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About the study

To avoid any confusion, the name Seal is an adopted one as my mother remarried. My name on my birth certificate is Hillier after my real father. My mother was the daughter of Victor Montague who was one of 9 Montague children from Tooting, London. The resemblance between myself and my grandfather Victor Montague is uncanny, despite the fact that my father was 'Hillier', prior to the descent from my mother there is an unbroken male line. The study really can be said to have started 30 years ago with my mother Linda Montague, she researched and learnt much but never lived to see the project through. I re-started this project in April 2014 and have built a family tree going back at least 14 generations and the work to link with the earlier past continues.

Variant names

There are many variants of the name, the earliest is in Latin, Monte Acuto or Montacute. Archive records show the most common variants as Mountague, Mountagewe. the other variant is Montagu or Mountagu and is commonly associated with the Earls of Salisbury. The spelling variants appear to converge in the 15th century to Mountague and is the most commonly listed but later in the 17th century Richard as bishop of Chichester and Norwich had the spelling of Montagu. The variants flow from one to the other and there is no real pattern that can be discerned.

Name origin

The name Montague or Montagu is Norman, the origin is located at Montaigu-le-Bois in Normandy. The Montagu's may have fought at the Battle of Hastings but the first recorded evidence is in Domesday and relates to Drogo or Drew Mountagu/Montacute. Drogo had been gifted a large amount of land and property and two places still bear the name, Sutton Montis/Montague and Shepton Montague in Somerset. Records show that there was a later son, Richard Monteacuto (C 1140) who held the Manor of Shepton Montague. The 12th century saw the Montagu family expand and gain further land and property and by 1197 - 1198 the family suffered an internal squabble and the event was brought to Court. The settlement saw the younger son William Montagu regain possession of Sutton Montis. From here the two family lines divided, one was to become the Earls of Sailsbury, the other remained as tenants but still as large landowners and lords of several Manors. It is from Sutton Montis that the later family was to become more prominent.   

Historical occurrences of the name

History records more occurrences for the Montague's than I can list here, from Knights, Barons and Earls to renegade monks, fishmongers, tailors and landed Esquires, the Montague's were varied as life itself. The Knights and Earls are well recorded and fought at Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt, they also helped create a dynasty that became kings in their own right. The earliest recorded are at Somerset and Kent, both date from around 1086, but after this the Montague's are to be found at Boveney in Bucks County and date from around the 1390's. Employment at Windsor Castle is the most likely reason for the appearance at Boveney and there are many occurrences of this nature, the link to Windsor Castle and Eton College remained a very strong one and was to continue well into the 17th century. Some good examples are John Mountague, Yeoman of the Kings Hawks 1483 - 1485, Thomas & William Mountague, Yeoman of the Kings chamber 16th - 17th century, Richard Mountague, Canon of the third bench at Windsor & Chaplain to King James I and Charles I. There are others and this also includes posts at Eton College and subsequent positions related to Eton.

Recent research has revealed the family to have lived at two other locations close to Boveney, these are Bray in Berkshire (the other side of the river to Boveney) and Winkfield, Berkshire which is about 5 miles south of Boveney. In both Boveney and Winkfield some of the family became landed gentry and held Arms, the Arms are closely linked to the Montagu's of Sutton Montis and suggests a much earlier pedigree that precedes the Earls of Salisbury. The family was to spread to London in the 16th century and a number of them became Citizen Mercers (Dealers in fine fabrics), others were to become Lawyers at Lincolns Inn.

Another branch is to be found at Waddesdon, Bucks County and the origin dates to 1538 and was from William Mountague of Bray, Berkshire. The family at Waddesdon prospered and continued to spread, eventually finding itself further south toward London.

The same family at Boveney also provided one of the founding fathers of America, Peter Mountague emigrated there in the 17th century and was followed afterwards by Richard Mountague who was one of the earliest settlers in Hadley, Massachusetts. The Montague's in the USA now number some 10,000.