History Group Visit to St Mary’s Church Temple Guiting

17 members went to Temple Guiting on what turned out to be a beautiful summer’s day. The church was founded in AD 1170 by the Knights Templar and has many features of interest. Under the roof line, the most ancient and original part of the church has eleven stone corbels staring out over the Windrush valley; beautifully carved figures, beasts and grotesques, designed to ward off evil spirits. Above the 15th century font are three panels of medieval glass. A further nine panels in this set were sold in 1809 for £5.00, and exported to America where they are currently on display in the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York. Above the door is an ornately painted Georgian Decalogue dating from 1746. This had lain hidden until being restored in 2004.

Above the lectern is a most beautiful stained glass window, the work of artist Tom Denny. This illustrates, in vibrant jewel colours, a verse from Psalm 111, and was installed in 2010, in memory of Lord Butterworth, the first vice-chancellor of Warwick University.

The Preceptory of Guiting was founded at the same time as the church. After provision for the maintenance and hospitality, the surplus of income was sent to London, and on to Palestine. After the Knights Templar’s order was destroyed in 1309, John de Coningston, the preceptor of Guiting, was sent to London, and following the trial the Templars agreed to confess to heresy. The property at Guiting was confiscated, and the Templars dispersed to serve in monasteries in the diocese of Worcester on a pension of 4d per day.

We then went to Temple Guiting Pantry, a delightful gift shop and café, in what used to be the village post office, for our afternoon tea and cakes, and we all agreed it had been a lovely visit. Christine

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