Powis Castle was built in the mid-13th century by a Welsh prince - Gruffudd ap Gwenwynwyn - wanting to establish his independence from his traditional enemies, the aggressive princes of Gwynedd (North Wales).
This was in contrast to the other castles of North Wales (such as Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy) which built by the English to consolidate Edward I’s conquest of Wales.
Exile and rebuild
By the late 13th century, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd of Gwynedd had established himself as Prince of Wales, and in 1274 he destroyed Powis Castle, forcing Gruffudd ap Gwenwynwyn into exile.
However, within three years Llywelyn’s principality had crumbled leaving Gruffudd of Powys to regain his lordship and rebuild the castle.
Gruffudd, his son and grandson had all died by 1309, and with no male heir, the castle and lordship passed to an heiress, Hawise, who married Sir John Charlton from Shropshire.
In 1312, Hawise’s uncle, Gruffudd Fychan, attacked the castle in an attempt to claim the lordship but failed. Charlton repaired the damage and built two great drum towers, which you can still see, either side of the castle’s west entrance.