Infobox UK place
constituency_westminster= Brecon & Radnorshire
dial_code= + 44 (0)1544
Presteigne ( _cy. Llanandras; the church of
St. Andrew) was the county townof the historic county of Radnorshire, Wales. It is in the county of Powysand Diocese of Hereford. Despite lying on a minor B Road the town has assumed the motto, "Gateway to Wales"
Presteigne is considered by
Clive Aslet- editor at large of Country Life - to be one of Britain's top 10 small towns [cite web | author= Clive Aslet| title= The Daily Telegraph|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/main.jhtml?xml=/property/2006/08/09/ptop10.xml&page=3| accessdaymonth= 19 February| accessyear= 2007]
The town probably began as a small settlement around a
Minsterchurch dedicated to St Andrewand at the time of the Domesday Bookand formed part of the manorof Humet.
By the mid-12th century it was known as 'Presthemede' or 'the border meadow of the priests'. A century later, it passed into the control of the
Mortimers, powerful Marcher lords, and on their fall passed into the hands of the Crown.
At the end of the 13th century, the majority of the town's inhabitants, mainly English, enjoyed some prosperity but the
Black Deathand the Glyndŵr rebellion had destroyed this and by the end of the 15th century, the now largely Welsh, population lived in a struggling village. A significant victory in their rebellion was won by the forces of Owain Glyndŵrnearby at the Battle of Bryn Glasin 1402.
The development of a thriving cloth industry in the
Tudor periodbrought short-lived prosperity, ended by three new epidemics of plague in three successive generations. Thereafter it made a living as a market townand, until the later 16th century, by processing locally grown barleyinto malt.
By the Acts of Union, Presteigne - at first jointly with
New Radnor- became the County Townof Radnorshireand its administrative and judicial centre, housing the county gaol and the Shire Hall.
By the end of the 19th century its newer and larger neighbour,
Llandrindod Wells, had usurped the role of administrative centre, but Presteigne remained the venue for the Assizesuntil these were abolished in 1971.
After a period of stagnation in the first half of the 20th century, the town has developed a diverse manufacturing base [cite web | author=| title= Applegate|url=http://www.applegate.co.uk/indexes/towns/all-presteigne.htm| accessdaymonth=
19 February| accessyear= 2007] and has begun to exploit its tourism potential while its environment and the development of its social, cultural and leisure facilities have helped to attract people to settle [cite web | author=Keith Parker| title= BBC|url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/mid/sites/presteigne/pages/keith_parker.shtml| accessdaymonth= 19 February| accessyear= 2007] .
parish church, parts of which are Anglo-Saxon
Radnorshire Armshotel [cite web | author= | title= hotelSite|url= http://www.radnorshirearmshotel.com/| accessdaymonth=01 September | accessyear=2008 ]
*The Judge's Lodgings, decorated in mid-Victorian style [cite web | author= | title= Official Site|url= http://www.judgeslodging.org.uk/| accessdaymonth=
19 February| accessyear= 2007] .
Presteigne attracted national attention in 2004 for an unsuccessful campaign by its
Mayoress, Peggy Fraser-Scott to enforce a curfewon the town's youth [cite web | author=| title= BBC|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/mid/3648967.stm| accessdaymonth= 19 February| accessyear= 2007] .
Henry Edward's "Old English Customs: Curious Requests and Charities" mentions the bell-ringer appointed by John Beddoes in 1565 to ring a 'day bell' at 8am, and a
curfewat 8pm. Beddoes specified that in the event of the custom being abandoned for more than a year, (except in plagues) the funds set aside for this position would revert to his heirs.
Beddoes - a wool merchant - also gave his name to Presteigne's secondary school -
John Beddoes School- which he established in 1565, and endowed with land.
World War 2
During the 1930s, the
Ministry of Labouropened a work camp for long-term unemployed young men. Many of the inmates came from the crisis-hit coal mining, steeland heavy industry communities of South Wales. Presteigne was one of a number of Instructional Centres created by the Ministry, and it also had a satellite camp in Shobdon, Herefordshire. By 1938, the Ministry had 38 Instructional Centres across Britain. The camp was situated in Slough Lane near Hill Farm and is now a small private housing site. Land owned by Capt Lewis RN, of Clatterbrune House, was used to hold first Italian and then German POW's during the Second World Warand is now the home of Presteigne St. Andrews Football Club.
Veolia_Transport_Cymru provide several journey opportunities (Monday to Saturday) to Kington with connections from there to
Herefordon services operated by Sargeants, and buses in the opposite direction to Knighton. A once daily service from Ludlowto Builth Wellsis also operated via Presteigne. Lugg Valley Travel provide bus links to Leominster.
The Kington & Presteigne Railway opened on
9 September 1875. The railwayline commenced at Titley, passed through Leen farm, to Stanton-upon-Arrow, in front of the Rodd farm via Corton into Presteigne [cite web | author=| title= Kington Town Site|url=http://www.kington.org.uk/site/Kington/history.asp| accessdaymonth= 19 February| accessyear= 2007] [cite web | author=| title= Google Mapping - route of the Kington & Presteigne Railway|url=http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&t=k&msa=0&msid=106041594637890717105.00044e978df6f588355fe&ll=52.246827,-2.973518&spn=0.068421,0.179901&z=13| accessdaymonth= 01 June| accessyear= 2008] . By 1929 it was possible to join one of the three steam trains a day - each way - and make the 6 hour journey to London. The passenger service on this line ended in 1951, but a freight service continued to run every other day until the line was finally closed for good in 1961 [cite web | author=| title= Herefordshire County Council|url=http://www.smr.herefordshire.gov.uk/post-medieval/railways/king_prest.htm| accessdaymonth= 19 February| accessyear= 2007] . The line lives on as a video [cite web | author=| title= B & R Videos|url=http://www.bandrvideos.co.uk/| accessdaymonth= 19 February| accessyear= 2007] and as a model railway! [cite web | author=| title= The Radnor Branch Line|url=http://www.thebradnorbranchline.co.uk/station.html| accessdaymonth= 19 February| accessyear= 2007] .
*Famous Royal Naval Captain
Peter Pugetand his contemporary; Captain Joseph Baker, another famous naval officer and map-maker
Christopher Hattona courtierof Queen Elizabeth Iand possibly a lover of the Virgin Queen too.
*Nineteenth century pencil sketcher and watercolour artist
J M Ince[cite web | author=| title= History, Powys|url=http://history.powys.org.uk/history/prest/ince.html| accessdaymonth= 19 February| accessyear= 2007]
Mary Morgan. Notorious victim - in 1805 - of a misogynistic miscarriage of justice [cite web | author=| title= History, Powys|url=http://history.powys.org.uk/history/prest/morgan1.html| accessdaymonth= 19 February| accessyear= 2007] .
*Noted local historian
Keith Parker[cite web | author=| title= The Presteigne Official Site|url=http://www.presteigne.org.uk/LIVE_IMAGES/Presteigne_town_trail.pdf| accessdaymonth= 19 February| accessyear= 2007]
*Grand Prix motorcycle racer
Chaz Daviesborn in Presteigne in 1987.
bowlsplayer and Commonwealth Gamesgold-medallist, Robert Wealewas raised and educated in the town.
Art and culture
The town has become a local cultural centre. It hosts 2 indigenous festivals. First, the oddly named
Sheep MusicFestival dedicated to contemporary music [cite web | author=| title=Sheep Music|url=http://www.sheepmusic.info/| accessdaymonth= 19 February| accessyear= 2007] ; and the Presteigne Festival of Music and the Arts[cite web | author=| title=Presteigne Festival|url=http://www.presteignefestival.com/| accessdaymonth= 19 February| accessyear= 2007] which casts a broader cultural net. It attracts composers of the calibre of Ian Wilson.The town is fortunate to have an award winning museum- the "Judges Lodgings" [cite web | author=| title=The Judges Lodgins|url=http://www.judgeslodgings.com/| accessdaymonth= 19 February| accessyear= 2007] .The Church of St Andrewpermanently houses a 16th century Flemish Tapestry.Presteigne was also host to the World's first competitive electric bicycle race [cite web | author=| title= The Daily Telegraph|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/main.jhtml?xml=/motoring/2006/04/29/mnbatt29.xml| accessdaymonth=19 February | accessyear=2007] Finally, the town has inspired twelve songs for voice and piano - "A Garland for Presteigne" [cite web | author=| title=Amazon |url=http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000636WDK| accessdaymonth= 19 February| accessyear= 2007]
* Field, J. "Learning Through Labour: Training, unemployment and the state, 1890-1939", University of Leeds, 1992, ISBN 0-900-960-48-5 (work camps)
* Parker, K. " A History of Presteigne" (1977) [http://www.amazon.com/dp/1873827792 Amazon link]
* Parker, K. "Radnorshire from Civil War to Restoration: A Study of the County and Its Environs 1640-60 in a Regional Setting" (2000) [http://www.amazon.com/dp/1873827865 Amazon Link]
* [http://www.presteigne.org.uk/ Presteigne and Norton Website]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/mid/sites/presteigne/ BBC mini-site]
* [http://www.presteigne.com/ Useful local information and maps showing historical sites in the area]
* [http://www.presteignebusiness.co.uk/ Local business directory]
* [http://www.presteignebaptist.org.uk/ Presteigne Baptist Church website]
* [http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/98030 Photographs on Geograph]
* [http://greenpresteigne.wikispaces.com/ Green Presteigne Wiki]
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