Robert Montgomery of Comber
Sovereign Grand Commander 1825-1838
Born in 1778 at the family estate of Comber, the 5th son of James Montgomery of Comber and his wife Elenor Riddell. He attended school in Great Ardes, just outside Belfast and became an attorney at 24 Castle Street Belfast. This practice was transferred to Alexander and John Montgomery becoming A. and J. Montgomery, when Robert became an advocate and was promoted to the bench. He married his first cousin Sarah Montgomery, the third daughter of William Montgomery of Saintfield and his wife (nee Barnett) of Ballynahinch. His father James had bought what remained of the Comber estate after the death of the last Earl of Mount Alexander, his distant cousin and built a house “Tan-Y-Bryn” which remained in the possession of the family until 1999 on the death of Jill, the first cousin of the present SGC, Hugh Montgomery.” Tan-Y-Bry” had been successively a family home, a hospital during the first and second world wars and a school under the Headmastership of Rev. Charles Montgomery the present SGC’s uncle.
Robert and Sarah had eleven surviving children. Their eldest son James emigrated to Australia and their second son William was wounded at the battle of Waterloo. Their sixth son John was born on 23rd June 1816 and was the grandfather of the present Sovereign Grand Commander. He was a minister of the Unitarian Church.
Robert took over as Sovereign Grand Commander on the death of George Beaumont and continued until his own death in 1838.
The Comber branch of the family descend from the 3rd son of the 6th Earl of Eglinton, Col. Alexander Seton Montgomery, who went over to Ireland at the plantation of Ulster in about 1630. He married twice. His first wife was Margaret Conyngham and by her he had two sons John and William. The line of the first son ended with a Mrs. Waddington and from William descends the family of Field Marshal Montgomery.
Field Marshal Montgomery (i)
His second wife was Isbell (Nee Ross-Saunders), widow of James Montgomery of Ballyrush House a cousin. By her, he had a son Saunders, who in turn married a distant cousin Marie Isabelle de Montgomery, the grand -daughter or great -grand -daughter of Comte Gabriel de Montgomery.
When Gabriel had had to leave France, following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, he brought a son or grand-son with him to the court of Elizabeth I. When he set sail for France with Elizabeth’s backing at the head of the protestant army, he left his son or grand-son behind in the care of Elizabeth, who agreed to help him in return for Gabriel turning over certain navigational knowledge, which would eventually help Drake circumnavigate the globe. When Gabriel was eventually captured and beheaded Elizabeth kept her word and looked after him. It is from him that Marie Isabelle descends.
i) War Office official photographer - http://media.iwm.org.uk/iwm/mediaLib//20/media-20386/large.jpg This is photograph TR 1037 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums.