Early History of Monmouth

Prehistoric

1930's_Postcard_of_Wye_Bridge_MonmouthThe Monmouth Archaeological Society was doing an archaeological investigation at Parc Glyndwr housing development site in September 2013 when uncovered evidence of a boat building community from the Bronze Age. The find also included three 30m-long channels that adjoined the side of a lake. The lake is no longer.

Later excavations uncovered remains of a Neolithic crannog. A crannog is an island that is built (either in part or wholly) artificially. Crannogs were normally built in lakes, rivers, and estuarine waters, and they were used as homes for over five millennia.

This particular crannog was built on stilts in a section of a lake that was 3m deep.

Roman Times

A roman fort was discovered in Monmouth – called Blestium. It is the earliest recorded settlement in the town. Blestium was one of a network – there were many military bases that the Romans established on the frontier. Roman pottery and coins were also uncovered by archaeologists in the area.

The Middle Ages

There is very little evidence of any development in the following centuries, other than a 7th-century church. A few hundred years later the town was demolished by Welsh prince Gruffydd ap Llywelyn in 1056.

A new castle was built in 1066 when William fitzOsbern of Breteuil, Normandy was given the earldom of Hereford. The town started growing around the castle. Town walls were built in 1300 along with a bridge. The bridge still stands today and is unique in that there is no other bridge like it in Britain, and one of only three in Europe.

Henry V was born in the Queen’s chamber in the gatehouse of the castle in 1387.

The town became known for their woollen caps, worn by soldiers and sailors, from the 14th century. These caps were widely exported, and popular until the 18th century.