A Knights Templar church in the English Cotswolds

Earlier this year, my husband and I travelled to England to pay tribute to one of our greatest literary loves: Shakespeare. This year is the 400th anniversary of his death and he died where he was born : Stratford -Upon-Avon, a delightful village nestled in the gorgeous iconic English region of the Cotswolds.

northern cotswolds

We had the chance to explore this northern Cotswolds area and visit some beautiful churches, villages and scenic spots.

guiting st.michaels

The most interesting was St.Michael’s and All Angels Church, which still possesses its superb two original Norman doorways. This unassuming little church stands nearby the small villiage of Guiting Power, and was owned by the Knights Templar during the 13th century.

guiting st michales church

Guiting Power, and its neighbouring village Temple Guiting, were built and developed by the Knights Templar who owned the magnificent manor which still exists in this area. They were responsible for building a mill on the Windrush river that flows through the villages and thereby helping to build a flourishing the wool trade.

guiting knights templar

The detail on the south doorway of St.Michael’s church is beautiful. Carved in native limestone which has a distinctive rose-colour, the symbols seem to me very enigmatic. These lovely geometric patterns, chevrons mosaic like motifs were influenced by Islamic and Mediterranean art and hint at a sensibility and knowledge outside of the mainstream religious paradigms at that time.

guiting norman doorway

Above: Hourglass with billet and star carvings – this tympanum over the doorway is a more recent addition.

guiting north doorway

The more simple yet no less fascinating north doorway, again with its distinctive chevron pattern which is characteristic of Norman architecture, a term traditionally used for English Romanesque architecture.

~ Ancient Rome’s invention of the arch is the basis of all Norman architecture, hence the term Romanesque.

norman church doorway.jpg

This enigmatic Romanesque Norman style has the largest number of surviving examples in England – seen in a number of surviving churches reflecting a distinctive variation incorporating Byzantine and Saracen influences which developed from the Norman dynasties in Sicily. One such example is Temple Church in London, British headquarters of the Knights Templar.

What fascinates me about this architectural detail is that it seems so out of context in the rural English countryside. Clearly, it is a style that is set apart, and it does not surprise me that all of the Knights Templar Churches that remain in England have this style – further enhancing their mystery….

You can read more and see more about this lovely village here.


guiting angel graveyard

A beautiful Victorian Angel stands guardian in the ancient graveyard of St.Michaels and All Angels Church, Guiting Power ~ Cotswolds ~ England.


You can read more about the Knights Templar here:

Order of the Knights Templar

Knights Templar in Britain

Spiritual origins of the Knights Templar


You can read more about Romanesque Norman architecture in Britain here:

Characteristics and features, with examples

History and examples

Thanks for visiting !

3 thoughts on “A Knights Templar church in the English Cotswolds

  1. I love your photographs but Guiting Power church was never a Templar Church. They held a small quantity of land in the parish but that is all. In the Taxatio of Edward I of 1291-2, it was a Hospitaller church, The Templars were dissolved in 1312, It was only then that the holdings of the Templars were assigned to the Hospitallers by papal decree. Temple Guiting was a Templar church from the 1220s when the pope gave them the church there.

    • Thank you so much for this excellent clarification Christopher !
      I know so little about the Knights Templar, and would love to know more ~ we found this Church with a guidebook which misinformed us of its correct Templar background.
      They did indeed have some land in the parish there, and I really could feel their presence, however small….

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