The earliest record of a monastery here is in 615 AD, but it was with the arrival of the Knights Templar in 1180 that the history of the church at Garway becomes clearer. The Templars built a number of partly round churches (copying the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem) including this one. The round foundations can be seen clearly on the north side of the church, and the original carved chancel arch still survives.
Most of the current church, no longer round, is probably 13th century, including the massive tower which was once separate from the main church building.
Many English church towers have been made to look “fortified” by the addition of pseudo-battlements and there are plenty of places where the towers clearly had secondary military functionality, but the tower at Garway was originally separate from the rest of the church and designed specifically for defensive purposes.
A challenge for visitors is to spot some of the unique carvings inside the church, some quite difficult to spot: a "green man", a sword, a fish, and a snake.
A member of the Herefordshire Churches Tourism group. More information about Herefordshire's churches www.visitherefordshirechurches.co.uk
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