Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Montgomery, Hugh

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MONTGOMERY, HUGH, third Viscount Montgomery of the Ards, and first Earl of Mount Alexander (1623?–1663), born about 1623, was eldest son of Hugh, second viscount Montgomery, and his wife, Jean Alexander, eldest daughter of Sir William Alexander, first earl of Stirling [q. v.] In his childhood his left side was severely injured by a fall, and an extensive abscess was formed, which on healing left a large cavity through which the action of the heart could be plainly discerned (Harvey, Works, Sydenham Society, pp. 382–4). He wore a metal plate over the opening. Notwithstanding, he had a fairly good constitution, and before reaching his twentieth year travelled through France and Italy. On his return he was brought to Charles I at Oxford, who was curious to see the strange phenomenon presented in Montgomery's case. He remained some days with the king, and went home, after receiving tokens of the royal favour, and giving assurances of his own loyalty.

By this time the Irish rebellion had broken out, and Montgomery's father had raised troops in maintenance of the royal authority, but he died suddenly on 15 Nov. 1642. Montgomery succeeded as third viscount, and was appointed to the command of his father's regiment. Under Major-general Robert Monro or Munro (d. 1680?) [q. v.], who married his mother, Montgomery fought at Benburb in June 1646. The king's troops were defeated, and the viscount, when heading a charge of cavalry, was made prisoner. He was sent to Clochwater Castle, where he remained until October 1647, when he was exchanged for the Earl of Westmeath. He took a leading part in proclaiming Charles II at Newtown in February 1649. At the same time the solemn league and covenant was renewed,and General Monck, refusing either to take the covenant or declare for the king, was forced out of Ulster. Montgomery was thereupon commissioned by the king as commander-in-chief of the royal army in Ulster (14 May 1649), with instructions to co-operate with the Marquis of Ormonde (State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1649-50, p. 140); and in the warlike operations which followed, he successively seized Belfast, Antrim, and Carrickfergus, and, passing through Coleraine, laid siege to Londonderry. After four months' investiture, however, he was compelled to retire, but joined Ormonde, and aided him in his final efforts against the Commonwealth. Forced at last to surrender to Cromwell, he was, after appearing before parliament in London, banished to Holland, under strict prohibition from corresponding with Charles II. In 1652 he solicited and received permission to return to London, and after much delay was allowed subsistence for himself and his family out of his confiscated estates (ib. 1651-2, pp. 99-364, passim). He was afterwards permitted to return to Ireland, and lived there under strict surveillance, and for a time was imprisoned in Kilkenny Castle.

On the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 Montgomery visited the king at Whitehall. He was appointed for life master of ordnance in Ireland (12 Sept. 1660), was placed on the commission for the settlement of Irish affairs (19 Feb. 1661), and was created Earl of Mount Alexander 20 June 1661. He died suddenly at Dromore on 15 Sept 1663, while engaged in tracking out Major Blood's plot. He was buried in the chancel of the church at Newtown.

In personal appearance Montgomery is described as of medium height, ruddy complexioned, with curly reddish hair and a quick grey eye. He was twice married: first, in December 1648, to Mary, eldest daughter of Charles, second viscount Moore, by whom he had two sons Hugh and Henry, who were successively second and third earls of Mount Alexander and a daughter, Jean, who died unmarried in 1673; secondly, in 1660, to Catherine Jones, daughter of Arthur, second viscount Ranelagh, and widow of Sir William Parsons of Bellamont.

[Montgomery MSS., by the Rev. George Hill, 1869, i. 151-259.]

H. P.