History: The gate tower at the E of Powis Castle was probably added in the C15, and it may be from that time that the E entrance superseded the earlier E entrance in importance. Certainly, when the castle was remodelled as a country house in the years following its acquisition by the Herbert family in 1587, the E entrance formed the main approach, recorded in for example in the work of Thomas Dineley in 1684. The date of these gates is uncertain, and so is their authorship: A. Stanley Davies considered that they could have been made for the First Earl, between 1688 and 1696, and to be the work of Adrian Duvall, of the Pool Quay Forge, and one of the makers of the gardens at the castle. The Fourth Earl of Powis, however, considered that they were made for the Second Marquis, some time after his re-instatement following exile, in 1722; Iorwerth Peate attributes them to the Davies Brothers of Croes Foel, and dates them stylistically to c1720. Another attribution suggests that they were made by John Warren, 1710, but a reference in an account book for 1707 'To Mr Willis ... for a pair of Iron Gates' may refer to them. As the gates are not now considered to be in the style either of the Davies brothers or of John Warren, this may be the most likely attribution.
Description: Rusticated piers with projecting moulded cornices supporting ball finials on elongated bases flank a pair of wrought iron gates with side panels and overthrow. Elaborately and delicately decorated, with foliate decoration and scroll-work, and plate-iron shells applied to either side. The overthrow is surmounted by a coronet. The gates open onto a flight of steps in 5 sections, leading to the E entrance to the castle, with a stepped parapet wall to their N: a higher retaining wall encloses the former bowling green etc. to the N of the steps, and links the gates with the old kitchens and servants quarters on the N side of the castle.
The gates with the flight of steps are an outstanding Baroque frontispiece to the castle - highly unusual in the drama of their conception and richly worked in detail.
References: A. Stanley Davies, 'The Charcoal Iron Industry of Powysland', Montgomeryshire Collections, Vol.46, 1940, pp31- 66;
Ifor Edwards, Davies Brothers Gatesmiths, 1977, p.100;
Richard Haslam, Powys, Buildings of Wales series, 1979, p.196;
National Trust, Powis Castle, 1988, pp.14-15;
The Right Honorable the Earl of Powis, 'Powis Castle Gates, Montgomeryshire Collections, Vol 46, 1940. p.194-5;
Iorwerth Peate, 'The Powis Castle Gates', Montgomeryshire Collections, Vol.41, 1941-2.