The World  Drogo de Monte-acuto's Coat of Arms

The text shown below is taken in its entirety from the book "History and Genealogy of Peter Montague of Nansemond and Lancaster Counties, Virginia, and His Descendants, 1621 - 1894." This book was compiled and published by George William Montague at Amherst, Massachusetts in 1894.

Mr. Montague also compiled and published "History and Genealogy of the Montague Family of America, Descended from Richard Montague of Hadley, Mass., and Peter Montague of Lancaster Co., Va., with Genealogical Notes of other Families by Name of Montague." This book was published at Amherst, Massachusetts in 1886.

The following text refers to a plate shown on the very first page of the book of 1894. Mr. Montague had apparently not discovered the painting that he describes at the time of publication of his book in 1886.

If anyone knows of the family mentioned who owned the painting, or the location of the painting, I would be most grateful if you would contact me with this information as soon as possible.

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The beautiful plate of Arms which faces the title page is a copy of an oil painting in original colors made by Tiffany & Company, New York and owned by Mr. Henry Montague Robertson of New York City, who kindly permitted it to be copied for this work. It is not a fancy sketch prepared to please the eye, but it is the correct paternal coat of arms of every Montague descended from Peter Number 1, and can be used by all of the female line [or collateral branches] by placing it as a quartering ONLY upon their shield to indicate their descent from Montague.

The word blazon in Armory means a written description so precise as to enable the reader to depict the escutcheon without other assistance. The blazon of these arms is as follows:

Quarterly--first, argent, three fusils in fess gules between three pellets, for Peter Montague, Number 1; the same being the paternal arms of his father Peter Montague of Boveney, England. Second-Azure, a griffin segreant, or, for original Montague arms. Thus borne by the first eight generations in England [A. D. 1066 to 1300]. Third-Gules, three legs, armed proper, with banded mail of the 13th century, conjoined in the centre at the upper part of the thighs, flexiden, a triangle, garnished and spurred, or, for Fergus, King of the isle of Man. These arms are a Heraldic curiosity, and are inherited by Virginia Montagues from their great ancestress Aufricia, wife of Sir Simon Montague [number 8, in Introduction] and daughter of Fergus, King of Man. Fourth-Argent, three fusils in fess gules, for Sir Simon Montague of A. D. 1300, being the same as the first quarter without the pellets which were added for difference of families. The combination of these quarters, as here represented, is well known and is not new. See plate of the coat of arms of the Duke of Manchester, see quarterings of Anthony Browne, Viscount Montagu, and quarterings of Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon, all in Edmondsons Peerage. See plate of Arms of Anne, wife of King Richard III, in Planche's Pursuivant of Arms. [LM note - Also see Crozier's General Armory, 1957.]

CREST.-- "The head and wings erased of a griffin, segreant, or, placed over the helmet of an Esquire." From the shield of Drogo-de-Montacuto, and dating from the time of William the Conqueror, also similar to the crest found on the garter plate of the first Earl of Salisbury. It is the most ancient Montagu crest known.

SUPPORTERS.-- No degree below that of a Baron was in England entitled to bear Supporters, and although Peter Number 1, was descended from a Baron, yet it was through younger sons and Supporters were borne only by titled elder sons. But it has been considered appropriate that a purely American family may in America adopt the Segreant griffin of their first English ancestor Drogo, to uphold their shield, though usually if the sinister Supporter be a griffin, the dexter is composed of some other device.

MOTTO.-- It is not known what the motto of the Boveney family was; probably the family flourished in England at so early a date, that mottos had not come into general use; but it may be said that "Disponendo me, non mutando me" dates back to the time of Henry VIII, and is the most ancient of all the Montagu mottos. It is used in England by the Dukes of Manchester, and is said to have originated with Sir Edward Montagu, the executor of the will of Henry VIII. He was lord chief justice of England. He was removed from that position by Queen Mary, who also imprisoned him in the Tower of London. After his release, it is said that he added the motto to his Arms in Latin, a free translation of which is, "You may displace me but you cannot change me."

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Larry E. Montague
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