Montgomery Castle

Montgomery, United Kingdom

Montgomery Castle is one of many Norman castles on the border between Wales and England. The original motte and bailey is now known as Hen Domen and was built at the order of Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury, sometime between 1071 and 1074. After the rebellion of his son Robert of Belleme in 1102, the castle was given to Baldwin de Boulers. The de Boulers (later known as Bowdler) family held the castle until 1214, when it was destroyed by Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth.

The rebuilding of Montgomery Castle in stone was commenced in the late summer of 1223 on the 16th birthday of Henry III of England, a mile to the south-east of the original site. Its architect was Hubert de Burgh, who also rebuilt Skenfrith Castle, Grosmont Castle and White Castle in the Welsh Marches. From 1223 until 1228 masons worked solidly building the entire inner ward, or donjon as it was then known, on a great rock above the later town of Montgomery. This work consisted of the gatehouse, two D-shaped towers and the apartments which crowded around the curtain wall of the inner ward. After an unsuccessful attack by Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth in 1228, the middle and outer wards were added; another attack in 1233 resulted in damage to the well tower, which had to be subsequently repaired and re-roofed.

The walled town of Montgomery was attacked by the forces of Owain Glyndŵr in 1402 and sacked and burned. The local forces successfully defended the castle and the town remain a ruin until the early 17th century.

When the First English Civil War began in August 1642, Mid Wales was largely Royalist and the castle held for Charles I by the elderly Lord Herbert of Cherbury. In September 1644, he surrendered to Parliamentarian troops commanded by Sir Thomas Myddelton and Thomas Mytton. On 18 September, a Royalist attempt to retake the castle was repulsed in what was the biggest battle of the war in Wales and a major victory for Parliament. However, the new Parliamentarian governor Sir John Pryce, a Royalist defector, switched sides again in May 1645.

Much of Wales rose again in the 1648 Second English Civil War and the castle walls were demolished by Parliament in June 1649, despite opposition from the 2nd Lord Herbert, who succeeded his father in 1648. This policy was followed throughout England and Wales to prevent them being used again, reducing the number and cost of garrisons required. He was the last to use the castle as a residence and was buried at Montgomery in 1655.

There are permanent exhibitions relating to the medieval Hen Domen and Norman Montgomery Castles and their archaeological excavations with scale models of both in The Old Bell Museum, Montgomery, Powys.



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Founded: 1071-1074
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Andrew Yardley (2 years ago)
Clean tidy castle with some interesting history sat within the lovely village of Montgomery. Great place to stop for a meal or a coffee stop to explore the small village. It’s worth googling Montgomery trails as the village has a wealth of walks however it seems that these routes can only be purchased online.
DP (2 years ago)
Well worth a visit. Interesting history with excellent story boards explaining the role the castle played in the middle ages. Grounds are very well maintained. Quite a steep walk up the well surfaced path from the town but worth it for the wonderful views over Montgomery and the surrounding countryside.
Lawry Stevenson (2 years ago)
Montgomery Castle, although a ruin, is an interesting and attractive feature just above the pretty town of Montgomery. The castle has free parking and there is no charge to enter the grounds.The castle is not far from the town, perhaps ten minutes or so. If you want to walk, as you would imagine, is uphill, but the road is a good surface for walking. The views from the castle and castle itself make it a very worthwhile detour if you are in the vicinity. Montgomery is pleasant, parking is free and normally available. The town hall has decent toilets round the back.
James Whittall (2 years ago)
Always a firm favourite with the kids. Lots of space to run around and explore, amazing views and great history. One of the best castle ruins in the area!
Si Ps (2 years ago)
Lovely views. Small, free to access medieval Norman ruin, with interesting history. Free limited parking. Strictly speaking it said “guide dogs only”, but I saw people walking dogs there. (There is a bin so make sure to clean up). Was all on one level so I imagine accessible on wheelchair (note the path has loose stones and wooden bridges). Not far from the town with its amenities. Worth checking out!
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