Town Councillors and Council Meetings
The Town Council Committees
The Town Council has several Committees. These are Finance and Policy, Community Affairs and Environmental. During the year Committees set up Working Groups to report to the parent committee on specific projects.
Council and Committee meetings are open to the public and details of dates and times are displayed on the Town Council notice boards.
The Town Council has a membership of 16 councillors, who are elected every four years. The Full Council meets on a Monday on a six-week cycle at 7.00pm in the Shire Hall. Agendas for Committees and Council meetings are posted on the notice board prior to the meeting.
Services and Areas of Responsibility
As the Town Council is the only tier of locally elected Government totally dedicated to Monmouth, they are ideally situated to carry out their responsibility for the community of Monmouth. The Shire Hall provides a Council Chamber and Mayor's Parlour, together with an office for the Town Clerk. The building is owned by the County Council, accessible to all and DDA compliant. A programme for the future of this building is currently being put together to include a bid to the Heritage lottery fund.
Drybridge Play Area
The Town Council provides this well used area for younger children.
A large riverside area for walking along the river towards the Dixton Church is also available for other outside events bookable through the Town Clerk. Nearby seating and a skate park provided for the enthusiasts.
Additional street cleaning is arranged by the Town Council to ensure the Town is kept neat and tidy.
Grants and Donations
The Town Council gives a variety of grants and donations to locally based organisations acting for the benefit of the town. These include grants to the Citizens Advice Bureau, Festival and Carnival, etc.
Civic and Ceremonial Events
The Town Council attends traditional Civic and Ceremonial events throughout the year, including Civic Sunday, Mayor Making and Remembrance Day. The Mayor is attended by two Mace Bearers.
The Town Council is responsible for the decoration of the Town with lights at Christmas.
Monmouth Floral Decorations
The Town Council provide floral displays throughout the Town.
Staffing Levels and Administration
The Town Council office is covered by three members of staff.
The Town Council insurers are Zurich Municipal (Zurich Town, Parish and Community Council Team)
History of the Shire Hall
The Shire Hall where the council now meets was erected in 1724 on the site of the Elizabethan market hall which it replaced; the building was designed to house two "Courts of Judicature" and a room for the Grand Jury at Assizes and Sessions. One of the most famous trials held there was that of the leaders of the Chartists, originally condemned to death but subsequently granted transportations to Van Diemen's Land.
The Mayoralty of Monmouth
There has been a Mayor of the town of Monmouth for at least 750 years.
The Romans had a base here before the Second Legion established its headquarters at Caerleon, the history of the town is generally recorded from the establishment of the Castle by the Norman Earl of Hereford, shortly after the Conquest (1066). Shortly afterwards a Benedictine priory was also founded.
By 1100 A.D. in addition to the Castle and the Priory a third party to the running of the town, the Burgesses had surfaced. This was as a result of the need to control the market in which the burgesses had a monopoly of trade. It was from this that the Common Council evolved and eventually the local government organisation, which exists to day.
An elected mayor and bailiffs came to lead this body and by the middle of the thirteenth century a seal had been acquired from King Henry III with certain privileges. The office of mayor can be dated from this time.
In 1447 Henry VI granted the first charter of "liberty and franchise" (freedom from certain royal taxes and the right to levy fees in relation to the market, etc). Amongst other matters it provided for the annual election of the mayor, which survives to this day, as does the right for two maces to be borne before the mayor. These maces bear the arms of the Duchy of Lancaster to which the Marcher lords of Hereford owed feudal duty.
In 1611 John Steed's book drew the first recorded map of the town, which shows that much of the centre remains unchanged. He says the town was governed by a mayor, two bailiffs and fifteen Common Councillors and a town clerk. Apart from the bailiffs who acted with the mayor as magistrates, this composition is identical to the present town council.