About Us

A warm and peaceful welcomes you to Irstead Church which is opening during daylight hours.

Church History
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.

Irstead History
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 (1929-2021) who was born and brought up in Irstead, is available to read 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.

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.  The group celebrated its 10th Anniversary in October 2023 with exhibitions in all four of our village churches.

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 if you can help us with this.

Children's Guide
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.  This is available to download (see menu left) or copies are available to pick up in the church.

Dragon Trail
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.  Leaflet available to download (see menu left) or pick up a paper copy in the church.

Parish Magazine
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.