Hugh Montgomery, The Montgomery Millennium, London-Berlin-Tokyo: Megatrend International Expert Consortium Ltd, 2002
Throughout Normandy there are place-names which evoke many of the principal families of medieval England: Bohon, Beaumont-le-Roger, Vernon, St. Germain de Montgommery. But the Montgomery family, uniquely among the Anglo-Norman aristocracy, gave their name to a county. Around 1070 Roger de Montgomery, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury, built a motte and bailey castle (Hen Domen) to guard the Rhydwhiman ford in Powys, and around this developed the town and county of Montgomery.
Dr Hugh Montgomery, President of Megatrend University of Applied Science, Belgrade, has produced an interesting collection of material relating to his family name, in a supplement to A Montgomery Genealogy, published in 1992. In particular, the genealogical tables covering the Montgomeries of Comber, Ballyrush and Hillhead provide information that is otherwise difficult to obtain. The earlier genealogies have to be handled more circumspectly. At the start of the Montgomery story are several unsupported family trees of the type to which J.H. Round took an axe. Even the most imaginative of Elizabethan heralds would not have dared to produce a descent like that on III-7, which relies upon the crackpot notions of Yuri Stoyanov, author of The Hidden Tradition in Europe.
Although they gave their name to a Welsh county and left their mark on Shrewsbury, principally by founding Shrewsbury Abbey, it was in Scotland that the Montgomeries, like another Anglo-Norman family, the Bruces, principally established themselves. A curiosity of heraldry is that the arms used by the Scottish Montgomeries were Azure three fleur-de-lis or. Like the French royal arms, these derive from a pre-armorial device, in this case a single fleur-de-lis on the seal of John de Mundegumbri of Eaglesham. The charter to which this attached has been dated c. 1170, but in fact dates from after 1204. The confused history of the early Scottish Montgomeries is dealt with by Sir James Balfour Paul in Vol. III of The Scots Peerage, published in 1906, where he dismisses much of the speculative genealogy in Sir William Fraser’s Memorials of the Montgomeries, Earls of Eglinton. He states that the first member from whom the descent is clear is John Montgomerie of Eaglesham, who fought at Otterburn and died c. 1400. The earliest member of the family settled in Scotland was Robert de Mundegumri, an associate of Walter FitzAlan, the first High Steward of Scotland, who is recorded in the 1160s. It is likely that he was a descendant of Roger, Earl of Shrewsbury, but there is no direct evidence to support either Sir William Fraser’s claim of a descent from Roger’s fifth son Arnulf, castellan of Pembroke Castle, or Dr. Montgomery’s assertion of descent from Roger’s eldest son, Robert de Belesme.
Following the plantations, the Montgomery story is also an Irish one. The author traces his descent from one Col. Alexander Montgomery, who went to Ireland about 1640. He was a younger son of Alexander Seton, 6th Earl of Eglinton, who had taken the name, arms and title of Montgomerie after the death of his cousin Hugh Montgomerie, 5th Earl of Eglinton, in 1612. Col. Alexander Montgomery was also almost certainly the ancestor of Field Marshal Montgomery, although clear evidence only takes the line back to an eighteenth-century rector of Moville Inishowen in Co. Donegal.
The family tree of Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, as given in table 35, is woefully inadequate, and can be filled out from readily accessible printed works. For the record, the children of Rt. Revd. Henry Montgomery by his wife Maud Farrar were: 1, Sybil Frances (Queenie) (1882-1889); 2, Harold Robert, Senior Provincial Commissioner, Kenya (1884-1958); 3, Donald Stanley, K.C. (1886-1970); 4, Bernard Law, Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (1887-1976); 5, Una (1889-1936), md. Andrew Holden; Desmond (1896-1909); Maud Winifred (Winsome), md. 1stly Lt. Col. William Holderness, 2ndly Maj. Gen. Sir Godwin Michelmore; 8, Brian Frederick, Lt.-Col. (1903-1989); 9, Colin Roger, rector of Vryburg (1901-1959). The genealogy of the Earls of Eglinton in table 20 omits the date of death (21 April 1966) of the 17th Earl. There are numerous typographical errors, and if I were to be Hans Sachs to Montgomery’s Beckmesser, the sound of hammering would be constant.
In his foreword Dr. Montgomery remarks: ‘I believe that there is an obligation on the part of great and noble families to keep a history and genealogy of their ancestors and their deeds for posterity, particularly at this time when there seems to be a concerted effort to either forget our history or to distort it in the name of political correctness’. This aim is a laudable one, and is best achieved by scrupulous attention to historical evidence. It is to be hoped that in due course Dr. Montgomery will produce a fuller history of the Montgomery family, which is an ideal case for a one-name study.
Graham Bartram, British Flags and Emblems, The Flag Institute and Tuckwell Press, East Linton, Scotland, 2004, ISBN 1-862232-297-X
Flags and their usage are changing quite rapidly to reflect corresponding political and cultural changes. Consequently the appearance of this new book by Graham Bartram, Secretary of the Flag Institute, is most timely. It has attracted a Foreword by H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh who quotes from the Service of Consecration when Colours are presented to military units, where the flag is described as "an abiding symbol of our duty … and a sign of our resolve to guard, preserve and sustain the great traditions …" quite apart from its principal function as a means of identification.
The book starts with a short history of the Union Flag referring to its evolution from in terms of design and specification from 1606 onwards. It then deals with U.K. national flags, those of Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories. There are ten pages devoted to flag etiquette including where and when they should be flown, their use as funeral palls, their display on uniforms and vehicles, etc.
Royal flags, standards, banners and, indeed, coats of arms and cyphers, are featured at some length including examples of their use in Commonwealth countries. Naturally there are some references to Royal and personal heraldry. However military flags and insignia tend to dominate the rest of the book. Not only are there detailed illustrations of naval, army and air forces colours and emblems, but also flags reflecting the joint services and the Ministry of Defence. Where military operations involve units from several nations then it is appropriate to fly flags signifying, say, N.A.T.O. or the United Nations so details have been included.
Government Departments and officials are shown to have their own characteristic flags mostly based on the blue ensign with departmental emblem or cypher. This design appears to have been adopted by Police, Fire Service and Coastguard. However the Environmental Agency and the Forestry Commission have opted for a plain flag with a modern logo and title in words.
There are several pages of examples where local authorities in the form of county, city, town and district councils have adopted their own flags. These are matched by the Church with Archiepiscopal and Diocesan flags, and also Nonconformist and various non-Christian groups with their own flags. Furthermore, associated youth groups like Boys' and Girls' Brigades, Scouts and Guides, Cubs and Brownies, etc. have their own flags and pennants.
Quite apart from the Royal Navy the book reveals that there are many specialist maritime authorities and other organisations which use flags, including signalling flags. Among these are Trinity House, the R.N.L.I., the Port of London Authority, Eastern Sea Fisheries, Aberdeen Harbour Board, major shipping companies like Cunard, P.&.O and Caledonian-MacBrayne, and a very substantial number of established yacht clubs including the Royal Albert Yacht Club, the R.A.F. Yacht Club, the Army Sailing Association, the Medway Cruising Club, the House of Commons Yacht Club, etc.
The author has drawn our attention to several other groups and individuals who regularly use flags, singling out examples of flags for special awards such as the Queen's Award for Enterprise and the Queen's Anniversary Prize. In fact he has provided us with an extraordinarily comprehensive survey of contemporary British Vexillology, which is extremely well illustrated in full colour on virtually every one of the 122 pages. The cover price of £30-00 for a specialist publication of this nature is not unreasonable, and I would like to think it will find a place on many of our members' bookshelves.
Donald Roger Barnes, Armorial Bearings of the Surnames of Scotland – Volume 1, Panther Incensed, Auckland, NZ, 2004, ISBN 0-476-00511-6
This small A5 booklet is the first in a series planned by the author. It features coloured illustrations of just 52 shields which are very well drawn and reproduced in the 20 pages available. On the rear inside cover is a map of Scotland showing the geographical distribution of names in terms of their places of origin, the locations of the Chiefs, traditional territories, etc. There is also a glossary explaining the meanings of the terminology used in the blazons, and there some notes on the spelling and pronunciation of certain Scottish surnames.
The author has cross-checked the data that he has presented against 17 standard sources all of which are quoted. He points out that virtually all the entries in the booklet are undifferenced arms of named Chiefs even if there is no current Chief, in which case the design has been inferred from ancient records.
This booklet is well produced and well presented: it was a great pleasure to read. There seems little doubt that ultimately the series will develop into a first class work of reference for those with more than a passing interest in Scottish heraldry.
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