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James Montague

Bishop of Winchester
DioceseDiocese of Winchester
In office1616 (translation)–1618 (death)
PredecessorThomas Bilson
SuccessorLancelot Andrewes
Other post(s)Master of Sidney Sussex (1596–1608)
Dean of the Chapel Royal (1603–1618)
Dean of Lichfield (1603–1604)
Dean of Worcester (1604–1608)
Bishop of Bath and Wells (1608–1616)
privy counsellor (October 1617–1618)
Personal details
Born1568 (1568)
Died20 July 1618 (aged 49–50)
Greenwich, Kent, England
BuriedGreenwich (bowels)
20 August 1618, Bath Abbey (body)
ParentsSir Edward Montague of Boughton & Elizabeth (née Harington of Exton), Lady Montague
Alma materChrist's College, Cambridge
Ordination history of
James Montague
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecratorRichard Bancroft (Canterbury)
Co-consecratorsThomas Ravis (London); Henry Cotton (Salisbury); William Barlow (Rochester); Lancelot Andrewes (Chichester); Henry Parry (Gloucester)
Date1 April 1608
PlaceLambeth Palace chapel

James Montague (c. 1568 – 20 July 1618) was an English bishop.[2]


He was the son of Sir Edward Montagu of Boughton and Elizabeth Harington, and grandson of Edward Montagu.[3][4][5]

He was a graduate of Christ's College, Cambridge, and became in 1596 the first Master of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, for which he laid the foundation stone.[6] He was connected to Frances Sidney, founder of the college, his great-aunt: his maternal grandmother was her sister Lucy Sidney.[7] From that time he was a patron of Thomas Gataker. In 1603 he became Dean of the Chapel Royal.[8][9][10] Montague was both a courtier and a Calvinist, and closer to the king than George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury; he is considered to have influenced James I against the Arminians.[11][12] With the other courtiers Sir Robert Darcy and John Harington, 1st Baron Harington of Exton, Montague introduced to court circles, and especially those around Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, the Puritan Arthur Hildersham, and the radical religious figures Henry Jacob and John Burges.[13]

He edited the collected works of James I; it has been said that his introductions "push the art of panegyric close to deification".[14] He had worked with James on An Apologie for the Oath of Allegiance in 1607, at Royston and Newmarket, reading to James the four volumes of the works of Cardinal Bellarmine.[15][16]

He was Dean of Lichfield from July 1603 until he became Dean of Worcester on 20 December 1604. Montague was elected Bishop of Bath and Wells on 29 March 1608,[17] his election was confirmed on 15 April[18] and he was enthroned and installed at Wells Cathedral on 14 May 1608;[19] he was translated to become Bishop of Winchester on 3 July 1616.[20] As Bishop of Bath and Wells, Montague spent considerable sums in restoring both the Bishop’s Palace at Wells and Bath Abbey; this last, roofless since the Reformation, was re-roofed out of his own pocket. He actively supported the Baths themselves, aware that the ‘towne liveth wholly by them’. In 1613, perhaps at his behest, the Queen, Anne of Denmark, visited the town to take the waters: the Queen’s Bath was named after her. The cue for the visit may have been the completion of the restoration work to Bath Abbey, the last instalment of which had been paid for two years previously. In the same year (probably) and at Wells (probably), Montague staged a "Panegiricall entertainement" for the queen, whose cast included the character of Joseph of Arimathea, who presented a bough from the Holy Thorn of Glastonbury to the queen, the first explicit link between Joseph and the Thorn. [21]At Bath and Wells, he contributed to the legend of the Holy Thorn of Glastonbury, in an entertainment for Anne of Denmark, when the character of Joseph of Arimathea presented boughs to the Queen.[22] He is buried in an alabaster tomb in Bath Abbey.[23]


  1. ^ "Montague, James (at Bath and Wells) (CCEd Appointment ID 234219)". The Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540–1835. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  2. ^ "Montagu, James (c. 1568-1618)" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  3. ^ "James MONTAGUE (Bishop of Winchester)". Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  4. ^ "King James Bible Translators". Retrieved 21 September 2023.
  5. ^ "| British Armorial Bindings". Retrieved 21 September 2023.
  6. ^ "Montagu, James (MNTG585J)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  7. ^ "HARRINGTON". Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  8. ^ "The colleges and halls - Sidney Sussex | A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 3 (pp. 481-487)". Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  9. ^ Peter Le Huray, Music and the Reformation in England, 1549–1660 (1978), p. 59.
  10. ^ "Gataker_Marriage_Duties_Biography". Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  11. ^ Nicholas Tyacke, Lancelot Andrewes and the Myth of Anglicanism, p. 29 in Peter Lake, Michael C. Questier (editors), Conformity and Orthodoxy in the English Church, c. 1560 – 1660 (2000).
  12. ^ Ralph Anthony Houlbrooke, James VI and I: Ideas, Authority, and Government (2006), p. 173.
  13. ^ Christopher Hill, Intellectual Origins of the English Revoluation (1965), p. 217.
  14. ^ Graham Parry, The Golden Age Restor'd: The Culture of the Stuart Court 1603–1642 (1981), p. 26.
  15. ^ Alan Stewart, The Cradle King: A Life of James VI & I (2003), p. 227.
  16. ^ Doris Jones-Baker, Hertfordshire in History: Papers Presented to Lionel Munby (2004), p. 99.
  17. ^ "Montague, James (at Bath and Wells) (CCEd Appointment ID 147638)". The Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540–1835. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  18. ^ "Montague, James (at Bath and Wells) (CCEd Appointment ID 234218)". The Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540–1835. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  19. ^ "Montague, James (at Bath and Wells) (CCEd Appointment ID 147641)". The Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540–1835. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  20. ^ Concise Dictionary of National Biography
  21. ^ Stout, Adam (2020) Glastonbury Holy Thorn: Story of a Legend Green & Pleasant Publishing, pp.28-30 ISBN 978-1-9162686-1-6
  22. ^ "Isle of Avalon | the History of Glastonbury". Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  23. ^ "Bath Abbey: Places to visit in Bath". Retrieved 12 April 2014.


1893 text

James Montagu, Bishop of Bath and Wells in 1608, and of Winchester in 1616 — died 1618. He was uncle to the Earl of Sandwich, whose mother was Pepys’s aunt. Hence Pepys’s curiosity respecting the tomb. — B.

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

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