St Michael Crooked Lane was originally built around 1270, and much added to in the fourteenth century. It was burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666, and rebuilt by Wren, or Hooke, in 1684-98, only to be demolished in 1831, to allow for widening of the approach to the rebuilt London Bridge, when the parish was merged with St Magnus the Martyr.
Essentially nothing now remains of the church on its former site, although there is a parish boundary marker on the tower of St Magnus the Martyr. The so-called “Falstaff” Cup of 1590 was salvaged from St Michael’s, and still survives, in the Treasury of St Paul’s. According to legend, this is the cup on which, in the “Boar’s Head” Tavern (where St Michael’s held its vestry meetings), Sir John Falstaff swore to wed Mistress Quickly.
A fine painting of St Michael’s in 1830/1, by George Scharf, also survives, a reproduction of which was used by both Huelin and Jeffery on the covers of their books (another, by Canaletto, hangs in the Guildhall Art Gallery). The inscription on one of the graves in the churchyard was immortalised by the antiquarian John Weever, in his book “Ancient funerall monuments within the united monarchie of Great Britaine, Ireland, and the islands adiacent”, published in 1631. It reads:
“Here lyeth, wrapt in clay,
The body of William Wray.
I have no more to say”.
The site of the church is visited on our “Lost Wren churches” themed special.
Further details of all our walks are available in the “Guided Walks” section of this web-site.