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Montgomery Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Trefaldwyn; Baldwins Castle; Balwy

In the community of Montgomery.
In the historic county of Montgomeryshire.
Modern authority of Powys.
Preserved county of Powys.

OS Map Grid Reference: SO22159679
Latitude 52.56349° Longitude -3.14981°

Montgomery Castle has been described as a certain Masonry Castle.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


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 monument comprises the remains of a medieval castle begun in 1223 by Henry III. Situated on an entirely new site atop a high ridge overlooking the Severn Valley, it was intended to replace the nearby earth and timber fortification of Hen Domen. The castle outworks themselves are made up of three elements – an outer D-shaped earth mound, originally revetted with masonry; a rectangular barbican with earth banks originally carrying palisades on its flanks; and a rock boss to the rear. A rock-cut ditch 13.7m wide and originally 6.7m deep separates the outworks and middle ward. Originally constructed in timber, the defences of the middle ward were not rebuilt in stone until 1251-53. The medieval arrangements of the internal buildings have largely been obliterated by the 16th and 17th century building activity. However, it is reasonable to assume that the medieval soldiers’ lodgings, as well as service buildings to meet the needs of the wider castle community, as distinct from the king or the lord of the castle and his immediate associates housed in the inner ward. At the entrance to the middle ward are the slight remains of the two rounded towers of the outer gatehouse, built in 1251-53 together with the adjoining stone curtain wall. Behind the east curtain, at the foot of the slope, is a 14th century kiln house, where grain was dried after being harvested. During the 16th century, the west and south sides of the middle ward were lined with lodgings. The scant remains of the foundations of one sizeable building, perhaps the residence of Bishop Rowland Lee, can be seen inside the west curtain. The masonry-lined pit in the north-west corner of the ward indicates the site of its latrine. Bishop Lee’s building was demolished when Edward Herbert’s house was built in the 17th century. The inner ward was constructed in stone from the outset, the buildings of the inner ward were intended to house the king and his immediate household when in residence. The main apartments were in the large twin-towered inner gatehouse, with a great chamber, private rooms and a chapel. The castle well was in the adjacent D-shaped tower, and the ward would have contained a timber hall, with a timber bakehouse and kitchen. The rock-cut inner ditch measuring 13.7m wide and 6.1m deep with near vertical sides, separates the middle ward and inner ward. The inner gatehouse consists of a gate passage flanked by a pair of three-quarter-round towers, solid in their lower parts and with a rectangular room behind each tower. It was protected by a portcullis and two pairs of heavy doors. Beyond the gatehouse, on the western side, is the well tower. The well shaft sinks to a depth of 64m. Little survives of the earlier medieval arrangements within the inner ward. The only building which may survive from this early phase consists of two east-west walls, which are more substantial than those of the various later lodgings. These could be the foundations of a timber-framed hall, which would have created a courtyard in the southern part of the ward. Associated with it were a timber bakehouse and kitchen. In its final phase, the inner ward was lined with a series of lodgings ranged around the curtain wall. These were two-storey timber-framed structures set on light foundation walls of rubble masonry. A typical example can be found behind the entrance to the inner ward, between the gatehouse and the well tower. (Scheduling Report)
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This record last updated 28/06/2017 18:13:03