St Michael Wood Street was originally built around 1170. It was burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666, and rebuilt by Wren in 1670-5, and further modified, unsympathetically, in 1887-8, only to be demolished in 1897, when the parish was merged with St Alban Wood Street. Essentially nothing now remains of the church on its former site, although salvaged paintings of Moses and Aaron survive in St Anne and St Agnes.
Sometime after the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513, one of the bloodiest ever fought on British soil, between the Engish and the Scots, the decapitated head of he defeated Scottish King, James IV, came to be buried here. According to Stow:
“After the battle the body of the said king being found was enclosed in lead, and conveyed to the monastery of Shene in Surrey. Since the which time, workmen there, for their foolish pleasure, hewed off his head; and Lancelot Young, master glazier to his majesty, seeing the same dried from all moisture, and yet the form remaining, with the hair of the head and beard red, brought it to London to his house in Wood Street, where for a time he kept it, but in the end caused the sexton to bury it among other bones”.
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.