Page images
PDF
EPUB

In this shady silent retreat we passed about a mile, and emerged on the village of RedBROOK, where several groupes employed in some iron and tin works, and in plying a ferry, gave animation to the scene. From this place, following a bold curve of the river, and skirting the base of the lofty Kymin, we soon came within view of Monmouth; the remarkably high spire of its church; and the large old Mansion of Troy, in a low situation, a small distance to the left, near the junction of the Trothy with the Wye.

[ocr errors][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

SCENFRITH CASTLE- GROSSMONT CASE
TLE-JOHN OF KENT.

MONMOUTH is delightfully situated in a gently, undulating valley, chiefly in a higlı state of cultivation, surrounded by high hills: it occupies a sort of peninsula formed by the conflux of the Wye and the Monnow; so that it is nearly incircled by the two rivers. The town is extensive, and contains many good houses; particularly in a principal broad street, which extends from the market-place to an old British or Saxon bridge and gateway over the Momów. The market-place, witl? the town-hall over it, is a handsome building; but sadly disfigured by an awkward statue of Henry the Fifth, which, no doubt, was intended to ornament it.

From this part a narrow street leads to St. Mary's church, which is also a handsome modern edifice, chiefly remarkable for its grand lofty spire rising 200 feet from the foundation; the tower of which affords an interesting view of the surrounding districts. This structure is engrafted upon a Gothic church that beJonged to an Alien Benedictine priory of Black Mionks, which was founded in the reign of Henry the First, and dedicated to the Holy Virgin. The priory-house forms a large family residence belonging to Adam Williams, Esq; and contains an apartment which the legend of the place declares to have been thie 'library of the celebrated Geoffery of Monmouth ; but the'style of the building is by no means so'ancient as the time of Geoffery, who, we find, was eonseerated bishop of St. Asaphi in 1152. i 5

" The chronicle of Briton's kings
" From Brute to Arthur's

rayne," written by Geoffery, has long excited the attention and controversy of the learned: by

از رو ) 1 (

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

some

[ocr errors]

-some it is implicitly believed ; and rejected, as altogether fabulous, by others. The moderate opinion here, as in most other cases, is the best : this views it as founded on avthentic documents, although distorted by monkish superstition and tricks, and a taste for the marvellous.

MONMOUTH CASTLE, situated on the banks of the Monnow in the northern part of the town, exhibits few memorials of its former extent and magnificence in its present very dilapidated state; and the remaining fragments lose much of their characteristic dignity from the bricky appearance given by the red grit stone of which they are constructed. Among these 'broken walls are shewn, with no small degree of exultation traces of the chamber in which Henry the Fifth, the glory of Monniouth, was born. Adjoining to this is the ruin of a large apartment, sixty-three feet long by forty-six wide, which was probably the baronial hall, and in latter times formed thel.court of the Assizes. Other vestiges of the castle are evident

among stables and out-houses; some vaults under the house of Mr.' Cecil, of the Dyffrin, are of

the

the oldest character, and may be attributed to Saxon if not to Roman workmanship.

The general building of this castle (though of very remote foundation) may be considered as posterior to the Civil wars in the third Henry's reign ; when, we learn, thie castle of Monmouth was taken and rased to the ground by Simon Montford, Earl of Leicester. A large mansion on the site of the castle, built with its materials, and engrafted on its yuins, is now occupied as a ladies' boardingschool. Soon after the erection of this house, a Marchioness of Worcester went thither to lie-in of her first child, at the instance of her grandfather, Henry, first Duke of Beaufort, who was anxious that his descendant should draw his first breath" near the same spot of ground and space of air, where our great hero Henry, the Fifth was born.”. - Near the extremity of the town, by the side of the Monnow, is the county gaol;; a new massive stone building, which in its plan, regulations, and superintendance, does bigh credit to the public spirit of the county. Without the town, at the foot of the Monnow-bridge is St. Thomas's chươćli, a cus

« PreviousContinue »