Montgomery Castle, Powys
Montogomery, South of Welshpool
Montgomery Castle is built upon a precipitous rocky outcrop, thrusting up boldly from the surrounding plain of Wenlock Shale. To the east, the Corndon Hills are visible, as is Offa's Dyke, the frontier of eighth-century Mercia.
Rock cut ditches, divide the ridge into a series of wards, its inner ward comprising of King Henry's stone fortress.
This is a fabulous castle rich in history with terrific views in all directions. Exploring its walls you very quickly appreciate the strength this fortress once commanded to dominate the surrounding countryside.
~ History ~
1069 - William the Conqueror's kinsman Roger de Montgomery is made Earl of Shrewsbury.
1070's - Roger builds an earthen motte and bailey castle called Hen Domen.
1094 - Earl Roger dies and his lands in England are granted to his second surviving son Hugh.
1095 - The castle is sacked by Cawgan ap Bleddyn, Prince of Powys.
1098 - Hugh is killed on the shore of Anglesey in a fight with the Norwegians. He is succeeded by his elder brother Robert.
1102 - Robert sides with Duke Robert of Normandy against his brother King Henry I and forfeits his lands in England.
1131 - Robert dies as a prisoner of King Henry in Corfe Castle. On the fall of the Montgomerys, the castle (of Hen Domen) is granted by King Henry I to Baldwin de Boules.
1152 - Baldwin's son Stephen is slain by Llywelyn ap Madog, Prince of Powys.
1207 - Baldwin's grandson and heir, another Baldwin dies. The lordship is later sold to Thomas de Erdington in 1214.
1216 - King John hands the lordship to Gwenwynwyn, Prince of Powys, but he is almost immediately driven out by Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd. John dies the same year and Hen Domen is abandoned as a fortress.
1223 - A royal army which has relieved the castle of Builth from siege by Llywelyn the Great, advances near Hen Domen on the eve of the sixteenth birthday of the young King Henry III, who is with the army. His Justiciar, Hubert de Burgh, shows the the King 'a suitable spot for the erection of an impregnable castle '. With two months work begins.
1224-6 - The temporary wooden fortifications are gradually replaced with stone at a cost of £2000.
1228 - On April 27th the castle is granted by the King to Hubert de Burgh for life, with £130 a year for its upkeep. In August the incomplete castle is attacked by Llywelyn the Great. The Welsh prince fails to take the castle.
1231 - Llywelyn returns and attacks the castle but is again unsuccessful. Instead he attacks and burns the nearby town.
1232 - Hubert de Burgh loses favour with the King and with it his castles.
1233 - 'The Tower' of the castle is roofed in lead, marking the final completion of the castle. Although the inner ward is built of stone, the outer walls and palisades are still timber.
1245 - The castle is again attacked without success by Dafydd ap Llywelyn.
1248 - Constable William de Odingsele renews the drawbridge.
1251 - The gatehouse is rebuilt in stone with two towers. Further stonework is carried out over the next two years on the walls at a cost of £150.
1267 - The rising power of Llywelyn the Great's grandson, Llywelyn the Last, culminates in the signing of the Treaty of Montgomery, by the King at Montgomery Castle, in which he accepts his considerable territorial gains and the title of 'Prince of Wales'.
1272 - King Edward I ascends the throne.
1273 - Llywelyn begins the building of a stone castle just four miles south-west of Montgomery. On the 15th June Llywelyn ignores the order to stop.
1277 - The English attack and capture Llywelyn's new castle of Dolforwyn.
1279-88 - Montgomery Castle is strengthened and improved including the building of a new hall, chamber, kitchens, bakehouse and granary, all at a cost of over £100.
1299 - The castle is granted to Margaret, the second wife of King Edward I.
1327 - Immediately upon the death of Edward II the castle is granted to his widow Queen Isabella.
1330 - The castle is given to Queen Isabella's lover Roger Mortimer, who dies later the same year.
1343 - The inner gatehouse and well tower are described as falling into ruin and the curtain walls of the two bailey's as 'weak'. These towers are later totally rebuilt.
1359 - Mortimer's grandson and heir, another Roger, reverses his grandfathers fortunes and and is granted the castle.
1477 - Upon the fall of the House of Lancaster the castle, then in royal hands, is granted to Edward, future King Edward V of England. Thirteen years later it is granted to the young Prince Arthur, then four years old.
1592 - A survey of the castle describes ' There ys noe howsholde stuffe in the Castell but onlie a brassen boyling potte, ijo sesterns of leadd and one lytle peece of waynscott remayninge in the grett hall or dyning Chamber'.
1644 - The Royalist Lord Herbert surrenders the castle to a Parliamentarian army, which had never fallen by assault in its long history. A short siege by a Royalist force two weeks later fails to retake the castle.
1649 - Montgomery Castle is demolished by order of Parliament. 'The heirs of the Castle saw it level with that earth, that was too good to bury those wretches that were the cause of it'.