Montagu, James Edward

Born in Northamptonshire around 1568, James Montagu was the bishop of Bath and Wells between 1608-1616. He was a generous benefactor to Bath Abbey, donating towards the repairs of the nave roof. He also offered financial support to Winchester Cathedral. Between the two churches he donated over £650,000 in today’s money.  

The story suggests that Montagu was visiting the city of Bath with his friend John Harrington, and they chose to shelter in Bath Abbey from a sudden rainfall. At this time, the nave roof was non-existent, a wooden shell open to the elements. Harrington is believed to have said that if the church ‘keep not us safe from the waters above, how shall it ever save others from the fire beneath.’ 

While the truth of this story is uncertain, Montagu was indeed inspired to donate graciously towards the Abbey, and his gifts are recorded in the Benefactors’ Book which can be seen on display in Bath Abbey’s Discovery Centre.  

Montagu’s grand tomb can be found the North Aisle of Bath Abbey. 


Memorials on which this person appears

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