The most charming, delightful and exceptionally peacefully situated Herefordshire Church of St. Mary is accessed by a short but steep climb. In the winter this concrete path must surely be hazardous !! I gather also that the abundant sheep which graze around this path leave droppings which are as dangerous as ice when descending!
It is thought that there have been five churches in the village, and the present charming building was rebuilt in Victorian times following a devastating fire which made short work of the beams and thatched roof of the previous church. In 1857 the Rector was the Rev. Richard Hunt, and a local paper recorded the following in November 1859…..”About two years since the Church of Byton, an isolated parish lying between Leominster and Presteigne, was accidentally destroyed by fire incautiously left in a stove after a meeting of parishioners. Public and private munificence has come to the rescue and a beautiful little edifice has been erected in it’s stead”. It goes on to talk about the shocking state of the roads making it virtually inaccessible…they are still not for the faint hearted!! However we approached via the “scenic” route from Shobdon, and there is a much friendlier entry into the village from the other side. Certainly it was worth the trip though, and the utter peace in the church and its churchyard was an absolute joy. I can think of no better place to be christened, married or buried and the people who care for this little gem with it’s simple interior are to be congratulated.
The font in the church of St. Mary is 11th/12th century, and the simple and naïve carving is charming.