The Royal Oak, Welshpool

PWMP logobutton_lang_welshThe Royal Oak, Welshpool

This inn was rebuilt in the 1740s, incorporating parts of an earlier inn. Past guests include Prime Minister David Lloyd George and Queen Elizabeth II.

The inn belonged to the Powis Castle estate for centuries until the 1920s. It probably received its name after the 1660 restoration of the monarchy. The “Royal Oak” symbolised the monarchy’s durability.

In the dining room stands a section of Tudor framework from the earlier inn. More was revealed during renovations in the 1990s and then covered over. That inn is named in the diaries of Quaker minister John Kelsall, who visited several times between 1724 and 1733.

In 1792 the Montgomeryshire Canal committee held its first meeting here. The canal opened in stages later that decade.

A twice-weekly Royal Mail service from the Royal Oak to Shrewsbury began in 1811. Other coaches which started from or called at the Royal Oak included the “High Flyer” to Chester (from 1823) and the “Royal Oak” from Newtown to Chester (from the 1830s).

In September 1918, staff here were surprised when David Lloyd George, the Prime Minister, dropped in for lunch! He and three companions were travelling to London by motor car from his home in Criccieth. Soldiers who were recovering from war wounds at a Welshpool hospital happened to be outside the Royal Oak, and spent some time chatting with the premier.

Private Albert Rowlands, a former Royal Oak billiard marker, had a lucky escape on the Western Front in summer 1918 when a shell exploded near a crater in which he and two comrades sheltered. One of the others was killed. Albert was sent to Norfolk to recover from a shoulder wound. His brother Fred was killed in action in 1916, leaving a wife and child.

Tenants of the Powis Castle estate met here in March 1919 to discuss the Earl of Powis’ proposal for smallholdings on his estates to be let to ex-servicemen. The war had depleted farm labour.

In the late 1920s the Royal Oak was bought by Harry Price, who owned pubs around Builth Wells. It remained in the family until 2004. Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh dined here in 2010 after opening Welshpool’s new livestock market. The Royal Oak was acquired by the Coaching Inn Group in 2015.

With thanks to Will Swales

Postcode: SY21 7DG    View Location Map

Website of the Royal Oak


To continue the Welshpool (Powys) in WW1 tour, turn right at the traffic lights and walk along Church Street to the steps leading up to the church
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