A GATHERING of the great and the good took place in Montgomery, to celebrate a treaty seen as a victory at the time for native Welsh Princes.
In Montgomery, 750 years ago, King of England, Henry III met Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, Prince of Gwynedd and signed the treaty of Montgomery which acknowledged Llywelyn as Prince of Wales.
Over the weekend and back to the present day, the zenith of medieval native Welsh power was celebrated in the ancient marcher town by residents and school children from Montgomery, Abermule and Dafydd Llwyd in Newtown.
Ysgol Dafydd Llwyd, head teacher, Sian Davies, said: “We are very proud that our pupils have been part of an event which is of such great historical significance and is so close to us.
“Our pupils have been researching the background to the treaty.
“We celebrated Owain Glyndwr day (September 16) and we didn’t know how important the Treaty of Montgomery was until we looked into it.
“It’s fantastic that another Welsh hero is being celebrated in this way on our doorstep!”
Montgomery church in Wales School headteacher, Anna Griggs, said: “It was a fantastic occasion, our pupils thoroughly enjoyed the day.”
In the thirteen century Montgomery was a marcher lordship and would have been on the King of England’s side.
Anna added: “Our pupils were part of Henry III’s retinue and played drums and tambourines when they took part in the procession.
“One presented the treaty for signing.
“Our pupils have made shields in preparation of the day and we have spent some time researching the treaty.
“Being part of the event has made it easier for them to understand it.”
The treaty signing was not the end of the celebrations.
On Friday night a traditional banquet – hosted by Henry and Llywelyn – was held using locally sourced traditional foods, including a specially brewed Montgomery beer.
Jesters and traditional music provided the entertainment. Guests were encouraged to try dances that were popular in the middle ages.
On Saturday, skirmishes and tourneys were re-enacted at Montgomery Castle.
Montgomery Town Councillor Mike Mills who helped organise the day and portrayed Henry III said: “It was a great exercise in community engagement.
“This was a significant treaty and recognised a Prince of Wales, and the first time Wales existed as an autonomous country.
“Despite the bad weather we had about 600 people come here over the weekend including people from as far as Canada and Kent.
“For the treaty signing we had pupils from three primary schools, Montgomery, Abermule and Dafydd Llwyd, take part.
“We split them into the respective retinues for the King and prince, and we all marched from our various encampments down to the ford for the treaty signing.
“This is about making the most out of our history and making people aware of it.”
“The next significant date for Montgomery will be 2027, when we will be celebrating 800 years since the town received it’s charter from King Henry III.”