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Powis Castle
Well Preserved Medieval Castle in Wales

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Powis Castle is a medieval castle, fortress and grand country mansion located near the town of Welshpool, in Powys, Mid Wales. Powis is one of the few places in Britain where a true baroque garden may still be seen. A great deal of work to restore and improve the gardens was undertaken from 1911 by Violet wife of the fourth Earl of Powis, including the laying out of the formal gardens at the far south eastern corner.

The castle is the residence of the Earl of Powis, and is known for its formal gardens, terraces, parkland, deer park and landscaped estate. The property is under the care of the National Trust, which operates it under the name " Powis Castle and Garden".

 


Address:
Powis Castle
Welshpool
Powys SY21 8RF
Wales

Contact
Telephone from the UK: 01938 551929
Telephone from the US: 010 44 1938 551929
Telephone from France: 00 44 1938 551929
Telephone from other countries: +44 (0)1938 551929

Fax: 01938 554336
Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk
e-mail: powiscastle@nationaltrust.org.uk

 

 

Google Maps

 

Small scale map showing the location of
Powis Castle

Google map showing the location of
Powis Castle

Large scale map showing
Powis Castle

 

In Welsh Powis Castle is known as Castell Powis or Castell Coch.

 

Plan of Powis Castle

 

 

History

 

Powis, was the fortress of a dynasty of Welsh princes, unlike the castles Conway, Caernarfon, Harlech and nearby Montgomery, which were all built to by the English to subdue the Welsh.

In 1266 four years after Edward I’s conquest of Wales, Owain ap Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn, the last hereditary prince of Powis, renounced his royal claim title and was granted the title of Baron de la Pole, (e.g. "of the Poole" a reference to Welshpoole, formerly called just Poole and the location of Powis Castle). The ancient Kingdom of Powys had covered the counties of Montgomeryshire, much of Denbighshire, parts of Radnorshire and more anciently large areas of Shropshire also.

In 1587 a descendant sold the lordship and castle to Sir Edward Herbert (d. 1595) second son of the Earl of Pembroke. Sir Edward’s wife was a Roman Catholic and the family’s allegiance to Rome would shape its destiny for over a century.

During the Civil war Powis Castle was captured by Parliamentary troops and not returned to the family until the restoration of Charles II.

The magnificent State bedroom was installed in about 1665 and further improvements were carried out during the 1670s and 1680s, possible under the direction of William Winde, who may also have designed the terraced gardens. Winde’s employer was William, third Lord Powis (c.1626 – 1696), who was created Earl (1674) and then Marquis (1685) of Powis. Barred by his Catholic faith from office under Charles II, but Charles' successor was pro-Catholic, despite the constitution. Lord Powis became one of James II’s chief ministers and followed his master into exile in 1688 (this exile being a result of James ignoring the Constitution and favouring Catholics). The second Marquis was reinstated in 1722, and on the death of the third Marquis in 1748, Powis was inherited by his Protestant kinsman, Henry Arthur Herbert of Oakly Park, Ludlow, who was made Earl of Powis by George II.

In 1784 Lord Powis’s daughter, Lady Henrietta Herbert, married Edward Clive the eldest son of Clive of India. Their marriage led to the union of the Clive and Powis estates in 1801, and in 1804 the earldom of Powis was recreated for the third time for Edward Clive. Edward, in accordance with his uncle’s will, changed his name to Herbert. The Clive fortune paid for overdue repairs to the castle. The garden and park were also improved. Part of Clive of India’s collection of old master paintings, French and English furniture, and Italian curiosities, were brought to the castle.

Queen Victoria visited the castle during her tour through England and Wales in 1832.

Further alterations to Powis Castle were undertaken at the beginning of the twentieth century for George Herbert, fourth Earl of Powis (1862 – 1952) whose wife improved the garden. She died after a car accident in 1929 and Lord Powis also lost his two sons in the First and Second World Wars. On his death in 1952, he bequeathed the castle and gardens to the National Trust. He was succeeded by his cousin, Edward Herbert (1889 – 1974), fifth Earl, who was succeeded in turn by the sixth Earl, the Dower Countess removing to the dower house.

 

Things to See

 

The Clive Museum features artefacts from India that were collected by the Clives in the 18th century, including textiles, armour, weapons, bronzes, silver pieces, jade, ivory and a formal tent. The museum opened in 1987.

A survival of the 1660s, the State Bedroom is the only one in Britain where a balustrade still rails off the bed alcove from the rest of the room. Such a design derives from the days when the English gentry emulated the elaborate quasi-religious etiquette that regulated the court of Louis XIV at Versailles.

 

Powis Castle in 1750

 

 

Window latches in the shape of the Prince of Wales's feathers commemorate the visit of the future King Edward VII. His son and daughter-in-law (later King George V and Queen Mary) visited in 1909.

The terraced gardens are defined by the yews, often trimmed into abstract topiary, planted in the 18th century, perhaps earlier.

The garden at Powis has survived the eighteenth century reaction against the formality of earlier garden design, and Powis is one of the few places in Britain where a true baroque garden may still be seen. The concept for formal or terraces was introduced into northern Europe from the gardens of 16th century Italy.

Powis Castle in 1831

 

 

 

Powis Castle

 

Interior at Powis Castle

 

Gardens at Powis Castle

 

Interior at Powis Castle

 

Front ofPowis Castle

 

Deer Park at Powis Castle

 

Entrance at Powis Castle

 

Garden walk at Powis Castle

 
Orangery at Powis Castle

 

 

 

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