Houses of Interest: Powys
The firstly overtly Welsh post for the now inappropriately named ECWtravelogue sees a venture across the Welsh Marches into Powys.
The main focus of this entry in Montgomery and its battlefield. And to the man who was wandering into the castle saying to his family "I think there's a load of Civil War stuff here, I looked on KeepYourPowderDry but there wasn't anything" - here it is!
|Good views of the battlefield, and an information panel can be found in the castle's outer ward|
Montgomery Castle was originally a motte and bailey castle built in the mid-eleventh century, being replaced by a stone castle in the thirteenth century. Having walked, or more sensibly driven up to the castle, you'll understand exactly why the castle was built where it was.
|The walkway crossing the ditch into Montgomery Castle's inner ward|
Fast forward to the Civil Wars: most of Wales supported the Crown. Montgomery Castle was garrisoned by Royalists, under the command of the elderly Lord Herbert of Cherbury.
In September 1644, he surrendered the Castle to Parliamentarian troops commanded by Sir Thomas Myddelton and Thomas Mytton.
It was this, Parliamentarian, garrison that precipitated the battle of the 18th September 1644.
Lord Byron was attempting to create a strong North Wales/Cheshire field army in 1643 for the King, which could control the corridor connecting Chester to Oxford and Bristol. Unfortunately a loss at Nantwich in January 1644 set his plans back considerably.
Early in September, Colonels Myddelton and Mytton advanced from Oswestry into the upper Severn Valley and captured Newtown by surprise. In Newtown, they captured a convoy of gunpowder which the besieged Royalists at Liverpool desperately needed. They then advanced to Montgomery. The medieval defences of the town were in ruins but the castle was largely intact. However, its governor, Lord Herbert, was ill and apparently unwilling to play any part in the war. He surrendered the castle on terms on the 5th September.Three days later, a Royalist force commanded by Sir Michael Erneley and Sir William Vaughan advanced from Shrewsbury, taking the Parliamentarians by surprise. The new garrison were out acquiring supplies. Mytton's men retreated into the castle with 500 infantry, while Myddelton rode away with the cavalry to seek help. The Royalists began to dig trenches and construct earthworks around the castle, preparing for a formal siege.
|The hill fort WNW of Montgomery Castle, likely location of the Royalist rearguard|
|St Nicholas's Church|
|The Herbert Memorial|
|The Old Bell Museum and one of Montgomery's buildings that witnessed the battle|
|If you take advantage of the castle's café, beware the peacocks - they'll try to steal your cake and sandwiches|
Montgomery Castle, Pool Rd, Montgomery SY15 6QY
Town Walls, Arthurs Gate, Montgomery SY15 6QU
The Old Bell Museum, Arthur St, Montgomery SY15 6RA
St Nicholas's Church, Lions Bank, Montgomery SY15 6PT
Battlefield Information board, Hem road, SY21 8NU, location of the information board SJ 229 000