A time of disaster
The fire broke out on the night of September 12th, 1681, and it is believed that over sixty houses in the High Street and in St David's Street were completely destroyed. As far as is known only one of the inhabitants, a blind woman, died in the fire.
fire of 1681 is believed to have affected the area shown on this
of the town.
The ever present danger
As well as destroying so many houses, the 1681 fire also wiped out the "schoole and schoolehouse" which was the free grammar school founded by John Beddoes in 1565. The school, which lives on in the John Beddoes High School of today, was then situated in St David's Street, opposite the church.
An entry in the Burials Register for the parish of Topsham in Devon dated March 18th,1682, noted "Collected towards the Inhabitants of Presteigne in Wales who suffred by ffire. 11s. 5 1/2d".