Irstead: St Michael, Irstead
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St Michael's is a Broadland church of character and great charm situated in the hamlet of Irstead,150m from public moorings on the River Ant just below Barton Broad on the Norfolk Broads.
A warm and peaceful welcome awaits you at our beautiful church which is open daily during daylight hours.
St Michael's is basically a 14th century church (probably a reconstruction on the site of a 12th century church) with a 15th century South Aisle, so there has been 600 years of worship and prayer here. The walls are built of flint with stone and brick dressings. The nave and chancel are thatched with local reed and sedge capping with a traditional decoration of split hazel.
Above the South porch is a modern sculpture of St Michael fighting the serpent (dragon like), then entrance to the church is by a very old oak door with a decorative ironwork plate which date from about 1290. Arabic numerals can be seen on the inside of the door which may represent the carpenter's numbering. Norman fragments on the inside of the north (now blocked up) and south doorways can also be seen.
During the last few years Irstead PCC has been exploring the history of St Michael's, the village of Irstead and its people. We have collated much information for our archives and staged two exhibitions in the church - Irstead Memories 2011 and Beyond the Guide 2013.
To mark the Centenary of the First World War we have become part of a recently formed group - Neatishead, Irstead and Barton Turf Community Heritage Group and mounted five exhibitions in all five village churches (St Michael's Irstead, St Peter's Neatishead, St Michael and All Angels Barton Turf, Neatishead Baptist Church and Barton Methodist Church) during Open Churches Week August 2014 - entitled "Living through WW1 in 3 Norfolk Broadland Villages".
This is a two year project so if you have any information about Irstead relating to the time before, during and after WW1 we would be most interested to hear from you. Remembrance Weekend 2015 saw our two day exhibition in the New Victory Hall, Neatishead, of all those who served in WW1 from our villages and a memorial to them dedicated during the ecumenical service on Remembrance Sunday. There were displays about life in our villages 100 years ago together with our community chest, artefacts and medals from WW1 and a specially written drama "When I come home" was performed on Saturday 7th November. The project will be launching its dedicated website at an open afternoon on Sunday 31st January at the New Victory Hall, Neatishead from 2-4.30pm. Research from our project will also be on display together with photos of the project, the drama and our community chest. All welcome.
If you have any historical information at all relating to life in Irstead, however small, please use the email contact on this page to get in touch.
Neatishead Primary School (in the next village) have written a guide to our church especially for children and their families - see our photo album on this website. Do come along, follow the trail and take the booklet home to remind you of your visit.
St Michael's is part of the local Dragon Trail which includes St Benedict's Church at Horning, St Catherine's Church at Ludham and St Benet's Abbey. Pick up a leaflet in the church or click on the link right of the page.
The NIB, our Parish Magazine, available to download, see under "News". Find out about local events in Irstead, Neatishead and Barton Turf and the other villages in our Benefice.
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|St Michaels is open daily.Ramped entrance into the church is available, though 24hours notice is required. Please contact Claire Penstone-Smith via email.|
The current editor is: Claire Penstone-Smith