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High Street, Presteigne, Powys, LD8 2BE
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The Radnorshire Arms

The original building dates back to the mid 16th century, despite the date of 1616 which still adorns the front porch.and was owned by one Sir Christopher Hatton, a lawyer and politician, Lord Chancellor of England and, according to popular rumour, lover of Queen Elizabeth I, who also owned neighbouring property. Allegations of the affair were made public in 1584 by Mary, Queen of Scots, and in a strange twist of fate, Hatton was one of the commissioners who found her guilty of treason just three years later. He became Lord Chancellor that same year...


In a less sinister vein, he also gave his name to 'Hatton Garden', London's Jewelry Capital. The Gardens of the Bishop of Ely were given to Hatton by Queen Elizabeth I in 1581, and the name remains to this day.

 

There are many anomalies inside the Hotel itself, caused by the large number of changes and additions to the original structure. Doors opening onto brick walls are a common occurance on both floors of the older parts of the building. Construction continued throughout the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The earliest phase dates back to the late 1500's, with some renovations taking place in the early 1600's. The three storey rear extension is Victorian, the middle section dates to the 1790's, and the Garden Lodges weren't built until the 1970's. Such renovation work in 1875 revealed a secret chamber off of what is now the Resident's Lounge. This turned out to be a Priest Hole, and behind one of the panels was the diary of a Catholic Priest who had stayed hidden there for two years. The Priest Hole remains on show to this day, but the diary has long since gone.

 

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