Montgomery Castle

Has been described as a Certain Masonry Castle

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameMontgomery Castle
Alternative NamesTrefaldwyn; Baldwins Castle; Balwy
Historic CountryMontgomeryshire
Modern AuthorityPowys
1974 AuthorityPowys
CommunityMontgomery

Montgomery Castle, now ruined, was a magnificent royal castle that crowned the crag overlooking the ancient borough of Montgomery. The castle was begun in 1223 when the king's advisors pointed out a site 'suitable for the erection of an impregnable castle'. It was largely complete by 1234, when the towers were roofed with lead. The castle was maintained throughout the middle ages and came to prominence again in the sixteenth century, being re-edified in 1537-8. In this period the castle was a noble residence and a magnificent new house was built within its walls in 1622-5 (NPRN 309). The castle was comprehensively slighted and otherwise laid low following the civil war. At the end of the last century it was excavated and the remains consolidated for public view. The castle was laid out along the summit of a high rocky ridge. It consisted of a small, but strongly walled and towered inner ward or court, at the north end, approached through a larger, less strongly walled court, the middle ward. To the south of this are the remains of various outworks spread out along the remainder of the ridge. The middle ward, where the great house of 1622-5 stood, is reduced to foundations. The borough was laid out at the same time as the castle and was chartered in 1227. It too was walled about, but little remains other than earthworks (see NPRN 306412). (Coflein)

Situated at the top of Castle Hill, reached by footpath from car park by Old Castle Farm.

The castle was begun in 1223 to the order of Henry III, firstly in timber, replaced very shortly in stone. The stone curtain of the inner ward with twin-towered gatehouse with red sandstone dressings dated from 1224-33, the gatehouse of the middle ward from 1251, and the curtain of the middle ward probably from 1251-3

Around 1280 there was further strengthening of the town and castle defences following the uprising of Llewelyn ap Gruffydd and in the 1280s buildings such as the kitchen and brewhouse were erected in the Inner Ward. The centre tower of the E curtain wall of the Middle Ward was repaired probably in later C14, when the Well Tower was almost completely rebuilt. Further lodgings were added in 1530s, in the SW angle of the Inner Ward and against the W wall of the Middle Ward, when Rowland Lee, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, held the Presidency of the Council of the Marches (1534-43). A mansion of brick and timber was built from c. 1622 on three sides of the Middle Ward for Sir Edward Herbert (later Lord Herbert of Chirbury); described as 'beautiful without and richly furnished within', built by John and Samuel Scampion, carpenters, from Great Hormead, Hertfordshire. Both the castle and the new buildings were levelled by order of Parliament in 1649, and the ruins thereafter pillaged for stone. Considerably more masonry than survives today is shown in the 1742 view by S. and N. Buck. There was a large collapse in 1800. Now in the care of the Welsh Assembly Government.

The scant ruins of a very large medieval castle, sited on a ridge of igneous greenstone overlooking the town, which was founded at the same time as work was begun on the castle. The castle was comprehensively slighted in 1649. (Listed Building Report)

Masonry castle standing on a rocky promontory. Precipitous slopes to the north and east make this an excellent defensive site. The castle was built by Henry III to counter the growing power of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in this area of the Marches. It was probably originally built in timber in 1223 but was almost immediately rebuilt in stone and completed by 1234. The castle of Montgomery replaced the old timber castle at Hen Domen Montgomery castle is approached from the south. The surviving defences comprise a barbican, a wide outer ditch, the middle ward, a narrower inner ditch and the inner ward. The inner ward, protected by a curtain wall and a twin-towered gatehouse, originally contained the royal suite and apartments as well as the kitchen and brewhouse. On the western side, a large D-shaped tower contained the well. The middle ward originally had only timber defences, but was walled in stone at a later date and manorial buildings erected within it. (Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust HER)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic Wales CADW listed database record number
The National Monument Record (Coflein) number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSO221967
Latitude52.5634918212891
Longitude-3.14981007575989
Eastings322150
Northings296790
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
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Books

  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 427, 473
  • Kenyon, John, 2010, The Medieval Castles of Wales (University of Wales Press) p. 56-59
  • Purton, P.F., 2009, A History of the Early Medieval Siege c. 450-1220 (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press) p. 331
  • Morgan, Gerald, 2008, Castles in Wales: A Handbook (Talybont: Y Lolfa Cyf.) p. 192-5
  • Gravett, Christopher, 2007, The Castles of Edward I in Wales 1277-1307 (Osprey Fortress series 64)
  • Remfry, Paul, 2005 rev edn, Montgomery Castle, a royal fortress of Henry III (Worcester: SCS Publishing)
  • Welton, A. and J., 2003, The Story of Montgomery (Logaston Press) p. 3-13
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles of Mid Wales (Malvern) p. 44-6
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses Vol. 2 (Cambridge)
  • Pettifer, Adrian, 2000, Welsh Castles, A Guide by Counties (Boydell Press) p. 148-50
  • Reid, Alan, 1998, Castles of Wales (John Jones Publishing) p. 106, 108
  • Remfry, Paul, 1998, Bloody Montgomery, 1224 to 1295 (Worcester: SCS Publishing)
  • Burnham, H., 1995, A Guide to Ancient and Historic Wales: Clwyd and Powys (Cadw, London)
  • Brown, R.Allen, 1989, Castles from the Air (Cambridge University Press) p. 159-60
  • Thompson, W.M., 1987, The Decline of the Castle (Cambridge University Press) p. 105, 144, 145, 147, 148, 149, 186-93
  • Taylor, A.J., 1986, ‘An incident at Montgomery Castle on New Year’s day, 1288’, in Taylor, A.J., Studies in castles and castle-building (London: Hambledon Press) p. 179-84
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 299
  • Fry, P.S., 1980, Castles of the British Isles (David and Charles) p. 365-7
  • Haslam, R.., 1979, Buildings of Wales: Powys (Yale University Press) p. 168-70
  • Colvin, H.M., Brown, R.Allen and Taylor, A.J., 1963, The history of the King's Works Vol. 2: the Middle Ages (London: HMSO) p. 739-42
  • Oman, Charles W.C., 1926, Castles (1978 edn Beetham House: New York) p. 221-3
  • Armitage, Ella, 1912, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles (London: John Murray) p. 264, 395 (Assumes this was site of the early castle - which was actually Hen Domen) online copy
  • RCAHMW, 1911, An inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Montgomeryshire (HMSO) p. 158-9 no. 805 online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1884, Mediaeval Military Architecture in England  (Wyman and Sons) Vol. 2 p. 303-12 (reprint of Mont. Coll. article) online copy
  • Timbs, J. and Gunn, A., 1872, Abbeys, Castles and Ancient Halls of England and Wales Vol. 3 (London) p. 448-9 online copy
  • Eyton, R.W., 1854-60, The Antiquities of Shropshire Vol. 11 p. 117-172
  • Lewis, Samual, 1849, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales online copy
  • Buck, Samuel and Nathenial, 1774, Buck’s Antiquities (London) Vol. 2 p. 413
  • Grose, Francis, 1785, The Antiquities of England and Wales (London) Vol. 7 p. 65-68 online copy
  • Tomley, J.E., The Castle of Montgomery

Antiquarian

Journals

  • Neil Guy, 2015-16, 'The Portcullis - design and development' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 29 p. 132-201
  • Ivor Tanner, 2013, 'Montgomery Castle Well: The Deepest Known Fortress Well In Wales' Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 101 pp. 149-50
  • Stephenson, D., 2005 (published 2008), 'Llywelyn the Great, the Shropshire March and the building of Montgomery Castle' Shropshire History and Archaeology Vol. 80 p. 522-58
  • Knight, J.K., 1994, ‘Excavations at Montgomery Castle Part II: The Finds’. Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 143 p. 139-203
  • Knight, J.K., 1993, ‘Excavations at Montgomery Castle Part II: The Finds (Metalwork)’ Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 142 p. 182-242
  • Knight, J.K., 1992, ‘Excavations At Montgomery Castle - Part I’ Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 141 p. 97-180.
  • Knight, J.K., 1983, ‘Montgomery: a castle of the Welsh March, 1223-1649’ Château Gaillard Vol. 11 p. 169-82
  • Knight, J.K., 1981, ‘Montgomery Castle’ The Archaeological Journal Vol. 138 p. 18-20
  • Lloyd, J.D.K., 1980, ‘The Well-Tower at Montgomery Castle’ Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 68 p. 129
  • (Knight), 1969, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 13 p. 263 download copy
  • (Knight), 1968, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 12 p. 182-3 download copy
  • Lewis, J.M., 1968, ‘The Excavation of the 'New Building' at Montgomery Castle’ Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 117p127-155
  • (Lewis), 1967, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 11 p. 290 download copy
  • Hogg, A.H.A. and King, D.J.C., 1967, 'Masonry castles in Wales and the Marches: a list' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 116 p. 71-132
  • Taylor, Arnold J., 1967, 'An Incident at Montgomery Castle on New Year's Day, 1288' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 116 p. 159-64
  • Lloyd, J.D.K., 1965-6, Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 59 p. 141-4 (survey of 1592-3) online copy
  • Spurgeon. C J., 1965-6, ‘The castles of Montgomeryshire’ Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 59 p. 42-4 online copy
  • Lloyd, J.D.K., 1965, ‘The "new building" at Montgomery Castle’ Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 114 p. 60-68
  • Lloyd, J.D.K., 1955, ‘Montgomery Castle and the Herberts’ Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 104 p. 52-64
  • Chitty, Lily, 1949, 'Subsidiary Castle Sites West of Shrewsbury' Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society Vol. 53 p. 83-90
  • O'Neil, B.H.St J., 1942, 'Excavations at Ffridd Faldwyn Camp, Montgomery, 1937-9' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 97 p. 4-5
  • O'Neil, B.H.St J., 1940, 'Montgomery town wall' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 95 p. 217
  • O'Neil, B.H.St J., 1932, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 87 p. 441-2
  • 1929-30, Offa Field Club p. 12-22
  • Tomley, 1923, Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 78 p. 346-66 (history)
  • Drinkwater, C.H., 1906, ‘Deed relating to Montgomery Castle’ Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Vol. 6 pviii-x
  • Davies Pyrce, T., 1905, 'The Alleged Norman Origin of ‘Castles’ in England' English Historical Review Vol. 20 p. 709 online copy
  • Armitage, E., 1904 April, 'The Early Norman Castles of England' English Historical Review Vol. 19 p. 209-245, 417-455 esp. 239-40 online copy
  • Anon, 1888, ‘Montgomery: various documents relating to the castle and borough’ Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 22 p. 179-210 online copy
  • Sandford, G., 1883, ‘Montgomery Castle: Supplementary details’ Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 16 p. 93-116 (history) online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1880, 'The Castle of Montgomery: notes upon its structure and history' Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 35 p. 114-28 (reprint of Montgomeryshire Collections article) online copy
  • Clark, G.T., 1877, ‘The castle of Montgomery; notes upon its structure and history’ Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 10 p. 313-326 online copy
  • Sandford, G., 1877, ‘Montgomery Castle’ Montgomeryshire Collections Vol. 10 p. 61-124, 313-328

Guide Books

  • Butler, L. and Knight, J.K., 2004, Dolforwyn Castle, Montgomery Castle (Cardiff: CADW)
  • Lloyd, J.D.K. and Knight, J.K., 1981 2 edn, Montgomery Castle, Powys/Castell Trefaldwyn (HMSO)
  • Lloyd, J.D.K. and Knight, J.K., 1973. Montgomery Castle (HMSO)

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1901, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry III (1216-25) Vol. 1 p. 386 online copy
  • Luard, H.R. (ed), 1876, Matthæi Parisiensis: Monachi Santi Albani, Chronica Majora Vol. 3 p. 158 online copy
  • Rickard, John, 2002, The Castle Community. The Personnel of English and Welsh Castles, 1272-1422 (Boydell Press) (lists sources for 1272-1422) p. 321-4
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1905, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry IV (1401-05) Vol. 2 p. 140 online copy
  • Phillips, J.R., 1874, Memoirs of the Civil War in Wales and the Marches (London) Vol. 1 p. 247-8 online copy
  • C145/3(14) (Survey of 1249) The National Archives reference (calendared in Maxwell Lyte, H.C., 1916, Calendar of Inquisitions Miscellaneous (Chancery), preserved in the Public Record Office (H.M.S.O.) Vol. 1 No. 70)
  • C145/118(4) (Survey of 1331) The National Archives reference (calendared in Maxwell Lyte, H.C., 1916, Calendar of Inquisitions Miscellaneous (Chancery), preserved in the Public Record Office (H.M.S.O.) Vol. 2 p. 302 No. 1233 [online copy > https://archive.org/stream/calendarofinqu02grea#page/302/mode/1up])

Other

  • Silvester, R.J., 1992, Montgomeryshire Historic Settlements (CPAT report)