At the time of its extensive restoration in 1875/76 Roman remains were found in the very foundations of the North wall. So the Church is built on or near the site of a Roman villa or settlement. Putley was a Saxon manor called Poteslepe* and was held by Tostin at the time of the Conquest. There is however no evidence of a Saxon Church. The original Norman Church on this site which probably covered the same area, but of which only a few remains have been found, is known to have been built by William d'Evreux, around 1100. At the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 he held the manor of Poteslepe as a feudal tenant of Roger de Lacy who had been granted large tracts of land in Herefordshire. The Domesday entry reads “The same Roger holds Poteslepe. And William of him. Tostin held it. There is one hide geldable. (ie. liable to tax.) On the desmesne are two ploughs and there are two villeins and one bordar with two ploughs. There are two serfs there. It is and was worth twenty shillings.” William gave the patronage of the benefice to the Dean and Chapter of Hereford Cathedral.
* or Potesleche or even Poteslewe or Poteslowe. The Norman scribes had problems in the translation of Saxon letters that had no direct Roman equivalent.
Remains of the original Church
What exactly happened to the original Norman Church is unknown but in 1875/76 the Church was largely rebuilt and that which preceded it had clearly been much altered from the original Norman style. (See the Architect’s drawings of the church before rebuilding). Some of the walls, for instance the south wall of the nave and part of the west wall, were left standing but most were rebuilt. (See the Architect’s new floor plan that differentiates, by colour, between new and retained walls.) Where appropriate original features were rebuilt into the new structure or restored. Some windows and the original medieval tie beam and roof which had previously been plastered were clearly retained or reused. Other items were incorporated into the new structure.