It lies in a sheltered valley on the banks of the Bechan river, about three miles north of Newtown. A wooden motte-and-bailey castle appears to have existed there at one time. The site was possibly used by Roman soldiers, and an ancient church was founded there by Saint Beuno in the 6th century.
Bettws Cedewain's current church was the location of the first schoolroom in the village, and contains possibly the only pre-Reformation memorial brass in the county, dedicated to the Reverend John ap Meredyth for his work in planning and building the tower.
Until 1914, most properties in the village belonged to the Gregynog estate.
Bettws Hall is a local venue for game bird shoots.
The village is sometimes known as Bettws Cedewen; the word Bettws derives from the Welsh, meaning 'prayer house'.
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