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Grosmont (Gwent). Though no more than a pretty village today, Grosmont, just west of the Monnow, was an important part of the Anglo-Norman defences against Welsh incursions, protecting Hereford and the lush valley of the Severn. Glamorgan fell early to the Norman advance into north Wales, and Monmouth and Chepstow castles were begun immediately after the Conquest. White Castle, Skenfrith, and Grosmont, 15 miles west, formed a defensive triangle and belonged in the 1200s to the formidable justiciar Hubert de Burgh, who began converting them to stone castles and improving the living accommodation. Grosmont was given borough status which it retained until 1857, when the last mayor was elected, and the church of St Nicholas was larger than the township required. The castle's last military activity was in March 1405 when a raid by Glyndŵr's son was beaten off by a relief force sent from Hereford by Prince Henry. By Tudor times it was in ruins but much survives, including a fine 14th-cent. octagonal chimney, crested by a coronet. Grosmont was briefly one of the Monmouth contributory boroughs when Wales was given parliamentary representation in the 16th cent. The three castles belonged to the crown, through the duchy of Lancaster, from 1267 to 1825, when they were sold to the Beauforts. They resold in 1902, giving the town hall, substantially rebuilt in 1832, to the community.

J. A. Cannon

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