A warm and peaceful welcomes you to Irstead Church which would normally be open daily during daylight hours. However because of the current situation from Monday 2nd November, will only be open from 10am-3pm every Wednesday, with a short said Holy Communion service at 10am.
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. A booklet entitled "Irstead Life and Times" about the life of Alan Cox, now 89 years, born and brought up in Irstead, is on sale in the church and to whom we owe much of the information collated for our archives. Regular exhibitions about Irstead are held in the church during Open Churches Week in August (see above)..
To mark the Centenary of the First World War we have become part of Neatishead, Irstead and Barton Turf Community Heritage Group . Their two year project entitled "Living through World War 1 in three Norfolk Broadland Villages - Neatishead, Irstead and Barton Turf" undertook meticulous research to establish all those from the villages who served their country during WW1 and who are now remembered on a memorial plaque at the New Victory Hall in Neatishead which was dedicated in November 2015. Visit the project's website to find our more information about the project and the men researched. A further event to commemorate the end of World War One was held during Remembrance Weekend, 9th, 10th and 11th November 2018.
We are interested in all historical information (photos, memories, documents) relating to life in Irstead, to borrow or copy, in order that we may then use the information in displays or keep in our archives, so 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. Follow the trail and take the booklet home to remind you of your visit. Unfortunately this is currently not available.
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. Unfortunately leaflets are not currently available.
The NIB, our Parish Magazine, available to download, see left. Find out about local events in Irstead, Neatishead and Barton Turf and the other villages in our Benefice.