In 2019 Montgomery received a plaque as a gift from Hungary, in celebration of János Arany being conferred with the posthumous Honorary Freemanship of Montgomery, acknowledging the connection of the Hungarian National Poet with the town.
In 1857 Arany was asked to write a poem of praise for the visit of Franz Josef I of the repressive Austro-Hungarian regime. Instead, he wrote an allegorical poem detailing the imagined slaughter of 500 Bards at a banquet at Montgomery Castle for refusing to sing the praises of the tyrannical Edward I of England. The poem is still learnt by every Hungarian school child so the tiny rural town of Montgomery is probably better known there than Cardiff.
The planned mounting and unveiling of the plaque was a victim of the 2020 lockdown and the Town Council is now hoping for a Hungarian Day celebration in May 2022. In the meantime, Montgomery has made such strong links with the Magyar Cymru group, through the Building Bridges initiative, that many more people are aware of the vibrant Hungarian connection and ‘The Bards of Wales’. The town has also developed an affinity with the ‘Welshest village’ in Hungary, Kunágota. Given the interest, the Town Council determined to erect the plaque as soon as possible, in advance of a future official unveiling.
The Arany plaque is now mounted in its beautiful oak frame made by Powis Sawmills. The community garden at the foot of a path to the Castle is the ideal location and the plaque is already attracting and intriguing many visitors.