On Wednesday I was privileged enough to go on one of the Earl’s tours. These happen every so often and are ticketed but this particular tour was just for the staff and volunteers of Powis Castle. It was a really exciting opportunity to hear more personal stories from the Earl about how his family used the Castle as a home.
The Earl told us an amusing anecdote of his children putting a top hat on Julius Caesar’s bust, something I though would be quite fun to re-instate however I’m not sure old Julius himself would find it too funny. He looks quite severe.
The Earl also told us a ghost story about the castle. It is one I’ve heard before with a slight twist, and I think I prefer the Earl’s version to the first one I heard. He did admit there is no way to know if it’s true or not, but it makes for a very good tale!
The ceiling painting in the Library features the four daughters of the 2nd Marquis and the story centers around the second eldest of the four. Her name was Theresa, Lady Throckmorton and her husband, Sir Robert Throckmorton. In the ceiling painting she is depicted seated as Truth, holding a mirror.
The story goes that when her husband was jailed in the Tower of London, for being Catholic under a Protestant King, Teresa hatched an escape plan. In the planning process Teresa sent a servant of hers to her family home, Powis Castle, to discuss plans. Her servant was invited to stay the night at the Castle and was put in a room known to be haunted. (This room in the other version of the story is the Duke’s Room). The ghost appeared to the servant woman in the night several times until she followed the ghost. He pointed to the floor and she lifted the floor board, revealing a lost family treasure. The servant took this treasure and it was used to pay for Robert’s daring rescue from the Tower. The story goes that it was arranged for Robert to be snuck out of the Tower, in disguise as a washer woman. It was thought that this servant was Grace Evans, and that in recognition of her help in the escape she was rewarded with a cottage in Welshpool, which still stands today. However it is now thought that it was not Grace who helped in the escape plot.
I think this is a really intriguing tale with some certain truth mixed with fantasy that fits quite nicely together.