What an extraordinary place Imber is. In December 1943, during the second World War, the entire village gave up their homes to the military for their
vital work; the villagers never returned. Today the military allow access to the village a few times a year, Easter and Christmas being two such occasions, and
the church is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.
The Friends of St. Giles website gives dates the church is open to the public (which are subject to MoD constraints of course) and more information about the church. They
also have a Newsletter which you can subscribe to. They do a splendid job fundraising and maintaining the premises under very difficult conditions. Finding volunteers
to keep the graveyard tidy must be particularly difficult when you consider nobody lives near it and access is so very limited. On our visit in 2013 we were saddened to hear
criticism by some visitors of the state of the graveyard - yes there is no getting away from the fact that it was very overgrown (perhaps more noticable because on our previous
visits it had been in so well tended), but the people who do give up their time should be praised for what they do manage to do not what they don't. Better still, those
criticising should give up their time to go and do some gardening in whatever weather there happens to be on the day the road is open! The Friends website can be seen at:
We were invited to photograph St. Giles during the Easter 2004 opening. Unfortunately the weather was not favourable for photographs and doesn't show the building at its best, or how beautiful
the surrounding countryside is. We have been back a few times since and the weather has mainly been unfavourable. The inside is also difficult to photograph as there is
no 'proper' electricity (although someone had set up a generator to run a couple of lights) and the flash on our camera is not very effective in such a large area. However, now
we have made our excuses for the photographs not being as good as they might, we hope you do enjoy the opportunity of seeing this church which is usually off-limits to visitors.
Although the building appears to be in relatively good repair, looks can be deceiving and money is always needed for ongoing projects. The Churches Conservation Trust now has the
responsibility of the upkeep of this building and would be pleased to receive your support. We have noticed many changes since we started visiting in 2004 and have included on some
of our pages have duplicated photographs to show what repairs have been made.
The church of St. Giles is a Grade I listed building - more information about the listing can be found at the
British Listed Buildings
website. There are four groups of tombs in the graveyard that are Grade II listed - details can be found at the BLB website by doing a search for 'Imber'.