The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
St. Michael's Church.
This church, though it stands in Michael's-lane, (corruptly called Miles-lane), is more commonly known by the name of St. Michael's Crooked-lane. It is of ancient foundation, for John de Borham, rector thereof, died in . At that period the church was a small mean building and stood on the ground, where now, or lately stood, the parsonage-house; all the ground hereabout being then occupied by slaughter-grounds and lay-stalls by the butchers of market.
In John Lovekin or Loufken, lord mayor, obtained a grant of the ground where the lay-stalls were, and built a handsome and capacious house thereon; it subsequently received considerable additions from sir William , lord mayor.
This church was formerly in the gift of the prior and convent of Canterbury. But by some unrecorded means it fell into the hands of the archbishop of Canterbury, in whom it still remains, and forms of the peculiars of this see.
The present edifice is a stone building with a lofty tower and spire at the west end. The south and north sides contain windows with arched heads bounded by architraves; the elevation
|finishes with a parapet above a cornice; beneath the window from the west on the south side is a lintelled entrance having a cornice above it sustained on consoles, and to this side is attached a square vestry-room built of stone; the east end has a circular window between arched ones. The west end is partly occupied by the lower stories of the tower; the vacant part has a single window similar to those on the south side, and below it a doorway, which is approached by a flight of steps from Crooked-lane; the tower stands without the body of the church to which it is united by its eastern wall; it is in stories; the contains small windows slightly arched in its western face and a lintelled doorway with a window above it in the southern; the story has a window of the same form in the south and west faces, and the story has in every face a more lofty window, slightly arched, having a cherub carved on the key-stone from which depend festoons of foliage; a cornice and parapet finish the elevation, the latter being pierced with compartments borrowed from the pointed style; at each angle is a vase. The spire is covered with lead, and is in stories; the are circular and occupy the greatest part of its height; from the angles of the tower rise buttresses, and the spaces between them are pierced with various apertures; the story still preserves the circular form, the lower part is globular, and it is finished with an urn sustaining a vane.
The interior is nearly square; it is very plain, and has neither column or pilaster nor any architectural embellishment. The roof is horizontal in the centre, and carved at the sides, the latter portion is pierced with arches above the several windows, springing by way of impost from corbels attached to the piers between the windows; the horizontal part of the ceiling is surmounted with a frieze of acanthus leaves and also a broad cylindrical wreath of laurel. In the centre is an expanded flower. The altar screen is composed of an elliptical pediment sustained upon Corinthian columns. The western entrance is fronted by a large porch, the upper part of which is formed into a gallery and contains the organ; it is enriched with a multitude of excellent carving; a porch similarly ornamented covers the southern entrance. In both these porches a piece of carving, consisting of a curtain and veil, apparently concealing something above the arches of the doorways, is well deserving of attention for the excellence of the workmanship, as well as the singularity of its application; the pulpit stands on the south side of the church, but has nothing particular in its construction.
This church was built in at the expense of , the architect sir Christopher Wren. It is feet in length. in breadth and in height. The steeple is too high. Sir William was buried in this church ; by uniting several chauntries in this church he founded and endowed a college in the same, which continued till the dissolution. It was granted Mary to George Cotton and Thomas Reeves.
On his monument were the following lines:
Walter Warden gave towards the finding of chaplain
In the church-yard is a tablet inscribed as follows:
There are no monuments worthy notice. On the south side is a neat marble tablet to the memory of sir John Thompson, lord mayor, , died , aged .
The principal street in this ward is Great . This street begins at the top of Fish-street hill, and runs westward to the end of , where begins; and took its name originally from a market kept there, to serve the east part of the city; which market was removed to Leadenhall: and by the early account we have of market, and its vicinity to the ferry, or Roman trajectus, over the Thames, we have great reason to suppose this to be the , or of the ets in London, even of a Roman date. In which state it continued for many ages, especially for victuals: as may be collected from the song called London Lickpenny, made by Lidgate the poet, in the reign of king Henry V., who, in the person of a countryman, coming to London, and walking through the city, saith,
but not a word of silks.
On the south side of this street, and near St. Michael's lane, was the Boar's head tavern, celebrated as the place where the inimitable Shakespeare laid some of his best scenes of Henry IV. The original edifice was destroyed in the great fire, but it was rebuilt on the same site, with the following stone sign let into the wall.