The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3Allen, Thomas
St. Michael, Wood-street.
On the west side of , stands the parochial church
|of St. Michael, at the north-east angle of Huggen-lane, or Hoggelane, from Hogge, or Huggen, who was a noted man, and lived in this lane, in old time. St. Michael's church is a rectory, and in the gift of the abbot and convent of St. Alban's. It was destroyed by the fire of London, in . The present structure was finished a few years after, and the parish of St. Mary Staining was then united to it by act of parliament, and both together are now worth per annum in lieu of tythes. When the abbey of St. Alban's surrendered to the crown, king Henry VIII. sold the advowson of this church to William Barwell, who, in the year , conveyed it to several persons in trust for the parish, in whom it still continues: hut being united with the parish of St. Mary Staining, which living is in the crown, the parishioners present twice and the king once in voidances.|
The tower of this church, which is partly ancient, occupies the south-western angle of the design. It is square in plan, and is divided in height into stories; in the south side of the is a pointed window, made by mullions into lights, with cinquefoil arched heads, the head of the arch being filled with corresponding uprights of smaller dimensions, shewing the workmanship of the century; the upper story is brick, and has a pointed window in each face; the elevation is finished with a parapet, and the whole is crowned with a poligonal spire, covered with copper, only worthy of notice for its ugliness. The south side of the church is built with brick, stuccoed, and has arched windows, the elevation is finished with a cornice and parapet; the east front is also built of brick, with an ashlaring of Portland stone. The elevation consists of a stylobate, sustaining Ionic pilasters, between which are arched windows, the central larger than the lateral ones; the arches of the latter are uncouthly formed, owing to the jambs being continued in a perpendicular line above the imposts, in order that their keystones might sustain the architrave, in common with the central window, giving them the form of a horse shoe, a fault which could scarcely have been expected in the works of so great an architect as sir C. Wren; the elevation is finished with an entablature and pediment; in the tympanum is a circular window. The north side of the building is wholly, and the western front partly, concealed by the adjacent houses.
The interior is exceedingly plain; the tower situated within the church occupies the greater portion of the west end. The ceiling is coved at the longest sides of the design, and pierced with arches, which rest on imposts composed of a frieze of acanthines surmounted by a cornice. The centre consists of large pannel, bounded by a cornice, the soffit of which is enriched with a continued cylindrical wreath of acanthines. A gallery is constructed across the western end of the church, and, in its centre, an organ, erected in , on the northern side of which (towards the west) is a
|circular window. The altar screen of oak is situated beneath the central east window; it is covered with an elliptical pediment, broken to let in the arms of king James II.; on the screen are the customary inscriptions, with some uncouth carved work; at the sides are paintings of Moses and Aaron, poorly executed. The pulpit is hexagonal, now without a sounding board; it was formerly attached to the north wall, but is, at present, with the desks, placed nearer the centre.|
The font is situated in the north-west angle; it is a plain poligonal basin of marble on a pillar.
The only monument mentioned by Stow, as existing in the old church, is set up in the present; it is to the memory of William Harvey, deputy of Cripplegate-ward, , aged , and his eldest son Robert, comptroller of the customs.
At the north-east angle is a modern white marble monument, only remarkable as a singular composition of modern Grecian and Gothic ornaments.
The present church is of the meanest erected from the designs of sir Christopher Wren. The greatest masters are sometimes unpardonably negligent, when engaged in a multiplicity of works, and to no will this remark more forcibly apply, than to the present: the east end with its ill formed arches, and the careless style of the interior fittings, evincing that a very small portion of the architect's attention was bestowed on this structure. It was erected in , at an expense of The dimensions are, length feet, breadth , height , and height of tower and spire, . The spire formed no part of the original design, having been recently added to the tower in the place of a turret, which possessed no greater claims to admiration than its unsightly successor.
In this church, it is asserted, was buried the head of James the of Scotland, killed in the battle of Flodden field, , and his body embalmed and brought to Sheen, (Richmond) was, after the dissolution of the monastery there, exposed, and his head carried home by a glazier of this parish, on account of the sweet smell that it afforded, in consequence of having been embalmed. It was afterwards buried, but Mr. Speed relates, that (
) Lesley, bishop of Ross, says, this was the head of lord Bonehard, and that king James was seen alive that night the battle happened, at Kelso, whence he passed to Jerusalem, and there ended his days.
Against this authority, and notwithstanding John Johnston, in his historical inscriptions of the Scottish kings, makes the place of James's burial uncertain, the records of a monastery in Lancashire, mention that he was interred among the Carthusians, in the priory of Sheen, at Richmond. And Weever says, this was no doubt the place of his burial, notwithstanding what the Scottish authors say.