The Monmouth Museum, alternatively known as The Nelson Museum and Local History Centre, is a museum in Monmouth, Monmouthshire, south east Wales. It features a collection of artifacts associated with Admiral Horatio Nelson. The Nelson collection was a bequest to the town of Monmouth upon the 1923 death of Lady Georgiana Llangattock, wife of local landowner and town benefactor, John Rolls, 1st Baron Llangattock and mother of Charles Rolls, who had amassed the collection of Nelson memorabilia during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the late nineteenth century, Lady Llangattock donated a gymnasium in Glendower Street to the town of Monmouth. After her death, the gymnasium reopened as the Nelson Museum in 1924. The museum moved to new quarters in 1969; the building which initially housed it is known as the Nelson Rooms.
The collection includes Nelson's naval officers fighting sword (and those of the surrendered French and Spanish naval commanders at Trafalgar), letters from Nelson both to his wife and to Lady Hamilton and various items commemorating Nelson's victories, his Royal Navy career and his visit, with the Hamiltons, to Monmouth town, The Kymin and South Wales. Also on display are commemorative silverware, prints, paintings, glassware, pottery and models of the Battle of Trafalgar. Among the items from Nelson's visit is the table used when he dined at the Kymin Round House. The collection also comprises some Nelson fakes, including a glass eye purported to be his, even though he had lost his sight; not the eyeball itself, it is a surgeon's teaching model. The museum also holds items relating to Monmouth town's history and archaeology, and an archive relating to Charles Rolls and his family. One notable example of this is the only known example of an original Monmouth Cap, dating from the 16th century. The museum is fully wheelchair accessible and, as it is in the town centre, there are facilities nearby. There is disabled drop-off. Assistance dogs are welcome.
Monmouth Castle. Immediately after the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror installed three of his most trusted confidants, Hugh d'Avranches, Roger de Montgomerie, and William FitzOsbern, as the Earls of Chester, Shrewsbury and Hereford respectively. The earldoms served to guard the frontier and provided bases for the Norman invasion of Wales. Over the next four centuries, Norman lords established mostly small Marcher Lordships between the Dee and Severn, and further west. Military adventurers came to Wales from Normandy and elsewhere, raided an area of Wales, and then fortified it and granted land to some of their supporters. William FitzOsbern established Monmouth Castle between 1066 and 1069 as a counterpart to his other major castle at Chepstow. It occupied relatively high ground, overlooking the confluence of the Monnow with the River Wye. It was originally an earth and timber ringwork fortress, which was listed in the Domesday Book. Initially, Monmouth was a fairly typical border castle in the Welsh Marches, presided over by a Marcher Lord and similar in style and status to its near neighbours Grosmont Castle, Skenfrith Castle, White Castle and Abergavenny Castle. The wooden castle had stonework added before 1150. Its tower shares some similarities with that of Chepstow Castle, another stronghold built for FitzOsbern further south, at the lower end of the River Wye.
After briefly being held by Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, Monmouth Castle passed into the hands of Edmund Crouchback, Earl of Lancaster and son of Henry III in 1267. He redeveloped the castle, building the Hall and took it as his main residence in the area. It was also improved by Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster. During this period large decorated windows were installed in the upper part of the Great Tower which also had a new roof. As a town developed around the castle, the castle's defences were augmented by a town wall and fortified bridge, built at the end of the 13th century. Edward II briefly was held prisoner in the castle before he was transferred to Berkeley Castle where he died. The castle was a favourite residence of Henry Bolingbroke, later King as Henry IV. It was here that in 1387 the future King Henry V of England was born, to Bolingbroke's first wife Mary de Bohun. The turmoil and conflict in Wales during the ten years of the Owain Glyndŵr rebellion did not directly affect Monmouth Castle as it was a stronghold of the region and lesser targets presented themselves more readily to essentially a guerilla army. However other local towns, settlements and castles were directly attacked with Grosmont and Abergavenny being razed and Crickhowell Castle and Newport Castle successfully attacked.
Over the centuries, as its defensive function diminished, the outer bailey of the castle became increasingly used as a market place, later (and now) known as Agincourt Square. During the sixteenth century, when Monmouth became the county town of the newly formed shire of Monmouth, the county's Courts of Assize began to be held in the castle's Great Hall. In the tumult of the English Civil War, Monmouth Castle changed hands three times, finally falling to the Parliamentarians in 1645. When Oliver Cromwell visited in 1646 he ordered it to be slighted to prevent its military re-use. The round tower was attacked on 30 March 1647 and subsequently fell down. Great Castle House was built in 1673, on the site of the old round tower, by Henry Somerset, 1st Duke of Beaufort. It is a Grade I listed building, and has been described as "a house of splendid swagger outside and in". It later became used for the Assize Courts, until they relocated to the new Shire Hall in 1725. Only fragments of the castle, including the Great Tower and Hall and parts of the walls, remain above ground, and on the site Castle House and Great House have been built. In 1875, the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers Militia, the senior Territorial Army regiment today, made it their Headquarters building and so it remains. It is one of the few British castles in continuous military occupancy.
More formally known as the Castle and Regimental Museum, Monmouth, the Monmouth Regimental Museum is located on Castle Hill in Monmouth, Wales, at the highest elevation of the town centre. It is within the 19th-century wing which extends from Great Castle House, a 17th-century, grade I listed building just northwest of Agincourt Square. Great Castle House is one of 24 blue plaque buildings on the Monmouth Heritage Trail. In 1673, it was constructed from the ruins of Monmouth Castle by the 1st Duke of Beaufort, then the 3rd Marquess of Worcester, as a town house while his other homes were being rebuilt. The three-storey building is currently home to the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia), the most senior regiment in the British Territorial Army.
The displays at the museum cover a number of subjects, including the Militia structure and the Dukes of Beaufort. Other topics specific to the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers include the double "Royal" name, the colours the unit possesses, and the Freedoms. Objects include a regimental drum from the late 19th century, a water testing kit, and a canned cake ration from World War II. The museum's exhibits also cover the regiment's distinction as the oldest regiment of the Reserve Army. Other topics include the mediaeval walls and defences of Monmouth, with archaeological displays. One mediaeval artefact displayed in the museum is a fireless cooking pot that was discovered on Castle Hill. The cooking vessel appears to have been the mediaeval version of a crock pot. Exhibits are as diverse as a colonel's uniform and World War II cigarette packages, and an infant gas mask. Wales during war, the HMS Monmouth, and the role of the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers in recent wars are also covered. In front of the building, the museum displays a number of larger pieces of military equipment, including a British armoured fighting vehicle. In addition, the War Memorial of the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers is located on Castle Hill, near the museum. The Castle ruins, Great Castle House and the Regimental Museum are wheelchair accessible. Assistance dogs are welcome.
Location : Nelson Museum, Market Hall, Priory St, Monmouth NP25 3XA
Location : The Castle and Regimental Museum, The Castle, Monmouth, NP25 3DG
Transport : Lydney (National Rail) then 20 minutes. Bus Routes : 34, 35, 36, 54, 60, 69 and W3 stop close by.
Opening Times Monmouth Museum: Tuesday to Saturday + bank holidays 11:00 -13:00 and 14:00 to 17:00; Sunday 14:00 to 17:00
Opening Times Regimental Museum: Daily 14:00 to 17:00
Tickets : Monmouth Museum - Free
Tickets : Monmouth Castle - Free
Tickets : Regimental Museum / Great Castle House - Free
Tel. : 01600 710630