The Mortimer family were very big cheeses indeed in these parts for many centuries. Hugh Mortimer built Wigmore Abbey over the period of 1172 and 1179. Only ruins have remained since Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries.
Aston (not then Pipe Aston) was mentioned in Domesday Book as the “ton” (farm) of a man named “Aese”, hence its name. The land belonged to the Mortimers. One Oliver de Merlimond was appointed Chief Steward to Hugh de Mortimer. Oliver undertook a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella in northern Spain - indelibly associated with St James - and on his return initiated the building of Shobdon Church using designs and motifs clearly derived from those at Santiago. It is likely that the master masons were French.
These designs were repeated at Pipe Aston, Brinsop (also Herefordshire), Ribbesford in Worcestershire and Alveley in Shropshire.
It is not known whether Hugh de Kilpeck ever met Hugh de Mortimer - they were political enemies; but it is certain that he used de Merlimond’s masons, and thus the same style, at the celebrated Kilpeck St Mary & St David Church in 1140.
This information was updated on 1 March 2012 with information provided by Paul Remfry, historian. Read about him here http://www.castlewales.com/remfry.html.