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Montgomery (Welsh: Trefaldwyn) is the county town of Montgomeryshire, lying in Powys, Wales. It is known for the remains of its castle, begun in 1233 by Henry III of England, and for its well-preserved section of Offa's Dyke.

Attractions in the town include The Old Bell museum, and near by, the Montgomery Canal and the Offa's Dyke Path. The town is only about 2 miles west of the present-day border with England.

The town of Montgomery lies below an outcrop of rock upon which stands the castle built by the English King Henry III around 1223. The castle is one of a number built along the line of the English/Welsh border which for many hundreds of years was an area of conflict and political tension. Just a couple of miles to the west lies Castell Dolforwyn, a Welsh castle, built just a few years after Montgomery, this area must have been one of the most militarised parts of the British Isles for many generations. Within 5 miles of Montgomery there are the remains of several iron age hill forts, a large Roman fort (probably called Lavobrinta and one of the most important Roman military establishments in Wales), Offa's Dyke (the huge earthwork built by the Mercian king Offa in the 8th century AD which runs the entire length of the English/Welsh border) and one Welsh and two Norman castles! The reason for all this strategic interest in the area comes from a narrow crossing of the River Severn about 2 miles from the modern site of the town. The ford at Rhydwhiman was of great strategic importance to many generations of both English and Welsh as the Severn Valley (then and now) was the major communications route into Mid Wales from England. Whoever controlled this river crossing controlled the flow of armies and trade.

The name Montgomery comes from the Norman lord who was given this area by William I after the Norman Conquest in 1066. Roger de Montgomery (1030-1094) originally came from the town of Montgomery in the Pays d'Auge in Normandy and was one of William's most trusted followers. He was given the job of administering the vital Welsh Marches and the existing Saxon Thanes were stripped of their lands in his favour. Roger and his descendants built two castles to defend the ford, the original castle at Hendomen was a wooden affair on a mound near to the crossing, the later stone castle was built about 150 years later. The modern town of Montgomery began to grow up around the newer stone castle as it provided protection and business.

Montgomery was sacked at the beginning of the 15th century by the rebel Welsh prince Owain Glyn Dwr (Owen Glendower) the castle being at the time under the control of the Mortimer family (the hereditary Earls of March). The estates eventually came into the hands of King Edward IV after the death of the last Earl of March in 1425.

With the defeat of King Richard III at the battle of Bosworth in 1485 the royal estates including Montgomery and its castle passed into the hands of the new King, Henry VII, the first Tudor king, and a Welshman! Under Tudor patronage the castle was given to another powerful Welsh family, the Herberts, in 1541.

The castle saw action in 1644 during the English Civil War when it was first held for the King and then Parliament by the Herberts, culminating in a siege and battle during which 3000 parliamentary soldiers defeated a larger force of 5000 royalists under Lord Byron (not the poet!).

After the end of the war the castle was viewed by Parliament as a danger and an order for its demolition was executed in 1649. The castle ruins are now in the care of Cadw, but it is likely that a large proportion of the older houses in the town can thank the destruction of the castle as it provided a ready source of building materials.

Montgomery was for some time the administrative centre for Montgomeryshire and hence has many old and interesting buildings in the town including an old gaol and a fine market square, the houses around which appear to be Georgian in style, but are in fact often much older with Georgian faades. There are also many examples of houses in the traditional Montgomeryshire style of half-timber (black and white) construction.

Montgomery today is a busy little town with an active community spirit and a diverse economy. The traditional agricultural base of the town still exists, but livestock is now sent to the huge Smithfield market in Welshpool (about 7 miles away). There are more than a dozen shops including Bunners and Country Works, and visitors to the town are an important source of income. There are 5 pubs, all of which serve food, The Dragon Hotel being known for its good accommodation, meals and beer!

Some years ago the local doctors' surgery was featured on national television in the UK several times as a centre for the trial of telemedicine where patients were seen by specialists via video-conferencing rather than traveling 50 miles to hospital, indirectly this lead to an institute for research into rural health care across the EU. being established at the nearby University of Wales conference centre at Gregynog Hall. Whilst in some ways still a quiet country backwater, Montgomery is increasingly using information technology as a way to remove some of the economic disadvantages of a rural (and beautiful) situation, use of the internet is common and we have a computer club in the town which runs courses on everything from digital photography to word processing. The Montgomery telephone exchange now has ADSL services available after an active campaign organised by local residents.

There are many different professionals and craftsmen in the town working in such diverse activities as bookbinding, film industry special effects, architectural design, the recording industry, writing children's books, music composition, fine art ceramics, football management, firework displays, public relations, acting, catering, academia, blacksmithing, veterinary medicine, social work, foreign language translation, television production, environmental conservation, mountaineering, domestic upholstery, alternative religions, medical research, overseas aid, paediatric dentistry, floral art, garden design, publishing, plastics recycling and also traditional hedging mitten making. Unemployment in Montgomery is currently around 1.9% of the population which is lower than the national average. Many residents travel to Welshpool, Newtown, Oswestry or Shrewsbury to work but businesses in Montgomery include the doctors' surgery, pubs and the hotel, the garage, hairdressers, an agricultural and hardware suppler, a veterinary practice, a catering business, building contractors, an employment training provider, art and crafts galleries, tea rooms, a florist, a fish and chip shop, a post office (with photocopying and internet facilities), two high street banks and a Spar (groceries, video hire, newsagent, off-license, and lottery). There is an ATM cash point at the Dragon Hotel.

Thursday is market day with the town hall hosting a greengrocer supplying his own locally grown fruit and vegetables produced to near organic standards, a fish monger and number of other stalls. On Saturdays the greengrocer is back in the town hall sharing it with the regular charity coffee morning and cake stall. The Town Hall also hosts occasional concerts, dinners, parties, dances and discos. Montgomery has a thriving Girl Guide Unit, a Brownie Pack and a Rainbows group, I understand that a Beavers and Cub Scout unit is planned. The local Civic Society is very active with its own award wining museum which is open to the public during the summer. There is even a small astronomical society which meets infrequently to discuss celestial matters over beer (Stella Artois?) in The Dragon and there is a cinema club which has a varied programme of interesting movies throughout the year.

Montgomery Church-in-Wales School is a traditional village school providing primary education for around a hundred children between the ages of four and eleven years. Secondary school students usually travel to the excellent high school in Welshpool (9 miles) or the equally good Community College in Bishops Castle (12 miles). There are excellent sixth forms in both schools with Welshpool High School in particular going from strength to strength. Some students choose to study for "A" levels at Shrewsbury Sixth Form College (23 miles) as this too has a very good reputation. There are private fee paying schools in Shrewsbury, Oswestry and Bedstone. Coleg Powys is the local college of further education based in Newtown (10 miles) providing vocational training and some higher qualifications to first degree level in association with the University of Glamorgan. The University College of Wales, Aberystwyth is about 90 minutes drive to the west and the University of Wolverhampton is around an hour away to the east. Montgomery also has a small branch public library which has some tourist information available.

The nearest main line railway stations are at Welshpool (8 miles), Newtown (10 miles), Craven Arms (19 miles) and Shrewsbury (23 miles). There is a light airfield near Welshpool (7 miles) and a glider station on the Long Mynd near Church Stretton (17 miles). Taxis are available in Newtown and Welshpool and there are bus services between Montgomery and Newtown, Welshpool and Shrewsbury. For the really adventurous you can always walk to Montgomery along the Offa's Dyke long distance footpath. There is a good bicycle shop in Welshpool. Petrol is available from Bunners and Castle Garage.

There are two active churches in Montgomery, the parish church of St. Nicholas is Church in Wales (Anglican) and there is a Presbyterian Chapel. In 2001 76.9% of Montgomery's population claimed to be Christians, 16.2% had no religion, 0.3% were Jewish, 0.2% were Buddhists and 6.4% would rather not say. Whilst not a typical example of multicultural Britain, Montgomery is actually quite a cosmopolitan place with a surprising number of its residents having worked abroad and/or travelled widely. The Welsh language is not widely spoken with only around 5% of the population claiming fluency, but Montgomery definitely considers itself a Welsh town within the context of the Marches. The Marches is the region which runs north-south and about 20 miles either side of the Anglo/Welsh border and for the last 800 years has developed a special character with wonderful towns such as Chester, Wrexham, Chirk, Oswestry, Welshpool, Montgomery, Bishops Castle, Ludlow, Leominster, Knighton, Presteigne, Kington, Hereford, Hay on Wye, Monmouth and Chepstow.

Because of the trend towards devolution and the development of differing local government agendas in England and Wales, important issues are arising for the people of the Marches, particularly in the areas of education, healthcare and transport. Traditionally, services have been regularly provided across the border, be it Montgomery children being taught in Shropshire, Radnorshire patients being treated in Hereford or Salopians (people from Shropshire) using facilities in Welshpool. The Welsh Assembly Government in particular seems to have difficulty understanding that much of its border population would rather receive their services locally on whatever side of Offa's Dyke than travel many miles extra to keep Cardiff's budgets balanced. For many people who live in the Marches, the border holds a special place in their hearts, a part of who they are even, neither Celt nor Saxon but both and proud of it.


 Youth Hostels in Montgomery: Little Brompton Farm


 Football in Montgomery: Montgomery Town FC


 Vets in Montgomery:
 Trefaldwyn Veterinary Clinic
       Pool Rd
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6EU
 01686 668234


 Pubs/Bars in Montgomery:
 Bricklayers Arms
       Chirbury Road
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6QQ
  01686 668177

 Checkers Hotel
       Broad Street
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6PN
 01686 668355

 The Cottage Inn
       Tanygraig Pool Road
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6QT
 01686 668348

 Crown Hotel
       Castle Street
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6PW
 01686 668533

 Dragon Hotel
       Market Square
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6PA
 01686 668359

 Gulliver's Tavern
       Pool Road
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6QT
 01686 668348

 Herbert Arms Hotel
       Chirbury
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6BG
 01938 561216

 Jones Gr
       Church Stoke
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6AF

 Lion Hotel
       Caerhowel
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6HF
 01686 668096

 Nags Head Hotel
       Garthmyl
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6RS
 01686 640287

 The Upper House Inn
       Llandyssil
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6LQ
 01686 668465


 Hotels in Montgomery:
 Dolforwyn Hall
       Dolforwyn
       Abermule
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6JG
 01686 630221

 Dragon Hotel
       Market Square
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6PA
 01686 668359


 B&B's/Guesthouses in Montgomery:
 Dragon Hotel B&B
       Market Square
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6PA 
 01686 668359
 01686 668287
 [email protected]

 The Farm
       Snead
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6EB 
 01588 620281
 01588 620281
 [email protected]
 http://www.thefarmsnead.co.uk

 Hendomen Farmhouse B&B
       Hendomen
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6HB 
 01686 668004
 01686 668319
 [email protected]
 http://www.offasdykepath.com

 MRM Matthews
       Tan Y Fron
       Fron
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6RZ
 01686 640297


 Restaurants in Montgomery:
 Brickys
       Chirbury Road
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6QQ
 01686 668177

 Castle Kitchen
       Broad Street
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6PH
 01686 668795


 Take Aways in Montgomery:
 Montgomery Fish Bar
       Broad Street
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6PN
 01686 668911


 For Children in Montgomery:
 Busy Bees Pre School
       Chirbury
       Montgomery
       Powys
       SY15 6BN
 01938 561272


Montgomery - From 'A Topographical Dictionary of Wales' (1849)
MONTGOMERY, a borough, market-town, and parish, in the incorporation of Forden, Lower division of the hundred of Montgomery, county of Montgomery, in North Wales, 7 miles (S.) from Welshpool, about 172 miles (W. N. W.) from London, through Shrewsbury, and 169 by way of Ludlow; containing 1208 inhabitants, of whom 850 are in the town. The ancient British name of this place, Tr Valdwyn, or "Baldwyn's town," was derived from the erection of a castle and the consequent establishment of a town here by a Norman adventurer named Baldwyn, for the security of this part of the principality, which he had reduced by force of arms, and for which, upon condition of so winning it, he had previously done homage to William the Conqueror, by whom he was appointed lieutenant of the Marches. Baldwyn, though justly regarded as the founder of the castle and town, did not long retain the territories which he had thus gained by conquest. In the reign of William Rufus, Roger de Montgomery, who had been created Earl of Shrewsbury, and had obtained from that monarch a license to appropriate to himself such lands on the west of the river Severn as he could gain by force of arms, entered the principality of Powys with a considerable army, and, seizing this castle and town, strengthened the fortifications of the former, and surrounded the latter with a wall. Having thus succeeded in securing permanent possession of them, he was in a short time regarded as their second founder; and they were consequently from that period distinguished as the castle and town of Montgomery.

In the following year the Welsh, mustering all their force, took the castle by surprise, plundered the town, and laid waste the adjacent territory. But the castle was soon repaired and the fortifications strengthened by William Rufus, who, hearing while in Normandy of the dreadful outrages committed by the forces of Grufydd ab Cynan, Prince of North Wales, and the sons of Bleddyn ab Cynvyn, advanced at the head of a large army to the Welsh frontier, to repress their incursions. His repeated attacks were, however, attended with very inconsiderable success; the Welsh sustained the conflict with obstinate intrepidity and persevering vigour, and the only advantage which the English monarch derived from his campaign was the opportunity of throwing supplies into Montgomery Castle. Elated with their recent success, the Welsh, immediately after the retreat of the English army, laid siege to this fortress, which at that time was considered the strongest and best fortified of any in the Marches. The garrison opposed a brave and resolute defence, and for many days successfully repelled the vigorous attacks of the assailants; but the Welsh having at length made several breaches in the walls, by undermining them, carried the castle by storm, put the garrison to the sword, and levelled the fortifications with the ground.

This arduous struggle between the Norman lords of the Marches, determined to retain possession of the territories which they held by right of conquest, and the native Welsh, whose ardent anxiety to regain their lost dominions incited them to acts of the most desperate valour, was maintained with equal obstinacy on both sides for several years; and many of the leaders of both parties were slain. But the English finally prevailed; by their superior numbers and better discipline, they achieved a decisive victory over the stubborn Welsh patriots, and compelled them once more to retire to their strongholds in the mountains. After this, the Earl of Shrewsbury rebuilt the castle of Montgomery; and in 1114, Owain, brother of Grufydd ab Rhŷs, Prince of South Wales, being taken prisoner by the English, was confined in it; but he effected his escape, and fled for refuge to the court of Grufydd ab Cynan, Prince of North Wales.

In 1223, Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, Prince of North Wales, having made numerous incursions into the territories of the English vassals, and perpetrated various acts of depredation and violence, for which he refused to render any satisfactory atonement, Henry III., who had taken the field with a powerful army to chastise his insolence, returning towards the Marches from a successful expedition into Radnorshire, rebuilt the castle of Montgomery in a situation better adapted to check the incursions of the Welsh, and on a site, the advantages of which, united with its own natural strength, rendered it at that time impregnable. The custody of this important fortress the English monarch confided to his great justiciary, Hubert de Burgh, with an annual salary of 200 marks, which allowance for the maintenance of the garrison was augmented in time of war. In 1228, the soldiers of the garrison, assisted by such of the natives as were under their control, attempted to open a road through the adjoining forest, an extensive tract fifteen miles in length, which had long afforded a secure retreat to the Welsh, who, concealing themselves in this impenetrable recess, made frequent predatory incursions on the lands of the English vassals, whom they often surprised and murdered. While the men were engaged in the work, they were suddenly attacked by a large party of the natives, who, issuing from their concealment, compelled them with great slaughter to retire for refuge within the castle, to which the Welsh afterwards laid regular siege. The garrison, upon this occasion, sent to England for assistance, and Henry, attended by Hubert de Burgh, coming to its relief with all possible expedition, the Welsh raised the siege and retired into their strongholds. The king, receiving a reinforcement soon after his arrival here, resolved to penetrate into the recesses of the forest; and having with great difficulty opened a road for his army, by setting fire to the woods, at length reached a solitary abbey of Carmelite friars, corruptly called Cridia, in the Vale of Kerry; which, as it had hitherto afforded an asylum to his enemies, he reduced to ashes. Upon the site of this monastery Hubert de Burgh laid the foundation of a castle, in the erection of which Henry's whole army was employed with incredible labour and under innumerable difficulties. In the middle of a thick forest in the heart of an enemy's country, surrounded by skirmishing parties of the foe, and exposed to every hazard, the English persevered for three months in building this new fortress, which it was intended to make impregnable. During that period the Welsh, watching every movement, and ready to take advantage of every favourable opportunity, frequently intercepted the English convoys and slew their foraging parties; till at length, from the want of provisions, and a suspicion of treachery in his camp, Henry was induced to relinquish his undertaking, when it was nearly completed, and to conclude a treaty of peace with the Welsh prince, Llewelyn ab Iorwerth. It this treaty it was stipulated that the fortress, in the erection of which so much labour, blood, and treasure had been expended, should be levelled with the ground.

In 1231, a party of the Welsh forces having made an incursion into the territories dependent upon the castle of Montgomery, the English, who had secretly posted themselves in a situation to cut off their retreat, suddenly attacked them, and, putting the greater number to the sword, conveyed the remainder captives into the castle: these, by the command of Hubert de Burgh, were instantly delivered over to the executioner, and their heads sent as a present to the English monarch. Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, to avenge this outrage upon his countrymen, laid waste the English Marches with the most unrelenting fury; and, in the general consternation which the violence and rapidity of the devastation had excited, Hubert de Burgh was himself compelled to take refuge in England. Intent upon conquest and revenge, Llewelyn bore down all opposition; and among other fortresses then in the power of the English, of which he obtained possession, was the castle of Montgomery, which he committed to the flames, at the same time putting all the garrison to death. The castle was almost immediately recovered by a party of English forces, but Llewelyn attempted to retake it, for that purpose encamping his troops on a meadow at a short distance, in part of which was a deep morass. He now availed himself of the services of a monk from Abbey Cwm Hr, in Radnorshire, who was instructed by Llewelyn to deceive the garrison with false intelligence. The English soldiers, seeing the friar pass under the walls of the castle, entered into conversation with him, and being informed that Llewelyn with a small force was waiting for a reinforcement, and might be easily taken, or put to flight, a party of horse was despatched from the castle to attack him by surprise. On their approach, the Welsh, apparently with great precipitation, retreated into a wood; and the English, in the eagerness of pursuit, plunged deep into the morass, in which many were suffocated or drowned, whilst the rest, encumbered with their armour and entangled in the bog, became an easy prey to the Welsh, who quickly put them to death with their spears. Henry had been for some time preparing for a campaign against Wales, and this disaster tended to accelerate the arrival of the English army, commanded in person by that monarch, who, on his reaching the abbey of Cwm Hr, in resentment for the conduct of the monk, set fire to the grange, and would also have burnt the monastery itself, had not the abbot saved it by the payment of 300 marks.

In 1259, the English king concluded a truce for one year with Llewelyn ab Grufydd, Prince of North Wales, which was ratified by commissioners on both sides at the ford of Montgomery, and on its expiration was renewed at the same place, with additional stipulations. Montgomery Castle, with several other fortresses, was ceded to Llewelyn by Simon de Montfort, under the sanction of the king, in 1265; and in the year 1268, after a conference held here, a treaty of peace was concluded between Henry and Llewelyn, through the mediation of Ottoboni, the pope's legate in England, which was ratified by the contracting parties in person, and received from the legate the sanction of the pope's authority. By this treaty, the territories taken by both parties during the war were to be restored; the Prince of Wales was to do fealty to the English king for the principality, as had been done by his predecessors, and was to pay into the English treasury the sum of 25,000 marks.

After the melancholy death of Llewelyn, in the reign of Edward I., and the entire subjugation of Wales by that monarch, Madoc, an illegitimate son of the late prince, raised a formidable insurrection in the northern parts of the principality, and gained several brilliant victories over the English, particularly in the Marches. At length, however, being attacked by the united forces of the lords marcher, on the mountain called by the Welsh people Mynydd Digoll, and by the English the Long Mountain, about five miles from Montgomery, he was defeated and slain, with most of his adherents. Edward I. granted to Bogo de Knouill, constable of the castle of Montgomery, a certain quantity of timber out of his forest of Corndon, to defray the expense of repairing the walls and ditches round this town and castle; and a grant for the same purpose was made by Edward III., under the authority of which a toll was to be taken for seven years on certain articles exposed for sale at the market, among which squirrels' skins are enumerated. In 1354, the castle, together with the hundred of Chirbury, in which it was then regarded as being comprised, is mentioned, in an inquisition obtained for the reversal of the attainder against him, as forming part of the possessions of Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, at the time of his death; after which it passed, by the marriage of his sister and sole heiress Anne, to the house of York, and thence came to the crown. It appears to have been held, as stewards of the crown, by the immediate ancestors of Lord Herbert of Chirbury, and to have been the principal residence of that distinguished family.

During the civil war in the reign of Charles I., the castle was garrisoned for the king, by its owner Lord Herbert, whom that monarch had previously appointed governor, but who, in 1644, on the approach of a parliamentarian army under Sir Thomas Myddelton, went over to the adverse side, and displaced the royalist troops by a garrison of parliamentary soldiers, of which he was entrusted with the command. A detachment of 4000 royalists, under Lord Byron, soon after Herbert's defection, approaching Montgomery, compelled the forces of Sir Thomas Myddelton to make a precipitate retreat to Oswestry, leaving Lord Herbert with a weak garrison but ill supplied with ammunition and provisions. The king's party at once laid siege to the castle, which must soon have been surrendered; but Sir Thomas, being strengthened with a reinforcement conducted by Sir William Brereton, Sir John Meldrum, and Sir Thomas Fairfax, immediately marched to its relief. A general engagement now became inevitable. The royalists, to the number of 5000 men, were posted on the hill above the castle; and their opponents, to the number of 3000, were drawn up in the plain below. The former, descending the hill, commenced the attack, and for some time gained considerable advantage; but the parliamentarian soldiers, led on by some of the ablest of their generals, and urged by the necessity of throwing succours into this important fortress, rallied, and, with many desperate efforts, succeeded in reversing the fortune of the day; and ultimately, after a severe and sanguinary conflict, obtained a decisive victory. The royalists were pursued towards Shrewsbury; more than 500 of them were killed in the battle and the pursuit, and 1400 were taken prisoners. Of the parliamentarians, only sixty were killed and one hundred wounded. The castle was afterwards dismantled by order of the parliament; but it appears that Lord Herbert received a compensation for the loss which his property thus sustained.

The town is romantically situated, partly on the summit and partly on the declivity of a hill rising from the southern bank of the river Severn, and under the shelter of a mountain of loftier elevation. Though the county town, it is small in extent and of inconsiderable importance, consisting only of four streets diverging nearly at right angles from the marketplace, in the centre. The houses, however, are well built and of respectable appearance; and the town, which is partially paved, and amply supplied with water, has a prepossessing aspect, well adapted to render it the residence of genteel families. Its environs are strikingly beautiful, abounding with diversified and highly picturesque scenery; and the hill on which the town is built commands a fine and extensive view of the Vale of Montgomery, watered by the river Severn, and bounded in the distance by the Shropshire mountains. There is neither any trade nor manufacture carried on. The market, which is well supplied with corn and provisions of all kinds, is on Thursday; and fairs are held on March 26th, June 7th, September 4th, and November 12th, for cattle, sheep, and horses.

The inhabitants received their first charter of incorporation in the 11th year of the reign of Henry III., who made the place a free borough, and endowed it with many privileges and immunities, including freedom from toll, stallage, and all other customs throughout the king's dominions, as well in England as in all other his lands. He gave the inhabitants liberty by this charter to hold a weekly market on Thursday, and two yearly fairs, one on the vigil and feast of St. Bartholomew and two following days, the other on the vigil and feast of All Saints and six following days; and in the 51st year of his reign, the same monarch granted letters patent, in which he briefly declares, "Know ye, that we, at the instance of Edward, our beloved eldest son, have granted, for us and our heirs, to the burgesses and good men of Montgomery, that they and their heirs for ever be acquitted from payment of murage throughout our whole realm of England." The above charter was confirmed in the 1st of Edward III., 1st of Richard II., 1st of Henry IV., 1st of Henry V., 7th of Henry VI., 1st of Henry VII., 28th of Henry VIII., 4th of Queen Elizabeth, and 22nd of Charles II., and perhaps at other periods now unknown. But the privileges of the burgesses have not been extended or abridged by the crown since the time of the third Henry, whose grants are still in force, and whose regulations for the government of the borough are still observed, the constitution of this ancient corporation, though affected by the Reform Act, having been left untouched by the act for the re-casting of municipal corporations passed in the year 1835. The control is vested in two bailiffs, elected by the burgesses at large in common hall assembled, from six of the freemen nominated by the high steward and coroner, on Michaelmas-day, or during the previous week; in an indefinite number of aldermen, a body which consists of those who have served the office of bailiff; a high steward, appointed by the owner of the lordship of Montgomery, and who, by his deputy, holds courts leet and courts baron; a recorder and town-clerk, offices filled by one person, who also chooses a deputy; a coroner; and two serjeants-atmace, elected by the bailiffs, and of whom one is bellman and crier. A right to the freedom is possessed by all the sons of a free-born burgess; and the resident freemen number among their privileges a share in the rents and emoluments of certain lands, in which also their widows participate during widowhood, if they continue to live within the borough.

The elective franchise was conferred in the 27th of Henry VIII., who empowered it as the shire town, in conjunction with the contributory boroughs of Llanidloes, Llanvyllin, Machynlleth, and Welshpool, to send a member to parliament. Since that period the right of election has undergone material alteration. On a petition to the House of Commons, in 1685, complaining of an undue return, it was resolved that the right was vested not only in the burgesses of Montgomery, but also in those of the subordinate towns of Llanidloes, Llanvyllin, and Welshpool; whilst on a similar petition, presented to the House in 1728, it was resolved that the elective franchise was confined solely to the borough of Montgomery, which then continued to return one member, to the exclusion of the above-named contributory places. These resolutions of the House of Commons being at variance with each other, the burgesses of Llanidloes, Llanvyllin, and Welshpool, and also those of Machynlleth, the latter having neglected to support their claim at the two former periods, were, by an act of the 28th of George III., allowed the power of asserting their privilege of voting for a member for Montgomery before another committee of the House, and of appealing within twelve calendar months against any future decision. No practical benefit, however, appears to have resulted from the permission granted by the act thus passed, no steps being taken to get the privilege restored. By the act of 1832, for "Amending the Representation," these four boroughs, with the addition of Newtown, were again permitted to share in the return of a member, the franchise being extended to the inhabitants of those places, duly qualified according to the provisions of the act; and, for the purpose of taking the votes, the bailiffs of Montgomery appoint deputies at each place, who send to them their pollbooks, for the purpose of ascertaining the aggregate amount, and making the return. The elective franchise in Montgomery was formerly vested in the burgesses at large, the number of whom claiming it, at the time of passing the Reform Act, was about 185. It is now vested in the old burgesses, if resident within seven miles, and registered according to the provisions of the act; and in every male person of full age occupying, either as owner, or as tenant under the same landlord, a house or other premises of the annual value of not less than 10, provided he be capable of registering as the act directs. The present number of tenements of this value, within the limits of the borough, which are co-extensive with those of the parish, including an agricultural district nearly ten miles in circumference, is eightythree.

The bailiffs are justices of the peace within the borough, in which, however, the county magistrates have a concurrent jurisdiction. The corporation have power to hold a court of record for the recovery of debts to any amount, every third Tuesday, the jurisdiction of which extends over the borough; but this privilege has been in disuse for eighty years. Though Montgomery is reputed the county town, the assizes take place at Welshpool (in spring) and Newtown (in summer), and the quarter-sessions are held alternately at Welshpool and Newtown. The election of a member for the shire has hitherto taken place either here or at the town of Machynlleth, being regulated by the sitting of the county court at the time of issuing the writ.

The town-hall, standing in the centre of the town, is a neat plain edifice of brick, supported on arches inclosing a sheltered area for the use of the market. The upper part, which was very inadequate to the purpose of the quarter-sessions (until lately held at Montgomery), was taken down in 1828, and two handsome and convenient apartments were constructed on a plan better adapted to that use, at the sole expense of Lord Clive, afterwards Earl of Powis, to whose son the building now belongs. The principal room is sixty-seven feet and a half in length, and twenty feet and a half in width, and had a moveable partition at one end, forming a retiringroom for the jury. This apartment, which is well lighted and handsomely fitted up, is used for assemblies and public meetings; and in the centre of the west side is what formed the court-room, twenty-nine feet and a half in length, and twenty-one feet wide. The county gaol and house of correction, at the lower end of the town, on the left of the road to Shrewsbury, was built at an expense of 10,000, defrayed by the county. It is a handsome edifice of stone of a durable quality, procured from the rock on which the castle stood, and is arranged in the form of a cross, having the governor's house in the centre, the whole being inclosed within a boundary wall upwards of twenty feet in height. The governor's house commands a view of all the wards, and of the working of the tread-mill, which is a double one, having one wheel in the felons' ward, and the other in the vagrants' ward, and the machinery being so contrived, that the labour can be regulated according to the force supplied. The building comprises six wards, with spacious airing-yards to each, in two of which are a tread-wheel and an engine-house to provide the prison with water. Above the engine-house and tread-wheel is an infirmary, with two sick wards and matron's rooms; and over the governor's apartments is the chapel, to which there is a separate entrance from each ward: beyond the chapel is an ante-room leading to a committee-room for the visiting magistrates, and two waiting-rooms: and on the roof, over the entrance and turnkey's lodge, is a place of execution.

The parish of Montgomery was once included in that of Chirbury, to which the church was a chapel of ease. The living is a rectory, rated in the king's books at 17. 4. 4., and in the patronage of the Lord Chancellor: the tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of 479. 18., and there is a glebe of thirty perches. The parish church, dedicated to St. Nicholas, is an ancient and venerable cruciform structure, in the early English style of architecture, with a tower at the extremity of the north transept, which was erected in 1816, at an expense of 1700, defrayed solely by Lord Clive, afterwards Earl of Powis. The chancel is separated from the nave by an exquisitely carved screen and ancient rood-loft, removed from the priory of Chirbury, after the dissolution of that establishment. Brockton chancel, forming the north transept, was built by the prior of Chirbury, for the accommodation of the tenants of his manor of Calmore, in this parish; and the south transept, termed Lymore chancel, is appropriated to the seat of Lymore Park, the property of the Earl of Powis. The roof of the church is neatly panelled into compartments, and in some parts is richly carved; the east end of the chancel and the west end of the nave are lighted with large lancet-shaped windows. In the south transept, or Lymore chancel, which is separated from the church by two finely pointed arches, is a splendid monument to the memory of Richard Herbert, Esq., father of Lord Herbert of Chirbury, containing the recumbent effigies of himself in complete armour, and of his wife by his side, on an altar-tomb: in the front are representations of six of their sons and two of their daughters in a kneeling posture; and under the tomb is the figure of Richard wrapped in his winding-sheet. Near this monument are the effigies of two knights in complete armour, of the noble family of Mortimer, Earls of March. Previously to the Reformation there was a chapel in one of the transepts, dedicated to St. Mary. The churchyard, which is of considerable size, and commands a fine view of the adjacent country, is surrounded with a beautiful walk shaded by lime and elm trees of stately and luxuriant growth. There are places of worship for Calvinistic Methodists and Independents.

A free school is supported by subscription, aided with two rent-charges amounting to 9, one of 5 by John Edwards, of Deptford, in 1770, and the other of 4 by Richard, Lord Herbert. One or two other schools are partly maintained by subscription, and three or four Sunday schools are held. There are several donations and bequests in land and in money, the produce of which is distributed among the poor. The principal of these is a rent-charge of 5 on the West Ham water-works, in the parish of Stepney, Middlesex, granted by John Tanner in 1649: another charge of 4 was left by Henry Whittingham, in 1631; and Edward Weaver in 1763 bequeathed 24, the interest of which, 20s., is, with the two rentcharges, divided periodically. In addition to the preceding, an unknown benefactor gave divers detached pieces of land, amounting altogether to nearly seventeen acres, and paying a rent of 29 per annum, which is generally distributed after Christmas, in small sums. The now-lost charities, amounting to 75, and part of which was a bequest of 40 left by Mrs. Hannah Barkley in 1736, were laid out at interest about seventy years since on insufficient security.

Of the ancient castle of the Herbert family there are only some inconsiderable remains, consisting chiefly of the fragment of a tower at the southwestern angle, and a few detached portions of low walls, which afford but a very inadequate memorial of its former extent and magnificence. This fortress occupied the extremity of a long eminence, on the northern side of the town, and apparently impending over it, the projecting ridge being of great height, very steep, with an escarpment quite precipitous. It was defended by four deep fosses cut in the solid rock, anciently crossed by drawbridges. Between the extremity of the building and the precipitous declivity of the height whereon it stood is a level spot of ground, which is supposed to have formed the place of parade for the garrison. Within the last half century part of the shattered walls fell down, and among the disjoined fragments a labourer found several silver spoons, which he soon after sold to an itinerant dealer; and at various times, old military weapons, broken swords, arrow-heads, and cannon-balls, have been discovered among the ruins. At the bottom of the hill, on the north side of the road leading to Garthmill, are the remains of a smaller fortress, surrounded by a moat, and having an artificial mound near the western extremity of the area: they are supposed to indicate the site of the castle originally built by the Norman Baldwyn, prior to the erection of the later castle by Henry III. On a hill at no great distance from the latter are the remains of a very extensive camp, evidently of British origin: this hill is intersected by several deep fosses in that part where it is most accessible, and in other parts it is sufficiently protected by its precipitous declivity; the approach is guarded by four smaller fosses, from which were two entrances to the main work. Offa's Dyke runs across the country about half a mile below the town. Between Montgomery and Welshpool are the remains of a spacious Roman fortification, called The Gaer, situated on the Roman road that passes through the Vale of Severn, from Caer-Sws, five miles south-west of Newtown. The walls by which the town was anciently surrounded, were flanked by round and square bastion towers, and had four gates, called respectively, "Arthur's, Cedewen, Ceri (or Kerry), and Chirbury" gates, all of which have long since disappeared: there are still some remains of the walls, varying, in different places, from a few inches only to several feet in height above the surface of the ground. A fosse near the bottom of the town indicates the site of Black Hall, once the hospitable mansion of the Herberts; it was consumed by fire, on which occasion the lodge in Lymore Park, at a small distance from the town, was enlarged for the reception of the family. The house thus enlarged is still kept up by the Earl of Powis, and, with its ancient front of timber frame-work and plaster, forms an interesting and venerable feature in the scenery of the park.

From the castle hill, and from the hill on which the large British camp above-noticed is situated, are fine views of the Vales of Montgomery, Churchstoke, and Chirbury; but the most magnificent prospect of the surrounding country is obtained from the hill immediately above them. The ground continues gradually to rise to the summit of this eminence, which is marked by a fine cluster of fir-trees, and the view embraces the extent of the Vale of Severn for several miles, that noble river pursuing a winding course among verdant meadows and luxuriant groves, by which latter it is frequently intercepted from the sight, the stream thus appearing like numerous small lakes, whose banks are decorated with romantic scenery. Among the many interesting objects which this extensive prospect embraces are, Powis Castle and its park, near Welshpool, numerous other gentlemen's seats and pleasure-grounds, picturesque villages, and distant hills of varied appearance, in beautiful and harmonious contrast, beyond which are seen, in towering grandeur, the lofty mountains of Plinlimmon and Cader Idris, and the fine chain of the Arans.

Edward Herbert, Baron of Chirbury, distinguished equally for the versatility of his talents and the eccentricity of his character, is by some said to have been a native of this place. The baron has been noticed above, as being owner, and holding the office of governor, of Montgomery Castle. He was an active politician, and the author of several works, including memoirs of his life, and a mischievous work entitled De Veritate, upon which he appears to have principally rested his claim to literary reputation. His name is chiefly remembered as one of the earliest reducers of deism into a system, by asserting in his work De Veritate the sufficiency and universality of natural religion, and having the boldness to discard all extraordinary revelation as unnecessary. Among his other publications is the "History of the Life and Reign of Henry VIII.," printed the year after his death. He was born in 1783, and died in 1648. A younger brother of Lord Herbert's, George Herbert, also born in Montgomery Castle, the family abode, occupies a high place among English writers for the general beauty of his poetry, which was once so popular that, when Izaak Walton wrote, as many as twenty thousand copies of the "Temple" had been sold. He also wrote the well-known "Country Parson," a prose work. His learning appears to have been considerable; and he has left behind him a name of enduring reputation, for the holiness of his life, which, says his eldest brother Lord Herbert, was so conspicuous "that about Salisbury, where he lived beneficed for many years, he was little less than sainted." Lord Bacon, Sir Henry Wotton, and Dr. Donne, were among his friends. He was born in 1593, and died in 1632.



 

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