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Visit and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:

Welshpool, Powys, is in Welsh called Trallwng.

More exactly Pool and nothing more, this Welsh Pool has had a stormy history. It claims: Castell Goch (Red Castle) or Powis Castle whose Earl carries on the tradition, in name at least, of the ancient Kingdom of Powys is so close to Welshpool as to be considered together with it. Once concentrating on the flannel industry, Welshpool now widens its interests but still remembers its past. It lies close to the Severn, the traditional barrier between Wales and England, and the Long Mountain that, although it stands only just over 1,300 ft high, marks the frontier between Powys and Shropshire. In the town are many reminiscences of the past. Some of its shops still carry the old fire-office signs that were widespread in the later 18th century. One among them, proudly announcing the name of the man, Gilbert Jones. who caused it to be built in 1692, and of his wife, states that they were the family of the original Joneses in the land. By the way that leads to the Castle, half-timbered houses keep alive the memory of political feuds with the nail-studded imprecation “God Damn Old Oliver”. The date, 1661, leaves no doubt which Oliver was intended.

The Castle is of red sandstone, heavily modernized. It still keeps the size and shape recorded in the prints of the 1830s, and the park similarly preserves its oaks. They are a most distinctive part of the scene hereabouts, as they were intended to be. For “Capability” Brown, who founded the tradition of the British landscape garden in the early 19th century, renovated the Castle and its grounds. They have claimed the tallest tree in Britain a Douglas fir over 160 ft high; and oaks that antedate Brown and his capabilities by several centuries, since one was measured at 24 ft in girth and another at 31. They are oaks that probably remember the Owain ap Gruffydd who in 1250 founded the Castle, and the Sir Thomas Myddelton who in 1644 captured the place for Parliament, though it was spared from demolition by the orders of “Old Oliver”. The Restoration of Charles II affected the gardens to the extent that part of them was terraced in the style the exiled Stuarts had learned to appreciate at Saint-Germain in France. But the oaks may look even further back.

The church at Welshpool (St Mary's) has monuments to its connection with the Earls and the military matters that concerned them. It has some notable architecture in roof and tower; it also has, opposite its door, a great stone. It is known as the Maen Llog, another of the Maens that so often follow the ancient routes among the hills. Its name alone signifies its importance, though not necessarily from its attribution as a “Druidic” altar. Whatever its original purpose, it was used as a throne by the Abbot of Strata Marcella, a Cistercian monastery 3 miles to the North East of Welshpool that was brought down when all the monasteries were dissolved by Henry VIII, its foundations being all that can now be seen. The Maen LIog is probably the most important of such monuments in Wales.

A visit should certainly be made to the Powysland Museum. Not itself of very ancient foundation, it has succeeded in preserving some most striking relics of the Kingdom of Powys and its history. Of these the most attractive is the earliest, a shield of the iron Age decorated with the intricate art characteristic of the “Celtic” civilization. Fossils, shells, and Roman antiquities help to give some further idea of the origins of Powys; the Castle can also show furnishings of the time of Charles II's visit, gifts from Clive of India, and work by Grinling Gibbons.

Nearby towns: Clun, Llanfair Caereinion, Llanfyllin, Montgomery, Newtown, Oswestry, Shrewsbury

Nearby villages: Abermule, Arddleen, Berriew, Bettws Cedewain, Bromlow, Buttington, Castle Caereinion, Chirbury, Criggion, Forden, Four Crosses, Guilsfield, Leighton, Llandrinio, Llandysilio, Llangyniew, Llanymynech, Manafon, Meadowtown, Meifod, Melverley, Melverley, Pontrobert, Pool Quay, Shelve, Trelystan, Wollaston, Worthen

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