Boughrood

Boughrood (Bochrwyd in Welsh) is a village on the banks of the River Wye equidistant about eight miles upstream of Hay-on-Wye and downstream of Builth Wells.  Owing to a large bend in the river, the houses are both on the north and the west banks, and the name probably derives from the Welsh words for ‘river bend’ (bach) and ‘ford’ (rhyd).  The village was in Radnorshire, while Llyswen on the opposite bank was in Breconshire: now both are in Powys.

The river was crossed by ford and ferry until the mid-1830s, when the Maesllwch Estate who owned the parish built the current bridge linking Boughrood and Llyswen at the cost of £5,890 (approximately £600,000 pounds today) to facilitate the movement of coal, coke and lime from Brecon to Radnorshire.  It was a toll bridge until 1934, with the toll cottage, dating to 1843, still visible. 

The village church is dedicated to St Cynog, son of the 5th century King Brychan of Breicheiniog.  The present church by C.H. Howell was built in 1854 at the expense of the de Winton family, replacing a crumbling medieval structure.  Its spire was demolished in the 1970s but rebuilt through the efforts of the Vicar, the Revd. Ian Charlesworth with support from the Heritage Lottery, in 2004.

Towards the end of 1854, an outbreak of cholera in Brecon may have been the reason that the new Vicar, Henry de Winton, decided to build a Dead House in the churchyard. 

A notable inhabitant of the churchyard is Thomas Bingham, Baron Bingham of Cornhill (1933-2010), the only judge to have held all three of the senior judicial offices, Master of the Rolls, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and Senior Law Lord. His Garter banner – formerly in St George’s Chapel, Windsor – hangs at the back of the church.

The 1979 edition of Powys in the Buildings of Wales series (Advisory Editor Nikolaus Pevsner) had this to say: “The hamlet of Boughrood consists of barely ten houses, but three of them are cruck-framed with C17 alterations: BOUGHROOD COURT, FORGE COTTAGE and VILLAGE FARM. They lie in their medieval grouping round the churchyard.” Boughrood Court (Grade II* listed) has parts dating back to the 16th century.

Boughrood Castle was on a hill looking down on Boughrood, but by the 19th century only a moat and part of a wall survived.  The current house of that name was built on the site by Francis Fowke in 1817.  He built it as a castle with battlements.  His eldest son, also called Francis, remodelled it removing the castellations.

Boughrood and Llyswen Station was on what is now Station Road was a stop on the Mid-Wales Railway, which ran between 1864 and 1962.  There was a box bridge over the Wye.

Boughrood rider Leslie Law, won an Olympic Silver Medal in 2000 in the Three Day Eventing on Shear Gold. In 2004, he won an Olympic Gold medal on Shear Gold’s brother, Shear L’eau.

Boughrood hosts the annual Llyswen & Boughrood Agricultural Show, usually held on the 3rd Saturday in August.

Map of Boughrood 1887-1903 © The Francis Frith Collection