Weekend of events to celebrate Montgomery Castle’s 800th birthday
A weekend of special events is being planned to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Montgomery Castle later this month.
The events, which include a medieval pageant and street market, begin with a Montgomery Civic Society talk on Friday, September 29 at 7.30pm considering the castle throughout its 800 years.
Montgomery Castle history stretches back to October 1, 1223, when young King Henry III was given Castle Hill to build a fine new castle to celebrate his 16th birthday and assist in keeping the borderlands safe from marauding Welsh native prince Llywelyn ap Iorwerth (Llywelyn the Great).
An old castle at Hendomen had guarded the important crossing of the River Severn at Rhydwhyman but warfare and incursions were becoming more frequent and concerted and the wooden fort was not in the prime of life.
Perched on its rocky ridge, the new castle was significantly sturdier and more sophisticated, with a stone inner ward, well, deep defensive ditches crossed by drawbridges and a walled town.
The castle remained in use for centuries, surviving attacks by Llywelyn in 1228 and 1231 and Llywelyn’s son Dafydd in 1245. The castle’s ultimate end came during the Civil War, when it fell to the Parliamentarians and was demolished in 1649, leaving just the crumbling towers and low walls that stand today.
Now, 800 years on from its birth, the castle’s birthday will be celebrated with a special full peal of the church bells on Saturday, September 30 followed by a full day of events and activities next day organised by Montgomery Town Council.
A medieval street market will open at 10am and everyone will be invited to the castle for a royal pageant at 10.30am commemorating the visit of Henry III and the gift of the castle lands.
A short entertainment will be followed by a choice of a castle walk, storytelling or a chance to try making medieval crafts or weaponry back in the main street.
There will also be a hog roast with Old Monty’s mulled cider or a special 800 edition Castle Brew from Monty’s. Author Myfanwy Alexander will give an entertaining talk on medieval life, authentic music will be played by Parsley’s Clocke and visitors can try to improve their juggling skills.
The fair will close at around 4pm with the opportunity to view the Old Bell Museum exhibition on the castle for the whole week. A special commemorative book has been produced for the event and more information can be found at 800.montgomery-wales.uk .
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