Abergavenny Museum is a museum situated in the grounds of Abergavenny Castle, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. The Motte was probably built by the Norman Lord Hamelin de Ballon in 1087 AD. The tower built at the top of the motte would have been wooden. Beneath the motte was the bailey - a courtyard containing the outbuildings and stables. The whole castle was destroyed in 1233 by Richard Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, and the Welsh princes. The keep was rebuilt in stone. The first Great Hall in the castle was probably a timber building. Within this Hall, on Christmas Day 1175, the Norman Lord of Abergavenny, William de Braose, murdered his long-standing Welsh rival Seisyll ap Dyfnwal. In 1182, the castle was attacked by relatives of the murdered Welshmen. Most of William's men were captured, but he was not at home. The walls you see today are the remains of a stone Hall built between 1233 and 1295.
The Tower Complex consisted of two towers, one polygonal and the other circular. Evidence suggests that these towers were built in 1295-1314 at the same time as the town walls, using murage grants - a form of tax raised by the local Lord. The Gatehouse is a typical barbican gatehouse. When the castle wall was first built, in the late 13th to early 14th century, the gate was a simple opening in the curtain wall. Unusual door features suggest that the Gatehouse was added early in the 15th Century. At this time the last Welsh War of Independence was being fought against Owain Glyn Dwr. The castle was surrounded by a dry ditch rather than a moat. The keep along with most of the other castle buildings, was destroyed in the Civil War, between 1645 - 1646. In 1818, the present building - now the Museum - was constructed on top of the motte as a hunting lodge for the Marquess of Abergavenny.
The museum possesses photographs of Abergavenny and the surrounding district. These include two important municipal collections of views of the medieval and Elizabethan areas of the town which were demolished under slum clearance schemes between 1957 and 1972. These represent the only record of many of the buildings demolished. The museums social history collections are mainly comprised of material reflecting the history and way of life of the town and surrounding district. There are particular emphases on rural life, agriculture and its associated industries and domestic and working life. Particularly significant collections include the contents of a complete Welsh kitchen c.1890, a saddler's shop c.1910-1930 and Basil Jones grocers shop c.1948-1950. The museum also houses the nationally important archive of the Father Ignatius Memorial Trust. In addition the museum maintains collections of books and documents which supplement and illustrate these themes
The museum houses extensive and very significant collections of archaeological material ranging from the Mesolithic to post-Medieval. The collections produced by excavations of the Roman fort of Gobannium are of particular importance. The museum holds many individual items of costume. These include an 18th century open robe and full Regency female wedding outfit. The collection is particularly strong in womens costume of the late 19th century (especially lingerie) and the 1920s. It is recommended that at least one able bodied person is available to assist the mobility impaired. The grounds of the Castle are uneven, but there is a ramp leading up to the museum, it is however quite steep. Once at the front door it is possible to access the Keep gallery where the changing exhibitions are held. Museum staff can assist with opening doors. Other areas of the museum are accessible to varying degrees via outer doors. A museum custodian will need to help so please be patient if the museum is busy. Guide Dogs are very welcome.
Location : Abergavenny Museum and Castle, Castle Street, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire NP7 5EE
Transport : Abergavenny (National Rail) then bus or 14 minutes. Bus Routes : 61, 94, X4 and X74 stop near by.
Opening Times : Monday to Saturday 11:00 -13:00 & 14:00 - 17:00; Sunday : 14:00 -17:00
Tickets : Free
Tel. : 01873854282