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

Holly Preece (16 days ago)
Beautiful castle. Free car parking at the bottom of the castle so easy to get to. Beautiful views, dog friendly, good for kids etc. Took around 1 hour with taking our time. Local public toilets in the town hall, Spar shop local and fish and chip shop. Worth the visit if your local or passing, beautiful photo opportunities.
J P (39 days ago)
Great heritage preserved, with boards that explains it's fabulous history. Fantastic views from here too. Free to enter.
Darren Barton (8 months ago)
Extensive remains from a medieval castle that was built to protect the surrounding area for the English, lots of area for a good walk around and explore. Gives great views of the surrounding countryside. Small car park next to it and a 100 meter walk to the castle, it is accessed from a steep country lane.
Samantha Kettle (10 months ago)
Lovely place to visit for Free. Great views over Shropshire. Information boards. Castle car park instructions vague, and up narrow streets, but its perfect parking for those who cant walk up a steep hill from the town.
Evalynn B. (10 months ago)
Visited in summer 2020, when I had my Shropshire vacation. We can park near the castle, but we have to find the narrow road lead up to the hill. Because I didn't find it, I parked in the village at the bottom of the hill and walked up, it wasn't the easiest. At the ruins there is no toilet or cafe, so please be prepared for this, however, there are plenty cafes, restaurant, tea room in the village. Nice history of ruins, easy to walk around, few information plate and 1 bench. Nice view and beauty spot, but not recommended to wheelchair users or baby buggies.
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