Henry Montagu Butler
Get Henry Montagu Butler essential facts below. View Videos or join the Henry Montagu Butler discussion. Add Henry Montagu Butler to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Henry Montagu Butler

Montagu Butler
Henry Montagu Butler by William Barns Wollen.jpg
Born(1833-07-02)2 July 1833
Died14 January 1918(1918-01-14) (aged 84)
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom
EducationHarrow School
Alma materTrinity College, Cambridge
OccupationHeadmaster, academic
Georgina Elliot
Agnata Frances Ramsay
ChildrenEdward Montagu Butler
A. H. M. Butler
Sir J. R. M. Butler
Sir Nevile Butler
Parent(s)Very Rev. George Butler
RelativesGeorge Butler (brother)
Josephine Butler (sister-in-law)
Montagu C. Butler (cousin)
Guy Butler (grandson)

Henry Montagu Butler (2 July 1833 - 14 January 1918) was an English academic and clergyman, who served as headmaster of Harrow School (1860-85), Dean of Gloucester (1885-86) and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge (1886-1918).

Early life

Butler was the fourth son of George Butler, Headmaster of Harrow School and later Dean of Peterborough, and his wife Sarah Maria née Gray.

He was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge, matriculating in 1851. At Cambridge he won the Browne Medal in 1853 and 1854, the Camden Medal, and the Porson Prize in 1854, and was President of the Cambridge Union for Michaelmas term 1855. He graduated B.A. as senior classic in 1855, M.A. 1858, D.D. 1865.[1]

Made a Fellow of Trinity in 1855, Butler was a tutor there 1855-1859. He was ordained deacon and priest in 1859.[1]


As his father had, Butler served as headmaster of Harrow School (1860 to 1885). As headmaster, he influenced many young people, including Stanley Baldwin (Prime Minister), Lord Davidson (Archbishop of Canterbury), Galsworthy of the Forsyte Saga, 10 bishops including Bishop Gore, 17 judges, 4 viceroys, 12 governors, 12 ambassadors, 33 privy councillors, and 64 generals. He changed Harrow from a hide-bound and backward seventeenth century institution to a rebuilt and well-equipped contemporary school.

He was then appointed Dean of Gloucester in 1885 and was also Master of Trinity College, Cambridge from 1886 to 1918, and Vice Chancellor of the University, 1889-1890.

A talented and versatile Latinist, Butler achieved fame as one of the most adept British composers of Latin (and Greek) verse in the 19th and 20th centuries. He wrote one hymn, Lift up your hearts! We lift them, Lord, to thee in 1881. He died in Cambridge on 14 January 1918.[2]


Shane Leslie[3] described him as "the Master of Trinity, a bland Olympian in a black skull-cap with a white Jovine beard and an untiring flow of the lengthy anecdotes that are told in Heaven after the nectar has gone round twice."

Butler's desk was donated to Duke Hospital by Dr. William John Dann in March 1938. After it had been moved to storage, circumstances led the school to refinish it and hence to discover the plaque telling of its historical significance.

Henry Montagu Butler was the first cousin once removed to Montagu Christie Butler, with whom he may easily be confused if either is referred to simply as "Montagu Butler". He was also the brother of schoolmaster George Butler, whose wife was the social reformer Josephine Butler, and the great-uncle of Richard Austen 'Rab' Butler, who also became Master of Trinity.

A. C. Benson recounted how Butler fell asleep during a College meeting and awoke with the emphatic observation, "A strong case, tellingly put".[4]


Butler married twice. Firstly, on 19 December 1861, to Georgina Isabella Elliot (1839-1883), with issue:

  • Agnes Isabel Butler (1865-1949), married Edmund Whytehead Howson
  • Edward Montagu Butler (1866-1948), first-class cricketer and father of Olympic gold medallist Guy Montagu Butler
  • Edith Violet Butler (1869-1887)
  • Arthur Hugh Montagu Butler (1873-1943), House of Lords Librarian
  • Gertrude Maud Butler (1880-1933), married Bernard Morley-Fletcher[5]

Secondly, in August 1888 at St George's, Hanover Square, aged 55, Butler married Agnata Frances Ramsay (1867-1931), a 21-year-old classicist who in 1887 attained the highest marks in the Classical Tripos at Cambridge. They had issue:


  1. ^ a b "Butler, Henry Montagu (BTLR850HM)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ GRO Register of Deaths: MAR 1918 3b 576 CAMBRIDGE - Henry M. Butler, aged 84
  3. ^ The Cantab, London: Chatto & Windus, 1926, p. 146
  4. ^ J.A.Gere and John Sparrow (ed.), Geoffrey Madan's Notebooks, Oxford University Press, 1981, at page 45
  5. ^ "Gertrude Maud (Queenie) Butler". The Cobbold Family History Trust. Retrieved 2019.


Church of England titles
Preceded by
Edward Bickersteth
Dean of Gloucester
Succeeded by
Donald Spence Jones
Academic offices
Preceded by
Charles Vaughan
Head Master of Harrow School
Succeeded by
James Welldon
Preceded by
William Hepworth Thompson
Master of Trinity College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
J. J. Thomson
Preceded by
Charles Edward Searle
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
Succeeded by
John Peile

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes