Sgraffito Maltese crosses or crosses 'pattee'

Webb also drew attention to several carved crosses in the interior of the dovecot while carvings of Maltese crosses can still be seen on the church walls, though the stones in question may have been reset.


The church, tower and dovecot are all that remains at Garway though Webb commented in the 1840s that the foundations of the Hospitallers' buildings  had recently been removed during the construction of Church Farm. Referring back to the 1512 deed, these may have comprised remains of the hall, parlour, priest's house, stable and cowhouse.

GARWAY CAMERA, archaeology 2

REFERENCES

Fleming-Yates, J (undated) The Church of St, Michael, Garway, a short account (copies available in the church)

Jack, G H 1928 'Garway church' Antiquaries Journal VIII, 238-240

Jenkins, Simon 2000 England's Best Thousand Churches​, Penguin, 268-269

Larking, L B and Kemble, J M 1857The Knights Hospitallers in England Camden Society, 196-198

Royal Commission  on Historical Monuments 1931 An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in  Herefordshire Volume 1, South-west, 69-72


Webb, J 1846 'Miscellaneous tracts relating to antquity; Garway' Archaeologia 31, 182-197

The simplicity of the tower's design suggests that it is of early 13th century date and its discordant position implies that it was already present when the nave was rebuilt.


About 70m to the south of the church amid the buildings of Church Farm stands the Garway Dovecot. This is also a Grade I Listed Building and an illustration is available on the English Heritage 'Images of England' web site (number 155165). It is a circular structure of about 5.5m diameter internally, built of sandstone rubble rising to a truncated conical roof. There is a parapet above the truncation and a central opening is crowned by a domed cupola. Inside 666 nesting boxes are arranged in 19 tiers. A large stone in the centre provided the footing for an access ladder or potence. There a two entrances, that on the north being a 19th century insertion. Over the southern entrance is a mutilated and illegible inscription, though according to Webb (1846) it was sufficiently legible for him to attempt a transcription and translation. The inscription was severely contracted  but Webb renders it as 'In the year of 1326 this columbarium was built by Brother Richard'. It will be recalled that the 1338 Extent does not mention a dovecot. There are several possible explanations for this anomaly.


   1 That Phiilip de Thame simply did not mention it when compiling the entry for Garway. This seems unlikely as dovecots are frequently listed as an important source of revenue.


   2 That the dovecot was extant but of no current or potential val​ue. This is also unlikely for the same reason and the fact that it has survived virtually intact to the present day.


  3 That Webb's transcription, at least in terms of the date, is inaccurate. It is described as illegible in 1931 by the RCHM; is it likely to have been much clearer ninety years earlier?


A consideration to be born in mind is that Webb's work at Garway took place more than a decade before Larkin and Kemble published the transcription of the 1338 Extent. We can only speculate on what bearing the absence of a dovecot in 1338 would have had on Webb's decipherment of the inscription.

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Although now linked to the Hospitallers' nave, the tower of St Michaels church was free-standing  until the 17th century and it likely that its roll was mainly defensive given the trouble state of the Welsh border during the Middle Ages. It is a very plain structure rising in three stages, the lower  being divided from the slightly recessed upper stages by a roll-moulding. The windows are simple lancets, two on the ground floor, one on each face of the second storey, blocked in each case, and two on each face near the top of the upper storey, which the RCHM Inventory suggests may have been rebuilt. The roof is pyramidal. Access to the second floor is gain by a newel  in a buttress at the north-east corner while a ladder would have been necessary to gain access to the top floor.