If I had to choose a “favourite” church it would be a toss-up between Garway and nearby Kilpeck. Simon Jenkins accords Garway a paltry single star which I find incomprehensible.
The first challenge for the visitor is to find it. This is a very remote area and your sat-nav will take you to Garway - such as it is - but you will still struggle to find the church. Persevere because there are few churches so steeped in historical atmosphere as this one. Garway truly does feel as if time has stood still. It is a place for quiet contemplation of our rich history.
Garway is one of only six churches in England built by the Knights Templar. Apart from the Temple in London, itself heavily restored after damage in the Blitz, Garway is the most substantial remains of a Templar church extant in England. The original nave would have been round but sadly there are only traces of this because, after the suppression of the Templars in 1307, in common with most of their property, Garway passed to the Knights of St John (the Hospitallers) in 1326. They replaced the nave with a more conventional rectangular one during c15. Speculation is that this was due to subsidence.
The most exciting remaining feature is the tower which dates from the 1180 when the Templar church was built to replace what was believed to be a wooden church dating back to as early as 600AD. Many English church towers have been made to look “fortified” by the addition of