Monmouth -an ancient town
"The birthplace (1387) of Henry V"
The elegant Shire Hall built in the early 18th century to serve as both a Court House and Official offices stands on the site on Monmouth's ancient Market Place. The front of the building has arcades all along it and in recent times the local market has been held both under and in front of them. Now an ambitious restoration programme is to be undertaken so that the Hall will regain its original splendour - both inside and outside. It looked rather forlorn when I last saw it with some ugly steel barriers propped up in front of the arcades and lots of scaffolding.
Update September 11th 2010. The renovations are are now complete, the restored and refurbished building will be officially opened by Princess Anne on September 27th and will serve the town as a community centre with educational and exhibition facilites and as a tourist information office.
This weekend as part of the Wales' Heritage Lottery Day, the building will be open on the 11 and 12th September 2010, with guided tours on the hour on both days.
It was in this Hall that John Frost Leader of the Chartists was tried with others in 1840 for their part in the Newport Rebellion.
The leaders were sentenced to be "Hung and quartered"but at the last minute he sentence was commuted and they were transported to Van Dieman's Land (New Zealand).
On the facade of the Hall the statue of King Henry V, who was born in Monmouth Castle, can still be seen below the clock. Of the Castle only a few ruins remain.
From his high vantage point Henry appears to be surveying Agincourt Square !
His archers practised their aim at Tretower Castle near Abergavenny before embarking for battle in 1415.
In front of the Hall is the statue of Charles Rolls of Rolls-Royce fame who lived in Monmouth.
Throughout its long existence Monmouth has seen many invasions and conflicts and has teetered between the English and the Welsh but is now where it belongs - in Wales.