Matthew Robinson (1762-1831) was the younger son of Morris Robinson and Jane Greenland. Other than his elder brother Morris, who was to inherit the title and estates of his uncle Matthew Robinson Morris, 3rd Baron Rokeby, he was the only male of his generation in the Robinson family. His aunt Elizabeth Montagu reached an agreement with his parents that she would pay for his education and make him her heir, since her own son had died as an infant. After Edward Montagu died in 1775, she took him to live with her, and on 3rd June 1776, at the age of thirteen, he formally changed his name to Montagu. In the same year, she took him to Paris for several months together with Montagu Pennington, nephew of her friend Elizabeth Carter, who was of a similar age.
Matthew was first educated at Cheam School in Surrey and was then moved (at his aunt’s instigation) to the house of her friend Revd. John Burrows at Hadley in Essex. She then sent him to Harrow School in 1777, accompanied by a new tutor, Rev William Gilbank, and in 1780 he went up to Trinity Hall, Cambridge. His aunt arranged for him to enter parliament in the May 1786 election via the rotten borough of Bossiney in Cornwall, which was controlled by her friend Lord Mount Edgcumbe. In 1790 he exchanged this for the Cornish seat of Tregony, which he held for six years. He was ‘a faithful follower of Pitt’ but was out of parliament between 1796 and 1806, when he was returned for St Germans, another Cornish rotten borough, and he finally retired in 1812. He was a friend of William Wilberforce, and supported his attempts to bring about the abolition of slavery.
Elizabeth Montagu had hoped Matthew would marry her companion, Dorothea Gregory, and was bitterly disappointed when Gregory chose to marry Revd. Archibald Alison. She chose as Matthew’s bride Elizabeth Charlton (c. 1770 – 1817), an orphan and heiress with a fortune of £50,000, and personally negotiated the marriage settlement. They married on 9th July 1785 at St Marylebone in London, and the couple then came to live with her at Sandleford Priory in Berkshire and Montagu House in Portman Square in London. They had six sons and seven daughters: only two of their sons were to marry. On her death, she left her entire estate (with the exception of some small legacies) to Matthew.
Matthew had already been inducted by his aunt into the management of her estates and coal mines in Newcastle, and had taken sole responsibility for them during the last years of her life. After her death, he published four volumes of her correspondence as The Letters of Mrs Elizabeth Montagu (London: Cadell and Davies, 1809-1813).
On the death of his brother Morris in 1829, Matthew succeeded to the title of 4th Baron Rokeby in the Peerage of Ireland, and inherited the family estate at Mount Morris in Kent. He died only two years later, and the title went successively to his sons Edward and Henry Robinson, but was extinguished in 1883 on Henry’s death without surviving male issue.
Matthew Montagu died at Montagu House in Portman Square at the age of 68 and was buried at the church of St Marylebone, London.
Also known as:
- Matthew Montagu
|VIAF Authority File ID|
Mentioned in 105 letters
Recipient of 145 letters
|Letter from Elizabeth Montagu to Matthew Robinson Montagu||July 7, 1789||3914|
|Letter from Elizabeth Montagu to Matthew Robinson Montagu||July 9, 1789||3915|
|Letter from Elizabeth Montagu to Matthew Robinson Montagu||July 14, 1789||3916|
|Letter from Elizabeth Montagu to Matthew Robinson Montagu||Sept. 27, 1789|