Record Details

NHER Number:425
Type of record:Building
Name:St Michael-at-Plea's Church, Redwell Street, Norwich


A 15th century and later former parish church, on the site of an earlier church, restored in 1887 and extended in the 1980s. The pinnacled west tower with its clock is mainly 19th century work. The chancel has been converted into a café and the nave is an SPCK bookshop.


  • A trial hole dug inside St Michael at Plea in Norwich revealed evidence of an earlier nave  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • The nave of St Michael at Plea in Norwich  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TG 23233 08742
Map Sheet:TG20NW

Full description

1954. Listed, Grade I.
Listing Description Excerpt:
"Former parish church now redundant. 15th century. Flint with stone and brick dressings. Lead roofs. West tower, nave and chancel. North and south transepts, south chancel chapel. South porch. Three stage tower with diagonal buttresses."
Information from (S1).
Please consult the National Heritage List for England (S1) for the current details.
P. Watkins (HES), 7 September 2017. Amended H. Hamilton (HES), 8 November 2019.

'St Michael's Wymer, St Michael at Mot stone' in existence by 1190-1200.
Probably earlier, see (S2).
R. R. Clarke (NCM).

1973. Building Survey.
Church assessed by Council for Places of Worship ahead of proposed closure.
See report (S3) for further details including lists of furnishings, fittings and monuments.
P. Watkins (HES), 7 September 2017.

Extended in 1980 and 1986.

1979-80. Excavation.
East end excavation to prop up church.
Anglo-Saxon rim, Thetford ware.
Medieval sherds including stamped. Green glazed Grimston.
W. Milligan (NCM).

1970s or 1980.
Considered as part of Norwich Survey.
See record forms (S4) for annotated plans.
P. Watkins (HES), 7 September 2017.

February 1986. Watching Brief.
Contexts 1 to 7 used.
Conversion of church of St Michael-at-Plea entailed excavation work in three areas.
(1) The southeast chapel where the floor was lowered by about 50cm.
Only rubble, probably 19th century in date, observed (2).
(3) Drainage trench uncovered a wall of dressed flint (five courses) surmounted by one course of brickwork. It was rendered on its west (interior) face. Wall was running south towards the north wall of the chancel.
One fragmentary skeleton uncovered at base.
Finds include ?early medieval ware.
During work on the fabric of the church painted fragments of biblical texts observed on south wall of the chancel immediately east of arch to the southeast chapel and on the south wall of that chapel.
See notes (S5) and photographs (S6) for further details.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 18 September 2017.

Photographs of restoration in file.
Painted panels of 14th/15th century date from the church are now in the Cathedral.
E. Rose (NLA), 5 January 2001.

April 2004. Field Observation.
Report that holes dug in floor of nave without archaeological supervision. (Church, property of Norwich Historic Churches Trust, formerly an antiques bazaar now being converted to SPCK Bookshop)
Visited by E. Rose (NLA) but could not gain access; however, spoilheap clearly visible through window.
Further report to come from A. Hutcheson (NLA). It was however noted on this occasion that the southeast chapel has an external stoup which reuses a Norman bowl.
E. Rose (NLA), 30 April 2004.

April 2004. Field Observation.
Hole dug on north side of nave.
Found evidence of a former wall; probably north wall of previous nave.
See photographs (S8).
A. Hutcheson (NLA), 30 April 2004.

August 2004. Watching Brief.
NAU watching brief. From context 10.
No report on this work has been received. It is assumed that the work was either entirely negative or didn't take place.
J. Allen (NLA), 23 August 2004. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 30 June 2021.

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • CHURCH (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • WALL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Undated)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Undated)
  • POT (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • HUMAN REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WALL PAINTING (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Article in Serial: Manning, C. R. 1864. Lost brasses. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol VI pp 3-26. p 16.
---Article in Serial: Boileau, J. P. 1864. Returns of Church Goods in the Churches of the City of Norwich, 6 Edward VI. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol VI pp 360-378. pp 363-364.
---Monograph: Batcock, N. 1991. The Ruined and Disused Churches of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 51. Microfiche 5:G12. No N36; p 175.
---Publication: Norwich Historic Churches Trust. 2003. St Michael at Plea.
---Publication: Cox, J. C. 1911. Country Churches: Norfolk. Vol II. p 184.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. pp 246-247.
---Website: Knott, S.. 2005. St Michael at Plea, Norwich. 4 April 2007.
---Publication: Messent, C. J. W. 1932. The City Churches of Norwich. pp 60-63.
---Record Card: NCM Staff. 1973-1989. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card - Norwich.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Norwich - Post Roman.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Designation: Historic England. National Heritage List for England. List Entry 1051880.
<S2>Monograph: West, J. R. 1932. St. Benet of Holme, 1020-1210. Introductory essay on the eleventh and twelfth century sections of Cott. Ms. Galba E.ii, the register of the abbey of St. Benet of Holme. Norfolk Record Society Publications. Vol III. p 65.
<S3>Unpublished Report: Council for Places of Worship. 1973. Norwich, St. Michael at Plea (Norwich). Building Report.
<S4>Recording Form: Norwich Survey building record forms.
<S5>Unpublished Document: Ayers, B. 1986. St. Michael at Plea, Norwich. Observations February 1986.
<S6>Photograph: FWF.
<S7>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1998. Arson is suspected at heritage church. 7 September.
<S8>Photograph: Hutcheson, A. 2004. Photographs of hole dug on north side of nave. Digital.

Related records

Site 1770Parent of: Church of St Michael-at-plea, Redwell Street (Monument)
Site 1935Parent of: Church of St Michael-at-Plea, Redwell Street (Monument)
Site 2059Parent of: Church of St Michael-at-Plea, Redwell Street (Monument)
Mon 1152Parent of: St Michael at Plea Church (Monument)
Mon 849Parent of: St Michael at Plea Church (Monument)
Mon 1442Parent of: St Michael at Plea Churchyard (Monument)

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