See W. S. Stryker, The Battle of Monmouth (1927, repr. 1970).
(died 1155) Medieval British chronicler. He was probably an Oxford cleric for most of his life. His mostly fictional History of the Kings of Britain (circa 1135–39) traced the descent of British princes from the Trojans; it brought the figure of Arthur (see Arthurian legend) into European literature and introduced the enchanter Merlin, whose story Geoffrey related in the Vita Merlini (circa 1148–51?). Though denounced from the first by other historians, the History was one of the most popular books of the Middle Ages and had an enormous influence on later chroniclers.
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Monmouth is very much a town of schools. Apart from the comprehensive school with over 1600 pupils, there are two independent schools - Monmouth School (founded 1614) and Haberdashers' Monmouth School for Girls (founded 1892). There are also several state primary schools, with most areas served by both infants' and juniors' Schools.
The annual Monmouth Show has been held each year (traditionally on the last Thursday of August) since 1919 (when it was called the Monmouthshire County Show), though its history can be traced back further to 30 May 1857 when the eighth Duke of Beaufort and Sir Charles Morgan M.P. put up the funds for a Monmouth Cattle Show, and even prior to that there had been an agricultural society in existence in the town dating back to the 1790s, which held ploughing competitions.
The Savoy Theatre in Church Street, built on the site of the oldest theatre in Wales, functions as both a cinema and theatre. There are numerous pubs in the centre of Monmouth, including Old Nags Head, Queen's Head, Punch House, The Griffin, The Gloucester, The Vinetree, The Kings Head, The Three Horseshoes, The Green Dragon and The Gatehouse. Some of these hold pub quizzes and live music throughout the week.
Archaeological excavations undertaken by the Monmouth Archaeological Society on various sites along Monnow Street have uncovered a wealth of information about the early history of the town. Indeed, the Council for British Archaeology have designated Monmouth as one of the top ten towns in Britain for archaeology.
A Benedictine priory was also created in 1101, and it was traditionally there that Geoffrey of Monmouth - author of the Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain) - gained his education. A fortified bridge was built during the 13th century.
In 1387, Henry V was born in Monmouth Castle in the Queens Chamber within the gatehouse. The castle became a favourite residence of the House of Lancaster. Henry would win the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. Many parts of Monmouth, including the town's main square, are named after this battle.
During the rebellion of Owain Glyndwr between 1400 and 1412 Monmouth Castle and walled town was not attacked by Welsh forces, however skirmishes and battles were fought in the area, such as at Campston Hill when Prince Henry's men followed a retreating force of Glyndwr's, capturing the Welsh standard and killing the standard bearer, Ellis ap Richard ap Howell ap Morgan Llwyd. Other battles took place at nearby at Craig-y-Dorth, at Grosmont and Usk, such as the Battle of Pwll Melyn. Grosmont town was razed and Abergavenny and Crickhowell attacked.
The layout of the town as depicted in Speede's map of 1610 would be easily recognisable to present day inhabitants, with the layout of the main axis from the castle via the main street, Monnow Street, to the bridge clearly visible. Monnow street is a typical market street, in being wide in the middle (for those selling) and narrow at each end (to help prevent the livestock escaping).
Four railways were built to serve Monmouth between 1857 and 1883 - all have now closed, the first in 1917, the last in 1959 (passengers), 1964 (goods), since when Monmouth has not had any rail services. One of the former lines has now been replaced by a major road, built along the same route. Monmouth's main station, known as Monmouth (Troy), was offices for a timber yard for many years, but the building has now been dismantled and re-erected at Winchcombe railway station on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.
Famous persons associated with Monmouth include: