Monmouth Shire Hall
Agincourt SquareMonmouth
Gwent NP25 3DY
 
 
The Welsh border town of Monmouth is home to the historically and politically important Shire Hall building. This prominent, Grade I Listed building houses Council Offices and the Tourist Information Office, but is also partially open for visitors to explore its historic Court Rooms.
 
Located in Agincourt Square in the centre of the town and built in 1724, the Shire Hall was the centre for the Assize Courts and Quarter Sessions for Monmouthshire.
 
It was here that one of the most significant trials in British history was held when, in 1839/40, John Frost and 14 other Chartists were charged with High Treason and Tried for their involvement in the Chartist Riots in Newport. Frost were sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered! However, this harsh sentence was commuted to Deportation to Van Dieman’s Land (Tasmania, Australia). Frost was given a provisional pardon in 1854, fully pardoned in 1856 and returned to England where he died in Bristol in 1877 at the age of 93.
 
Courtroom 1
The Courtroom has been fully restored to 1840s standards and is fully interactive, allowing visitors to sit in the Judge’s chair and go down to the holding cells to experience first-hand the unpleasant conditions prisoners of the day had been subjected to.
 
Open Monday – Sunday: 10:00 – 16:00 hours*
No Sunday opening during winter (Oct – Mar)
*Occasionally during exclusive use celebrations the Shire Hall may not be available during the above times. If making a special trip, please telephone the Shire Hall ahead of your visit to avoid disappointment.
 
Courtroom 2
The court fittings have been removed and the Court Room is home to the Henry V Wall-hanging gifted by the ‘Monmouth Broiderers’.
 
The ‘Monmouth Broiderers’, a skilled group of embroiderers, decided to celebrate the birth of Henry V in Monmouth. The Henry V wall-hanging depicts the King on horseback addressing his troops at Agincourt, before the battle on 25th October 1415. The embroiderers took 4,500 hours to complete this exceptional tapestry and it has been valued at £56,100.
 
Court Room 2 now provides a delightful venue for exhibitions and special events. There are also displays on Geoffrey of Monmouth and Henry V.
 
Disabled Access
Yes. There is a lift to all floors.
 
Admission
Free for self-guided visitors.
 
Guided Tours
Book in advance for a guided tour with one of the Shire Hall’s expert guides. Tours cover both Court Rooms, the holding cells, the history of the Shire Hall and the Chartist movements. Costs are very reasonable and refreshments can also be included.
 
Facilities
Tourist Information Centre and Gift Shop stocked with local souvenirs, maps, books and brochures regarding Shire hall History and local attractions. Toilets, Baby Change and breast feeding facilities.
 
Architecture
Constructed of honey-coloured Bath stone with ashlar mouldings, the Shire Hall was erected in 1724 and is at least the fourth building on the site. Designed by a little-known architect, Philip Fisher from Bristol, the Shire Hall provided an open trading area on the ground floor with rooms above. These rooms subsequently served as the centre for the Assize Courts and Quarter Sessions for Monmouthshire.
 
The Courts of Assize were transferred to the building in 1725, with the court room itself located on the first floor above the open arches which were used for a produce market. The clock in the pediment was made by Richard Watkins in 1765 and its original mechanism is still visible in the building’s attic.
 
By the 1830s the market had to be moved to make room for extensions to the accommodation for the Assizes. The building was extended along Agincourt Sttreet, creating room for a new staircase and larger courts. The interior of the building was remodelled in 1828, and a new exterior stair tower with a glazed lantern was added, enclosing the grandiose new staircase. By the 21st century all court functions had left the historic building.
 
Restoration
The building was completely restored and re-opened to visitors in 2010. The market trading area has been glassed in providing a warm and dry reception area, Tourist Information Centre and gift shop.
 
On the cobbled forecourt outside stands a statue of a young man inspecting a model of a bi-plane. The young man is motoring and aviation pioneer local, Charles Stuart Rolls of Rolls-Royce fame who was killed in an aviation accident, aged 32. The statue is well worth a photograph particularly when you know its history.
 
On 12 July 1910 Rolls was performing in a flying display at Hengistbury Airfield, Bournemouth when the tail of his Wright Flyer broke off, causing a fatal crash. Shortly before the flight, Rolls had modified the tailplane in an attempt to improve control.
 
The 8 foot high bronze statue depicts Rolls inspecting a purposefully incomplete model of his biplane. The missing tailplane on the model commemorates The cause of his death.
 
The Shire Hall is one of the most interesting and best free ‘sights’ in the town of Monmouth.
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone   +44 (0)1600 775 257
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Getting There
On arrival in Monmouth, the best way to visit the Shire Hall is on foot.
 
- By Car
Monmouth is easily accessed from the M4, M5 and M50 motorways making Newport, Cardiff and Bristol less than an hour’s drive away. Monmouth has a free car park at Cinderhill Street, NP25 5ES or just behind the Shire Hall is a ‘Pay & Display’ Car Park on Glendower Street, NP25 3DF.
 
 
 
51.811925
2.715364