(continued)



Garway chancel arch

This combines typical Romanesque mouldings with Islamic influences. During the following century a chapel was added to the south side of the chancel though only the arcade remains, the rest of the chapel having been rebuilt in the 16th century. When the Hospitallers acquired Garway the derelict state of the nave meant that it had to be rebuilt, a more conventional rectangular plan being adopted. Initially a porch was provided on the north side but this was superseded by a doorway at the west end. The south and west walls were provided with typical 14th century windows and those in the north wall, if correctly attributed to the 13th century, were reused from the earlier nave. The chapel south of the chancel has a 14th century piscina and a 14th century window, though this has probably been reset. The post-dissolution changes mainly affected the chancel and the south chapel.

The alternative view is that the nave was rebuilt when the Hospitallers acquired Garway in the early 14th century (Jenkins 2009, 268-9). Although the Templars were arrested in 1308 and the Order formally suppressed in 1312 a number of years often passed before their properties passed into the hands of the Hospitallers. During this interval former Templar properties often experienced episodes of decay and dereliction and even downright vandalism on the part of secular authorities. The view taken here is that the taking over by the Hospitallers of a partly derelict Templar site provides the best context for the rebuilding of the Garway nave and the following account is framed in those terms.

Footings of the Templars' round nave

Archaeological excavations at Garway in 1927 (Jack 1928) revealed the foundations of a circular nave underlying the present nave of St Michaels church. Circular naves were the layout of choice at a number of Templar churches, said to be a reference to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The issue to be considered at Garway is when was the circular nave replaced. Two views have been expressed, the first indicated by the plan reproduced below obtained from the Garway Village website. This proposes that the nave was rebuilt in its present form in the 13th century. This is the view implied, but not stated, in the list description and the entry in the RCHM Inventory (RCHAM 1931, 69-72). The detailed architectural arguments are given in the sources cited but appear to reside in the evidence of two 13th century windows in the north wall and a 13th doorway in the west end. However, there is no obvious reason why the nave should have been rebuilt in the mid 13th century and no indication in the documents. 

During the last quarter of the 12th century the Knights Templar built a church at Garway with a characteristic round nave about 12m diameter internally with a rectangular chancel to the east. Apart from the footings of the nave the main feature to survive from this phase is the magnificent chancel arch.

GARWAY CAMERA, archaelogy 1