Hill, Belfast, 1869 (this contains an account of the actual custody of the several manuscripts); T. K. Lowry's Hamilton Manuscripts, Belfast, 1867; Burke's Extinct Peerages, p. 378; Lodge's Peerage of Ireland, Dublin, 1754.]