A former market town, Painscastle can be found in the county of Powys, south Wales. It is 2 miles from the England-Wales border and nearby towns and villages include Hay-on-Wye, Builth Wells and Llowes.
The castle here is steeped in fascinating history. Taking its name from its builder Pain Fitz John, it was seized by Madog ap Idnerth following Fitz John's death in 1137 and destroyed. By 1190 it was in the hands of Marcher Lord William de Braose, who rebuilt the castle. His wife Maud also succeeded in keeping the castle from being seized by enemies. In 1198 the castle saw its first real battle, when Gwenwynwyn ap Owain of Powys tried to besiege the castle, but was defeated by an English army from Hay on Wye. By 1208 William de Braose had fled the kingdom after an argument with King John.
The castle remained in the hands of the king until 1215, when it was taken by Iorweth Clud, an ally of the de Braoses. Iorwerth was made Lord of Elfael in 1216 but following his death in 1222, the Welsh returned to support Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, and the castle was destroyed. In 1231, the castle was rebuilt in stone by King Henry III and Hubert de Burgh in the hope of keeping it from falling into the hands of Llywelyn the Great. It was seized in 1233 by Ralph Tosny, who managed to successfully hold it until 1265 when it was captured by Llywelyn the Last. A second Ralph Tosny rebuilt the castle once again in 1276. Nothing remains of the castle now except for a grassy motte, and defensive ditches.