Over the centuries the name Mochdre has been spelled variously as Mochdref, Moughtre and Moughtrey.
Opinion is divided as to its origin and meaning. Using the Welsh word 'moch' in one sense, Mochdre would mean a precipitous or sloping township, which is in keeping with its natural configuration. But perhaps the more popular meaning derives from 'moch' meaning pig. There is a medieval story concerning a legendary Pryderi and Gwydion driving their pigs across Wales and their night-time stopping place 'between Kerry and Arwistli' became known as Mochdre.
The village lies three miles south-west of Newtown and the parish covers over 5,000 acres. A proportion of the population is still dependent on farming for its livelihood, mainly sheep and cattle, but there are also a number of cottage crafts and country industries.
There are 2 places of worship – Church of All Saints Mochdre and Pentre Baptist Chapel - both still flourishing, and one public house, the Dolau Inn.
The Old School is now the community centre, mainly used by the Young Farmers' Club, the Women's Institute, the Mothers' Union and the Community Council, but available for any local event.
Mochdre reservoir (now privately owned and renamed Lake Mochdre) supplied Newtown and adjoining districts with a supply of pure water from 1872 until 1960. In the 19th century the brooks in the area provided the power for a number of mills, both corn and wool.
Mochdre had one of the two last working woollen mills in Montgomeryshire. Known as the Red Factory, and tenanted and later owned by the Leach family, it ceased to exist in 1963.
Penstrowed boasts the title of 'The Smallest Hamlet in Wales'.
Covering an area of some 1,220 acres, it is situated on the outskirts of Newtown on the Newtown-Llanidloes road and is bounded by the villages of Mochdre and Caersws, separated from Aberhafesp by the river Severn.
Its most notable landmark is the church of St Gwrhais (St George), a saint of the Church of Deiniol. The church was founded in the 6th century and the remains of its founder are said to be buried in the churchyard.
Penstrowed Hall is another landmark situated on the Newtown-Llanidloes road. This is a large black and white farmhouse, built in the 16th century, and featuring an impressive oak staircase and oak beams throughout. Farming in the area consists mainly of sheep and dairy cattle.
Other industries within Penstrowed include quarrying and cement production. There is a working quarry which yields silica granite and is of great interest to archaeology students. The quarry is also a favourite site for conservationists, the habitat creating much interest.