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Montgomeryshire collections

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Vol. 68 1980

The Well-Tower at Montgomery Castle

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THE WELL-TOWER AT MONTGOMERY CASTLE
In the King George III Library in the British Museum is (Shelf Mark
XL VII.76.6) what is described in the catalogue as a "coloured view of
Montgomery Castle, Glamorgan". My attention was drawn to this
entry by my friend Mr. C. F. H. Evans, F.S.A., and, as it was not clear
whether the drawing was of Montgomery Castle, or of a castle in
Glamorgan, not Montgomery, I obtained a copy from the Museum.
It was clear from a cursory glance that the drawing is of the Well
Tower at Montgomery, taken from the south-west.
The drawing, apparently in sepia-wash and dated by the Museum
c.1800, is of considerable interest, as it shows a good deal more than is
extant today. In this connection it may be mentioned that, when the
Association visited Montgomery in August 1856, it was stated that
"About forty years ago a large portion of the ruins fell". This, evidently
included the upper part of the walls as seen in the drawing (the artist
of which is unknown).
An interesting survey of the castle in 1592/3, printed in Mont.
Coll. LIX, and reprinted in the official Guide as an appendix, describes
the Well Tower "wherein is one grett or dyninge Chamber and one
other haule underneath the same, wth a drawing well in the mydest
thereof".
What can be seen today is the well-head in the centre of the floor
of the "haule underneath" and the remains of the north wall, showing
the putlog holes for the upper storey, with not much of the masonry
above them. The Museum drawing clearly shows the window-frame in
the north wall of the "grett or dyninge Chamber", and there seem
also to be slight indications of some sort of arcading in the east wall.
The tower is dated on the plan in the D.o.E. Guide to the castle as
between 1280 and 1350 and, in the text (p. 24) it is said that "the
present rebuilding probably belongs to the mid-fourteenth century,
and the window opening shown in the drawing (which would probably
have contained some sort of tracery) would fit the suggested dates.
J. D. K. LLOYD.
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