Pole, Henry (DNB00)

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POLE, Sir HENRY, Lord Montague or Montacute (1492?–1539), born about 1492, was eldest son of Sir Richard Pole (d. 1505), by his wife Margaret [see Pole, Margaret]. He obtained a special livery of his father's lands, viz. the manors of Ellesborough and Medmenham in Buckinghamshire, on 5 July 1513. On 25 Sept. following he was one of a company of forty-nine gentlemen knighted by Henry VIII under his banner, after mass, in the church at Tournay. This implies that he had distinguished himself during the French campaign. Along with his mother, who was created Countess of Salisbury that year, he gave a bond to the king for the redemption of the lands of that ancestral earldom (Cal. Henry VIII, ii. 1486), and another old family title, the barony of Montague or Montacute, forfeited by the Nevilles under Edward IV, was conferred upon himself. There is no record of any formal grant or creation, but from 1517, when he is named as a witness of Henry VIII's ratification of the treaty of London, he is continually called Lord Montague, though he was not admitted to the House of Lords till 1529. In September 1518 he was one of the English lords appointed to receive the great French embassy. He was a member of the royal household, and had a livery allowed him (Cal. Henry VIII, vol. iii. No. 491). He attended the king in 1520 to the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and also to the meeting with Charles V at Gravelines.

About 1513 he married Jane, daughter of George Neville, lord Bergavenny [q. v.] His father-in-law insisted upon a jointure to the yearly value of 200l., in addition to which he was to pay ‘at convenient days’ a sum of one thousand marks if he should have no male issue; but if a son were born, Lord Bergavenny was to pay the same amount to the Countess of Salisbury (ib. vol. xiii. pt. ii. No. 1016). Lord Bergavenny was himself the son-in-law of the unfortunate Duke of Buckingham who once, as appears by his private accounts, lost 15l. at dice to him at the house of Lord Montague (ib. iii. 499). When Buckingham was arrested in April 1521, Lords Bergavenny and Montague were arrested also (ib. vol. iii. No. 1268), but were soon after released.

In 1522, on Charles V's visit to England, Montague was one of those appointed to meet him on his way from Dover to Canterbury. In 1523 he took part in Suffolk's invasion of France (ib. vol. iii. No. 3281, vol. iv. p. 85). His fortunes at this time must have been depressed, for his income was under 50l. a year, and he was exempted from paying subsidy in 1525 (ib. iv. 1331). Apparently he had parted with his paternal estates in Buckinghamshire, as his name does not appear in the commissions for that county, although it is on those for Hampshire, Sussex, Wiltshire, Somerset, and Dorset. On 1 Dec. 1529 he took his seat in the House of Lords (Dugdale, Summons to Parliament, p. 500). Next year he signed the address of the peers to Clement VII, urging him to comply with the king's suit for a divorce. His action did not express his real mind.

In October 1532 he went with the king to Calais, to the meeting with Francis I. Next year he was queen's carver at the coronation banquet of Anne Boleyn, on 1 June. That he was made a knight of the Bath at this time seems to be an error due to Stow, who misread the name Monteagle in Hall's ‘Chronicle’ as Montague. On Thursday following (5 June) he and his son-in-law, Lord Hastings, and his brother, Sir Geoffrey Pole, dined with the Princess Mary, and he himself dined with her again on the 24th (Cal. Henry VIII, vol. vi. No. 1540, iii.) He received a writ of summons to the prorogued parliament in January 1534, and he seems to have attended regularly, his presence being recorded on 30 March, the seventy-fifth day of parliament. In April 1535 he was on the special commission before whom the Carthusian martyrs were tried; but his position there, like that of other lords, was merely honorary, the practical work being left to the judicial members. He was similarly placed on the trial of Sir Thomas More on 1 July. Immediately afterwards he had a serious illness. In May 1536 he was one of the peers before whom Anne Boleyn was tried. In it he took a more practical part than in the two previous trials, for each of the peers present severally declared her guilty. He may have believed in the verdict, for he had never approved of the king's marriage to her, or loved the antipapal policy to which that marriage had led (cf. ib. vol. xvii. No. 957, x. 243; vol. vii. No. 1040).

He sat in the parliament of July 1536 (ib. vol. x. No. 994, vol. xi. No. 104). He and his mother were seriously distressed that year about the book which his brother Reginald sent to the king, and each wrote to him in reproachful terms, but it was apparently to satisfy the council by whom the letters were read and despatched [see Pole, Margaret]. On the outbreak of the Lincolnshire rebellion in the beginning of October 1536, Montague received orders to be ready at a day's warning to serve against the insurgents with two hundred men. But the musters were countermanded on the speedy suppression of the insurrection, and it is doubtful whether he was sent against the Yorkshire rebels afterwards. On 15 Oct. 1537 he took part in the ceremonial at the christening of Prince Edward. On 12 Nov. following he and Lord Clifford attended the Princess Mary, as she rode from Hampton Court to Windsor, as chief mourner at the funeral of Jane Seymour.

All this time, although perfectly loyal, he was deeply grieved at the overthrow of the monasteries and the abrogation of the pope's authority. He often said in private he wished he was over sea with the bishop of Liège, as his brother had been, and that knaves ruled about the king. Early in 1538 his wife died, and his interest in public affairs consequently decreased (Cal. vol. xiii. pt. ii. No. 695 [2]). But Henry VIII was not ignorant of his opinions, and obtained positive evidence of them by the examination of his brother, Sir Geoffrey Pole [q. v.], in the Tower in October and November 1538. Montague was accordingly committed to the Tower on 4 Nov. along with the Marquis of Exeter. They had at times communicated on public affairs. The indictments in each case were to the same effect. They had both expressed approval of Cardinal Pole's proceedings, and Montague had said he expected civil war one day from the course things were taking, especially if the king were to die suddenly. The two lords were tried before Lord-chancellor Audeley, as lord high steward, and a jury of peers, and both were found guilty. Montague received judgment on 2 Dec., and Exeter on the day following. On 9 Dec. both lords were beheaded on Tower Hill. A portrait of Montague by an unknown hand belonged in 1866 to Mr. Reginald Cholmondeley.

Montague left a son whose existence is not mentioned by peerage historians; he was included with his father in the bill of attainder of 1539, and probably died not many years after in prison. Besides Catherine, wife of Francis, lord Hastings, afterwards earl of Huntingdon [q. v.], Montague had a daughter Winifred, who married a brother of her sister's husband. His two daughters became his heirs, and were fully restored in blood and honours in the first year of Philip and Mary.

[Sandford's Genealogical Hist., Dugdale's Baronage and the Calendar of Henry VIII, are the main sources of information. The Chronicle of Henry VIII, translated from the Spanish by M. A. S. Hume (1889), has some details of doubtful authenticity touching Montague's arrest and examination.]

J. G.