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St Michael, Garway, Herefordshire

(51°53′54″N, 2°47′36″W)
SO 455 225
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Herefordshire
now Herefordshire
medieval Hereford
now Hereford
  • Ron Baxter
08 Jun 2011

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Feature Sets

Garway is a small village in the SW of the county, 9 miles W of Ross-on-Wye and less than a mile from the River Monnow that forms the Welsh border. It consists of a few houses along a minor road with the church at the W end of the settlement. The church has a chancel with a S chapel separated from the chancel by a 13thc 2-bay arcade, and an unaisled nave with lateral doorways blocked. There was originally a round nave and a N porch, excavated in 1927 and partly exposed on the N side. This relates to its former status as a preceptory of Knights Templars. The present nave is early 14thc. At the NW corner of the nave is a freestanding 13thc tower, linked to the nave by a short passage, probably 17thc. The only Romanesque feature recorded here is the chancel arch.


Garway was among the lands in Archenfield that belonged to Leominster Abbey before the Conquest. In 1086 it was held by Herman and assessed at 4 carucates. Land was given to the Knights Templar by King Henry II, and they built the round church on the site, including the Romanesque chancel arch. When the Templars were dissolved in the early 14thc the church passed to the Knights Hospitaller, who held it until the Reformation.


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

The spectacular chancel arch represents the final throes of true Romanesque in Herefordshire, with its virtuosic chevron decoration and capitals packed with ornament. Pevsner suggested that the inner arch order was ‘a re-assembly of pieces made for ribs’, an interpretation that ignores the fact that many of the voussoirs contain a pair of projections side by side as was noted by Brooks in the revised volume.


A. Brooks and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. New Haven and London 2012, 243-45.

Herefordshire SMR 1064

Historic England Listed Building 155157

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire. Harmondsworth 1963, 135-36.

RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, 1: South-west, 1931, 69.