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Montgomery, Montgomeryshire

Historical Description

Montgomery, a market-town, a municipal and parliamentary borough, the head of a petty sessional division and poor-law union, a parish, and the county town of Montgomeryshire. The town siands on an acclivity commanded by a higher eminence, 1 mile W of Offa's Dyke and the boundary with Salop, Ig- SE of a bend of the river Severn, and 20 miles SW of Shrewsbury, and 188 distant by railway from London. It has a station on the Cambrian railway about 1½ mile NW of Newtown, and a post, money order, and telegraph office (R.S.O.) The neighbouring eminence on the W, separated. from the site of the town by a deep hollow, is crowned by a. stupendous ancient British post or fortified camp, and commands a rich and extensive view, finely bounded by the hills of Salop. The approach to the camp is guarded by four deep ditches, with two or three entrances toward the main work, where some fosses run across the hill, and a smaller fortification, having in one part an artificial mound, is at the bottom. A conjecture has been made, on the evidence-of these military works, that probably a seat of population. was here in times prior to the Roman invasion. A castle was built, either on that hill or on the site of the town, before the-Norman Conquest, by Baldwin, a lieutenant of the marches, and the town took thence the name of Trefaldwyn, signifying " Baldwynstown." Roger de Montgomery, who derived his. designation from a place in France, and was ancestor to the Earls of Eglinton, got possession of the town immediately after the Norman Conquest, built a new castle at it, and gave to it his own name. The castle stood strongly and proudly on a high projecting tongue of rock, with deeply-scarped sides; comprised an inner court and an outer court, defended. by four deep fosses cut in the rock; was garrisoned by William Eufus; was taken and destroyed by the Welsh; was restored by the Earls of Shrewsbury; was twice taken and demolished by Llewelyn ap Jorwerth, and twice restored by Henry II.; passed to Roger Mortimer and to the Herberts, and became-the latter's principal residence; was garrisoned by Lord Herbert for the king in the Civil War of Charles I.; was taken by Sir Thomas Myddleton, retaken by Lord Byron, and taken again with great disaster to the Royalists, by Sir Thomas; Myddleton; was then dismantled, and is now represented by only mouldering fragments, chiefly small part of a SW tower,. and a few low and broken walls.

The town itself was once defended by a wall flanked with-towers and pierced with four gates, called Kedewen Gate, Chirbury Gate, Arthur's Gate, and Kerry Gate, and in the-time of Leiand (who wrote in the 16th century) it still retained ruins of the wall, fragments of the towers, and remains of the gates. It is now a small and quiet place, one of the most unpretending and sequestered of county towns, neat and clean, healthy and inviting. The streets are steep, and the houses in general are built of brick. The site of Black Hall, the birthplace of the learned George Herbert, is in the NE. Lymore Park-a seat of the Earl of Powis-an interesting mansion of the IGth century, is about a mile to the SE, and stands in a park bounded on the E side by Offa's Dyke. The town-hall, used for county and borough petty sessions, stands in the upper part of the town. The parish church is cruciform, and partly Early English; has a tower added by Lord Clive in 1816; and contains a carved screen and ancient rood-loft brought from the priory of Chirbury, two effigies of the Mortimers about the time of Richard II., and a monument to the father of Lord Herbert of Chirbury. The town has Calvinistic Methodist and Wesleyan chapels, a market-hall, and a bank. It gives the title of Baron to the Earl of Eglinton. A weekly market is held on Thursday, and fairs are held on the first Thursday in each month except December, and on the second Thursday in April, May, and December. Mailing, tanning, and brick and tile making are carried on. The town received a charter from Henry III.; is governed under that charter by two bailiffs and twelve burgesses, and unites with Llanfyllin, Llanidloes, Machynlleth, Newtown, and Welsh-pool in sending a member to Parliament. Its borough limits are conterminate with those of the parish. Acreage, 3390; population, 1098. The parochial living is a rectory in the diocese of Hereford; net value, £325. Patron, the Earl of Powis.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Administration

The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Registration districtMontgomery1837 - 1870
Registration districtForden1870 - 1935
Registration districtWelshpool1936 - 1974

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.


Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Montgomeryshire is available to browse.


Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers online: