Newtown is the largest town in the county of Powys, Wales. It had a population of 12,783 in 2001, falling to 11,357 at the 2011 census. Lying on the River Severn, within the historic boundaries of Montgomeryshire, the town is best known as the birthplace of Robert Owen in 1771 His former house stood on what is now the site of the HSBC Bank. The Robert Owen Museum is across the road, occupying the ground floor of the council offices. Newtown is also the home of Theatr Hafren and of Oriel Davies, a major public gallery, which displays national and international contemporary art and craft.HistoryEarly periodNewtown was founded at the end of the 13th century when Edward I of England commissioned Roger de Montgomerie to construct a centre for the hamlet of Llanfair-yng-Nghedewain. It was situated near the ford on the River Severn, below the Long Bridge and around the church of St Mary in Bettws Cedewain. This gave Newtown its original Welsh name. The foundation is intimately connected to the fate of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales, whose new administrative centre at Dolforwyn Castle near Abermule so alarmed Edward I that it was besieged. He seized Llywelyn's lands and granted them to the Mortimers. They transferred the administration of the cantref of Cedewain and the commote of Ceri from Dolforwyn Castle to the new settlement at Newtown.