the image shows the front of the church, with its ornate brickwork and large arched windows. The church tower can be seen behind.
Newly repaired and restored Church of St Michael Coslany in Norwich. © Patricia Payne/Historic England Archive
Newly repaired and restored Church of St Michael Coslany in Norwich. © Patricia Payne/Historic England Archive

One of Norwich's Grandest Churches Is Saved

One of the grandest churches in north Norwich, St Michael Coslany (also known as St Miles Coslany) has been saved from closure, thanks to grant funding and support from Historic England (£172,500 under the government’s Heritage Stimulus Fund, part of the Culture Recovery Fund).

This impressive Grade I listed medieval church, now an important community centre, closed as a place of worship in 1971 and is in the care of the Norwich Historic Churches Trust, who protect and preserve 18 medieval churches in the city – and find new ways in which the buildings can be used by local people and communities.

Saved from risk of closure

The church chancel roof, probably dating to around 1500, was in poor condition. Part of the ceiling became detached and fell down in early 2021, making the building at risk of closure.

The roof has now been repaired, strengthened and protected from the elements, ensuring that this beautiful building can once again be enjoyed by local people and visitors. Other repair work has included the removal and re-leading of the south nave west window, including stonework structural repairs.

A passion for circus arts

St Michael Coslany is home to Oak Circus Centre, which brings together artists and audiences who share a passion for circus arts.

Founded by the international touring company, Lost in Translation Circus, it provides a circus hub in Norwich, offering youth and adult classes, education programmes and events.

An extraordinary number of medieval churches

Dating to the 14th century, St Michael Coslany is one of 31 surviving medieval churches within the city walls. Norwich has the highest number of surviving medieval churches in any city north of the Alps. The collection of churches is considered to be of international importance given the number that remain today and their architectural quality.

The medieval churches of Norwich are part of what our fine city is famous for. Those of us who are lucky enough to live and work in Norwich enjoy the rich architecture and unique cultural heritage they bring. I am delighted to hear that St Michael Coslany has been saved following the restorative grant from the Government’s Heritage Stimulus Fund. I welcome the opportunity this brings for the people of Norwich, and those who visit our city, to continue to enjoy this important piece of our heritage.

Chloe Smith, MP Norwich North

It is such great news that the church of St Michael Coslany has been saved from closure. It is the grandest of the churches in north Norwich. I’m delighted that within a year of adding St Michael Coslany to the Heritage at Risk register, we have repaired, restored and reopened this fantastic building, providing technical advice as well as grant funding. I can’t wait to see the church buzzing with visitors and activities by the Oak Circus Centre in this unique setting.

Domenico D’Alessandro, East of England Architect/Surveyor Historic England