CPAT Regional Sites & Monuments Record
PRN 32982 (part of 32981 ) - Powis Castle, garden
NGR :- SJ2166006360 (SJ20NW)
Listed Building PGW(Po)35( (I )
Unitary authority :- Powys
Community :- Welshpool
Prefered site type :- 17th century - Garden (Multiple - )
The red sandstone castle of Powis Castle stands proudly on a rocky outcrop to the south of Welshpool town looking out over its gardens to the south-east and its park to the north-east, east and west. The castle is aligned north-east, south-west, with the
old bailey to the south-west of the large medieval keep. The line of the bailey survives in later buildings which surround what is now a courtyard, and a balustrade along the south side of a raised walk on the south side of the courtyard. A large
two-storey gatehouse, containing a heavy studded timber door, encloses the area on the south-west. This attaches to the north range, a three-storey rectangular range with Elizabethan moulded brick chimneys and latticed windows. This range contains the
eighteenth-century ballroom, the Clive Museum, and the National Trust tea-shop and restaurant and the shop. The keep at the east end of the courtyard is defined by two plain cylindrical towers of three storeys above cellars. Set between the towers, on
the first storey, is the main entrance door, set in a pointed arch with stone moulding, which is connected to the courtyard below by a flight of curving splayed stone steps, set within a balustrade. The original seventeenth-century doorcase was moved to
the orangery during the early part of this century. Behind the keep there is a small inner courtyard with a Renaissance loggia on its south side which has now been glazed in. The courtyard is laid out as a turning circle with a wide gravel path
surrounding a central rectangular piece of grass on which an early eighteenth century lead statue of Fame is sited. From the south the castle continues around in a curve to the east. Its appearance is irregular and curving, comprising eight main bays,
which are arranged from the south side of the south keep tower to a square block on the east end. A pair of oriel windows are sited one above the other on the second and third floor of the second main bay. Castellated towers and stacks dominate the
skyline above a castellated parapet. On the east front a central projecting tower/bay extends to the east over a Jacobean/Tuscan stone porch. On the north-east of the tower a high curved window is set on the second floor. An extensive staff range
connects the north range to the keep. On the north face of the castle the presence of only a few windows creates an almost blank face. Until the late 1700s a main public road below this side of the castle through the park.
Powis Castle, Y Castell Coch (the Red Castle), was built on the site of a fort of the Welsh princes, adopted by Cadwgan ap Bleddyn in about 1109. It became the border stronghold of Owain Cyfeiliog from about 1170. Part of a rectangular stone tower
which is believed to have been built by his son, Gwenwynwyn, in about 1200 survives inside the main castle. This thick walled sandstone tower had an inner courtyard to the east of which lay a stone hall. Gwenwynwyn's grandson, Owain, who adopted the
Norman name of 'de la Pole', rebuilt timber outbuildings and the bailey wall in stone from about 1275. This work included high earth outworks on the site of the present garden.
From the fifteenth century the castle was gradually transformed into a mansion. In 1587 it was bought by Sir Edward Herbert, son of the first Earl of Pembroke. Herbert redesigned the interior of the castle as a great house, creating the Long Gallery
before 1594. Edward Herbert's great-grandson, William Herbert, the 3rd Lord Powis, first Earl, Marquess and titular Duke of Powis continued the work from the late 1660s to the 1690s. He decorated the State Bedroom, installed the Great Staircase,
commissioning Verrio to paint the ceiling above, and began work on the terraced gardens. This work was partly to repair damage inflicted on the castle during the Civil War when, as a Royalist stronghold, it was sieged and sacked. The 1st Earl was also a
distinguished politician but his career was stalled by his Catholic religion and after being falsely implicated in an assassination attempt on Charles II, he was imprisoned in the Tower for five years. On the Catholic succession of James II the 1st Earl
re-entered politics only to follow the king into exile after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The 1st Earl took his family to France to the French palace of St Germain-en-Laye where he died in 1696. His son, William Herbert, the 2nd Marquess and second
titular Duke of Powis, stayed on at St. Germain-en-Laye while his Welsh estates were forfeit and given to William van Nassau van Zuylestien, created Lord Rochford and The Dutch Earl of Portland, by the victorious William III. Lord Rochford spent little
time at Powis and returned to Holland in 1697. By 1703 the Marquess was temporarily able to return to the castle but did not regain full control of the Powis Estate until 1722. Despite having a limited income it was during this period that the Marquess
completed the terraced gardens begun by his father in the 1680s. From 1692 the family's fortunes began to improve following the discovery of lead on their estate at Llangynog, but it was not until the 1730s that the mines became increasingly profitable.
On the death of the 2nd Marquess in 1745 the estate passed to his unmarried brother, Viscount Montgomery. On his death in 1748 the estate passed to his cousin, Henry Arthur Herbert, Lord Herbert of Chirbury, of Oakly Park, Shropshire. Lord Chirbury was
descended from the Pembroke side of the Herbert family and, as Protestants, they had not had their fortunes compromised during or after the Civil War. In 1751 he was created the 1st Earl of Powis (second creation). In 1771 he sold Oakly Park to Clive of
India and moved permanently to Powis Castle. On his death in 1772 his son, George Herbert, succeeded at the age of seventeen. George Herbert inherited pressing financial problems from both of his parents, but none the less set out on the Grand Tour from
which he returned in 1776 with many of the classical and Italian treasures which remain at the castle. In the same year he also commissioned Thomas Farnolls Pritchard to build a new ballroom on the north of the courtyard to celebrate his coming of age.
Despite debt the 2nd Earl also spent widely and on his death in 1801 owed over £177,000. His heir was his nephew, sixteen-year-old Edward Clive, a grandson of Clive of India. On his inheritance his father, the 2nd Lord Clive, was serving in India as
Governor of Madras. In 1801 his wife and daughters returned to England with many of the treasures now displayed in the Clive Museum at Powis Castle. On his own return in 1804 the 2nd Lord Clive was created 1st Earl of Powis (third creation), over his
son, who was given the courtesy title of Viscount Clive. By 1807, through their own fortune and selling off of land, the family had cleared the £177,000 debt that the son had inherited, in time for his coming of age.
The 2nd Earl of Powis had left instructions in his will of 1801 that his heir was 'to keep Powis Castle with the Buildings, Gardens and Appurtenances in the most complete and perfect State of Repair' and between 1801 to 1845 the castle was restored by Sir
Robert Smirke and the garden and park largely replanted. In 1839 Edward Herbert finally succeeded his father as the 2nd Earl (third creation), having already changed his name from 'Clive' back to 'Herbert'. A bibliophile, he formed the core of the
library, collecting rare English, Welsh and classical books which included volumes from the Empress Josephine's library at Malmaison. Part of this library was sold by the family in 1923. He became involved in politics and lost to Prince Albert in the
election to the Chancellorship of Cambridge University in 1847. In 1848 he died at the castle ten days after a shooting accident. His son, Edward, succeeded and, a scholar like his father, became High Steward of Cambridge University in 1863. He also
served as an MP for North Shropshire but turned down the offer to be Viceroy of India by Disraeli as he felt it was 'Not worth considering'. He died, unmarried, in 1891 and the estate passed to his nephew George Herbert, the 4th Earl. In 1902 The 4th
Earl commissioned G. F. Bodley to remodel several rooms more in the taste of the Edwardian country house while his wife, Violet, Lady Powis, undertook major work in the garden. For a short period during the Second World War the Castle was used as a
girl's school, the Earl moving out to live in the Head Gardener's house to the east of the Formal Garden. The Earl decided to leave the castle to The National Trust in on his death in 1952. This decision was influenced by his own great personal
misfortunes. His eldest son was killed at the Somme in 1916, his wife in a car crash in 1929 and his second son was killed in action in 1939. On his death the title and wider estate passed to his cousin and eventually into the Herbert family of
Marrington, Shropshire where it remains.
A west branch off the main service drive connects to the Dairy Yard which comprises a central court containing a circular grass plat with long two-storey red brick ranges on the east and south set with Georgian sash and casement windows. These slate roofed
buildings are now used as National Trust staff accommodation, offices and workshops. The Powis Estate Office is located at the west end of the south range. To the north a steep wooded bank separates the yard from the castle and on the west there is a
further small cobbled service yard, which is reached through a pair of simple stone gate piers set with hitching rings. To the south of this gateway a screen wall connects to a small stone and brick house, formally a cart house, which creates the west
range of Dairy Yard. This attaches to the partly timber framed north side of the Edwardian bothy. On the west, a much older timber framed range of stables and a cart house stands on the east face of the east wall of the formal garden. On the north the
area is bounded by a brick and stone generator house, dating from about 1910, which is now used as a store. It still contains Edwardian battery blocks, gun racks and sledges for deer. A door in the north-east wall of the formal garden opens into the west
side of this building. In the south-west of the yard a brick screen wall, including an ornamental iron gate, connects the Bothy and the south range, as well as the yard and the formal garden. A triangular strip of land between the east wall of the
croquet lawn wall and the service drive is now used as a private garden by one of the resident gardeners.
The Dairy Yard appears to date in form from at least 1771 when it was recorded on a plan by Thomas Farnolls Pritchard. The position of the main east and south ranges are marked but the present buildings may be slightly later. The yard was originally the
'Fold Yard', the internal circulation not appearing until after 1884. This was the service area of the castle, taking its name from the dairy which was based here until the late nineteenth century. The buildings then, as now, served as workshops,
accommodation and storage.
Visitors to Powis Castle garden turn off the estate road, Red Lane, which leads uphill from the A 490 to the east, on to an old service drive heading northwards. The drive is tarmacked and runs through beech and mixed hedges for about 1/2 km, first to
the north then heading north-east around the east side of Dairy Yard back out into the park and around to the west, to enter a large roughly rectangular car park laid out below the north side of the castle. The exit is along one of the old formal drives
which runs through the west park for about 1/2 km to a set of formal stone gates to the estate road opposite Dysserth Farm.
Permission to include the park on the Register was not granted by the owners. Access to the Castle remains through the park by agreement between the National Trust and the Powis Estate.
The gardens of Powis Castle lie to the south-east and south-west of the castle, the terraces immediately below the mansion, the Great Lawn below and the Wilderness opposite, the different areas being linked by formal hedges and topiary. In all the garden
covers an area of about 25 acres. Entrance to the garden is gained through a simple iron gateway set between two simple stone capped piers to the south-west of the castle gatehouse. A low stone wall set with iron railings and wire creates the north
boundary. Further to the west this becomes stock and deer fencing which continues around the garden on the west and south sides. A hardcore path, with a low dry-stone retaining wall on its east side, leads from the gate to the south-east. After about 6m
the path splits, one branch heading west to circulate around the west end of the Great Lawn and into the Wilderness, the other east, leading directly on to the garden terraces.
The east garden path is about 1m wide, quickly increasing to about 2m. It winds its way east past a small section of rockery to enter the area of the Top Terrace, curving round into a straight path below the south face of the gatehouse above. Each of the
terraces at Powis are about 150m long and about 10-15m wide. The terrace walls are all made of red brick with stone capping and detail. The path proceeds along the Top Terrace, separated from the courtyard wall by a deep herbaceous border edged in a low
clipped box hedge. As with all of the terraces old trained fruit trees survive on the terrace walls. Almost immediately upon entering the top terrace a dog-leg flight of steep and narrow stone steps descends to the south and east to the peacock garden
below. The eastern part of these steps is enclosed by a clipped yew hedge on the south side which concludes in a topiary cone. Two large seventeenth-century yew trees stand to the north of the Top Terrace path in the border to the west of the castle.
One of these functions as a small arbour. A Victorian water pump also survives here. To the south of the path at this point a grass bank slopes down to the rear wall of the Aviary Terrace below. Four more large clipped yews and an Irish yew grow along
this slope. Directly below the castle the rear wall of the Top Terrace increases in height and becomes ornamental. Five pedimented niches are set into the wall, set between four plaques defined with moulded brick. Above the niches grow nine overhanging
late seventeenth-century clipped yew trees. Beneath the niches there is a narrow border of Artemisia 'Powis Castle' which is separated from the path by grass. To the east of the niched wall the wall returns to its main height of about 3m and continues
along to meet the northern end of the gigantic stepped yew hedge which descends the three main terraces, rising to a height of about 10m. Planting continues along the base of the rear wall, now the south wall of the Upper Terrace, and to the south-east of
the niche wall to the east of a set of steps which connect with the Aviary Terrace below. This planting includes a particularly fine and old Arbutus. At the east end of the Top Terrace stands a lead and stone statue of Hercules killing the Hydra. To the
east of the niched wall a flight of about twenty-five wide stone paved formal steps dog-leg up to the east porch and the Upper Terrace. A small square paved seating area is set on the north on the second level of these steps. The formal Tuscan east porch
opens out on to the magnificent extended set of diamond patterned stone flagged steps which descend to the north-east to the early eighteenth century, wrought-iron and gilded Marquess Gate and the park beyond. To the south-east of these steps, and
standing above them by about 10m, there is the Upper Terrace, a narrow grassed terrace which is about 25m length. A stone balustrade encloses it along the south side and a sundial stands near its eastern end. To the north-east of the steps, and at a
slightly lower level than the upper terrace, there is a large level square lawn, the Bowling Green, supported by a deep stone retaining wall on the north and east which descends to the park below. A few shrubs and trees growing along its north side hide
it from the park and car park.
To the south-east of the niched wall twenty-two steps descend to the second terrace, the Aviary Terrace. To the west they immediately enter a wide hardcore area in front of the brick arcaded aviary. The terrace is enclosed on the south by a balustrade
ornamented with Flemish lead figures and urns. Wisteria grows over the south front of the aviary. Beyond the aviary a wide, hard core path continues along the length of the terrace before curving to the south-west, concluding in a stepped brick, stone
capped wall which connects the first and third terraces. Along the north of the path low brick arches occur along the base of the terrace wall. These arches, and associated holes in the brickwork, illustrate the position of a greenhouse that once stood
here. The wall is separated from the path by a wide border planted up in a mediterranean style with drought resistant and colourful plants. To the south of the path a bank of sloping grass descends to the top of the third terrace below. To the east of
the aviary and the steps a small paved garden lies on the north of the path, below the Arbutus tree. Two millstones of Millstone grit are set into the paving as ornamentation. A similar dry border runs along the north side of the path, underneath the
terrace wall, on this side of the terrace and, again on the south, a grass slope descends to the terrace below. At the east end of the terrace, set before the yew hedge, there is a very large 3m high clipped yew cube which hides a small iron service gate
which cuts through the hedge on to the northern part of the site of an old orchard above the Formal Garden.
To the south-east of the aviary a very fine set of twenty formal dog-leg steps descends on to the third, or Orangery Terrace. To the west the steps lead to a wide straight walk in front of the ornate brick and stone orangery, from which the path is
separated by narrow box edged grass plats. In season roses ornament the front of the orangery, covering the six French windows and seventeenth-century stone doorcase. To the south of the orangery there is a small rectangular court, enclosed on the south
by another balustrade that runs along the top of a double set of twenty formal steps which descend to the west and east on to the Apple Slope below. In the centre of this court there is a small formal layout. A rectangular grass plat, surrounded by
hardcore paths and set with a central lead statue of Pan, is ornamented at each corner by a clipped box ball. To the south-west and south-east stand a further pair of clipped holly cones. On the west of the orangery a set of false steps appear to lead
back up to the Aviary Terrace above. These steps, charmingly overgrown, and ornamented with a white painted lead statue of Venus, mask the old boiler house of the orangery which is reached from the terrace above by a narrow flight of brick steps.
To the west and east of the orangery a wide straight hard core path runs the length of the terrace between low clipped box hedges. On either side of the path lie magnificent 2m deep herbaceous borders which are given additional height through iron
Victorian clematis 'umbrellas' and hoops which stand within them. At the west end of the Orangery Terrace path a high clipped yew hedge continues the line of the west end wall above. The path continues through the hedge into a small garden beyond which
sees the beginning of the transformation from the formal terraces to the informal Wilderness. To the south of the path smooth grass planted with clumps of pampas grass and shrubs slopes down to the south-west to the Wild Garden, which includes the
Daffodil Paddock, an area of wild flower meadow planted on the site of the original geometric Wilderness which was later incorporated into a deer paddock. To the north a small square area of lawn is enclosed on the north by a steep rocky bank which falls
from the Top Terrace above. This bank appears to have once been planted up as a rock garden. The steps which lead down from the top terrace run down the west side of this bank. In the centre of the north lawn there is a life-sized lead peacock set on a
stone plinth. The path continues west though this area towards the Garden Pool and the Wilderness. At the east end of the Orangery Terrace the path passes underneath the great yew hedge to connect with a steep flight of sixty stone and hard core steps
which lead down to the Yew Walk in the south, on the east of the Great Lawn. At the top of the steps the yew hedge obscures the brick and stone retaining walls of the east end of the terraces which can only be seen as you pass underneath it. A simple
timber seat set on a red stone dias is set between a pair of clipped yews which grow up into the overhanging hedge above. Set along the east side of the terrace wall, above the steps, there are three large stone shells. The path from the terrace can lead
either south, directly down the steps to the Yew Walk, or continue to the east, curving around to the south down through the high hedges of the Box Walk to the north-west corner of the Formal Garden.
The double flight of steps below the Orangery Terrace lead down onto the Apple Slope. A path runs the length of the slope, concluding in a continuation of the yew hedge at the western end and the steep steps, on the east. A narrow border separates the
path from the terrace wall and below a steep grass tree and shrub planted bank descends about 12m onto the Great Lawn. The Great Lawn is a 2 1/2 acre expanse of level turf which is enclosed on the west and east by formal yew hedges. The hedge on the
east, standing slightly above the level of the lawn, has had five arches cut into it to allow views from the Yew Walk, of which it forms the west side, of the Great Lawn and Wilderness. On the south the lawn is bordered by a raised grass walk lined on the
south by standard yew trees. Behind this the south bank, a steep bank planted up with exotic trees, rises into the Wilderness.
The 40m long Yew Walk runs from the north steps to a small semi-circular seating alcove in the south. To the east of the seat a set of timber steps descends an east-facing slope planted with shrubs, which leads down on to the formal garden.
The Formal Garden covers about 1/2 acre and is composed a large rectangular lawn, which slopes to the south, surrounded by wide straight paths. Twelve pairs of pyramidal trained fruit trees underplanted with circular beds of ground cover plants run along
the west and east paths. More fruit trees continue along the north which are mirrored on the south by pillar roses. On an axis with the timber steps a long vine pergola crosses the garden from west to east. The garden is enclosed on the south by a high
formal yew hedge which hides the gardener's house in the south-west and the Fountain Garden in the south-east. To the north of the Formal Garden the ground descends in a steep slope which is planted up with exotic trees and shrubs. On the north-east the
garden is enclosed by the west wall of the service yard. A timber door survives in the high brick wall, connecting the two areas. The north walk enters the Formal Garden off the Yew Walk, descending down a short flight of steps between the intersection
of the path and the Box Walk. A stone trough is located at this point. At the east end of the north walk, set against the north-east wall of the garden, there is a formal yew arbour containing a seat. About 12m to the south this wall concludes in the
Bothy, an ornamental timber framed house which was built to house some of the garden staff. A screen wall runs from the south-east of the Bothy to the north-west of the Estate Office in Dairy Yard, and screens off this area from the garden. However, the
two areas connect through an ornamental iron gate. To the south of the Bothy lies a continuation of the formal garden, a long strip of grass, ornamented with trained fruit trees on the west and a herbaceous border beneath a yew hedge on the east. The
east walk of the Formal Garden continues to the south to enter the Fountain Garden, a large rectangular formal garden which lies on a west/east alignment. This garden is enclosed by high square clipped yew hedges with buttressed angles enclosing a narrow
raised brick and stone walk on the east, west and south, connecting to the main garden level by narrow stone steps. Narrow borders run below the walls, separating them from the central area of grass, which is itself ornamented by six pairs of clipped box
cones. The path continues, as an axis, to a pair of fine wrought iron gates, the Powis Gates, which are set, between dressed stone piers, in the hedge, supported on the south by a modern stone wall. In the east of the garden there is a circular fountain
basin and fountain and in the west, a small bronze sundial on a moulded stone pedestal.
The south walk of the Formal Garden proceeds to the east to enter the Croquet Lawn, a long rectangular strip of lawn which runs south from the Estate Office. This is screened from the service drive beyond by a high brick, stone capped wall. At the east
end of the south wall there is a large clipped box arbour containing a seat. A border runs along the west and east side of the croquet lawn. On the west it is raised, being retained by a low dry-stone wall. The Croquet lawn is set at a slightly lower
level to the Formal Garden and in the north-west two small sets of stone steps lead down into it from the north and west. Near the south-west of the Croquet Lawn there is a large circular copper planter which used to hold water for the kitchen garden,
previously sited here.
From the main visitor entrance gate into the garden, to the south of the gate tower, a path runs west into the Wilderness. Other paths branch off this to the south-east to connect with the Orangery Terrace and the Wild Garden. All the paths run through
densely planted areas of trees, shrubs and groundcover. To the west of the peacock garden there is a timber and stone workshop/store. This is set into the hillside in a stone lined recess which appears to have been an ancillary garden building.
About 40m along this main west path the path turns to the south, passing the Garden Pool, the only sizeable piece of water in the garden, on the east. Beyond this the ground rises to the Wilderness Ridge, a densely planted ornamental woodland which
contains several paths, connected by stone and timber steps. Above and to the south of the Great Pool is the repaired brick ice-house - a domed brick building with a entrance passage on its south-east side. A main path continues around the base of the
ridge, above the south bank, to the south and east. Along this path on the south is the Ladies' Bath, a square stone tank set in an alcove ornamented with limestone and tufa. Near the west end of the Great Lawn narrow steps zig-zag off the path to the
north-east to reach the lawn. Opposite the main terrace buildings a wide grass walk rises from the Lawn back up to the top of the ridge. The walk is lined with standard yew trees which are backed by the wider woodland planting. A large stone vase is
sited on the ridge. The main path continues to the east to meet the southern end of the Yew Walk. To the south-west of the stone vase another main path leads around the south side of the ridge initially through a more open area of planting of ornamental
shrubs and young trees, where an oversized sculpture of a human foot is to be found. From here a relict orchard, leading down to the drive, can be seen. Further to the west the wood becomes denser, with large conifers and oaks predominating. There are a
few animal graves in this area.
The earliest known reference to any garden at Powis Castle survives in a sketch by Thomas Dineley in The Account of the Official Progress of His Grace Henry 1st Duke of Beaufort through Wales in 1634 of the courtyard. It shows the courtyard having a
pair of formal rectangular grass plats, an ornate central fountain and a raised balustraded walk along the south-east side. The Progress also contains a second view of the castle from the north-east which shows an entrance court, with a central gateway,
containing two grass plats on either side of a formal staircase which leads up to the north porch. No record of the appearance of the land directly below the castle on the south-east is known at this time. In about 1697 the 1st Marquess and the
architect William Winde, who had been working on the family's London home between 1684 -1688, visited Powis Castle and drew up plans for an extensive baroque terraced garden. Winde had already completed a similar project at Cliveden, Buckinghamshire.
However, little work appears to have been completed by the time the family were forced into exile despite an anonymous reference of 1685 to the 'hanging gardens'. The new owner, Lord Rochford, seems to have taken little interest in Powis. On the return
of the family of the 2nd Marquess from France and Holland in 1703 a Frenchman, Adrian Duval, 'a gardener', was included in Lady Powis's retinue and it is he who is widely credited with actually completing the construction of the terraces, possibly to
Winde's plan, and laying out the extensive water parterre below. A payment of £20.00 to Duval appears in the records from 1713, to be followed by an unspecified amount again in 1717. From an account of 1732 by John Loveday it appears that the a lot of
the clearance work for the garden on the rocky slope and in the lower garden, was carried out by labourers 'working a long time'. The lower garden contained 'a lot of wood and Rubbish'. However, in 1766 Thomas Pennant wrote that the terraces had been
'blasted away', which suggests that a combination of hand-labour and blasting were used to create them.
By 1705 the water parterre was complete and in 1707 the Marquess gates were commissioned. Planting in the garden had also begun: '2 evergreen oaks, a Mirtle and A pashion flower tree' being purchased in 1708. John Bridgeman visited in 1705 and commented
favourably that 'the water-works and fountains that are finished there are much beyond anything I ever saw whose streams play near twenty yards in height. The Cascade has two falls of water which concludes in a noble Bason'. In 1732 John Loveday
commented on 'several Leaded Cisterns, one lower than another... make a noble Cascade'. This cascade ran down the steep bank on the south side of the garden, opposite the principal buildings of the terraces, the Aviary and the Orangery, which were set
into the centre of the second and third upper terraces. No illustrative record of the cascade is known to survive, although Loveday's description went on to note 'an open Room, where are Shells set in regular figures in ye Wall'. These waterworks were
influenced by the similar, and now lost, gardens at the palace of St. Germain-en-Laye, where the family had lived while in France. The best illustration of the gardens at this time is offered by the Samuel and Nathanial Buck's perspective view of the
castle of 1742. It records a formal and geometric garden of three main terraces, containing the principal buildings, with a further three grass terraces descending onto a wide formal terrace containing three parterres, the west and central of which had
water features. The upper terraces were ornamented with trained fruit trees against the walls, a use which continues to the present day, and regularly spaced small clipped evergreens. These evergreens have since grown out into the great irregular yews
that are to be seen today. In the view, similar evergreens surround the parterres. Statues, urns and other ornaments were also recorded around the gardens. The site of the cascade is marked by a tempietto, set with a statue flanked by two fountains.
This was the form of the garden which survived intact, though slowly deteriorating, until the 1770s. In 1774 a visitor, Sir John Cullum, remarked on the survival of 'several Liliputian statues and clipt yews', the relics of a garden style which had
already fallen out of favour having already been described as 'old fashioned' in 1757 by another visitor, Lord Lyttleton.
In 1771 A General Plan of Powis Castle as at present was completed by Thomas Farnolls Pritchard. It recorded the formal baroque garden recorded by the Bucks, except the platte blandes on the parterres which had already been lost. Several new features are
recorded: a pool had been created on the terrace immediately in front of the Orangery and a kite shaped formal 'Wilderness' had been created to the south-west of the castle on the west slope above the water parterre. The wilderness contained eight
cruciform walks which centred on a circular feature which was possibly yet another fountain. To the east of the parterre a 'present bowling green' had also been laid out on the site of the later kitchen garden, in addition to the 'Old Bowling Green' and
'High Terrace' on the east front of the castle. Significantly, Farnolls Pritchard's plan also recorded three square formal gardens on the east of the Marquess Gate steps in the present park. The history of these gardens is unclear.
In 1776 Thomas Pennant described the design of the gardens as 'wretched'. The move away from the formality of the Landscape Movement led to the Marquess contacting the landscape designer William Emes - 'a Layer out of Lands & Pleasure Grounds'- in 1771
to update the park and gardens in addition to reorganising the roads within the park and masking the Dairy Yard buildings from the castle. It is said that Emes proposed blowing up the terraces in their entirety and that they were only saved following the
intervention of Richard Payne Knight and Uvedale Price (Jacques, 1983) who praised them for their romantic historicism. Emes was not entirely convinced, and persuaded the Marquess to let him remove the water parterre and cascade and to lay out a 'Great
Lawn'. This work was complete by the early nineteenth century and Emes consolidated his work through planting up a more informal Wilderness with oak and yew on the ridge to the south of the Great Lawn, taking this area into the garden proper for the first
time. The trees used in this planting - ' various kinds of seeds of the Forest and other trees .... small plants had from London, and other places' - were raised in a new nursery which was constructed from about 1771 to the south of the Dairy pool, then
known as the Great Pool. Previously, despite the existence of informal walks along the ridge, the Wilderness area had remained in the Deer Park. However, despite these developments the older, formal Wilderness survived until at least 1780.
Emes was also commissioned to draw up proposals for a new kitchen garden near the Dairy Yard and 'great Pool'. Emes's plans for a walled garden including houses, heated walls and flumes survives. It would appear that Emes developed the area of the
'Present Bowling Green' recorded by Farnolls Pritchard's General Plan of 1771 which would remain as the kitchen garden into the early twentieth century. A surviving estate order of 1771 suggests that Emes also wanted to replace some of the fruit trees
on the terrace walls with other, perhaps ornamental trees 'proper for these walls', through its instruction to Mr Jones, the gardener, to 'prepare the ground on the several Terras's for the Wall Tree immediately'. Emes went on to work for the Clive
family at Walcot Park, Shropshire from about 1774, where plants from the main Clive seat of Oakly Park, near Ludlow, and possibly from Powis Castle were used in the garden, setting up a reciprocal arrangement between the three gardens.
By the late eighteenth century the gardens were suffering as a result of the financial straights of the family and the prolonged absences of the 2nd Earl. In 1784 John Byng commented on not only 'the wretched taste of steps, statues and pavilions' but
that 'not even the fruit is attended to; the balustrades and terraces are falling down, and horses graze on the parterre!' In 1793 the same visitor returned and commented on the lamentable state of the park and on the 'mean, silly man, the bubble of his
mistress' (the 2nd Earl) and on the increasingly ruinous state of the garden; 'the terraces you cannot walk as the balustrades are fallen down, and should you slip you are lost'. By 1795 Sir Richard Colt Hoare remarked that the garden was in a 'very
The gardens experienced a renaissance following the inheritance in 1801 of Edward, 2nd Lord Clive, 1st Earl (third creation), over his son, Viscount Clive. He was a keen gardener, living to eighty-five years and often, to the age of eighty, to be seen
'digging in his garden at six o'clock in the morning in his shirt sleeves'. By 1809 the Revd. K. Evans remarked that some of the ornaments had been removed and 'attempts made to modernise the gardens as well as the house' were underway. However, despite
the removal of the water parterre the 1st Earl stood against fashion and would not have the terraces removed. In 1818-1819 the walls of the bowling green were repaired and an ice-house in the garden filled in. Fruit trees, hollies and rhododendrons were
also purchased. In 1822 the 1st Earl commissioned J. C. Buckler to record the garden and house in a series of watercolours and in the same year two Turkey oaks were planted on the Great Lawn.
A tithe map of 1840 records the garden much in its present form, with the kitchen garden having been established on the old east bowling green. A small building was also recorded in the southern wilderness. Illustrations of this time record the castle
and terraces in a romantic and 'shaggy' manner with mature trees and shrubs covering up much of the terraces. The Great Lawn was fenced off from the terraces by a picket fence and deer from the park encouraged on to it. In 1830 the engraver Henry
Gastineau, although favourably impressed, thought the castle and grounds were 'in decline'.
By 1879 the herbaceous and perennial planting on the terraces for which Powis Castle is now so famous was in development. An anonymous article in The Gardener's Chronicle noted that the Top Terrace, recorded as the 'Dial terrace', was planted up with
rhododendrons, pampas grass, tree peonies and red hot pokers. On the Aviary Terrace the double herbaceous borders were in place, pears and peaches grew against the wall and clematis were trained over the iron 'balloons' which still survive. Near the west
of the terrace a half-span lean-to greenhouse was also noted which was being used, at this time, as a fernery. This glasshouse appears on illustrations through the mid-century but it is unclear when it was lost. Camellias were grown in the greenhouse
(orangery) while roses and more clematis grew in the Orangery Terrace borders. Standard fruit trees were also recorded on the 'Apple slope'. In the south garden an alcove walk, the wilderness and an America garden were also noted as well as a 'young
ladies' garden', possibly around the Ladies' bath, which included a summer house and grotto. At this time the Great Lawn was still being used as an enclosed paddock for deer.
By 1887 the area of the formal wilderness had reverted to a lawn, the Upper Lawn. This was recorded on the Ordnance Survey map, as was a small building in the southern wilderness which had been lost by 1902. Paths, radiating out from the stone vase in
the wilderness were also recorded on the 1887 Ordnance Survey map.
In 1893 the gardens, displaying the influence of late Victorian taste, were recorded in an article in The Garden. This noted the use of different colour schemes on each of the terraces; ' the lowest white, the middle yellow, and the highest purple; not
that other colours are excluded in either case, but these characteristic tones are maintained all through'. The domed clematis supports were in place, 'covered with Clematis Jackmanni .... and other light-coloured varieties' and bedding; pansy, lobelia,
geranium, coleus, tritomas and dahlias all being mentioned. Interestingly the article also noted the replacement of grey gravel with red on the terrace paths, which it considered to be an 'improvement'. Another article in The Gardener's Chronicle in
1894 noted a border of carnations and picotees running along the entire south-side of the Orangery Terrace 'with from three to eight rows of a sort running across it' and eight-five newly planted cordoned fruit trees on the walls of the different terraces.
The gardens entered their next great age of development in 1890 on the marriage of the 5th Marquess to Violet Lane-Fox, who's family home, Bramham Park, Yorkshire, had another rare surviving eighteenth-century formal garden. She was keen to become
involved with the gardens at Powis but had to wait until 1911, when her husband finally handed over their management to her. She had great plans for what she saw as 'a poor and meagre garden' which had declined as a result of 'leaving the care of the
garden to the gardeners'. Her staff, and head gardener John Lambert, may have felt differently, as in 1890s and 1909 the great garden writer and designer William Robinson had visited and had praised the condition, choice of planting and individual colour
schemes of each terrace, commenting that it was 'a picture of what a flower garden should be'. He noted clematis, sweet pea, roses, sunflowers, hollies, Japanese acers, tree peonies, pears, peaches, nectarines, pomegranates, magnolia and wisterias all
growing on the terraces, in addition to displays of summer bedding and container planting on the Aviary and Orangery Terraces. By 1894 the pool on the Orangery Terrace had been filled in.
Violet began to replant the terraces, but her greatest endeavours were with the kitchen garden which she had quickly dismantled and relocated following a storm in 1910. She set about creating the formal and fountain gardens. Ironically the formal garden
retained elements of the kitchen garden in the surviving trained fruit trees and vine tunnel and, later, in the building of the Edwardian bothy. In 1912 she commissioned G. F. Bodley to design a set of formal iron gates for the fountain garden as a
present for her husband. By the time of Violet's death in 1929 the gardening staff numbered at least 20. This fell slightly during the 1930s but rose again during the Second World War with Land Girls and conscientious objectors. A few members of the
staff where retained by the National Trust when they took over in the 1950s.
It was Violet's garden, with additional Asiatic planting of the 1930s in the Wilderness and on the Apple Slope, which was inherited by the National Trust in 1952. The garden was maintained in a similar style for many years but following the appointment
of a new head gardener, Jimmy Hancock, in 1972 it rose to its present horticultural eminence. Before his retirement in 1996 Jimmy Hancock was awarded the British Empire Medal for his work at Powis and made an Associate of Honour by the Royal Horticultural
Society. The 'Upper Lawn' has been managed as a wild flower meadow - the Wild Garden and Daffodil Paddock - since the 1980s.
The garden's nursery stands to the south-east of the castle below the castle service drive, which is now the National Trust's entrance. The nursery uses the bothy and greenhouses which were used for fruit and flower production until the early 1950s. To
the south of the nursery area there is a rectangular field of about 1 1/2 acres which runs along the east of the drive back to the main park road (Red Lane). This was the vegetable garden. To the west of the vegetable garden and service drive a relict
orchard also survives down the eastern slope of the Wilderness.
A simple timber gate on the east of the service drive, opposite the old gardener's house, leads into the National Trust nursery area. The area is roughly screened from view by tall hedges and shelter belts of conifers. A rough metalled track leads down
to the south-east to enter a forecourt area on the north of a long line of single-storey brick and slate roof bothies and workrooms with a central stack on a west/east alignment. An old boiler survives in one of the rooms on the east. Attached to the
south face of these buildings there is a large open fronted prefabricated shelter which is used as a large-scale cold frame and plant store. This shelter looks out on to a roughly square hardcore yard of about 1/4 acre which is enclosed on the west by a
low stone retaining wall set into a high grass bank which is topped by the drive's hedge, a mixed beech and holly hedge on the south and a belt of conifers on the east. In the yard, from west to east there are three single aisled glass greenhouses made by
Foster and Pearson. Each is about 12m long. Full length cold frames run along both sides of the first greenhouse, along the east side of the second house and again, along both sides of the third. All of the houses lie approximately west/east. The
glasshouses and frames are built on brick and concrete block bases but the ironwork structures date from the late nineteenth-century. Ironwork and display tables survive in the glasshouses, as does the original gearing. All of the houses are in use.
Only the southern greenhouse is still heated, using new independent heating, as the boiler is no longer used. To the east of the yard there is a small rubbish area where the bases of old chimneys from the castle, once used as rudimentary planters, and an
old garden cart were noted. On the south-east of the yard a simple farm gate leads through into the field. The field is now grazed but the line of a central west/east path can still be seen. The hedging which surrounds the field was planted as
protection for the old vegetable garden.
The earliest references to productive gardens at Powis Castle occurs in 1685 when fruit trees were recorded on the terraces. This use of the terrace walls has continued to the present day although the trees are much diminished, since the peaches,
nectarines, pears and pomegranates William Robinson noted in about 1900. In the mid-1800s a glass frame was sited on the southern end of the Aviary Terrace, at that time used as a fern house, but arches in the stonework suggest that a vine house may also
have been located in this position at some stage.
A surviving estate order of 1771 refers to 'the old Kitchen Garden', to be prepared for 'Early Garden Stuff' at the time of William Emes's commission to plan and layout ' a new Kitchen Garden and Nurserys'. It was proposed that the nursery was laid out to
the south of the great Pool, Dairy pool, and it is assumed that this was undertaken. The location of the old Kitchen Garden is unclear, but from the description in the order it also seems that the new kitchen garden was laid out near Dairy Yard, probably
on the site of the 'Present Bowling Green' recorded on Farnolls Pritchard's General Plan of 1771. This area was certainly well established as a kitchen garden by 1840 when it was recorded as such on a tithe map.
As part of his work Emes provided plans for a walled garden with heated walls for vines and peaches, which survives. The vines 'in garden houses' would be individually heated by flues from separate boilers, apparently a more direct and economical
approach than heating an entire hollow wall. Emes specified that the garden would be 160 x 63 yards in dimension but it is not clear if these actual plans were implemented as proposed. Brick walls were certainly built, bills for the repair of brick
walls (of the bowling green) on the north side of the garden area (the present Formal Garden, Croquet Lawn and Fountain Garden) survive from 1818-19.
By 1884 Ordnance Survey map records that the area of the present Formal Garden was divided by a central path with an additional division, either brick wall or hedge, along the south of the eastern part. A similar division was recorded on the north of the
Croquet Lawn, the line of which survives in the yew hedge and flower border, along the southern boundary of the Croquet Lawn today. At least three glasshouses stood to the east on the site of the present Fountain Garden, on a roughly north/south
alignment. In 1879 this area was recorded as containing 'three vineries, one peach house, a seven span-roofed greenhouse and pits, two small new houses and pits' (for strawberries and pot vines). However, the same article concluded that the kitchen garden
was 'not very extensive for such an establishment'. In 1910 a line of grafted elm trees which grew along the west boundary of the area blew down. Violet, Lady Powis took the opportunity to relocate the 'ugly hard common kitchen garden' to the south of the
service drive, possibly on the site of an existing nursery, in order to remodel the kitchen garden area as the existing formal gardens. In the process she levelled a grape house and removed at least one wall. However, the new formal gardens retained some
of their kitchen garden character through the path layout, the brick walls, the trained pyramid fruit trees and the vine pergola which was developed on the site of one of the vine houses. To the south-west of the formal gardens a small brick store
building, a potato and root store, which has since been converted into toilets, also survived as do the extensive fruit store and other storage and work spaces, underneath the Powis Estate Office on the north of the Croquet Lawn.
Violet's 'detestable' hot houses were re-erected on their present site in about 1911, together with the brick bothy in the eastern section of an extensive vegetable garden which had been in existence since at least 1840. By 1884 this was divided into four
sections with a bothy in the north-west corner of the second and fourth section. No details of what was grown in the gardens is known to survive but it appears that the formal divisions were created by beech and holly hedges and not by brick walls. This
area of the garden continued in use until at least 1930. During and after the Second World War it began to decline, contracting in area. Between 1949 and 1956 the majority of the remaining garden was grassed over. Since the 1960s a small part of the
garden was leased out as a nursery before being finally grassed over and grazed. One of the bothies, a simple single-storey timber building, survives in the present field in use as a rudimentary stable/animal shelter. Like the vegetable garden the relict
orchard to the west of the service drive dates from at least 1840. The earliest recorded orchard on the site appears on the Thomas Farnolls Pritchard plan of 1771 on the south face of the slope below the Castle to the north of the site of the Edwardian
Hall, P 2001 , , ,
Primary The Powis Castle Collection. The National Library of Wales. (Some archive now on microfiche, originals having been returned to Powis Estate).
William Emes plan for new kitchen garden and hothouses. National Library of Wales, Powis Castle Collection No. 9068.
'Orders to Wm Hodges and J. Probert 5 October 1771 re New Road (Also notes on William Emes garden and nursery plans). National Library of Wales, Powis Castle Collection, documents 16825.
Thomas Farnolls Pritchard, ' A General Plan of Powis Castle at present' 1771. Reproduced in the Powis Castle guide, pp. 46, and Powis Castle Garden pp. 13. (Private collection: Powis Estate).
Samuel and Nathanial Buck, 'A Perspective View of Powis Castle' 1742. The National Library of Wales.
J. P. Neale 'General view of Powis Castle', 1829. Powys County Archives (M/D/LBY/4/1/10)
J. Howarth, engraving of east front of 'Powis Castle, near Welshpool', 1844. Powys County Archives (M/D/LBY/4/1/94).
Oil painting after William Marlow, 'The north front' c. 1775, Powis Castle.
Paul Sandby Munn, watercolour c. 1817 'The East Front', the National Library of Wales.
Plan of Fountain in Fountain Garden c. 1910. (Private collection: Powis Estate).
Secondary National Trust publications:
The National Trust Handbook for Members and Visitors, (1996), p. 301.
The National Trust Gardens Handbook (1996 Ed), p. 73
Pamphlet. The National Trust Powis Castle, Powys (1995).
Lacey, S., Powis Castle Garden, An illustrated souvenir (1992)
Powis Castle (1994), Official guide.
Anon., 'Powis Castle', Gardener's Chronicle, (1879), vol. ii. pp. 787-88
Anon., 'Powis Castle', The Garden, (1893), vol. 44. pp. 321-22
Beamon, S., and Roaf, S., The ice-houses of Great Britain (1990), pp. 538, 539.
Dineley, T., The Account of the Official Progress of His Grace Henry 1st Duke of Beaufort through Wales in 1684, The National Library of Wales (Wd 157, XDA 1241 D 58, Col. 16801). View of the Castle courtyard c. 1684 reproduced in the Powis Castle guide
Gastineau, H., Wales Illustrated (1830)
Haslam, R., The Buildings of Powys (1979) pp. 188-96
Hyde, H.A., Welsh Timber Trees (1961) pp. 8, 42, 43.
Pennant, T., A Tour in Wales (1810) pp. 208-13.
Robinson, W., The English Flower Garden (1909 edn)
Whittle, E., The Historic Gardens of Wales (1992) pp. 5, 25, 26, 28, 30-32, 36, 41, 48.
record created 24/05/01
, last updated 09/02/04
The above data are supplied by CPAT in partnership with its Local Authorities and the partners of END, © CPAT SMR partnership, 2004 (and in part © Crown, 2004)
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Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, Curatorial Section, 7a Church Street, Welshpool, Powys SY21 7DL.
tel (01938) 553670 , fax (01938) 552179, email firstname.lastname@example.org , website www.cpat.org.uk