Welshpool Motte and Bailey project to breathe new life into historic site

Reporter:

Elgan Hearn

An exciting proposal, which could breathe new life into a major historical site in the Welshpool is set to go ahead.

Last Wednesday night, August 23, Welshpool Town council received a report recommending applying for a Heritage Lottery fund grant of £100,000 to restore the ancient Motte and Bailey Castle, the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway sheep transfer station and a Crown Bowling green.

The total cost of the scheme is estimated to be £120,000.

Town clerk Robert Robinson has already met with the Heritage Lottery fund and they have said that the scheme would fall into their remit.

The report into the scheme, which was being discussed by Welshpool Town Council as The County Times went to press on Wednesday night, says that this site is “an important part of the town’s history.”

It says: “The town council is keen on the sustainability of history and indeed owns and looks after many historic buildings.

“The Motte and Bailey castle, together with the old Railway Transfer Station, is the next phase of preservation.”

Welshpool Town Council has already negotiated a 25-year lease for the land and work to clear a walkway around the castle mounds, as well as the transfer station.

The report continues: “The proposed scheme comprises a number of elements which would restore much of the historic site at the gateway to Welshpool.”

Welshpool first appears in historical records in the 1240s, with the granting of a borough charter, but it is certain that the settlement is much older.

Records mention a castle in 1196, which is probably the motte and bailey earthwork near the railway station.

This type of castle was typical of those built by the Norman barons who came over with William the Conqueror in 1066.

They were encouraged to create strongholds in the marches and increase their holdings by warring against the Welsh.

The Motte and Bailey could date back as far as 1111 and it is likely that the town developed on Salop Road between the castle and the site of the early church, Capel Llywelyn.

During the 13th century the new borough was laid out along Broad Street and High Street.

At this time Powis Castle developed as the major stronghold around Welshpool, being built by Prince of Powys Wenwynwyn, Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn.

This was as a reward by English King, Edward I, for Gruffydd’s support and his betrayal of the Prince of Wales, Llywelyn ein Llyw Olaf in 1282.

Email:

elgan.hearn@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the County Times

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