The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3

Allen, Thomas


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:

Here under lyth a man of fame,

William Walworth callyd by name;

Fishmonger he was in life-time here,

And twice Lord mayor, as in bookes appere.

Who with courage stout, and manly might

Slew Wat Tyler, in King Richard's sight;

For which act done and trew intent,

The king made him knight incontinent:

And gave him armes, as here may see,

To declare his fact and chivalrie.

He left this life the yere of our God

Thirteen hundryd fourscore and three od.

Walter Warden gave towards the finding of chaplain

all his tenement, called the Boar's-head in



In the church-yard is a tablet inscribed as follows:

Here lieth the body of Robert Preston, late drawer at the Boar's head Tavern, in Great Eastcheap, who departed this life, March 16, A. D. 1730, aged 27 years. Bacchus to give the toping world surprise, Produced one sober son, and here he lies; Tho« mers'd amongst full hogshead he defied The charms of wine as well as others pride. Oh! reader, if to justice thou'rt inclined, Keep honest Preston daily in thy mind. He drew good wine, look care to fill his pots; Had sundry virtues that outweighed his spots. You that on Bacchus have the like dependance, Pray copy Bob, in measure and attendance.

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,

In Westcheap I was called on to buy fine lawn, Paris thread, cotton, umble, and other linen clothes, and such like:

but not a word of silks.



to buy old apparel and household stuff. In Candlewright-street, the drapers proferred me cheap cloth. In


the cooks cried hot ribs of beef roasted, pies well baked, and other

victuals. There was clattering of pots, harp, pipe, and sawtrie; yea by cock, nay by cock, for other greater oaths were spared. Some sang of Jenken and Julian, &c. all which melody liked the passenger; but he wanted money to abide by it, and therefore gat him into a Gravesend barge, and home into Kent.

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.

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 Title Page
 CHAPTER I: The site, extent, buildings, population, commerce, and a view of the progressive increase of London
 CHAPTER II: List of the parishes and churches in London, with their incumbents, &c
CHAPTER III: History and Topography of Aldersgate Ward
CHAPTER IV: History and Topography of Aldgate Ward
CHAPTER V: History and Topography of Bassishaw Ward
CHAPTER VI: History and Topography of Billingsgate Ward
CHAPTER VII: History and Topography of Bishopsgate Ward, Without and Within
CHAPTER VIII: History and Topography of Bread-street Ward
CHAPTER IX: History and Topography of Bridge Ward Within
CHAPTER X: History and Topography of Broad-street Ward
CHAPTER XI: History and Topography of Candlewick Ward
CHAPTER XII: History and Topography of Castle Baynard Ward
CHAPTER XIII: History and Topography of Cheap Ward
CHAPTER XIV: History and Topography of Coleman-street Ward
CHAPTER XV: History and Topography of Cordwainer's-street Ward
CHAPTER XVI: History and Topography of Cornhill Ward
CHAPTER XVII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Ward Within
CHAPTER XVIII: History and Topography of Cripplegate Yard Without
CHAPTER XIX: History and Topography of Dowgate Yard
CHAPTER XX: History and Topography of Farringdom Ward Within
CHAPTER XXI: History and Topography of Farringdon Ward Without
CHAPTER XXII: History and Topography of Langbourn Ward
CHAPTER XXIII: History and Topography of Lime-street Ward
CHAPTER XXIV: History and Topogrpahy of Portsoken Ward
CHAPTER XXV: History and Topography of Queenhithe Ward
CHAPTER XXVI: History and Topography of Tower Ward
CHAPTER XXVII: History and Topography of Vintry Ward
CHAPTER XXVIII: History and Topography of Wallbrook Ward