Good Morning Wales – Powy Journeys

  

Good Morning Wales

Somewhere in mid-Wales, up where the sky meets the mountains, as if buried away in the forest,  we could see more of the world than ever when we were just driving. Not really chasing anything; enjoying our time together and healing from our time we spent apart. 

There were many times we would wander off alone to go off exploring castles and such. We’d go off and never tell anyone where we were going or we’ve been to the Powy’s . 

It’s in the middle of Wales and I don’t think I have never seen anything or the same thing twice. It’s beautiful and inspiring. Mountains and waterfall live there, and all the melting snow runs in the River Wye, banking every rock, bend and curve. 

Once we ended up in a remote place called Painscastle. We had been there once before, but we never found the castle. Well we did this time and turns out to be a mound and less than a ruin.  The site is complete buried in the owners back yard and all that is left is grass. 

  

Nevertheless, the countryside was glorious and incredidibly beautiful. We were there in the spring and found a place to stay; Llongoed Hall. It was once a castle, now a magnificent house in the Middle of the Brecons. And it was that time of the year when the lambs were already born. They are so much fun to watch; curious and dancing about.  

  

When I walked up to them to take their photos, all of them came up to me. I was amazed that a wild creature would come so close. She was so serious and Maybe it was a a greeting or warning.  I don’t know, but I didn’t feel threatened at all. Maybe she just wanted to show off her little one. Who could blame her for she was a proud mamma. 

So its when I heard the ewe’s cry and calling to her babies, “stay close and I will protect you.”  Her whole world is about protecting her new born lamb. That’s the way it should be I think. 

  

  

Their faces are so innocent, The sound of her calling her lamb, heard all over the world; it is a rather sound in the protection, coming in waves of echoes to her lambs. And when one starts, the rest of herd begins, all of their baa’s come in waves, hearing it across the mountains; as if singing a song to their scorned admirers, like unto to the heavens. 

  

Buried away in a forest, it’s part of the mountain, where it’s seen no more, all man and nature are one existence. The birth of the lambs are proof when all over the world it’s heard its cries, surviving  the sounds of its echos.

****

 

Pains Castle, view from the top

 
History of Pains Castle
The castle is named after its builder Pain Fitz-John and was probably captured and destroyed by Madog ab Idnerth soon after Pain was killed in July 1137. The castle was rebuilt but soon destroyed again by the Welsh. By the 1190s the castle was held by William de Braose, and his wife Maud is said to have defeated the Welsh at Pain’s Castle in 1195.

 

The bailey surrounding the motte.

 
Prince Rhys of Deheubarth besieged the castle in 1196 but failed to take it before a truce was made, and there was another attack in 1198, this time by Gwenwynwyn of Powys, who was incensed by his cousin Talhaiarn having been dragged through Brecon, tied to a horse and beheaded.

King John took possession of the castle in 1208 but it was captured in 1215 by the de Braose’s ally Gwalter ab Einion Clud. Gwalter submitted to King John in 1216 and became lord of Elfael, but after he died c.1222 the Welsh of that lordship transferred their allegiance to Llewelyn ab Iorwerth, and the castle must have been destroyed around then.

Surrounding view from the castle

The castle was rebuilt in stone by Henry III in 1231 with a round tower keep on the motte and curtain wall with an east gatehouse and several D-shaped flanking towers. The castle was granted to Roger Tosny in 1255 and a year after his death in 1264 it was captured and wrecked by the Welsh. Ralph Tosny rebuilt the castle in 1277 and it later passed to the Beauchamps, Earl of Warwick. It was garrisoned by them in 1401 against Owain Glyndwr.

Structure

 

in the village of Painscastle, 4 1/2m NW of Hay-on-Wye, Powys, mid Wales SO 166 462

 

Only impressive earthworks remain, comprising a 9m high motte with a summit 22m long, a bailey 60m wide extending 45m north from the motte ditch, and a deep surrounding ditch with a counterscarp bank. On the west side a barbican projects into the ditch from the bailey SW corner.

Today the main feature of the castle is the large motte. Traces of foundations suggest that it originally supported a round tower, though the foundations have largely been grubbed up. Entrance to the keep was apparently gained through a barbican which crossed the motte ditch to the west. In 1231, £72 was spent on this barbican and the provision of a drawbridge.

The bailey is roughly rectangular and deeply ditched, with a strong counterscarp bank. It too shows evidence of the stone walls having been grubbed up, robber trenches running along the lip of the ward. The overall shape of the castle is that of a playing card, and as a Roman fort could be expected in the area it is possible that this is what was originally here. Roman pavements have been found at the site.

 

Motte of Painscastle viewed from the ditch.

 
References:
Mike Salter, The Castles of Mid Wales, Folly Publications, 2004

Paul M. Remfry, The Castles of Radnorshire, Logaston Press, 1996

Photo’s of Pains Castle courtesy of  http://www.castlewales.com/pains.html

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