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POWIS CASTLE; POWYS CASTLE

Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 29858

Map Reference SJ20NW

Grid Reference SJ2158106455

Unitary (Local) Authority Powys

Old County Montgomeryshire

Community Welshpool

Type of Site COUNTRY HOUSE

Broad Class DOMESTIC

Period Post Medieval, Medieval

Site Description Powis Castle is a medieval castle laid out along a ridge, remodelled and rebuilt, c.1587-1845, producing the existing country house.
The core of the castle is a much altered medieval structure, c.32-40m in diameter, arranged about a central court, with rectilinear outer courts extending north-east and south-west along the ridge, c.162m by 38-46m overall.

On the north-west side is a wide ditch and counterscarp, on the south-east are extensive garden terraces (Nprn23115), part of a wider ornamental lasndscape (see long text attached to Nprn265627), includings offices and farm buildings (Nprn's29860 and 80517).

Wallpaintings at Powis Castle include:
Painted wainscot in Long Gallery and State Bedroom.
Stair; ceiling and walls trompe-d'oeil.
Painted ceiling in library.
Painted ceiling in Blue Drawing Room

Source: RCAHMW Wallpaintings Database. 2004.09.16/RCAHMW/SLE
RCAHMW AP965059/68
J.Wiles 06.11.02

Dendrochronology. South side of Powis Castle. Sampling from the undisturbed east end of the state bedroom showed that this chamber - and by implication the adjoining long gallery - were constructed from timber felled in 1587. The state bed alcove had been constructed shortly after the Restoration using timber from different sources including oak felled in 1663/4. The bed alcove was again adjusted in trhe 19th century probably c. 1814 when a new roof was constructed over the range. Dating commissioned by the National Trust in partnership with RCAHMW and reported in Vernacular Architecture, vol. 36 (2005).

(Richard Suggett/RCAHMW/June 2005).

_____
The first fortified structure that stood on this site was built by Gruffudd ap Gwenwynwyn, the Lord of Powys Wenwynwyn, in the mid thirteenth century. The original castle was practically destroyed by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the ruler of Gwynedd, in 1274. Following the conquest of Wales by Edward I, Gruffudd was restored to his estates and construction of a new castle on the site was soon underway. Following the English Civil War, the castle frequently changed possession, but in 1722 it was returned into the hands of William, second Marquess of Powis, who embellished the castle and completed the terraces. The formal Baroque garden is one of only a few still existing in their original form in Great Britain.

Due to a succession of childless marriages, the estate and title passed to Edward Clive, the husband of Henrietta Herbert, a distant relative of the third and last Marquess of Powis. Edward Clive was the eldest son of Robert Clive, an agent of the East India Company who enforced British supremacy in the subcontinent. It is through this marriage that the extensive Indian art collection was later relocated to Powis Castle. By the time their son inherited the estate, long-overdue repairs at the castle and gardens took place. These improvements were largely paid for with the Clive fortunes amassed in India.

By the late eighteenth century, tourists payed frequent visits to the picturesque gardens and admired the art and portrait collection on display at the castle. During the Napoleonic Wars, several visitors were surprised to find a portrait and a bust of Napoleon on prominent display!

Powis Castle received its final alterations during the first half of the twentieth century and during the Second World War a girls’ school was evacuated to the castle. George Charles Herbert, fourth Earl of Powis, bequeathed the castle to the National Trust in 1952, but the family still retains the right to live at the castle.

Record updated as part of the AHRC-funded project 'Journey to the Past: Wales in historic travel writing from France and Germany'.
R. Singer (Bangor University) and S. Fielding (RCAHMW), 2017.

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