Garway Church of St Michael

Has been described as a Certain Fortified Ecclesiastical site

There are major building remains

NameGarway Church of St Michael
Alternative NamesGaraway
Historic CountryHerefordshire
Modern AuthorityHerefordshire
1974 AuthorityHereford and Worcester
Civil ParishGarway

Parish church, formerly preceptory of Knights Templars. C12, altered and extended in C13 and C17, excavated in 1927. Roughly coursed sandstone rubble with some re-used tufa and stone slate roofs. Formerly detached north-west tower linked by passage to two-bay nave, two-bay chancel and south chapel; remains of former C12 circular nave and late medieval porch exposed to north side of nave. North-west tower has slightly battered base, two stages with roll-moulding dividing the lower stage from the slightly recessed upper stage and a pyramidal roof; north-west side has a single ground floor lancet, a blocked lancet in the lower centre of the upper stage and two round-headed openings beneath the roof, the last features recurring on the other three sides; buttress containing newel with small loop lights projects from east corner towards north-west; south- east side has small moulded lancet to first stage which is blocked in its lower half. The tower is linked to the nave by a passage; probably C17, which contains occasional blocks of tufa and has an entry in the south-west side. Nave has a blocked north doorway with a 2-centred head behind the foundations of the circular nave and superimposed north porch which were excavated in 1927, to the west of which is a 2-light window with Y-tracery, the bottom part of which has been blocked; the south wall has a pair of C14 trefoil-headed 2-light windows each under a relieving arch and with large C17 buttresses to either side; C14 west window to south of passage to north- west tower has 2-centred head and three lights with trefoiled heads, the central light being taller than the outer ones, C17 west doorway with 4- centred head, carved phoenix above

Chancel has in its north wall two restored lancets to the east of a C13 trefoil-headed single-light window, the bottom half of which is blocked to allow steps to the former rood loft, at the east end of the same wall is a large C17 buttress; the east wall has a small round-headed window to each side of a C13 re-set 2-light window with depressed quatrefoil tracery above, beneath is a scratch cross. South chapel has two square-headed 2-light mullioned windows, probably C16, set between three buttresses; C14 east window has 4-centred head, three foiled lights, probably re-set, and a C16 label with head-stops that to the south mitred and the other death-like; west wall has another 2-light mullioned C16 window and a contemporary doorway with a 4-centred head, to the south of which is a Maltese cross. Interior: the tower has deeply splayed jambs behind ground floor lancets and several slab monuments, an eight foot long dug-out chest, a 2-centred arch leads to the C17 passageway. Nave has barrel roofed ceiling and two chamfered tie-beams; C12 chancel arch has three orders, the inner two with detached columns and water-leaf capitals, except to the inner north side where a grotesque head spouts beaded ornament, patera to north abacus; the round-headed arch has chevrons to the two outer orders and a flat-faced moulded inner order in Islamic style; foliated gable cross-finial high up on north wall, 13 heavy oak benches, probably C17, the ends of which are shaped towards the aisle only, except for the shorter front four which have both ends shaped; doorway into passage to tower has a shouldered head; font, probably C14, has octagonal bowl and steps; C16 water-stoup and C18 table on north side of west door; wall monument, in form of an aedicule, to John Prosser, died 1737 on south wall. Chancel has three-bay roof with raking struts from ties to principals and central posts from ties to collars in main trusses and three alternating intermediate trusses with arch braces to collars above which angle braces support principals, two rows of trefoiled wind-braces. Dividing the chancel from the south chapel is a C13 arcade of two bays of 2-centred double chamfered arches separated by a column with four attached shafts with waist-bands, the responds to the ends of the arcades having three attached shafts; stoup in north wall with chamfered 2-centred head and part-octagonal drain; medieval mensa, with five crosses, supported on C20 piers; stone steps to C15 or C16 doorway with 4-centred head leading to former rood loft; early C18 communion rails with turned balusters and moulded rails; two pries-Dieu with early C18 balusters; early C17 chair; C17 panelling to backs of seats; 1880 organ in west arch of arcade. South chapel has early C20 panelled ceiling, c1400 piscina with deep trefoiled head, sexfoiled drain and scratch decoration of fish above, large chest with two lids along south wall and a prie-Dieu with early C17 balusters. (Listed Building Report ref. RCHME)

Belonged to Knights Templar, in 1308 passed to the Hospitallers. Church chiefly of Norman architecture and has more or less detached belfry. Tower built in unusual position, the absence of any bonding stones proves that the tower was once wholly detached. Tower 70' high & about 33' square prob built end of C12. Tower has slightly battered base, two stages with roll-moulding dividing the lower stage from the slightly recessed upper stage and a pyramidal roof; north-west side has a single ground floor lancet, a blocked lancet in the lower centre of the upper stage and two round-headed openings beneath the roof, the last features recurring on the other three sides; buttress containing newel with small loop lights projects from east corner towards north-west; south-east side has small moulded lancet to first stage which is blocked in its lower half. (Herefordshire Through Time)

Gatehouse Comments

The massive square tower, with it's single ground floor lancet, is clearly capable of defence but it may be questioned as to whether the Knights Templar were building a genuinely defensive structure or a building in a even more than usually military architectural style (crenellated towers being common in churches) to reflect their paticular view of the form of God's dominion on earth and their role in that.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSO455224
Latitude51.8982696533203
Longitude-2.79354000091553
Eastings345500
Northings222400
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Copyright Lesley All Rights Reserved
Copyright Lesley All Rights Reserved
Copyright Lesley All Rights Reserved
Copyright Lesley All Rights Reserved
Copyright Lesley All Rights Reserved
Copyright Lesley All Rights Reserved
Copyright Lesley All Rights Reserved

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Books

  • Harrison, Peter, 2004, Castles of God (Woodbridge; Boydell Press) p. 85
  • Pevsner, N., 1963, Buildings of England: Herefordshire
  • RCHME, 1931, An inventory of the historical monuments in Herefordshire Vol. 1: south-west p. 69-72 no. 1 online transcription
  • Seaton, 1903, History of Deanery of Archenfield p. 32
  • Rees, W., 1947, Order of St John of Jesus in Wales p. 51
  • Knowles, David and Hadcock, R Neville, 1971, Medieval religious houses in England and Wales (Longman) p. 236, 243
  • Gould, I. Chalkley, 1908, in Page, Wm (ed), VCH Herefordshire Vol. 1 p. 69-72
  • Robinson, Rev C J, 1872, A History of the Mansions and Manors of Herefordshire

Journals

  • McAleer, J. Philip, 2004, 'Surviving Medieval Free-standing Bell Towers at Parish Churches in England and Wales' Journal of the British Archaeological Association Vol. 156 p. 79-103
  • Marshall, G, 1943 'Detached Church Towers in Herefordshire' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club p. 137
  • Marshall, G, 1927, 'The Church of the Knights Templar, Garway' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club p. 86
  • Watkins, A., 1920 'Garway Church' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club p. 206
  • Severn Walker, J., 1869, 'Detached church belfries, Herefordshire' Associated Architectural Societies Reports and Papers Vol. 10 p. 295-306 online copy
  • Webb J., 1846, 'Notes upon a preceptory of the Templars at Garway, in the count of Hereford, with plans, copies of inscriptions, and illustrations of a building of the hospitallers at the place' Archaeologia Vol. 31 p. 190

Other

  • Williams, R., 00/09/1998, St Michael's Church, Garway, Herefordshire. An archaeological survey
  • contractor report