Page images

repaired the castle; but in his encounter with the Welsh, having lost a great number both of men and horses, he was compelled to return into England for the purpose of recruiting his forces. Montgomery Castle was at this time believed to be the strongest fortress in Wales, and the Welsh, after William's retreat, took it by storm, and, after putting the whole garrison to the sword, levelled it with the ground. The English struggled ineffectually against this hardy people for nearly four years; but at length they obtained a decisive victory. The castle was immediately rebuilt by the Earl of Shrewsbury; but, in little more than a century afterwards, was again destroyed. In the year 1231, a party of Welshmen having made an excursion into the lands adjoining the castle, were intercepted by the English, and many of them were taken prisoners and beheaded. Prince Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, in retaliation for this injury, assembling an enormous force, laid waste all the English borders. During the general consternation, Hubert de Burgh evacuated the castle, on which it was immediately seized by the Welsh, who set fire to and destroyed it.

From an inquisition taken on the reversal of the attainder of Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, in the year 1345, it ap pears that he had been possessed of Montgomery Castle at the time of his death. It was in consequence restored to the family, and passed, with his other castles and property, (by the marriage of Anne, the sister of the last earl,) to the House of York, and thence to the crown.

This fortress was held by the immediate ancestors of Lord Herbert of Chirbury, as stewards for the crown, and it was their principal place of residence.*

In the civil wars during the reign of Charles I., Lord Herbert was made governor. On the arrival of the army of

*Life of Lord Herbert, 5.



the parliament in 1644, under the command of Sir Thomas Middleton, he declared himself of that party, and on treaty permitted the men to enter the castle. Not long after this transaction Lord Byron advanced with the king's forces, consisting of about 4000 men, on which Sir Thomas Middleton was compelled to flee to Oswestry, leaving his foot soldiers with Lord Herbert to defend the castle. The royalists commenced their attack; but Sir Thomas, having been joined by Sir John Meldrum, Sir William Brereton, and Sir William Fairfax, returned with about 3000 men to the relief of the place. Lord Byron brought forward his men to engage them, but, after a dreadful conflict, which lasted more than eight hours, the parliament's army obtained a complete victory. The routed troops fled towards Shrewsbury, and the pursuit was continued nearly twenty miles. In this battle from three to four hundred of the king's party were slain, and above a thousand taken priSir William Fairfax, Major Fitzsimons, and about sixty men belonging to the parliament, were killed, and about a hundred others dreadfully wounded. The castle met the fate of all others, in being dismantled by order of the Commons. Lord Herbert, however, received from the parliament a satisfaction for the loss of his property.


The town of Montgomery was formerly defended by a circumambient wall, strengthened with towers. Leland, in the 16th century thus describes it: "The soyle of the ground of the towne is on mayne slaty rocke, and especially the parte of the towne hillinge towards the castell, now a late re-edified, whereby hath been a parke. Great ruines of the waulle yet apere, and the remains of foure gates, thus called, Kedewen Gate, Chirbury Gate, Arthur's Gate, and Kerry Gate. In the waulle yet remayne broken tourets, of the which the white tower is the most notable."


King Henry III. granted to Montgomery the privileges of a free borough.


In Blount's Ancient Tenures and Jocular Customs it is recorded that this singular instrument of justice was once used at Montgomery. Whenever any woman was found guilty, in the judgment of the free burgesses of the town, of causing strifes, fightings, defamations, or other disturbances of the public peace, she was adjudged to the goging stool, or cucking stool, there to stand, with her feet naked, and her hair dishevelled, for such a length of time as the burgesses should think proper, as a public warning to all who beheld her. This is the same kind of instrument which was used among the Saxons. It was called by them scealfing, or scolding stool, that is, a chair in which they place scolding women as public examples; but in addition to this, if the enormity of the case required it, this people also plunged them over head in water. The engine in general consisted of a long beam, or rafter, that moved on a fulcrum, and extended towards the centre of a pond; at its end was fixed the stool or chair, on which the offender was made to sit. It was called by the Welsh Y Gadair Goch, the Red Chair.



(234 Miles.)

Welsh Pool

Church-Powis Castle-History of Powis Castle-the Breiddin Hills-the River Vyrnwy-Llanymynech-Llanymynech Hill and Cavern called Ogo.

LEAVING Montgomery, the road to Welsh Pool extends through a rich champaign country. To the left of the road, about a mile from Welsh Pool, is Powis Castle.

At the distance of eight miles from Montgomery is


A large and populous place which, from its vicinity to England, has assumed much the appearance of an English town. It contains 4536 inhabitants. The houses are in general well built, but principally of brick. There is one long and handsome street, in which stands the county hall, erected by subscription some years ago: in this the assizes. for the county of Montgomery are holden. The inhabitants of this town are so completely English, that even the language of the country seems scarcely known here. An air of opulence unusual in Wales may be observed throughout the place, owing to the trade in Welsh manufactures, which is carried on to a great extent. It is principally resorted to as a market for Welsh flannels, which are manufactured here, but to a much less extent than either at Llaindloes or Newtown. The Severn is navigable to a place called Pool

Quay within a mile of Welsh Pool, although upwards of 200 miles from its mouth in the Bristol channel, and the Montgomeryshire canal passes close to the town, joining the Ellesmere canal near Oswestry, thus affording a great facility of communication with Shrewsbury, Liverpool and all parts of the kingdom.

The church, apparently a modern structure, is singularly situated at the bottom of a hill, and at so low an elevation. that the upper part of the church-yard is nearly on a level with its roof. This church has a chalice which was presented to it by Thomas Davies, some time governor general of the English colonies on the western coast of Africa. It is formed of pure gold brought from Guinea, and is valued at about £170.

The principal inns at Welsh Pool are the Royal Oak and the Bear.


The seat of Lord Clive, stands on a red sand-stone rock, and is built of the same material. There are two approaches the one chiefly used is through the great court, by a single flight of steps leading to a gateway between two large round towers: the other is on the opposite side by successive flights of steps. A considerable addition has been made by the present proprietor to the height of the tower on the north side. To the left of the great court is a detached building, containing a gallery 120 feet in length, now used as a ball-room. The principal apartments are entered by a door communicating with an inner court. The grand staircase, in itself massive and handsome, is adorned with allegorical paintings by Lanscroon. The apartments have a heavy and gloomy appearance; and the furniture is chiefly in the ancient style. In some of the chambers the walls are covered with tapestry. There are,

« PreviousContinue »