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PostPosted: 22 Jul 2012 8:05 pm 
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I recently visited the Templar church at Garway in Herefordshire, on the English-Welsh border. It's a pretty church set amidst gently rolling, wooded hills, in a little visited corner of the country. Here follows some pictures and impressions of the visit, which I've broken down into sections.

I. CHURCH EXTERIOR AND HISTORY

St Michael's Church, Garway, Herefordshire
Image

According to a leaflet I picked up in the church, by a Kathleen A. Whittaker, the name Garway has the following etymology.

Quote:
Garway derives its name from "gwrwe", a marsh, or from "gwre", a camp, and "wy" or "wey", water: hence Garway, a camp by the water (river Monnow). There is a site of a camp on the brow of a hill descending in three terraces to the river and overlooking the old ford: it now forms part of a farm called Garway Court.


From the same source:

Quote:
The Church of St Michael is one of the six churches in England attributable to the Knights Templar. There was certainly a church here before the time of the Templars according to ancient documents. During the reign of Henry II, possibly about 1165-80, the church and lands of Garway were given to the Knights Templars. This gift was confirmed to the Knights of the Temple of Solomon on 16th July 1199, by King John, and it was stated to comprise all of the land of LLangarewi (Garway) ... At the dissolution of the Order of the Temple in England in 1308 the preceptory and church passed into the hands of the Hospitallers or Knights of St John of Jerusalem.


The north side of the chancel, nave and tower
Image

It was on this side of the church, in 1927, that the foundations of the round Templar church that once stood here were excavated.

Image

Image

View from the east - the chancel is to the right, the south chapel, known as the Templar Chapel, or the Temple, is to the left
Image

There are two carved corbels on the east window of this Templar Chapel.

On one side, the head of a Grand Master of the Order, wearing a mitre
Image

On the other side, the face of a dead man
Image

I'll add further sections shortly, on the church interior, the Templar coffin lids, church carvings and the churchyard and its surroundings.


Last edited by richard.webster on 22 Jul 2012 8:48 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: 22 Jul 2012 8:12 pm 
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II. CHURCH INTERIOR

The nave of the church, with the chancel beyond, supported by a Norman arch:
Image

Closer view of the zigzag pattern of the arch detailing, considered to be rather Saracenic in style:
Image

Adorning the arch is a horned head, thought to be a Green Man:
Image

This carving on the arch is described as a Norman water leaf:
Image

The roof of the chancel dates from about 1400:
Image

The roof of the nave looks to have been much more recently refurbished, and is decorated with these six-pointed stars:
Image

The altar dates from medieval times, and was striking in its simplicity:
Image


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PostPosted: 22 Jul 2012 8:16 pm 
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III. THE TEMPLAR COFFIN LIDS

The church has been much altered and refurbished during its eight hundred plus year history and ancient coffin lids, thought to be from Templar graves because of the sword images decorating them, have been used as steps and lintels. The two examples below are from the altar steps, and one can discern the image of a sword in each one.

Image

Image


Last edited by richard.webster on 22 Jul 2012 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 22 Jul 2012 8:22 pm 
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IV. CHURCH CARVINGS

In what's known as the Templar Chapel, on the south side of the church, is a 14th century Piscina, a stone basin cut into the wall, used for the washing of communion vessels. It's decorated with the image of a fish on one side, and a serpent on the other, and on top there is a winged cup that might be a depiction of the Holy Grail.

Image

There are several faint carvings on the church's exterior stonework, including these two from the east wall.

Image

Image


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PostPosted: 22 Jul 2012 8:31 pm 
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V. THE CHURCHYARD AND ITS SURROUNDINGS

The churchyard is surrounded by a dry stone wall, its coping laid in traditional Cock and Hen style.
Image

Much of the churchyard runs quite wild, and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.

Swifts from Africa nest in the church tower each summer.
Image

Valerian growing out of the south wall of the church.
Image

There is a spring at the east end of the churchyard, called Holy Well.
Image

On private land, on the south side of the church, is a beautifully preserved dovecot, or Columbarium, built by the Knights Hospitallers.
Image

It was a very pretty, interesting and historic place to visit, in a rather timeless part of the country. And it is no mere relic, but a still functioning church, where regular services are held, and on the morning of my visit it was being made ready for a wedding. I'm very pleased that I went there, and it was well worth the slight detour on the way home from Shropshire on Saturday.


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PostPosted: 22 Jul 2012 9:54 pm 
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Fabulous Richard. Thanks very much for these splendid and evocative photos.

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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 1:32 am 
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richard.webster wrote:
II. CHURCH INTERIOR

The nave of the church, with the chancel beyond, supported by a Norman arch:
Image

Closer view of the zigzag pattern of the arch detailing, considered to be rather Saracenic in style:
Image

Adorning the arch is a horned head, thought to be a Green Man:
Image

This carving on the arch is described as a Norman water leaf:
Image

The roof of the chancel dates from about 1400:
Image

The roof of the nave looks to have been much more recently refurbished, and is decorated with these six-pointed stars:
Image

The altar dates from medieval times, and was striking in its simplicity:
Image


everything I wrote erased so here it goes again
Great pictures Richard

I love the green man and the Solomon Seals on the roof
Thanks so much for sharing :D

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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 7:22 am 
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Image

I specifically like this photo and get a lovely feeling from the shape and composition of it...the carving has echoes of something Egyptian.

Thank you.


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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 11:44 am 
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Thank you Richard,
Great post. There are lots of parallels to Rosslyn here ( the Green Man, and if you believe the Masonic links, the heads of Hiram Abif / apprentice ). This pointed cross shape I've seen somewhere else, I think around RLC ? Anyone else remember, as I'm not by my photos to check ?
Image
Regards
Nic


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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 1:02 pm 
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it's similar to this egyptian gnostic sign.


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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 1:57 pm 
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richard.webster wrote:
There are two carved corbels on the east window of this Templar Chapel.

On one side, the head of a Grand Master of the Order, wearing a mitre
Image

On the other side, the face of a dead man
Image

I'll add further sections shortly, on the church interior, the Templar coffin lids, church carvings and the churchyard and its surroundings.


Thanks Richard:

Very nice pictures, but I don't see why a Templar Grand Master would be wearing a mitre. I suspect this is "tourguide history".

A better candidate, considering the neighborhood, is Thomas de Cantilupe, a Bishop of Hereford who was canonized for posthumously resurrecting the Welsh rebel William Cragh, who is presumably the dead face on the other side of the arch.

Father Silence

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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 2:17 pm 
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BULLDOGNIC wrote:
Thank you Richard,
Great post. There are lots of parallels to Rosslyn here ( the Green Man, and if you believe the Masonic links, the heads of Hiram Abif / apprentice ). This pointed cross shape I've seen somewhere else, I think around RLC ? Anyone else remember, as I'm not by my photos to check ?
Image
Regards
Nic



I think it may be an Ogham mark

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Book_of_Ballymote_170r.jpg

Edit to add: Thank You Richard, for the lovely pictures and the story as well.

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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 3:32 pm 
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BULLDOGNIC wrote:
Thank you Richard,
Great post. There are lots of parallels to Rosslyn here ( the Green Man, and if you believe the Masonic links, the heads of Hiram Abif / apprentice ). This pointed cross shape I've seen somewhere else, I think around RLC ? Anyone else remember, as I'm not by my photos to check ?
Image
Regards
Nic


Cross Fourchee
Image

Handle of a Crusader sword dated 13th century

Here is Sinclairs but it is a fractal it is infinite

Image

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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 3:40 pm 
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Sheila wrote:
Image

I specifically like this photo and get a lovely feeling from the shape and composition of it...the carving has echoes of something Egyptian.

Thank you.


It does have an Egyptian feel but it has a Freemason feel too

Image

the circle above with the cross ....could represent the eye of Providence ...or if you go Egyptian ...the Ankh

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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 4:10 pm 
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Father Silence wrote:
Very nice pictures, but I don't see why a Templar Grand Master would be wearing a mitre. I suspect this is "tourguide history".


You may well be right, I was only repeating what I read in a free leaflet by the font, and from the little I've learned about the church, subsequent to going there, it would seem there have been attempts to play the Templar connection for all it is worth, one might say.

According to this snippet that I read, for example:

Quote:
This is another church that has been built on the site of a Knight's Templar preceptory and there is plenty of evidence to substantiate this. The reason the tiny church of St. Michael's gets more visitors is due to the popularity of the Da Vinci Code book and film. I expect that after the screening of the first episode of Bonekickers (8th of July 2006) that others will be prompted to pay a visit. In this instalment the fictitious and rather dramatic team of archaeologists actually discovered a cave hidden below the floor of the dovecote and found that it contained the original cross on which Christ was crucified???

On my latest visit I was talking to a very nice lady who has the fortune/misfortune to live in what was the old 12th century commandery. Amongst many fascinating things, she related how since the publication of the book the true history of the church has been embellished beyond recognition, mostly in favour of the Templar connection.


That was taken from the "Legendary Dartmoor" site, which Garway is nowhere near of course, but it covers other parts of the country, and the article on the church seems very thorough and well researched, and non-excitable. There was much in it of interest, including about the medieval dovecot next door, about which it has this to say.

Quote:
... the columbarium or dovecote ... was built in the time of the Templars but had fallen into disrepair by the time the Hospitallers took over, this is confirmed in an account of the property written by John-de-la-Haye in 1313. Although very feint now, there is a Latin inscription over the door which in The Gentleman's Magazine of 1907, p.635, the Reverend John Webb stated read in abbreviated form "Anno Domini millesimo trecentesimo vicesimo sexto factum fuit istud columbare fratrem Ricardum", which in translation reads, "In the year of our Lord 1326 this dovecote was built by Richard" ... this is thought to be somewhat of an exaggeration and probably means that he repaired the dovecote in 1326. John Webb also remarks that on his visit he also noticed another inscription in the interior of the dovecote which read, "GILBE RTVS", whoever Gilbertus was remains a mystery, perhaps he helped Brother Richard in the restoration of the building? Webb describes other stones carved with, "the double cross of the Templars, accompanied in one instance with the letter R, of the scriptorial form". The upper part of the roof is 'dished' which allowed rainwater to feed through an opening into a round cistern on the floor, this then supplied the pigeons with drinking and washing water, Bond, 2004, p.151. Inside there are 20 tiers each consisting of 33 nesting holes which gives a total of 666 holes ... could this number have any mystical significance? Each alternate tier has been provided with an alighting ledge. In the centre of the floor sits a large stone basin which was used as a bathing bath for the birds ... which as far as dovecotes go is a very rare feature ... Rats were always a problem as they would be attracted by the grain fed to the birds and then either eat it or the pigeons eggs. To prevent this the Garway dovecote has a row of bricks that project out from the wall which prevented the rats from climbing up the walls, this is known as a string course. There has been some excellent restoration work done on the dovecote as an early engraving of the building shows it with two trees growing out of the walls ... In fact, in his book, Cooke, mentions how just before the Reverend Webb's visit in 1844 a seedling oak and an ash tree had rooted on the top of the dovecote walls and were luckily removed before too much damage was done.
The original birds that were normally kept in a dovecote were the blue rock pigeons and their uses were numerous. Apart from their meat and eggs which were a valuable source of food in the winter months, the feathers were used for stuffing mattresses and pillows and the dung as a good fertilizer. Medicinally the pigeons were also useful, in early times, Pliny suggested that pigeon blood was an excellent cure for bloodshot eyes. A later cure for, "melancholy and sadness", was to apply a live pigeon that had been cut in half to the head or soles of the feet. Dysenteries were also cured by taking a potion made from the dry, powdered, lining of a pigeon's stomach. Baldness and gout were cured by rubbing in an ointment made from watercress and pigeon dung, Hansells', 2001, p.7. In Norman and Medieval times it was considered a feudal right to build a dovecote and was only afforded to barons, abbots and lords of the manor, this was later extended to include parish priests. This building right was vigorously enforced as was the killing or stealing of the pigeons all of which attracted severe punishment.


http://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk/gar_way.htm

Father Silence wrote:
A better candidate, considering the neighborhood, is Thomas de Cantilupe, a Bishop of Hereford who was canonized for posthumously resurrecting the Welsh rebel William Cragh, who is presumably the dead face on the other side of the arch.


That sounds very plausible, and I'm impressed by your knowledge of the history of that area.

This is the seal of Thomas de Cantilupe.

Image

And a bit about him. His tomb is in Hereford Cathedral.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_de_Cantilupe


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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 4:21 pm 
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lovuian wrote:
Sheila wrote:
Image

I specifically like this photo and get a lovely feeling from the shape and composition of it...the carving has echoes of something Egyptian.

Thank you.


It does have an Egyptian feel but it has a Freemason feel too.


With regard to the serpent shape on the right, it's speculated in the article about the church that I put in the post above, that this could be a lamprey, which would make sense, as this eel-like fish was considered quite a delicacy in the middle ages. King Henry I of England famously died after over-indulging in them in Normandy in 1135.

This is a bit about lampreys.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamprey

This is an illustration of them by Alexander Francis Lydon (1879).

Image


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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 4:54 pm 
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This pointed cross shape I've seen somewhere else, I think around RLC ? Anyone else remember, as I'm not by my photos to check ?

The Cross Fourchee Nic, is depcited in the Church of Notre Dame de Marceille.
And is also illustrated in various Priory of Sion literature.


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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 5:06 pm 
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bergeredearcadie wrote:
This pointed cross shape I've seen somewhere else, I think around RLC ? Anyone else remember, as I'm not by my photos to check ?

The Cross Fourchee Nic, is depcited in the Church of Notre Dame de Marceille.
And is also illustrated in various Priory of Sion literature.

Ta Sandy, I thought I'd seen it somewhere familiar :D
Regards
Nic


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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 6:00 pm 
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....and figures on page 9 of Le Serpent Rouge

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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 6:02 pm 
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Here is the waterfont at Saint Michael
Image

I think the triangle motif fits perfectly with the triangle pointing up male and the other triangle pointing down female
and the Solomon seal

could the guy with the tiara or crown be King Hiram and the dead man the apprentice Hiram Abiff

Father Silence had a good thought

resurrection of William Cragh, a Welsh rebel who was hanged in 1290

and then there is the Mappas Mundi
Image

if your looking for Paradise or Eden ...its on the map with Jerusalem at the center

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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 6:16 pm 
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Talking of St Michael -

some news just in: http://www.rhedesium.com/news-and-events.html

Maybe of interest to those who have an interest in Michael the Archangel .....


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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 7:07 pm 
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bergeredearcadie wrote:
Talking of St Michael -

some news just in: http://www.rhedesium.com/news-and-events.html

Maybe of interest to those who have an interest in Michael the Archangel .....



Thanks I love that stained glass window :D
Do we know who made it?

I noticed the rock behind her has crosses engraved on the rock

Michael the Archangel plays a part


This prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, originally composed in Latin, was written by Pope Leo XIII in 1886.

Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.


John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI has requested to say the prayer after mass

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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 7:10 pm 
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richard.webster wrote:
V. THE CHURCHYARD AND ITS SURROUNDINGS

The churchyard is surrounded by a dry stone wall, its coping laid in traditional Cock and Hen style.
Image

Much of the churchyard runs quite wild, and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.

Swifts from Africa nest in the church tower each summer.
Image

Valerian growing out of the south wall of the church.
Image

There is a spring at the east end of the churchyard, called Holy Well.
Image

On private land, on the south side of the church, is a beautifully preserved dovecot, or Columbarium, built by the Knights Hospitallers.
Image

It was a very pretty, interesting and historic place to visit, in a rather timeless part of the country. And it is no mere relic, but a still functioning church, where regular services are held, and on the morning of my visit it was being made ready for a wedding. I'm very pleased that I went there, and it was well worth the slight detour on the way home from Shropshire on Saturday.


You know on the Columbarian on top of it looks like a Beehive in stone
from what I have read Rosslyn had a Beehive on top of its roof which was manmade
I wonder if Andrew will see this?

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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 8:39 pm 
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lovuian wrote:
Michael the Archangel plays a part


This prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, originally composed in Latin, was written by Pope Leo XIII in 1886.

Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.


John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI has requested to say the prayer after mass


Speaking of St Michael, there is only one item of stained glass in the church, in the east window of the South (Templar) chapel; I don't know when it dates from. I presume this is St Michael, slaying a dragon.

Image

It could be St George, who also killed a dragon, but St Michael seems more likely, as he's the saint to whom the church is dedicated.


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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2012 8:52 pm 
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Just one further thing to add, from the interior of the church, again from the south chapel, is this very old chest, thought to date from either the 16th or 17th century, and apparently cut from the bole of an oak tree, and probably used for the secure storage of parish documents. It sits beneath the 14th century piscina on the south wall.

Image


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