Montagu Bertie, 7th Earl of Abingdon

Montagu Arthur Bertie, 7th Earl of Abingdon, DL (13 May 1836 – 10 March 1928)[1] was an English peer.

The Earl of Abingdon

Photograph of the Earl of Abingdon, 6 December 1921
Montagu Arthur Bertie

(1836-05-13)13 May 1836
Died10 March 1928(1928-03-10) (aged 91)
Oaken Holt, Oxfordshire, England
EducationEton College
Caroline Theresa Towneley
(m. 1858; died 1873)

Gwendoline Mary Dormer
(m. after 1883)
Parent(s)Montagu Bertie, 6th Earl of Abingdon
Elizabeth Lavinia Vernon-Harcourt
RelativesFrancis Bertie, 1st Viscount Bertie of Thame (brother)
Wytham Abbey

Early lifeEdit

Montagu Arthur Bertie was born on 13 May 1836 at Hanover Square, Mayfair. He was the eldest of nine children born to Montagu Bertie, 6th Earl of Abingdon (1808–1884) and Elizabeth Lavinia (née Vernon-Harcourt) Bertie, Countess of Abingdon (1816–1858). His younger brother was Francis Bertie, 1st Viscount Bertie of Thame,[2] who served as the British Ambassador to France.[3]

His maternal grandparents were George Granville Vernon-Harcourt, a British Member of Parliament, and Lady Elizabeth Bingham, the eldest daughter of Richard Bingham, 2nd Earl of Lucan. His paternal grandfather was Montagu Bertie, 5th Earl of Abingdon, and his first wife Emily (née Gage) Bertie, who was the fifth daughter of General Hon. Thomas Gage, the Commander-in-Chief, North America. Through his great-grandmother, Margaret Kemble Gage, he had Dutch and Huguenot ancestral roots from the Schuyler, Van Cortlandt, and the Delancey families of British North America.

Lord Norreys attended Eton College in Windsor.[4]


Bertie served as High Steward of Abingdon and the Deputy Lieutenant of Berkshire. His father had served as Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire from 1854 until 1881 and his grandfather before him from 1826 until 1854. Upon his father's death in 1884, he succeeded to the peerage as the 7th Earl of Abingdon and the 11th Lord Norris.[5]

As Lord Norreys, he entered the 3rd Reserve Battalion, Princess Charlotte of Wales Berkshire Regiment (formerly the Royal Berkshire Militia) on 12 March 1858, he resigned but was appointed Major by his father in 1861.[6] He was later made Honorary Colonel on 27 October 1880.[6] He was also a Justice of the Peace for Oxfordshire and Berkshire and served on the governing body of Abingdon School from 1901 to 1915.[7]

Personal lifeEdit

On 10 July 1858 he married Caroline Theresa Towneley (1838–1873) at the Roman Catholic Royal Bavarian Chapel in London. She was the daughter and co-heiress of Colonel Charles Towneley, a Member of Parliament for Sligo, and Lady Caroline Molyneux (daughter of William Molyneux, 2nd Earl of Sefton). They lived at Wytham Abbey in Berkshire (now Oxfordshire) and had four children together:[8]

After the death of his first wife in 1873, he remarried to Gwendoline Mary Dormer (1865–1942) on 16 October 1883. Gwendoline was the daughter of James Charlemagne Dormer, a British Army officer who was only two years Bertie's senior. Together, they were the parents of four more children:[3]

  • Lady Gwendoline Theresa Mary "Goonie" Bertie (1885–1941),[9] who married John, son of Conservative politician Lord Randolph Churchill and the American heiress Jennie Jerome, and brother of Winston Churchill.[10]
  • Maj. Hon. Arthur Michael Cosmo Bertie (1886–1957), who married Aline Rose Ramsay, daughter of George Arbuthnot-Leslie, on 15 May 1929. After her death, he married Lilian Isabel Crackanthorpe, daughter of Charles Edward Cary-Elwes, on 7 May 1949.[5]
  • Lt-Cdr. Hon. James Willoughby Bertie (1901–1966), who married Lady Jean Crichton-Stuart, daughter of John Crichton-Stuart, 4th Marquess of Bute, on 12 June 1928.[5]
  • Lady Elizabeth Constance Mary Bertie (1895–1987), married first Major Sigismund Trafford on 21 April 1914. After his death, she married Col. Henry Cartwright on 5 September 1956.[5]

In 1911, he broke up and sold the family estates at Albury and Great Haseley.[11]

The Earl of Abingdon died on 10 March 1928, aged 91, at Oaken Holt in Oxfordshire, in South East England. He was buried at Abingdon Abbey in Abingdon. His widow lived to age 77 and died on 16 September 1942.[5]


From his first marriage, and through his eldest daughter, he was a grandfather to Henry FitzAlan-Howard, 2nd Viscount FitzAlan of Derwent, who served as a captain in the First World War and was wounded. Through his eldest son, he was the grandfather of Montagu Towneley-Bertie, who succeeded his grandfather in his titles.[12] Through his daughter, Lady Alice Bertie, he was the grandfather of Priscilla Reyntiens, a London councillor whose second marriage was to Montagu Norman, 1st Baron Norman, governor of the Bank of England.[13]

From his second marriage, and through his daughter Lady Gwendoline Bertie, he was the grandfather of the artist John Spencer-Churchill and Clarissa Spencer-Churchill, who married Anthony Eden, the Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the mid-1950s. Through his son Hon. Arthur Bertie, he was the grandfather of Richard Bertie, 14th Earl of Lindsey. Through his youngest son, The Hon. James Bertie, he was the grandfather of Andrew Bertie, Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Through his youngest child, daughter Lady Elizabeth Bertie, he was the grandfather of Sophie de Trafford, who married Charles Lyell, 2nd Baron Lyell and great-grandfather of Charles Lyell, 3rd Baron Lyell.[5]


  1. ^ Cokayne, George Edward, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, A. Sutton, Gloucester, 1982, volume I, p. 49.
  2. ^ Fox-Davies, Arthur Charles (1895). Armorial Families: A Complete Peerage, Baronetage, and Knightage, and a Directory of Some Gentlemen of Coat-armour, and Being the First Attempt to Show which Arms in Use at the Moment are Borne by Legal Authority. Jack. p. 93.
  3. ^ a b Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. pp. 2350–2351. ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
  4. ^ Hibbert, Christopher; Hibbert, Edward (1988). The Encyclopaedia of Oxford. Macmillan Publishers Limited. ISBN 9780333399170.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Abingdon, Earl of (E, 1682)". Cracroft's Peerage. Heraldic Media Limited. 7 January 2009.
  6. ^ a b Thoyts, Emma Elizabeth (1897). History of the Royal Berkshire Militia: (now 3rd Battalion Royal Berks Regiment). Thoyts. p. 249.
  7. ^ "School Notes" (PDF). The Abingdonian.
  8. ^ Skeet, Francis John Angus (1906). History of the Families of Skeet, Somerscales, Widdrington, Wilby, Murray, Blake, Grimshaw, and Others. M. Hughes and Clarke. p. 112.
  9. ^ Hugo Vickers. "Obituary: John Spencer Churchill". The Independent. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  10. ^ Lee, Celia; Lee, John (2010). The Churchills: A Family Portrait. St. Martin's Press. pp. 148–9, 265. ISBN 9780230104921.
  11. ^ Lobel, Mary D, ed. (1957). "Parishes: Albury (with Tiddington)". A History of the County of Oxford. Volume 5, Bullingdon Hundred. London: Victoria County History. pp. 8–14.
  12. ^ "THE EARL OF ABINGDON'S MARRIAGE". The Guardian. 10 August 1928. p. 8.
  13. ^ "Priscilla Cecilia Maria Worsthorne Reyntiens". The Peerage. Retrieved 24 October 2015.

External linksEdit

Peerage of England
Preceded by
Montagu Bertie
Earl of Abingdon
Succeeded by
Montagu Towneley-Bertie