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The Duke of Albemarle
c. 1665–66 portrait by Peter Lely
Chief Minister of Great Britain
Lord High Treasurer
In office
June 1667 – January 1670 
Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex
In office
1662 – 1670 
Custos Rotulorum & Lord Lieutenant of Devon
In office
July 1660 – January 1670 
Lord Deputy of Ireland
In office
June 1660 – February 1662
Member of Parliament
for Devon
In office
April 1660 – July 1660
Commander-in-Chief of Scotland
In office
April 1654 – February 1660
General at sea
In office
Personal details
Born6 December 1608
Potheridge, Devon, England
Died3 January 1670(1670-01-03) (aged 61)
Potheridge, Devon, England
Resting placeWestminster Abbey
SpouseAnne Clarges (1653–his death)
ChildrenChristopher Monck, 2nd Duke of Albemarle
OccupationProfessional soldier and naval officer
Military service
RankCaptain general
Battles/warsAnglo-Spanish War (1625–1630)
Cádiz expedition (1625)
Anglo-French War (1627–1629)
St Martin-de-Ré
Eighty Years' War
Maastricht; Breda
Wars of the Three Kingdoms
Newburn; New Ross; Nantwich; Dunbar; Dundee;
First Anglo-Dutch War
Portland; The Gabbard; Scheveningen;
Glencairn's rising
Second Anglo-Dutch War
Four Days' Battle; St. James's Day Battle

George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle[a] KG PC JP (6 December 1608 – 3 January 1670) was an English soldier, who fought on both sides during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. A prominent military figure under the Commonwealth, his support was crucial to the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, who rewarded him with the title Duke of Albemarle and other senior positions.

The younger son of an impoverished Devon landowner, Monck began his military career in 1625 and served in the Eighty Years' War until 1638, when he returned to England. Posted to Ireland as part of the army sent to suppress the Irish Rebellion of 1641, he quickly gained a reputation for efficiency and ruthlessness. After Charles I agreed to a truce with the Catholic Confederacy in September 1643, he was captured fighting for the Royalists at Nantwich in January 1644 and remained a prisoner for the next two years.

Released in 1647, he was named Parliamentarian commander in Eastern Ulster, fought in Scotland under Oliver Cromwell in the 1650 to 1652 Anglo-Scottish War, and served as General at sea during the 1652 to 1654 First Anglo-Dutch War. From 1655 to 1660, he was army commander in Scotland, and his support for moderates in Parliament who wanted to restore the monarchy proved decisive in Charles II regaining his throne in May 1660.

Due to a combination of illness and lack of interest in politics, Monck faded into the background after 1660, but he returned to sea during the Second Anglo-Dutch War and played an important leadership role during the 1665 Great Plague of London, as well as the Great Fire of London in 1666. He lived in retirement for the last three years of his life and died in January 1670.

Personal details

Great Potheridge in 2014, the surviving wing of Monck's family home

Monck was born 6 December 1608 on the family estate of Potheridge in Devon, second son of Sir Thomas Monck (1570–1627) and Elizabeth Smith, daughter of Sir George Smith, three times Mayor of Exeter and reputed to be the richest man in Exeter.[1] His siblings included an elder brother Thomas (died 1647) and a younger, Nicholas Monck (1609–1661), later Bishop of Hereford and Provost of Eton College.[2]

One of the oldest families in Devon, the Moncks were relatively poor while Smith allegedly failed to pay the dowry promised for his daughter, leading to a series of expensive legal disputes with his son-in-law.[3] In 1625, Sir Thomas was imprisoned for debt and died in jail two years later.[4]

In January 1653, Monck married Anne Clarges (1619–1670), daughter of a London farrier and widow of Thomas Radford; his death was not legally confirmed until a year after their marriage, a fact which was later used against her.[5] Her brother Thomas (1618–1695) was a committed Royalist who was knighted after the Stuart Restoration and had a long career in Parliament.[6] They had one son who survived into adulthood, Christopher Monck, 2nd Duke of Albemarle (1653–1688).[7]

Early career, pre-1641

Monck became a professional soldier, a common career choice for younger sons of impoverished gentry. His first experience was the failed attack on Cádiz in November 1625, when he served as an ensign in a company commanded by his cousin Sir Richard Grenville. He later joined the equally disastrous expedition against St Martin-de-Ré in July 1627; it is suggested one reason for doing so was his arrest for attempted murder in late 1626, when he and his brother Thomas assaulted Nicholas Battyn, the undersheriff responsible for jailing their father.[3]

He spent most of the next decade serving in the Dutch States Army, then considered the best place to learn the 'art of war' due to its success in the Eighty Years' War against Spain. Many officers who later fought on both sides during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms did the same, among them Sir Thomas Fairfax and Sir Philip Skippon.[8] During the capture of Maastricht in 1632, he served in a regiment commanded by the Earl of Oxford, who was killed in the final assault and replaced by George Goring. By 1637, Monck was lieutenant colonel under Goring and played a decisive role in storming Breda, a Dutch success which was one of the last major actions of the war. After quarrelling with the civil authorities of Dordrecht, he surrendered his commission and returned to England in 1638.[7]

During the 1639 and 1640 Bishops' Wars, he was lieutenant colonel in a regiment raised by Mountjoy Blount, 1st Earl of Newport, who was also Master-General of the Ordnance. Monck was one of the few to emerge with any credit from the Battle of Newburn in 1640, when he saved the English artillery from capture. Lack of money meant the army was dissolved. Monck spent the next year unemployed.[7]

Ireland and England, 1641–1646

The Earl of Ormond, Royalist commander who dominated Irish politics for much of the 17th century

Following the Irish Rebellion of 1641, Parliament approved the recruitment of a Royal Army to suppress it. Monck was made colonel of a regiment raised by his distant relative Robert Sidney, 2nd Earl of Leicester, which landed in Dublin in January 1642 and served under the Earl of Ormond.[7] Over the next eighteen months, he campaigned against rebel strongholds in Leinster, during which he was responsible for several alleged massacres in County Kildare and also took part in the March 1643 Battle of New Ross.[9] However, the outbreak of the First English Civil War in August 1642 meant Ormonde could no longer receive reinforcements or money from England, and by mid-1643, the Catholic Confederacy controlled most of Ireland, with the exception of Ulster, Dublin and Cork City.[10]

Most of Ormond's officers, including Monck, argued the Irish Army should remain neutral between Parliamentarians and Royalists but Charles was anxious to use these troops to help him win the war in England and in September 1643, Ormonde agreed a truce or "Cessation" with the Confederacy. Factions on both sides objected to the terms, which included negotiations on freedom of worship for Catholics and constitutional reforms. Protestants saw this as a threat, while many Confederates felt they were on the verge of victory and gained nothing from the truce; they were also well aware any concessions Charles made to Catholics in Ireland undermined his position in England and Scotland.[11]

Monck was among those who refused to swear allegiance to the king and was sent by Ormonde as a prisoner to Bristol, where he eventually agreed to support the Royalists before being captured at Nantwich in January 1644. Although prisoners were commonly exchanged, his experience and ability were so highly regarded that he remained in custody for the next two years, during which he wrote a military manual entitled Observations on Military and Political Affairs. Following Charles' surrender in May 1646, he accepted an appointment in one of the regiments sent to Ireland by Parliament as reinforcements; in September 1647, he was appointed Parliamentarian commander in Eastern Ulster.[7]

The Interregnum

Oliver Cromwell; Monck's support for The Protectorate was based on his personal regard for its leader.

Monck proved his loyalty to Parliament by refusing to take part in the Second English Civil War and requiring all his officers to sign a declaration of support. However, his position in Ulster became extremely precarious following the execution of Charles I in January 1649, since it was dominated by Scots Presbyterian settlers, supported by a Covenanter army under Robert Monro.[12] The Scots did not only object to the English killing their king without consultation. As Calvinists, they viewed monarchy as divinely ordained, making the execution sacrilegious.[13] As a result, they defected to the Royalist–Confederate alliance led by Ormond and in desperation, Monck agreed to a secret truce with Eoghan Ó Néill, the Catholic leader in Ulster, which he did not communicate to Parliament until May.[9]

Recalled to London, he was reprimanded by a Parliamentary committee, although they privately recognised the desperate circumstances which made it necessary. Although some mistrusted Monck as a former Royalist, Oliver Cromwell gave him command of a regiment in the 1650 to 1651 Anglo-Scottish War, which fought at Dunbar, then stormed Dundee, an action in which 800 civilians were allegedly killed.[14] Throughout the Protectorate, Monck remained loyal to Cromwell, who appointed him military commander in Scotland until February 1652. At that time, Monck became seriously ill and retired to Bath in order to recover. Due to his expertise in utilising artillery, when the First Anglo-Dutch War began in November, Monck was made a General at Sea, along with Robert Blake and Richard Deane. He fought in the 1653 naval battles of Portland, the Gabbard and Scheveningen.[7]

In April 1653, Cromwell dissolved the Rump Parliament and in June Monck was nominated MP for Devon in Barebone's Parliament.[15] Although the Dutch war did not formally end until the February 1654 Treaty of Westminster, Monck was recalled and sent to Scotland to suppress the Royalist Glencairn's rising. Appointed military commander, he employed the ruthless tactics demonstrated in his previous assignments and by the end of 1655 the country had been pacified. He retained this position for the next five years, demonstrating his loyalty by removing any officers who expressed opposition to government policy and arresting religious dissidents.[7]

The Restoration

When Oliver Cromwell died in September 1658, Monck transferred his support to his son Richard, who was appointed Lord Protector. The Third Protectorate Parliament elected in January 1659 was dominated by moderate Presbyterians like Monck and Royalist sympathisers, whose main objective was to reduce the power and expense of the military. In April, army radicals led by John Lambert and Charles Fleetwood dissolved Parliament and forced the resignation of Richard Cromwell. Sometimes known as the Wallingford House party, the new regime abolished the Protectorate, reseated the Rump Parliament dismissed by Cromwell in 1653 and began removing officers and officials of suspect loyalty, including many of those serving in Scotland.[16]

Monck was left in place largely because rumours of another Royalist rising made it preferable to retain him. Both his cousin John Grenville and brother Nicholas were connected with the Royalist underground and in July 1659, Nicholas brought him a personal appeal from Charles II, asking for his help and offering up to £100,000 per year for his assistance.[17] When Booth's Uprising broke out in August 1659, Monck considered joining it but the revolt collapsed before he had time to commit himself. In October, the Wallingford House group dismissed the Rump before being forced to reinstate it in early December.[18]

Charles leaves the Dutch Republic for England, 24 May 1660.

By the end of 1659, England appeared to be drifting into anarchy, with widespread demands for new elections and an end to military rule. Monck declared his support for the Rump against the Republican faction led by Lambert, while co-ordinating with Sir Theophilus Jones, a former colleague in Ireland who seized Dublin Castle in late December.[9] At the same time, he marched his army to the English border, supported by a force raised by former New Model Army commander Sir Thomas Fairfax. Outnumbered and unpaid, Lambert's troops melted away; on 2 February Monck entered London and in April elections were held for a Convention Parliament.[19]

While his backing was essential to the Restoration, modern historians question whether the policy was initiated by Monck as opposed to following majority opinion, which by now was overwhelmingly in favour of reinstating the monarchy.[20] Although elected MP for Devon, external observers noted he had little interest in politics while the lack of a regional power base in England and the proposed reduction of the army mitigated his future influence.[15]

Nevertheless, the Declaration of Breda issued by Charles on 4 April 1660 was largely based on Monck's recommendations. It promised a general pardon for actions committed during the civil wars and Interregnum, with the exception of the regicides, retention by the current owners of property purchased during the same period, religious toleration and payment of arrears to the army.[21] Based on these terms, Parliament resolved to proclaim Charles king and invited him to return to England; he left Holland on 24 May and entered London five days later.[22]

Later career and death

The Great Fire of London 1666; as a mark of public confidence in his abilities, Monck was appointed to restore order in the aftermath.
Quartered arms of George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle

In July 1660, Monck was made Duke of Albemarle and appointed to the Privy Council; he also received the former Palace of Beaulieu, lands in Ireland and England worth £7,000 per year, an annual pension of £700 and various offices, including Lord Lieutenant of Devon. He also obtained significant positions for his dependents and connections; John Grenville became Earl of Bath, while Nicholas Monck was appointed Bishop of Hereford, his cousin William Morice Secretary of State for the Northern Department and his brother-in-law Thomas Commissary General of Musters.[23]

Although appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland, Monck fell seriously ill once again in August 1661 and was replaced by Ormond, being "compensated" with the additional office of Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex. Thereafter he avoided front-line politics and focused on maximising his personal wealth; his wife was notorious for selling offices, although this was a common practice and probably reflected resentment at her humble origins. In his diary, Samuel Pepys attacks her as a "homely, plain dowd" and "filthy woman"; however, his views were coloured by the rivalry between Monck and his cousin Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich, for control of the Admiralty.[24]

Monument to Monck in Westminster Abbey

In 1663, Monck was allocated lands in the Province of Carolina, now the modern US states of South and North Carolina, whose Albemarle Sound is named after him.[25] He was also made a shareholder in the Royal African Company, established to challenge Dutch control of the Atlantic slave trade and a major factor in the commercial tensions between the two countries that eventually led to the Second Anglo-Dutch War in 1665. The conflict was backed by Monck and other investors within the government, including George Carteret, Shaftesbury and Arlington.[26]

Command of the fleet was given to James, Duke of York, with Sandwich as his deputy and Monck took over his administrative duties at the Admiralty. He also gained a great deal of popularity for remaining in London throughout the 1665 Great Plague when most of the government fled to Oxford.[27] Monck and Prince Rupert shared command during the 1666 campaign; the Four Days' Battle in June was a Dutch victory, offset by English success at the St. James's Day Battle in July. In September he was recalled to help maintain order in the chaos created by the Great Fire of London.[7]

This was his last active command; the fleet had to be laid up due to lack of money, culminating in the humiliating raid on the Medway in June 1667 which ended the war. One of the few to escape censure by Parliament, Monck was appointed First Lord of the Treasury but he was now suffering from severe edema which limited his ability to attend meetings.[15] He died on 3 January 1670, followed three weeks later by his wife, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.[2] Some years later a monument, by William Kent and Peter Scheemakers, was erected in the Abbey in Monck's honour.[2]


  1. ^ Also spelled Monk in older texts


  1. ^ Yerby & Hunneyball 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Westminster Abbey.
  3. ^ a b Stoyle 1993.
  4. ^ Hunneyball 2010.
  5. ^ Allen 1979, p. 100.
  6. ^ Helms & Naylor 1983.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Hutton 2004.
  8. ^ Dunthorne 2017, p. 176.
  9. ^ a b c Clavin 2009.
  10. ^ BCW.
  11. ^ Royle 2006, pp. 211–212.
  12. ^ Wedgwood 2001, pp. 82–83.
  13. ^ Macleod 2009, pp. 5–19 passim.
  14. ^ General George Monck’s Regiment.
  15. ^ a b c Helms & Ferris 1983.
  16. ^ Worden 2010, pp. 82–83.
  17. ^ Jordan & Walsh 2012, p. 126.
  18. ^ Hutton 1989, p. 127.
  19. ^ Harris 2006, pp. 43–44.
  20. ^ Hutton 1989, p. 128.
  21. ^ Sharp 2000, p. 175.
  22. ^ Hutton 1989, p. 131.
  23. ^ Allen 1979, pp. 102–103.
  24. ^ Allen 1979, pp. 100–101.
  25. ^ McKenna, Amy. "Albemarle Sound inlet, North Carolina, United States". Retrieved 15 December 2021.
  26. ^ Sherman 1976, pp. 331–332.
  27. ^ Allen 1979, p. 114.



  • Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Monk, George" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 18 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 723–724.
  • Jamison, Ted R. George Monck and the Restoration: victor without bloodshed (Texas Christian University Press, 1975)
  • Keeble, Neil H. The Restoration: England in the 1660s (2 vol., John Wiley & Sons, 2008)

1893 text

George Monk, born 1608, created Duke of Albemarle, 1660, married Ann Clarges, March, 1654, died January 3rd, 1676.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

34 Annotations

First Reading

David Gurliacci  •  Link

Historian Thomas Macaulay's description of Monk:

"George Monk, was himself the very opposite of a zealot. ... He had at the commencement of the civil war, borne arms for the King, had been made prisoner by the Roundheads, had then accepted a commission from the Parliament, and, with very slender pretensions to saintship, had raised himself to high commands by his courage and professional skill. He had been an useful servant to both Protectors, and had quietly acquiesced when the officers at Westminster had pulled down Richard [Cromwell] and restord the Long Parliament, and would perhaps have acquiesced as quietly in the second expulsion of the Long Parliament, if the provisional government had abstained from giving him cause of offence and apprehension. For his nature was cautious and somewhat sluggish; nor was he at all disposed to hazard sure and moderate advantages for the chalice of obtaining even the most splendid success. He seems to have been impelled to attack the new rulers of the Commonwealth less by the hope that, if he overthrew them, he should become great, than by the fear that, if he submitted to them, he should not even be secure. Whatever were his motives, [in 1660] he declared himself the champion of the oppressed civil power, refused to acknowledge the usurped authority of the provisional government, and, at the head of seven thousand veterans, marched into England."

--From Thomas Babington Macaulay's History of England From the Accession of James II, Vol. I, Chapter 1 (1848) (text available online at Project Gutenberg)

Monk, at least in Macaulay's description, sounds something like George Washington at the tail end of the American Revolution, when unpaid and disgruntled troops started to grumble about marching on Congress, a move that could well have resulted in a dictatorship and/or some kind of royal restoration in America. Washington strongly supported Congress and prevailed over the grumblers. It isn't hard to imagine that the 18th century general knew something of the history of 1659-60.

David Gurliacci  •  Link

A colorful, dismissive description of Monk is given by Henry B. Wheatley in his book, "Samuel Pepys and the World He Lived In" (1880):

"George Monk, Duke of Albemarle, was a singularly unheroic character. He was slow and heavy, but had a sufficient supply of good sense, and, in spite of many faults, he had the rare good fortune to be generally loved. He was so popular that ballads were continually being made in his praise. Pepys said [Diary, March 6, 1667] there were so many of them that in after times his fame would sound like that of Guy of Warwick.

"Aubrey tells us that Monk learned his trade of soldiering in the Low Countries, whence he fled after having slain a man. Although he frequently went to sea in command of the fleet, he always remained a soldier,and the seamen laughed behind his back when instead of crying 'Tack about,' he would say 'Wheel to the right or left.' [Wheatley then quotes Pepys, who had a similar, but less interesting anecdote in an April 4, 1667 diary entry.]


-- Chapter 10: Public Characters, pp. 183-5 (1889 edition; reprinted 1975 by Haskell House in New York). Except for the backhanded compliment above, Wheatley has nothing good to say of Monk.

Wheatley also quotes an Oct. 23, 1667 diary entry of Pepys':

"The blockhead Albemarle hath strange luck to be loved, though he be, and every man must know it, the heaviest man in the world, but stout and honest to his country."

David Gurliacci  •  Link

Monk's marriage gave both the Puritans and the Victorian historian Henry B. Wheatley (and me) something to wag tongues about:

"Monk was fond of low company; both he and his vulgar wife were quite unfit for high -- I cannot say refined -- society, for there was but little refinement at court. Ann Clarges had been kind to Monk when he was a prisoner in the Tower, and he married her out of gratitude. She had been previously married to Thomas Ratford, of whose death no notice was given at the time of the marriage, so that the legitimacy of Christopher, afterwards second Duke of Albemarle, was seriously questioned. Aubrey relates a story which cannot well be true, but which proves the general feeling of doubt respecting the point. He says that Thomas Clarges came on shipboard to tell Monk that his sister had had a child. Monk cried out, 'What is it?' and on hearing the answer, 'A boy,' he said, 'Why, then, she is my wife.'"

-- From Wheatley's "Samuel Pepys and the World He Lived In," (London, 1889 edition), Chapter 10: Public Characters, pp. 184-185. I have no clue who this Aubrey is that Wheatley refers to.

Wheatley notes (p. 185) that in a Nov. 4, 1666 diary entry, Pepys relates some gossip he heard that Monk, when drunk, said it was a "miracle" that his wife, "our Dirty Bess," should find herself the Duchess of Albemarle.

David Gurliacci  •  Link

Historian Antonia Fraser on Monck:

"In Scotland, where he not only held down but positively governed the Scots with his Cromwellian army, his rule was both wise and firm. He had not benefited personally from confiscated Royalist church land in England and had thus no financial stake in the continuation of the Protectorate: Monck had been loyal to Oliver Cromwell. He would have been loyal to Richard [Cromwell] too, had he considered that the younger Protector had any capacity for maintaining within England that law and order which he found so precious."

Charles II, in exile, secretly asked Monck for help in the summer of 1659, but the cautious general rejected any idea of an immediate uprising in favor of the crown.

-- "Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration," by Antonia Fraser, 1980, Part II, Chapter 11, pp. 164-5.

Lisa Grimm  •  Link

"Aubrey" is John Aubrey (1626-1697), the antiquarian and writer, whose "Lives of Eminent Men" chronicled both truth and hearsay of characters from the Elizabethan age up to his own time. Although it was not published until 1847, it was well-known within literary circles and often cited by other writers of the period.

David Gurliacci  •  Link

More on Monck:

Here's a link to a biographical sketch on Monck from David Plant's "British Civil Wars, Commonwealth and Protectorate 1638-60" website:…

Jonathan Finn  •  Link

Aubrey's "Brief Lives" (the usual name for his "Lives of Eminent Men", which Lisa Grimm mentions) is a wonderful book and surely it and Pepys' Diary rank as the two great (auto)biographies of 17th century England. Aubrey's is a series of mini-biographies of the great characters of the age, from Shakespeare to Aubrey himself to Descartes and everybody in between. It's written in the same gossippy informal style as Pepys, and readers of this weblog will surely appreciate it as much as Pepys.…

David Quidnunc  •  Link

Winston Churchill, wryly, on Monck:

"He was a soldier of fortune, caring more for plying his trade than for the causes at stake. [ . . . ] He had steered his way through all the hazardous channels and storms, supporting in turn and at the right moment Parliament, the Commonwealth, and the Protectorate. [ . . . ] He ranged himself from the first against the violence of the Army in London. Moving with the sentiments of the Scottish people, he gained from a Convention supplies to maintain his army without causing offence. [ . . . ]

"Monk was one of those Englishmen who understand to perfection the use of time and circumstances. It is a type which has thriven in our Island. The English are apt to admire men who do not attempt to dominate events or turn the drift of fate; who wait about doing their duty on a short view from day to day until there is no doubt whether the tide is on the ebb or the flow; and who then, with the appearance of great propriety and complete self-abnegation, with steady, sterling qualities of conduct if not of heart, move slowly, cautiously, forward towards the obvious purpose of the nation. During the autumn of 1659 General Monk [ . . . ] was the object of passionate solicitations from every quarter. They told him he had the future of England in his hands, and all appealed for his goodwill. The general received the emissaries of every interest and party in his camp. he listened patiently, as every great Englishman should, to all they had to urge, and with that simple honesty of character which we flatter ouselves as a race he kept them all guessing for a long time what he would do."

-- "A History of the English Speaking Peoples: The New World" (1956), Book Six, Chapter 21: The Restoration.

Pauline  •  Link


Pauline  •  Link

A Letter From His Excellencie Lord General Monck, And The Officiers Under His Command, To The Parliament (1660)

Provided by Ian Maxted, County Local Studies Librarian, Exeter Central Library.

"I have put a facsimile of this item on our website at:…

"I hope this is of use to the website. I apologise for the quality of the facsimile but the original is very discoloured."

Pauline  •  Link

Chambers's Encyclopaedia, 1906
"...on New-year's Day 1660 he crossed the Border with 6000 men, and five weeks later entered London unopposed. So far he had kept his intentions profoundly secret. Still every one felt that the decision lay with 'Old George;' every party courted him; the Republicans even offered him the protectorate. But, while he offended nobody, he declined to connect himself with any of the sectaries, and waited patiently the course of events. From the first, his own wish, dictated by no high motive, had been to bring back the Stuarts; and before long he saw that the nation at large was with him. The freeing of the Rump parliament from the army, the readmission of the excluded members, and the election of a new parliament--these were his wary steps towards the Resoration."

Roger Miller  •  Link

This is Charles Harding Frith's biography of Monck from 1894:…

Some striking illustrations are included.

(It's part of a site that is do with the publication in 2002 of a new edition of Monck's 'Observations upon Military & Political Afairs' written in 1644-46 and first published in 1671.)

michael f vincent  •  Link

Monck another point of view "his ability to pay the men vs Lambert failure to pay his troops "
[ref C Hill p99 Century of revolution]
City of London: Money is still the milk of politics: Tho history seems to look at the romantic side.

vicente  •  Link

Gen. Monk to be Captain General.
Resolved, That George Monck Esquire is nominated and appointed, by this House, to be Captain General of all the Land Forces, in England, Scotland, and Ireland; and that the Concurrence of the House of Commons be desired herein.
From: British History Online
Source: House of Lords Journal Volume 11: 25 April 1660. House of Lords Journal Volume 11, ().

vicenzo  •  Link

Monck did a have a brother that passed away in Dec 61 . He was the Bishop of Hereford.

Daniel Jones  •  Link

I found George Lewis Smyth's entry for Monk, Duke of Albemarle in "Biographical Illustrations of Westminster Abbey" to be facinating. The phrases "hard to credit" and "larger than life" come to mind.

Smyth states: "There have been few historical personages respecting whose public conduct a greater diversity of opinion has been expressed, than that of George Monk, Duke of Albermarle."

Finding the entry can be difficult as it seems to be contained, in some fashion within or appended to "Biographical illustrations of St. Paul's cathedral" by George Lewis Smyth, Published 1843.…

cgs  •  Link

Dryden on Monck:
Among the Dutch thus Albemarle[43] did fare:
He could not conquer, and disdain'd to fly;
Past hope of safety, 'twas his latest care,
Like falling Cæsar, decently to die.
Annus Mirabilis…

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

George Monck, duke of Albemarle, who had a very early inclination to a military life, served in the Low Countries, under the lords Oxford and Goring. In the Civil War, he at first adhered to the king; but having suffered a tedious imprisonment for his loyalty, he took the Covenant, and entered into the service of the parliament. He signalized himself at the battle of Dunbar, where he had a principal share in that important victory. He was afterwards employed by Cromwell in reducing Scotland, which he did effectually, and had the chief management of affairs in that kingdom. It is well known that he had the greatest hand in the Restoration, and that his gallant behaviour on board the fleet, in the Dutch war, was almost without example. He is not so well known as an author, though in that character he was not without merit. He had talents both for peace and war; but his capacity was more adapted to the field than the cabinet. His conversation and address were better suited to those scenes of action to which he had been accustomed, than to the drawing-room of Charles II. Ob. 3 Jan. 1669-70.
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1779.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The included Wikipedia biography says that the first cousin, 1st Earl of Bath did not ask to be made 3rd Duke of Albemarle, so William III awarded the title elsewhere.

However, I would rather trust… which says that Sir John was a second cousin of General Monck, and:
"Sir John Grenville, 1st Earl of Bath was disappointed when William III granted the earldom of Albemarle to a favorite in 1697, a title claimed by Bath through his connection to the Monck family. Sir John Grenville, 1st Earl of Bath's final years were spent in a bitter legal dispute over the Albemarle estate, which almost bankrupted him. Two weeks after Sir John Grenville, 1st Earl of Bath's death in August 1701, his son and heir Charles Grenville shot himself, apparently overwhelmed by the debts he had inherited. Father and son were buried on 22 September 1701 in the family vault at Kilkhampton."

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Anne Clarges Monck, Duchess of Albemarle's biographies in our Encyclopedia make the Duke sound like some country bumkin who sort of accidentally became the man who saved England from a fourth Civil War.

Gen. George Monck was not a country bumkin.

He was born at the manor house of Great Potheridge near Torrington, Devonshire on 6 December 1608, the fourth child and second son of Sir Thomas Monck, an impoverished landowner, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Smyth, a wealthy merchant of Exeter. Her first husband was Mayor of Exeter three times and a very wealth man.

George was related to both Robert Sidney, 2nd Earl of Leicester and Sir Richard Grenville MP, another Devonshire warrior of the early 17th century. A young George Monck fought with both of these men, so he knew them.

Gen. George Monck's first cousin on his mother's side was John Grenville, 1st Earl of Bath (1628–1701), who probably owed his elevation to Monck.

However, Monck did not come to prominence through nepotism. His uncles gave him his start in the military, but he earned every accolade he received, on land and at sea, both in wartime and during times of peace.

Second sons of poor relatives often work harder than first sons of rich relatives.

Maybe Monck never lost his Devonshire dialect -- for generations many of England's foremost seamen came from the West Country, so he could have been proud of it -- leading Latin-educated bookworms from Cambridgeshire to think him ill-informed.…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


it explains the pride of Devonshire seamen for their heritage -- Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir John Hawkins, the Gilbert brothers, Edward Teach (better known as Blackbeard), John Nutt, Woodes Rogers, Thomas Stukeley and Henry Avery. I bet Albemarle held onto his accent to better communicate with his fellow soldiers and sailors, not the Courtiers. In a way, his dialect would have reminded the Courtiers that he was a fighting man, and to command their respect:

"Thus . . . the modern courtly dialect, now considered to be the correct English, is the descendant of what, in [KING] Alfred's time, was, by the then ‘educated classes, held as much below the recognised standard, as our West-Country talk is now reckoned by dwellers in Park Lane and Belgravia.'

"Only once since those days has the good broad Saxon dialect of Devon been held in court favor: and that was in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, whose greatest heroes spake with the tongue of their fathers, and were not ashamed; and who made its rugged sounds dear to all who valued stoutness of heart and unquenchable courage of soul, and specially to the 'Great Eliza' herself. Even then the dialect had its share of ridicule, as the vain efforts of Shakespeare and his fellow-dramatists to reproduce it on the stage show. It is amusing to note how they, thus Shakespeare and Jonson more especially, created a false rustic dialect which has continued to the present day upon the stage, but is known nowhere else."

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pepys last mentions Gen. Monck, Duke of Albemarle in March 1669. According to a contemporary journal kept for Cosmo, the future Duke of Turin, Albemarle had dropsy and retired with his wife to live at Newhall, near Colchester, Essex.

I've standardized the spelling of names I know, corrected scanning errors I could figure out, and increased the number of paragraphs. I apologize if I guessed incorrectly:

Before he was up on the morning of 2/12 June, 1669 the son of General Monck came to Chelmsford from his villa, to pay his respects to his highness in the name of the duke his father, and to give him an invitation. He was introduced to his highness at the earliest convenience, and paid the most respectful homage to him on the part of the general, who was prevented by illness from doing it in person; and, having received his highness's acknowledgments, and also the assurance of his intention to visit the villa in the course of his progress, the young man returned without delay to give the speediest intimation of it to his father.

After he had heard mass, while the carriages were getting ready, his highness took a walk through the town, which, from its population and wealth, ranks among the principal ones in the county of Essex, in the center of which it stands.

Then returning home, his highness got into his carriage, and set out for Newhall, the seat of General Monck, Duke of Albemarle, having sent off the rest of his people on the direct road to Colchester: and travelling the greatest part of the way through woods and meadows, descended into a valley, which serves as a sort of receptacle to the streams of water that flow from the surrounding hills, forming a lake, that approaches nearly to Newhall.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link



His highness was received by General Monck in his dressing gown, he being obliged by his complaint, which was a confirmed dropsy, to keep the house, and to retire from court to the quiet of the country.

Being then conducted into one of the principal rooms of the apartments prepared for him, his highness entered into conversation with the general, who, during the whole of the visit, did everything in his power to convince his highness of his profound respect for him, and of the gratification which the honor of his presence afforded him.

His highness was then ushered by the general, as well as his infirmity would permit, into the room where refreshments were prepared, which had more the appearance of a parsimonious collation than of a handsome dinner.

There sat down to table with his highness, the general, his son, and the whole of his suite, and the usual festivity of toast-drinking was not forgotten.

Afterwards, his highness went to see the gardens which are surrounded by a wall, and extend round the whole of the large mansion, being regularly divided into spacious walks, parterres, and hedgerows of fruit trees; and, having surveyed the whole of the premises, returned to the house, where the carriage was ready for his departure.


Before he set off, his highness again saw the general, and expressed to him the great esteem he had for his person, and his thanks for his courteous reception, which had afforded him the gratification he so much wished for, of becoming acquainted with that great man, for whom the king had an affection almost filial, and of whose courage and prudence the people had so high an opinion.

General George Monck, Duke of Albemarle, in paint of personal appearance, is of the middle size, of a stout and square-built make, of a complexion partly sanguine and partly phlegmatic, as indeed is generally the case with the English; his face is fair, but somewhat wrinkled from age, he being upwards of 60 years old; his hair is grey, and his features not particularly fine or noble.

As to the qualities of his mind, he is a man of talents, of courage, and of sound judgment; and to him belongs the glory of having re-established the king in England, an achievement to which he was manifestly incited, not by the fear of being deposed from the command of the army, as was anticipated by some on account of the disunion of the rebels after Cromwell's death, and the confused state of Parliament, which had already appointed four commissioners to supersede him, but by his love for the tranquility of the kingdom, and the uprightness of his loyalty; so that, besides the peaceable enjoyment of the highest rank in the kingdom, he receives from the king that consideration which is due to a person of his distinction, whose name deserves to be handed down to posterity as one of the greatest commanders that the present age has produced.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link



Monck is married to a lady of low origin, she having been formerly employed in one of the mercers' shops in the Exchange, in London.

Falling in love with this lady, he overlooked every other advantageous connection that might have been more suitable to his rank, and made her his wife. Her former station shews itself in her manners and her dress, she being no way remarkable for elegance or gentility.

Her son, however, which she has borne to the general, makes up for his mother's deficiency.

Newhall, the seat of the Duke of Albemarle, is a spacious and magnificent edifice, not only equaling, but very much surpassing in extent and beauty almost every other in the kingdom.

It was built by Queen Elizabeth, whose arms and name appear over the great gate, which opens into a wide court and lawn before the palace.


It then went by right of purchase to the Duke of Buckingham, and by him was sold at a very great price to the present Duke of Albemarle.

The tout ensemble of the structure is of a high character; and although the architecture is not in that perfect style which is observable in modern buildings, yet it is by no means destitute of grandeur, owing to the size and elegance of the apartments, more especially the principal ones.

The splendor of this royal habitation is augmented by several sheets of water, and delightful gardens, which the general has of late greatly improved, and surrounded the whole with a wall, in order to render his residence more agreeable.

He lives in a style equal to that of the other noblemen of the kingdom, and is well able to keep up a splendid establishment, having an annual income of 20,000/.s sterling per annum.

From Newhall his highness proceeded rapidly to Colchester, passing through the villages of Witham and Keltham, and arrived there before evening, time enough to take a walk round the city.




His highness, Cosmo, must be considered only as a traveler. Under his direction, the narrator of the records was Count Lorenzo Magalotti, afterwards Secretary to the Academy del Cimento, and one of the most learned and eminent characters of the court of Ferdinand II. They were all professed Catholics, of course.

Third Reading

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.