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Irstead Saint Michael Church NR12 8XS
Irstead Saint Michael Church NR12 8XS


Irstead Saint Michael Church, on the River Ant, Irstead, meaning possibly muddy place., The first element may be Old English gyr (mud) and the second elementis Old English stede (place). As you enter the church, look above, Saint Michael is seen wrestling with a serpent that is wrapping itself around him. It is in the niche where on most churches and as in this case, a saint goes. Many are often missing. west tower, south porch, nave south aisle and chancel. This is an interesting 14th century church, that except for the aisle which is 15th century. The nave and chancel are continuous with no chancel arch and the roofs are complete thatch, showing underneath between the rafters a diagonal pattern, but with the thatch tied round the modern rafters. The late 14th century font is interesting with lions and figures round the shaft and octagonal bowl and on two steps. On the bowl to the west is Agnus Dei, and on the east  what would appear to be the Vericle of saint Veronica. There is nice 14th century ironwork on the south doorway to the old ring handle. The bench ends in nave are curious with deeply recessed rough niches, only the westward one being carved as a pair of doors. There are a few figures and grotesques on arm-rests. The porch once had a parvis. The base of the screen remains in fair state of preservation with painted panels of the twelve Apostles. The pulpit is Elizabethan with linen fold panels and there is a Stuart table A few fragmants of 15th century glass in chancel and a few indistinct wall paintings, with part of Saint Christopher by the north west nave window. Irstead Saint Michael's 600 year old church with roof of thatch stands by the River Ant. The church has a rare claim to distinction, for its oak seats in nave, aisle, and chancel are as they have been for 400 years. Interesting seat they are, with carvings of dogs and a bird on the bench-ends and the front pews. The door which brings one into the nave has a splendid medieval ring like an ornamental cross. The chancel screen has faded portraits of the Twelve Apostles, the 15th century font with men and lions about its pedestal has eight richly carved panels, one of which is notable for showing the hankerchief of Saint Veronica with the portrait of Our Lord on it, a rare portrayal of a legend which Mee also came upon at Saint Osyth in Essex. The pulpit is 400 years old, and the chancel has a treasure older still- lovely faces of the Madonna, Our Lord, and angel roundels of 15th century glass. It is said that the figure of William of Wykeham in a modern window is here through an error in assuming that William of Wykeham was rector, though it now appears that the rector of that name was a humble namesake of the great bishop. A much later rector of Irstead was Henry Headley, whose son won a fleeting fame as a poet. Young Henry Headley, who died in 1788 at 23, had an appreciation of nature rare in his day, and was mourned by all who knew him when they laid him to rest at North Walsham. 

Irstead Saint Michael Church NR12 8XS
Irstead Saint Michael Church NR12 8XS
Irstead Saint Michael Church NR12 8XS
Irstead Saint Michael Church NR12 8XS
Irstead Saint Michael Church NR12 8XS
Irstead Saint Michael Church NR12 8XS
Irstead Saint Michael Church NR12 8XS
Irstead Saint Michael Church NR12 8XS
Irstead Saint Michael Church NR12 8XS
Irstead Saint Michael Church NR12 8XS