"MONTGOMERY, a parish, market town, municipal and parliamentary borough, locally situated in the lower division of the hundred of Montgomery, but exercising separate jurisdiction, being the county town of county Montgomery, 6 miles from Welshpool, 7 from Newtown, and 22 from Oswestry by the Cambrian railway, on which it is a station. The town, which is of great antiquity, is situated on a rising ground backed by an eminence, whence there is an extensive prospect over the vale, extending to the hills of Shropshire. It would seem to have been originally a British town, for at a short distance from the present castle is a very extensive British fort, the approach of which is guarded by four deep dykes, with two or three entrances to the main work.
In later times it was called Tre-Faldwyn, or "the town of Baldwyn", from a lieutenant of the Marches in the time of William the Conqueror, who built a castle here. This castle was garrisoned by William Rufus, and having been several times taken and destroyed by the Welsh, was rebuilt by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury, in a more commanding position on the northern side of the town. The fortress is said to have been a very imposing structure, perched upon the extremity of a lofty projecting eminence, and defended by four deep fosses, cut out of the solid rock.
The present fragments consist of a small part of a tower at the S.W. angles, and a few low broken walls. It was subsequently held by the ancestors of Lord Herbert of Chirbury, who made it their principal residence, and during the civil war of Charles I. it became the ground of fierce contention. Being garrisoned for the king, it was attacked by the parliamentarians, and soon yielded to Sir Thomas Myddleton; but he, being threatened by Lord Byron, who had advanced with superior forces, was compelled to leave the castle, and make a precipitate retreat to Oswestry.
The royalists then laid siege to it; but meantime Sir Thomas Myddleton's army, reinforced under the conduct of Brereton, Meldrum, and Fairfax, made a counter-march to relieve the place, when a general engagement succeeded, in which 500 royalists were slain, and 1,400 taken prisoners. The castle shortly after met the fate of others, being dismantled by order of parliament.
The town was walled in the 16th century, as described by Leland. The walls have now entirely disappeared, but in other respects the town is probably very little different from what it was at that period, having no trade and not being a thoroughfare to any place of importance. It is one of the most diminutive of county towns, having a population of about 1,200. The streets are wide, and the houses for the most part built of brick. The principal buildings are the guildhall, in the upper part of the town, in which the sessions are held alternately with Welshpool, and the county gaol, a modern stone building near the site of the ancient castle.
It was first incorporated by Henry III., and is governed by a high steward, 2 bailiffs, and 12 burgesses, under the style of "the bailiffs and burgesses of Montgomery". It joins with Welshpool, Llanidloes, Llanfyllin, Machynlleth, and Newtown in sending one member to parliament.
The living is a rectory in the diocese of Hereford, value £347, in the patronage of the lord chancellor. The church, dedicated to St. Nicholas, is a venerable cruciform structure, with a tower added by Lord Clive in 1816, at the cost of £1,700. It contains a carved screen and ancient rood-loft, removed from the priory of Chirbury at the dissolution of that establishment; also two effigies belonging to the Mortimer family, about the time of Richard II., and a monument to the memory of Richard Herbert, father of the celebrated Lord Herbert of Chirbury, and Magdalene his wife, sheltered by a once richly-ornamented canopy. The charities include an endowment of £10 per annum for education, besides other benefactions bequeathed by Earl Powis. There are National and other schools.
A little below the town is the site of Blackball, recently consumed by fire, but once the hospitable residence of the Herbert family, and the birth-place of the pious and learned George Herbert. At a short distance on the road to Churchstoke is Lymore Park, the eastern side of which is bounded by Offa's Dyke, here separating Montgomeryshire from Salop. It was formerly the seat of Lord Clive, but now of Lord Powis. The house is a good specimen of the domestic architecture of the 16th century, and contains much of the original panel lings and wainscots. Dr. Abraham Rees, editor of the well-known Cyclopędia, was born at Montgomery in 1743, and the chivalrous and philosophic Edward Herbert, first Baron of Chirbury, in 1583. Tuesday is market day. Fairs are held on the 26th March, first Thursday in May, 7th June, 4th September, and 14th November."
The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]
MONTGOMERY, a borough, market town, and parish, in the lower division of the hundred of MONTGOMERY, county of MONTGOMERY, NORTH WALES, 7 1/2 miles (S.) from Welshpool, and 172 (W. N. W.) from London, through Shrewsbury, and 169 by way of Ludlow, containing 1188 inhabitants. The ancient British name of this place, Tre 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 of that name, for the security of this part of the principality, which he had reduced by force of arms, and for which, upon that condition, 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 possession of 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 licence to secure to himself such territories on the west of the river Severn as he could obtain 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 their second founder, and they have consequently since that period been distinguished as the castle and town of Montgomery. In the following year the Welsh, mustering all their strength, 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 the castle of Montgomery. The Welsh, elated with their recent success, 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, 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 ; and having, by their superior numbers and discipline, gained a decisive victory over the stubborn Welsh patriots, compelled them once more to retire to their strong holds in the mountains. After this the Earl of Shrewsbury rebuilt the castle of Montgomery ; and in 1114, Owain, brother of Grufydd ab Rhys, 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 chasties (sic) 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 two hundred marks, which allowance for the maintenance of the garrison was augmented in times 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 of 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 this 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 they afterwards laid regular siege. The garrison, upon this occasion, sent to England for assistance, and Henry, attended by Hubert de Burgh, coming to their relief with all possible expedition, the Welsh raised the siege and retired into their strong holds. Henry having, soon after his arrival here, received a reinforcement, 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, called Cridia, 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 the erection of this new fortress, which it was intended to make impregnable. During this 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, in which it was stipulated that this 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, where, by the command of Hubert de Burgh, they were instantly delivered 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 his devastation had excited, Hubert de Burgh was himself compelled to take refuge in England, Llewelyn, intent upon conquest and revenge, bore down all opposition; and among other fortresses, then in the power of the English, of which he obtained possession, took the castle of Montgomery, which he committed to the flames, and put all the garrison to death. But the castle was almost immediately recovered by a party of English forces, and Llewelyn again attempted to retake it, for which purpose he encamped his troops on a meadow at a short distance, in part of which was a deep morass. Near this place was the Cistercian abbey of Cymer, one of the brethren of which 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 their pursuit, plunged deep into the morass, in which many were suffocated or drowned, and 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 by that monarch in person, who, on his reaching the abbey of Cymer, in resentment for the treachery of the friar, set fire to the grange, and would also have burnt the monastery itself, had not the abbot saved it by the payment of three hundred marks.
In 1259, the English monarch 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. The castle of Montgomery, together with several other fortresses, was ceded by Simon de Montfort, under the sanction of the English king, to Llewelyn, in 1265 ; and, in the year 1268, a conference was held there, and a treaty of peace 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 twenty-five thousand 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 Welsh prince, raised a formidable insurrection in the northern parts of the principality, and gained several brilliant victories over the English, particularly in the marches ; but being at length attacked by the united forces of the lords marcher, on the mountain called by the Welsh 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 into the possession of 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 family. During the parliamentary war in the reign of Charles I.., the castle was garrisoned for the king, by Lord Herbert, whom that monarch had previously appointed governor, but who, in 1644, on the approach of a parliamentarian army under the command of Sir Thomas Myddelton, embraced the adverse cause, and displaced the royalist troops by a garrison of republican soldiers, of whom he was entrusted with the command. An army of four thousand royalists, under the command of Lord Byron, soon after Lord Herbert's defection, approaching Montgomery, compelled the forces under 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 royalists immediately laid siege to the castle, which must soon have been surrendered ; but Sir Thomas Myddelton, being strengthened with a reinforcement under the conduct of 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 five thousand men, were posted on the hill above the castle, and the parliamentarians, to the number of three thousand, 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, after many desperate efforts, succeeded in reversing the fortune of the day, and ultimately, after a severe and sanguinary conflict, obtained a complete and decisive victory. The royalists were pursued towards Shrewsbury ; more than five hundred of them were killed in the battle and in the pursuit, and fourteen hundred 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 sustained on that occasion.
The town is pleasingly and 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 market-place, which is in the centre : the houses 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. The environs are strikingly beautiful, abounding with richly 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 amply supplied with corn and provisions of all kinds, is on Thursday; and fairs are held annually 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 of Henry III., who made the place a free borough, and endowed it with many privileges and immunities. By this charter the government is vested in two bailiffs and twelve principal burgesses, or common-councilmen, assisted by a town-clerk, who acts as recorder, a coroner, two serjeants at mace, and other officers, who are annually elected at Michaelmas by a common hall of burgesses, each of whom, after serving the office of bailiff, is styled an alderman. The elective franchise was conferred in the 27th of Henry VIII., who, as the shire town, empowered it, in conjunction with its contributory boroughs of Llanidloes, Llanvyllin, Machynlleth, and Welshpool, to send one member to parliament. Since that period the right of election has undergone material alteration: on a petition to the House of Commons, in 1680, complaining of an undue return, it was resolved that the right of election was vested not only in the burgesses of Montgomery, but also in those of the contributory boroughs of Llanidloes, Llanvyllin, and Welshpool ; and 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 since that time has continued to return one member, to the exclusion of the above-named contributory boroughs. 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. By the late act for amending the representation these boroughs have been again permitted to share in the return of a member, the elective franchise having been extended to the resident inhabitants, duly qualified according to the provisions of the act ; and, for the purpose of taking the votes, the bailiffs of Montgomery are to appoint deputies at each place, who will send to them their poll books, for the purpose of ascertaining the aggregate amount, and making the return. The elective franchise was formerly in the burgesses at large, the number of whom claiming it for the borough of Montgomery was, at the time of passing the late Reform Act, about one hundred and eighty-five : it is now vested in the resident burgesses only, if duly qualified 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 ten pounds, 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 of nearly ten miles in circumference, and have not been altered by the late Boundary Act, is about fifty : the bailiffs are the returning officers. The freedom of the borough is inherited by the sons of burgesses, on their coming of age, and obtained by gift of the bailiffs and burgesses in common hall assembled. The bailiffs are justices of the peace within the borough, in which 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. Though Montgomery is reputed the county town, the assizes are held at Welshpool ; but the quarter sessions are always held here. The election of a member for the county has hitherto taken place either here or at 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 building of brick, supported on arches enclosing a sheltered area for the use of the market : the upper part, which was very inadequate to the purpose of holding the quarter sessions, was taken down in 1828, and two handsome and convenient rooms were constructed on a plan better adapted to that use, at the sole expense of Lord Clive, to whom the building belongs. The principal room is sixty-seven feet and a half in length, and twenty feet and a half in width, having a moveable partition at one end, forming a retiring-room 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 the court-room, which is twenty-nine feet and a half in length, and twenty-one feet wide, and is commodiously arranged for the business of the sessions. The new 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 formerly stood, and is arranged in the form of a cross, having the governor's house in the centre, the whole being enclosed within a boundary wall upwards of twenty feet in height : the governor's house commands a view of all the wards, and 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 is 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 there are a tread-wheel and an engine-house to supply 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 the place of execution. The ward for female prisoners, which, according to the plan, is to occupy a distinct wing, will not at present be completed : they will in the interim be confined in the old house of correction, which, by recent alterations and additions, has been made sufficiently convenient for that purpose, and comprises two wards and apartments for the keeper.
The parish of Montgomery was anciently included in that of Chirbury, to which the church was originally a chapel of ease. The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry of Salop, and diocese of Hereford, rated in the king's books at £17. 4. 4 1/2., and in the patronage of the Crown. The church, dedicated to St. Nicholas, is an ancient and venerable cruciform structure, in the early style of English 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. 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 : the north transept, called Brockton chancel, 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, called Lymore chancel, is appropriated to the seat of Lymore Park; the property of Lord Clive. The roof is neatly panelled into compartments, and in some parts is richly carved ; and 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, and Magdalene his wife, in which are the recumbent effigies of the former in complete armour, and of the latter by his side on an altar-tomb, in the front of which are representations of their six sons and two 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 the Mortimers, 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 extent, 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 is a place of worship for Calvinistic Methodists. Edward Herbert, Esq., in the reign of Elizabeth, bequeathed a rent-charge of £9. 12., issuing from a tenement called Oxley, or Gwern-yr-Ychen, in the parish of Llandyssil, of which sum £5 was to be appropriated to a master and £ 2 to a mistress, for teaching poor children, and the remainder to the poor. Mr. John Lloyd, a native of this town, in 1747, bequeathed the residue of his estate and effects to his executor, John Edwards, of Deptford, in the county of Kent, to be applied to such charitable uses as he should think fit. Mr. Edwards, becoming possessed of this property under the provisions of the act of mortmain, which invalidated the conditions of the bequest, appropriated £4 per annum to the teaching of ten boys and ten girls, children of burgesses, including a boy and a girl from Oxley, and also one boy and one girl from Weston - Madoc, in the parish of Churchstoke : this endowment is augmented by Lord Clive to £ 20 per annum, which is paid to a master for teaching twenty children. There are Sunday schools in connexion with the established church, and also with the congregation of Calvinistic Methodists, in the former of which forty-five boys and thirty-five girls are instructed : the girls are annually clothed by subscription. There are likewise several charitable donations and bequests in land and in money, the produce of which is annually distributed among the poor of the parish.
Of the ancient castle there are but very inconsiderable remains, consisting chiefly of the fragment of a tower at the south-western 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 impended 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 draw-bridges. Between the extremity of the building and the precipitous declivity of the height on which it stood is a level spot of ground, which is supposed to have formed the place of parade for the garrison. within the last thirty years part of the shattered walls fell down, and among the disjointed fragments a labourer found several silver spoons, which he soon after sold to an itinerant dealer ; and, at various times, ancient 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 ancient 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. Between the towns of Montgomery and Welshpool are the remains of a spacious Roman fortification, called the Gaer : it is situated on the Roman road which passed through the Vale of Severn, from Caer-Sws or Maglona, near Machynlleth. Of the walls by which the town was anciently surrounded, flanked by round and square bastion towers, and in which were four gates, called respectively, "Arthur's, Cede-Wen, Ceri, and Chirbury" gates, all of which have long since disappeared, there are still some remains, 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 still indicates the ancient site of Black Hall, once the hospitable mansion of the family of Herbert : it was consumed by fire, on which occasion the lodge in Lymore Park, at a small distance from the town, was enlarged and fitted up for the reception of the family : it is still kept up by Lord Clive, and, with its ancient front of timber frame-work and plaister, forms an interesting and venerable feature in the scenery of the park. From the castle hill, and from that on which the large British camp above noticed is situated, are extensive and 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 crowned by a fine cluster of fir trees, and the view embraces the extent of the Vale of Severn for several miles, through which that noble river pursues a winding course among verdant meadows and luxuriant groves, by which latter it is frequently intercepted from the sight, assuming the appearance of numerous small lakes, the banks of which are richly decorated with picturesque and romantic scenery. Among the many interesting objects which this extensive prospect embraces are, - Powis castle and park, numerous 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 magnificence, the lofty mountains of Plinlimmon and Cader Idris, and the fine chain of the Arans. Edward Herbert, first baron of Chirbury, and 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. He has been noticed above, as holding the office of governor of Montgomery castle he was the author of several works, including memoirs of his life, and of a work entitled " De Veritate," upon which he appears to have principally rested his claim to literary reputation, and his character as a philosopher he was born in 1683, and died in 1648. This is one of the parishes incorporated for the maintenance of their poor in the house of industry at Forden : the average annual assessment upon it for this purpose is £ 337. 16.
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