Powis Castle is a medieval castle, fortress and grand country house near Welshpool. The seat of the Herbert family, Earls of Powis, the castle is known for its formal gardens and for its interiors, the former having been described as one of the most important in Wales. The castle and garden are under the care of the National Trust. Powis Castle is a Grade I listed building.
The present castle was built in the 13th century. Unusually for a castle on the Marches, it was constructed by a Welsh prince, Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn, rather than by English invaders. Gruffydd was Prince of the ancient Kingdom of Powys and, generally siding with the English rather than his native Welsh during the struggles of the later 13th century, was able to secure the position of his son, Owain, although the kingdom itself was abolished by the Parliament of Shrewsbury in 1283. After his father's death, Owain was raised to the peerage as Owen de la Pole, 1st Lord of Powis. Following his own death c. 1293, and the death of his only son, he was succeeded by his daughter, Hawys Gadarn, 'The Lady of Powis'. Hawys married Sir John Charlton in 1309.
In the late 16th century the castle was purchased by Edward Herbert, a younger son of the Earl of Pembroke, beginning a connection between the family and the castle that continues today. The Herberts remained Catholic until the 18th century and, although rising in the peerage to Earls, Marquesses and Jacobite Dukes of Powis, suffered periods of imprisonment and exile. Despite these vicissitudes, they were able in the late 17th and early 18th centuries to transform Powis from a border fortress into an aristocratic country house, and surround it with one of the very few extant examples of an English Baroque garden.
In 1784 Henrietta Herbert married Edward Clive, eldest son of Clive of India, a match which replenished the much-depleted Herbert family fortune. In the early 20th century, George Herbert, 4th Earl of Powis redeveloped the castle with the assistance of the architect George Bodley. His countess, Violet, undertook work of equal importance in the garden. On the 4th Earl's death in 1952, his wife and his sons having predeceased him, the castle passed into the care of the National Trust.References:
Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.
Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.
It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.
Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.
Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.
The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.
The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.
With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.
Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.