Famous UK Gamblers – John Montagu
Simply put, John Montagu is actually most famous for inventing the sandwich... We're not joking. This is why he's commonly known as the 'Earl of Sandwich' - However, there's more to Earl Montagu than a sandwiches and gambling.
John Montagu Fact File
Simply put, John Montagu is actually most famous for inventing the sandwich… We’re not joking. This is why he’s commonly known as the ‘Earl of Sandwich’ – However, there’s more to Earl Montagu than a sandwiches and gambling. He was quite the political figure, after a decorated career in the Royal Navy and the House of Lords in the 1700’s. In his numerous political roles, he was considered a capable character, but not necessarily a trustworthy one, as he was known to take bribes, give political jobs to his friends, and was just… corrupt.
His career had many rocky points such as losing his job many times over the years, but it was perhaps his private life that will keep him remembered considering he was considered the creator of the sandwich. He was a rake and gambler. The name Earl of Sandwich was given to him in 1762. He spent 24 hours at the gaming table eating two slices of bread with meat between them. This was something no one had ever done before in terms of eating meat. He also did not eat any other food while he was at the gaming table. He stayed dedicated to his craft until the bitter end.
John Montagu was a card gambler which typically means some variation of poker. It is unknown from our research the exact games he enjoyed playing, but we do know the historical tales and story behind the sandwich concept. He may not be as famous for his gambling as he is for his sandwich and political corruption though. Considering he was an immoral man, many remember him in a good light because of the sandwich concept.
As mentioned he supposedly took bribes, appointed certain men to political careers and really did not invest in an ethical lifestyle. Despite this he had many friends, or perhaps it is because of his immoral behaviour appointing friends to political careers that made him a success, or they were hungry.
Many of his friends would meet him at the gaming tables after work and sometimes they would remain there for a day or more skipping work. Little is known as to whether John Montagu lost or was in debt because of his gambling, but chances are he probably lost quite a few times while at the tables and perhaps even gambled beyond his means.
There is a painting done of him and a gaming house, with the sandwich as a prominent pillar of society. This original painting, the stories of sandwich origination and the political corruption will keep the Earl of Sandwich in the lime light even centuries after his death.
He was married, but his promiscuous character led to a separation with his wife. It was then that he took up with his mistress, living with her for the rest of his life. He was definitely a womanizer in terms of seeking many women throughout his life despite having a wife and mistress, which also lends to his reputation as
being a rake. John Montagu played mostly in London, but he also took trips to America and gambled there a few times.