Montgomery Boroughs


Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer


1555(not known) 2

Main Article

In 1223 Henry III decided to build a new castle at Montgomery with a satellite town to protect the Severn valley against the Welsh. The borough’s charter of 1227 modelled on that for Hereford was confirmed and modified throughout the middle ages and again in 1536 when the town’s government was vested in two bailiffs elected annually and assisted by several lesser municipal officers. The castle and town walls were repaired during Bishop Lee’s presidency of the council in the marches and when Leland visited the town he praised Lee’s work. Until 1549 the lordship of Montgomery and the constableship of the castle were held by the earls of Worcester but their influence was exercised by their kinsmen the Herberts of Chirbury, who succeeded them in many local offices. At the Union Montgomery was named the meeting place of the county court in alternation with Machynlleth, a market town situated on the river Dovey in the west of the shire where the great sessions occasionally met. Of the other ‘ancient boroughs’ in the county none could match Montgomery: Llanfyllin, Newtown and Welshpool possessed charters, but Caersws and Llanidloes did not.3

Five indentures survive, those for 1542 and 1558 being in poor condition. With the exception of that of 1545 all are in Latin. Where dates are given they are the same as for the shire elections. The contracting parties are the sheriff of Montgomeryshire and, in 1545, the bailiffs of Montgomery, in February 1553 the bailiffs, coroners and 30 named burgesses of Montgomery, and in September 1553 the bailiffs and 30 named burgesses of ‘the shire town’. In 1545 the bailiffs

caused the whole commonalty of burgesses of the ... town and liberties to be assembled ... in the shire hall of the ... town for the election ... which commonalty then and there assembled of their whole assent and consent have elected and chosen one William Herbert esquire burgess.

Early in 1553 Richard Herbert was said to have been chosen per ballivos et burgenses liberi burgi de Montgomery pro nobis et comitate burgi nostri. There is nothing to suggest that representatives from the contributory boroughs took part in the elections. All the Members owned or leased property in Montgomery and all save John ab Edmund were related to the influential Herbert family. William Herbert was the elder half-brother of Edward Herbert, receiver of the lordship of Montgomery, who as sheriff returned his own son Richard. Although Richard Lloyd was connected with the Herberts through his great-uncle Humphrey Lloyd, he also presumably owed his two elections to the next sheriff, who was his father-in-law. Montgomery was included in the Act of 1544 for urban renewal (35 Hen. VIII, c.4).4

Author: N. M. Fuidge


  • 1. Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.
  • 3. M. Beresford, New Towns in the Middle Ages, 562-6; The King’s Works, ii. 739-42; iii. 174-5; Leland, Itin. ed. Smith, iii. 11, 12, 41, 53-54; LP Hen. VIII, i. g.519 (51); Arch Camb. civ. 58; CChR. i. 10; iv. 2; Mont. Colls. iii. 51-112; vii. 314-43; viii. 226; xii. 87-88; xiii. 206-39; xxii. 354; xlviii. 156 seq; xlix. 123; Bull. Bd. of Celtic Studies, iv. 354.
  • 4. C219/18B/136, 18C/184, 20/195, 21/241, 25/162.