The House


- Conservati­ve MP Craig Williams

For those with a love of Medieval, Tudor and industrial history let me introduce you to Montgomery­shire.

Named for the Norman duke Roger de Montgomery who came over with William the Conqueror in 1066, Montgomery­shire has been a parliament­ary constituen­cy since 1542 and vacant only during the Pride’s Purge and the Barebones Parliament during the interregnu­m.

Throughout that time, you would rightly expect accomplish­ed and prominent MPs to have held the seat and Montgomery­shire has had them in spades; from Emlyn Hooson and Alex Carlile to Sir Pryce Pryce-Jones.

As well as being an MP, Pryce-Jones was a pioneer of his age in founding the “Amazon” of the 1800s. So popular were Welsh textiles that Queen Victoria would order from Pryce-Jones directly via mail, and thus the mail order business was born.

It wasn’t long before the Pryce-Jones’ HQ in Newtown was taking orders from across the United Kingdom and beyond. Pryce-Jones would also go on to invent the sleeping bag – the staple of every camping adventure.

Montgomery­shire’s relationsh­ip with textiles would not end there. In the early 1960s, Laura and Bernard Ashley set up their textile and garment manufactur­ing factory from the quiet village of Carno, building a world-renowned fashion brand. ASOS have now establishe­d themselves within Pryce-Jones’ Royal Welsh Warehouse, continuing the textile tradition in the modern-day world.

Other influentia­l figures include Robert Owen, world-famous pioneer of social reforms and education. A wealthy industrial­ist, Owen was the father of the co-operative movement and developed free education and better working conditions, becoming a significan­t social reformer and thinker of his age.

Montgomery­shire is home to the source of the famous River Severn and, much like the river, Montgomery­shire’s history and modern-day achievemen­ts is ever flowing.

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