PILLETH CHURCH Powys

The small settlement of Pilleth in Powys is on the B4356, nearly 5 miles north-west of Presteigne.
(grid reference SO 256682 - nearby postcode LD7 1NP)

Pilleth church was built at the base of the hill, Bryn Glas, on which the battle between Owain Glyndwr and Sir Edmund Mortimer (d1409) was fought on 22 June 1402. It would seem likely that this was an ancient religious site as just north of the church is a holy well.

The first stone church was probably built by Ralph Baskerville of Eardisley (d1186) under Chandos lordship, as in 1142 the pope confirmed that he had given Pilleth church to the monastery of Llanthony Secunda which had been founded in 1136. In 1199 Pilleth was recorded in a confirmation of King John as a chapel belonging to Llanthony. The Chandos family were largely dispossessed by the Mortimers in Radnorshire during the twelfth century and by 1282 even the Baskervilles seem to have been evicted from the manor by the Mortimers who took over patronage of the church.

Pilleth
Photo: © Row 17 (CC BY-SA 2.0 licence)

The church consists of a single chamber of probably twelfth century date built of very poor quality masonry. The chamber was lengthened to the east and had a new west tower added, probably in the thirteenth or fourteenth century when under Mortimer patronage. This tower had a steep circular stair on one corner and was probably unstable as large buttresses were added to the corners later.

Notes by Paul Remfry
For a detailed description of the church click here