25 November 2010

The Full Monty

Dominating the county town of what used to be Montgomeryshire, the castle, at least in its stone form, was commenced in 1223, with the inner ward and its gatehouse completed in just five years. The middle and outer wards were added in 1228. The castle was slighted in 1649 after falling into the hands of the Roundheads.

Montgomery is the oldest borough in Wales, and boasts a number of fine buildings from various periods, especially the Georgian. The Norman church, begun 1227, is home to both half a dozen or so misericords, and the lavish tomb of Richard and Magdalene Herbert, parents of the sixteenth-century poet and divine George Herbert.

The town is famous for the hardware store of R.H. Bunner and Son, which has traded since 1892. This is the sort of shop in which Ronnie Barker would have asked for "fork 'andles" and Ronnie Corbett would have fetched four candles. If you can't get it here, it doesn't exist.

On the B4385 to Bishops Castle are a couple of Gilbarco petrol pumps, one a T8 'Fat Lady' of the 1920s. Petrol was last four and three a gallon (about 21 pence for 4½ litres) in 1963, which is presumably when this fat lady last sang.

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