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Monmouth Castle

Visited April 2015

Location Monmouth, Monmouthshire 
Entrance Fee No 
Railway Station Nearby No
Parking Yes- in town
Facilities None
Map

 

 


 

 


Review

 

The remains of Monmouth Castle are not huge, due to  it being pretty thoroughly slighted after the civil war. However, this castle was at one time an important stronghold in the troublesome border area between Wales & England, and is most famous for its association with King Henry V, who was born there. Today the site is the headquarters of the Royal Monmouthshire Engineers Militia, based at Castle House next to the ruins, which makes Monmouth Castle one of the few British castles still to have a military presence.

  


 

 

 

Henry V was born in 1387 but is still very much present in Monmouth today. There are numerous references to him and his exploits- Agincourt Square is a lasting tribute to his victory over the French at this famous battle. We had a lovely all-day breakfast at a cafe called Henrys just off the main square, so his memory very much lives on- despite the fact that he actually fought against the Welsh during the revolt of Welsh rebel Owain Glyn Dwr. 

 

Despite the castle being forever linked to Henry, it was actually built very early on after the Norman invasion by William FitzOsbern, a trusted friend of the Conquerer. Controlling the borders was of paramount importance, so the castle was constructed by 1069, just three years after the invasion.

 

It lasted until the civil war, when the main round tower was demolished. Great Castle House was built on the site of the demolished castle in 1673, and became the home of the Assize Courts until 1725. The remains of the great hall and tower are the main part of the ruins today. They are free to visit, and make a pleasant stroll-around, especially the Gardens of Remembrance  at the back of the castle. Part of Great Castle House is used as the regimental museum, which is also interesting to visit.

 


 

 


 

If you are visiting Monmouth, then the other attraction in the town is the fortified medieval bridge, the only one of its kind to survive in Britain. It is a ten minute stroll from the castle, and is certainly worth a look. The surviving gate tower was built to defend the river Monnow. However, as the river is quite shallow it could easily be crossed just by wading- as the dog in our final photo shows- so it was probably more use in generating road tolls than actually protecting the town. As the bridge is often used as a symbol for the town today, it seems it is still earning its keep as a tourist attraction for Monmouth.

 

 


 

 


 

More info:  Monmouth Castle

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