The ancient town of Presteigne is officially in Powys but borders Herefordshire. It is on the B4362 and is about 18 miles south-west of Ludlow and 17 miles north-west of Leominster.
(grid reference SO 316746 - postcode LD8 2AF)

The barony of Presteigne was granted to Gwladys Ddu, the daughter of Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth and Joan the daughter of King John, as part of her dower following the death of her first husband, Reginald Braose in 1228. In 1230 Gwladys married Ralph Mortimer of Wigmore (d1246) and their son, Roger Mortimer (d1282), inherited the barony at least partially as his maternal right. On his marriage to Maud Braose, the control of Presteigne came fully into Mortimer hands. The church was effectively under Mortimer control from October 1230 onwards.

Photo: © Stephen Elwyn Roddick (CC BY-SA 2.0 licence)

The original church would appear to be Saxon as is shown by the herringbone masonry in what is currently the eastern section of the north aisle. Presumably this was part of the original chancel or more likely the nave. The western section of the nave seems to have been rebuilt at a slightly later time. The new nave and south aisle would appear to have been added under Mortimer patronage after 1230, possibly after the church was destroyed during Prince Llywelyn's campaign that year which also saw the burning down of Wigmore Abbey. The expansion of the south aisle and the addition of the tower, chapel and chancel would all appear to be fifteenth century and probably the work of the Mortimers of Wigmore judging from the shield carved into a buttress. The surviving windows have unusual triangular heads.

Article compiled by Hugh Wood mainly from notes by Paul Remfry
For a detailed description of the church click here
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