Mountjoy Blount, 1st Earl of Newport

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Mountjoy Blount, 1st Earl of Newport
Mountjoy Blount, 1st Earl of Newport after Sir Anthony Van Dyck.jpg
The Earl of Newport: detail from a double portrait with Baron Goring by Sir Anthony van Dyck.

Mountjoy Blount, [1] 1st Earl of Newport (c. 1597–1666), created Baron Mountjoy in the Irish peerage (1617), Baron Mountjoy of Thurveston in the English peerage (1627) and Earl of Newport (1628) was appointed master of ordnance to Charles I of England (1634) and played an ambiguous part in the early years of the English Civil War.

The Peerage of England comprises all peerages created in the Kingdom of England before the Act of Union in 1707. In that year, the Peerages of England and Scotland were replaced by one Peerage of Great Britain.

Earl of Newport

Earl of Newport, in the Isle of Wight, was a title in the Peerage of England. It was created in 1628 for Mountjoy Blount, 1st Baron Mountjoy, an illegitimate son of Charles Blount, 1st Earl of Devonshire. He had already been created Baron Mountjoy, of Mountjoy Fort in the County of Tyrone, in the Peerage of Ireland in 1618, and Baron Mountjoy, of Thurveston in the County of Derby, in the Peerage of England in 1627. The latter title was originally created with precedence ahead of those barons created between 20 May and 5 June 1627. This precedence was later revoked by the House of Lords. The first Earl's three surviving sons were "all idiots", and some confusion exists as to their names and dates of death. Parish registers indicate that the second Earl, named either George or Mountjoy, died at Newport House in London, and was buried at St Martin-in-the-Fields in March 1675; his brother Thomas, the third Earl, was buried at Weyhill in May 1675; and their youngest brother Henry was buried at Great Harrowden in September 1679. Upon his death, all of his father's titles became extinct.

Charles I of England 17th-century monarch of kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Charles I was the monarch over the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649.



Early career

Born around 1597, he was the natural son of Charles Blount, Earl of Devonshire and his lover and future wife, Penelope Devereux, and was born while his parents were living together without benefit of marriage. After his mother obtained a divorce from her first husband Robert Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick, in 1605, his parents married and although they were unable to legitimise him, his father, who died shortly after the marriage, left him a large estate. His mother died the following year.

Penelope Blount, Countess of Devonshire English countess

Penelope Rich, Lady Rich, later styled Penelope Blount was an English court office holder. She served as lady-in-waiting to the English queen Anne of Denmark. She was the sister of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, and is traditionally thought to be the inspiration for "Stella" of Sir Philip Sidney's Astrophel and Stella sonnet sequence. She married Robert Rich, 3rd Baron Rich and had a public liaison with Charles Blount, Baron Mountjoy, whom she married in an unlicensed ceremony following her divorce from Rich. She died in 1607.

Divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, is the process of terminating a marriage or marital union. Divorce usually entails the canceling or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage, thus dissolving the bonds of matrimony between a married couple under the rule of law of the particular country or state. Divorce laws vary considerably around the world, but in most countries divorce requires the sanction of a court or other authority in a legal process, which may involve issues of distribution of property, child custody, alimony, child visitation / access, parenting time, child support, and division of debt. In most countries, monogamy is required by law, so divorce allows each former partner to marry another person; where polygyny is legal but polyandry is not, divorce allows the woman to marry another person.

Robert Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick English Earl

Robert Rich, 3rd Baron Rich, 1st Earl of Warwick, was an English nobleman, known as Baron Rich between 1581 and 1618, when he was created Earl of Warwick. He was the first husband of Penelope Devereux, whom he divorced in 1605 on the grounds of her adultery.

He became a member of James I's court, where he was something of a royal favourite, who played in a masque before the king mounted by James Hay, 1st Viscount Doncaster (later Earl of Carlisle) at Essex House, 8 January 1620/1621. [2] He was among the entourage of the Earl of Carlisle, who were employed to offer excuses at the court of Louis XIII, for the passage of Prince Charles through Paris incognito on his way to Spain at the time of negotiations towards the ill-starred "Spanish Match". [ citation needed ]

Masque courtly entertainment with music and dance

The masque was a form of festive courtly entertainment that flourished in 16th- and early 17th-century Europe, though it was developed earlier in Italy, in forms including the intermedio. A masque involved music and dancing, singing and acting, within an elaborate stage design, in which the architectural framing and costumes might be designed by a renowned architect, to present a deferential allegory flattering to the patron. Professional actors and musicians were hired for the speaking and singing parts. Often the masquers, who did not speak or sing, were courtiers: the English queen Anne of Denmark frequently danced with her ladies in masques between 1603 and 1611, and Henry VIII and Charles I of England performed in the masques at their courts. In the tradition of masque, Louis XIV of France danced in ballets at Versailles with music by Jean-Baptiste Lully.

James Hay, 1st Earl of Carlisle English diplomat

James Hay, 1st Earl of Carlisle KB was a British noble.

Essex House (London) house in London, England

Essex House was a house that fronted the Strand in London. Originally called Leicester House, it was built around 1575 for Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester, and was renamed Essex House after being inherited by his stepson, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, after Leicester's death in 1588. The poet Philip Sidney lived in Leicester House for some time.

Earl of Newport

In July 1627 he was created Earl of Newport in the Isle of Wight; Newport, as he now was, took part in the Siege of Saint-Martin-de-Ré in 1627 but was captured at the battle of the pont du Feneau on 8 November. He was however released soon after. [3] He held a rear-admiral's command in the ineffective expedition to relieve La Rochelle in August 1628, for which he was petitioning for payment in the following years. His appointment as Master of Ordnance for his lifetime was granted 31 August 1634; as was expected in the seventeenth century, he derived a tidy fortune from the position. From his sale of gunpowder at exorbitant prices, through the Spanish ambassador, to supply the Spanish fleet attacking Dutch forces in September 1639, he pocketed £1000, and the King, £5000. [4]

Isle of Wight County and island of England

The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest and second-most populous island in England. It is in the English Channel, between 2 and 5 miles off the coast of Hampshire, separated by the Solent. The island has resorts that have been holiday destinations since Victorian times, and is known for its mild climate, coastal scenery, and verdant landscape of fields, downland and chines.

Siege of Saint-Martin-de-Ré

The Siege of Saint-Martin-de-Ré, also Siege of St. Martin's, was an attempt by English forces under George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham to capture the French fortress-city of Saint-Martin-de-Ré, on the isle of Ré, in 1627. After three months of siege the Marquis de Toiras and a relief force of French ships and troops managed to repel the Duke, who was forced to withdraw in defeat. This encounter followed another defeat for Buckingham, the 1625 Cádiz Expedition, and is considered to be the opening conflict of the Anglo-French War of 1627-1629, itself a part of the Thirty Years' War.

Battle of Pont du Feneau

The Battle of Pont du Feneau was the last battle of the siege of Saint-Martin-de-Ré by the English forces that had come to help the Huguenot rebellions of La Rochelle. It took place on 8 November 1627. The English lost the battle, and this final failure forced the English to withdraw back to England.

By his own account he bargained with the ambassador to land soldiers from the Spanish fleet at Dunkirk, at thirty shillings a head, though public neutrality had been enjoined by Charles. His relatives, the Rich-Devereux clan, were identified with the Parliamentary opposition on the 1630s. Although at Christmas 1639, Newport participated with the King in the extravagant masque on the theme of Philogenes, royal "lover of the People", [5] with the return of the Long Parliament the next year, Newport by degrees joined the forces of opposition in the House of Lords. [ citation needed ]

Dunkirk Subprefecture and commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Dunkirk ( ), is a commune in Nord, a French department in northern France. It is the most northern city of France, lying 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the Belgian border. It has the third-largest French harbour. The population of the commune at the 2016 census was 91,412.

Long Parliament English Parliament which lasted from 1640 until 1660

The Long Parliament was an English Parliament which lasted from 1640 until 1660. It followed the fiasco of the Short Parliament which had convened for only three weeks during the spring of 1640, and which in turn had followed an 11-year parliamentary absence. In September 1640, King Charles I issued writs summoning a parliament to convene on 3 November 1640. He intended it to pass financial bills, a step made necessary by the costs of the Bishops' Wars in Scotland. The Long Parliament received its name from the fact that, by Act of Parliament, it stipulated it could be dissolved only with agreement of the members; and, those members did not agree to its dissolution until 16 March 1660, after the English Civil War and near the close of the Interregnum.

House of Lords upper house in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is granted by appointment or else by heredity or official function. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Officially, the full name of the house is the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.

The turning point came during the trial of Strafford in 1641, when Col. Lord Goring had revealed to Newport an amateurish plot of Royalist officers at Portsmouth to take London by surprise, seize the Tower and somehow rescue the king. Goring betrayed the plot to Newport, who passed on the information to John Pym, who brought it forward at the most dramatic and opportune moment, sealing Strafford's fate in the bill of attainder.

Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford English earl and politician

Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford was an English statesman and a major figure in the period leading up to the English Civil War. He served in Parliament and was a supporter of King Charles I. From 1632–40 he was Lord Deputy of Ireland, where he established a strong authoritarian rule. Recalled to England, he became a leading advisor to the King, attempting to strengthen the royal position against Parliament. When Parliament condemned Wentworth to death, Charles reluctantly signed the death warrant and Wentworth was executed.

George Goring, Lord Goring English Royalist soldier

George Goring, Lord Goring was an English Royalist soldier. He was known by the courtesy title Lord Goring as the eldest son of the first Earl of Norwich.

John Pym politician

John Pym was an English parliamentarian, leader of the Long Parliament and a prominent critic of Kings James I and then Charles I. He was one of the Five Members whose attempted arrest by King Charles I in the House of Commons of England in 1642 sparked the Civil War. In addition to this Pym went ahead and started to accuse William Laud of trying to convert England back to Catholicism.

When the Civil War broke out, however, Newport served in the royalist army, and took part in the second battle of Newbury in 1644. In January 1646 he was taken prisoner and confined in London on parole. He played little part in public affairs thereafter. At the Restoration of Charles II he regained some of his old influence, but age and ill health were taking their toll.


He had on 7 February 1626 married Anne Boteler, daughter of John Boteler, 1st Baron Boteler of Bramfield and Elizabeth Villiers, half-sister of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, by whom he had eight children: [6] [7]

He died at Oxford, where he had gone to avoid the plague, leaving three surviving sons, all said to be "idiots" (i.e. mentally disabled). [8] They each inherited the title in turn, but earldom became extinct upon the death of the youngest, Henry, in 1679. Mountjoy Blount was interred in Christ Church. [9]


  1. The name is pronounced "Blunt".
  2. The masque, played before the King to celebrate the arrival of the French ambassador, has been rediscovered; see Timothy Raylor, "The Lost Essex House Masque (1621): A Manuscript Text Discovered,". English Manuscript Studies 1100–17007 (1998): 86–130, and "The Design and Authorship of The Essex House Masque (1621)", MRDE 10 (1998), p. 218.
  3. Histoire de la guerre des Huguenots faicte en France, sous le regne du Roy Louys XIII. Auec les plans des sieges des villes en taille douce (in French). T. du Bray. 1634.
  4. "Blount, Mountjoy"  . Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  5. Woodward 1955:310; almost the last of the masques, its words were by Sir William Davenant, its sets and costumes by Inigo Jones.
  6. Waters, Robert Edmund Chester (1878). Genealogical memoirs of the extinct family of Chester of Chicheley v. 1. London, UK: Robson & Sons. pp. 151–152.
  7. Accounts of his sons in peerage references tend to be inconsistent in both names and dates. Waters quotes the most extensively from parish registers.
  8. Collectanea topographica et genealogica. v. 6. London, UK: John Bowyer Nichols and Son. 1840. pp. 84–85.
  9. Granger, J. (1824). A Biographical History of England, from Egbert the Great to the Revolution ... Characters Disposed in Different Classes ... a Methodical Catalogue ... a Variety of Anecdotes ... with a Preface... by the Rev. J. Granger ... Vol. 1. [-6.!. London. p. 303.

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Military offices
Preceded by
The Lord Vere of Tilbury
Master-General of the Ordnance
Succeeded by
Sir William Compton
Peerage of England
New creation Earl of Newport
Succeeded by
Mountjoy Blount
Baron Mountjoy
Peerage of Ireland
New creation Baron Mountjoy
Succeeded by
Mountjoy Blount