Imber, St Giles Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Medieval wall paintings
Look for 17th century graffiti in the north porch, and the coat of arms to Walter, the 1st Lord Hungerford, above the piscina sey into the porch wall.
On either side of the doorway inside the church are remains of 15th century wall paintings. To the left (west) of the doorway is an scene depicting Avarice from the Seven Deadly sins. To the right of the doorway is the Weighing of Souls. The nave arcade is decorated with much earlier 13th century paintings, with a chequerboard pattern interspersed with flowers and small quatrefoil patterns.
Perhaps the most unusual historic feature is a series of painted plain changes on the walls of the tower. These date to 1692 and are thought to be the oldest in England. The changes consist of a series of numbers in a chequerboard pattern. The numbers act as a shorthand notation to help bell-ringers keeep track of when to ring each bell.
VisitingThe entire village of Imber is located within the large military training area on Salisbury Plain. The village, and the church, is usually closed to the public except during specified open periods during the year. At the time of this writing these openig periods are limited to several weeks in the spring, several more in the summer, and several days around Christmas.
Though the church is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, as of this writing the official CCT website has no details on current MOD openig arrangements. By far the best source of information is the excellent Imber Village website, which gives full details of upcoming open days and running times for the Imberbus, a restored Routemaster bus which makes runs from Warminster to Imber on specific days.
If you aren't taking advantage of the Imberbus then you'll probably be arriving by car (though we did see several cyclists when we visited). By far the easiest way to reach Imber is from Warminster. From the B3414 (Boreham Road) simply follow Imber Road. You will pass an MOD checkpoint, which is normally closed to visitors, but on official open days it is unmanned. Just follow Imber Road for 6 miles through the MOD area, past a remarkable landscape litterred with rusting tanks, until you arriive in Imber village.
There are several parking areas, and the church is very obvious to the south of the road. Note that there are no obvious roadsigns to Imber from any surrounding roads.
When the church is open there are usually Friends on Imber Church members on hand, selling resfreshments and books about the village and the church. There is also an extremely good exhbit on the history of the village and its evacuation during WWII.
About Imber, St Giles Church
Address: Imber, Wiltshire, England, SN10 5UB
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: 2 miles north east of Warminster off the A362
Website: Imber, St Giles Church
Churches Conservation Trust
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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