Above: Although now surrounded by a built-up area today, it still looks like a village church.
One of the surprises for a visit to Plumstead is the old church. While its surroundings are rather built up, the church, set in its ancient churchyard, still has the appearance of a building from a country parish. Essentially, the building has its origins in medieval times. The church dates from 1178, built on a spur of chalk, projecting northwards from the high ground of Plumstead Common. The south aisle was originally the nave of the church and remains from the 12th century. The transept was added in the 13th century. The church is one a very few in London with such early features.
The present church remained the parish church for Plumstead until 1853, when the new church of St Margaret, Vicarage Road, was used. The newly built church was consecrated on 25 April 1859. In 1864 St Nicholas became a District Church and St Margaret the parish church of Plumstead. In 1966 decay of the church fabric caused St Margaret’s to be closed and services were then held at St Mark. St Mark’s Plumstead was built in1901 and demolished in 1974. It was expensive to maintain and was also considered to be unsuitable for modern needs.
Sadly, the church of St Nicholas suffered damage, being bombed during the Second World War. It was restored in 1959. The church stands at St Nicholas Street, which runs north off Plumstead High Street. It is surrounded by a large churchyard.