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Marquess of Montagu

John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu

John Neville, 1st Marquess of Montagu, alias John Mortimer, called the Captain of Kent (c. 1431 – April 14, 1471) was a Yorkist leader in the Wars of the Roses, best-known for eliminating Lancastrian resistance in the north of England during the early part of the reign of Edward IV of England.

Montagu was a younger son of Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury and Alice Montagu, Countess of Salisbury, and a brother of Warwick the Kingmaker.

He fought at the Battle of Blore Heath and was captured and imprisoned by the Lancastrians. After the Yorkist victory at Northampton he was released, but was captured again at the Second Battle of St Albans.

Following his second release from imprisonment, he led the Yorkist forces in the north of England, defeating the Lancastrians at Hedgeley Moor and again at Hexham (both 1464).

In reward for driving out the Lancastrians, Montagu was created Earl of Northumberland. This title had long been held by the Percy family, but they were in disgrace. However, when Henry Percy was rehabilitated in 1470, Montagu was forced to give up the earldom and many important offices in favour of his former foe.

He was in compensation created Marquess of Montagu, but without suitable estates to support such a dignity. Now set against Edward IV, he joined his brother Warwick the Kingmaker in the restoration of Henry VI. Montagu returned to high office in the north, but was killed at the Battle of Barnet.

He married Isabel Ingoldsthorpe (1441-1476) and had seven children:

Lucy Neville was the Ancestor of President Franklin Roosevelt and Sir Winston Churchill.

Isabel married a year after his death, to Sir William Norreys.

Fiction

Accounts of John Neville, Marquess of Montagu occur in the historical novels The Rose of York: Love & War by Sandra Worth, and The Sunne in Splendour, by Sharon Kay Penman.

A full account of the life of John Neville, 1st Marguess of Montagu, is given in Lady of the Roses A Novel of the Wars of the Roses, Penguin Group, (January 2008) by Sandra Worth. ISBN-10: 0425219143 This historically accurate novel represents the first fictional exploration of the Kingmaker's brother, and gives the Neville point of view through the events of the period of history 1455-1475, as narrated by his wife Isobel Ingoldesthorpe.

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