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People of Presteigne 4
The Reade family



The Reade family were one of those eastern Radnorshire families who dominated public life in the county during the first century of its existence from the Act of Union in 1536.
These eastern parishes had richer soils and a kinder climate and were closer to the English cities. They were thus naturally attractive to the neighbouring English gentry who wished to establish estates in Wales. Property qualifications ensured that only the landowning gentry could hold public office, hence the early dominence of these eastern families.

The Manor House, PresteigneA brief heyday
John Reade of the Inner Temple, London, purchased the Mansion House together with land and other properties in Presteigne from the Bradshaw family in 1619. This grand house in St Davids Street is probably the house later known as the Great House and now the Manor House, pictured left. The transaction represented a down-turn in the prosperity and influence of the Bradshaw family, who were compelled to leave their home for the more modest Crosse House (now the Radnorshire Arms) with the introduction of new blood among the local gentry.

The Reade family of London were successful tradesmen who had probably looked to Radnorshire as the cheapest means of establishing an estate and landowning status. They owned property around Llanbister, but it was the move to Presteigne of John Reade which marked their commitment to public life in the county. John’s wife was called Benet (a shortened form of Bebedicta) and may have been a member of the Lloyd family of Boultibrooke.
By 1620 Reade was a Justice of the Peace for the county and in 1621 he was Sheriff. By 1624 John Reade had died and his infant son of the same name became a ward of the Crown.

Years of decline
In 1647 this young son was recorded as serving on a local committee appointed by parliament, and this probably represents an indication of parliamentary sympathies in the turmoil of the Civil War. Like his father, this Reade also died a young man, in 1650 or soon after, of causes unknown.
His widow remarried and his daughter later inherited the Reade property and married a Thomas Browne of Montgomeryshire, before dying herself in 1672. With her the family line ended.

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