St Michael at Plea
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Medieval timber roof with angel carvings
The tower is a familiar local landmark, in part because of the clock face, which dates to 1827 and is inscribed 'Forget me Not'.
Why 'at Plea'?
The earliest name we know of was St Michael at Motstow; that is, at the market, or meeting place. The name changed after the Archdeacon's court was held here, so the name essentially means 'at the court'.
One of the first thing you notice walking along the road is how high the churchyard is. This is the result of centuries of burials crammed into the small churchyard.
There is a late medieval font in fairly typical East Anglian style, but it is not the font that draws your eye; it is the elaborately carved 17th century cover, with an open canopy topped by the figure of a dove. The dove sits atop a classical obelisk, while another obelisk is on the font lid. Nearby, flanking the tower arch, are paintings of Moses and Aaron. These once formed part of an altar piece.
St Michael's was declared redundant in the 1960s, and is now a bookshop and cafe. This does rather obscure some of the historic furnishings, but on the other hand it makes a nice, relaxing place to browse or have a hot drink in beautiful surroundings. at least it is good to see historic buildings being used rather than left to decay! Though the angel roof is lovely, what really caught my eye was the carved font cover. The delicacy of the carving is quite appealing, and something out of the ordinary.
The church is open daily.
About St Michael at Plea
Address: Redwell Street, Norwich, Norfolk, England, NR2 4SN
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: On Redwell Street, just a stone's throw from Hungate Medieval Art. 10 minutes walk from the Cathedral or Castle.
Website: St Michael at Plea
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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