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Kerry Local History

The history of Kerry is mostly buried in obscurity until the reign of William Rufus who became the second Norman King of England in 1088.

The lands of Kerry belonged to the ancient and extensive Cantred of Malienydd and was governed at this time by the last of the great Welsh chieftans Madac-ap-Cadwallon and Madoc-ap-Iorwerth.

In 1136 William Rufus, by an act of dreadful injustice, granted the Manor of Malienydd and Kerry, on military terms, to Ralph-de-Mortimor the Marcher Lord of Wigmore Castle. There followed years of violent opposition from the native Welsh princes and hostilities became so intense that in 1228 King Henry III accompanied the garrisons of Ludlow and Montgomery Castle to the Vale of Kerry to suppress the uprisings of Llewelyn the Great. In 1275, by marriage, the manor of Kerry went to the House of York, and eventually to the Crown.

From the 15th Century history moves into the era of the establishment of the landed squires and their country estates and the lands of Kerry fell into two such dynasties. The Herberts of Dolforgan Hall developed a large estate with a famous deer park, one of only three such parks in Montgomeryshire and having links with the earldom of Powys.

The later custodians of the Brynllywarch Hall Estate – the Naylor family, left a legacy of splendid red brick houses around the old estate and the Sawmills complex to the east of the village is the subject of Conservation Orders. The Naylors also build a unique system of tramways from their plantations in the Kerry Forest to the timber yards and sawmills. Our fine Norman Church has a guide book ‘Kerry the Church and the Village’ by H Noel Jerman C.B.E.

Historic Highlights

1136:    The Manor of Kerry becomes Norman Territory

1176:    Celebrated confrontation between the feuding Bishops of St Asaph and St Davids at Kerry Church

1228:    King Henry III campaigns against Llewelyn the Great in the Vale of Kerry

1275:    The Manor of Kerry falls to the House of York

1714:    The first school was opened by the Rev. John Catlyn in the Square

1819:    The Rev. John Jenkins, who lived at the Moat, promoted the first modern day National Eisteddfod of Wales

1856:    The Reading Room is built to accommodate the local 1 penny readings. London Daily papers and local papers are available for readings

1875:    The first sale of sheep by public auction, is held in the square by Cooke Bros. It is the first recorded sale by auction in the County of Montgomeryshire and is believed to be the first in Wales. The Sale still survives today

1887:    The telegraph, using the Morse code, comes to Kerry Post Office

Text transcribed directly from the Kerry Information Board, which can be found on the green opposite the Post Office