Category Archives: Sir Christopher Wren

St Michael Wood Street

Lost Wren ChurchesAnother in the  occasional series on churches built by Wren after the Great Fire of 1666 that have been lost  since …

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”.

Site of St Michael Wood Street

Site of St Michael Wood Street

 

St Michael Queenhithe

Lost Wren ChurchesAnother in the occasional series on churches built by Wren after the Great Fire of 1666 that have been lost since …

St Michael Queenhithe was originally built in the twelfth century. It was burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666, and rebuilt by Wren in 1676-86, only to be demolished in 1876, when the parish was merged with St James Garlickhythe.

Essentially nothing now remains of the church on its former site, although there is a parish boundary marker in Little Trinity Lane. The choir stalls and pulpit salvaged from the church still survive, in St James, and the weather-vane in the shape of a ship, on top of St Nicholas Cole Abbey. The font also survives, in the church of St Michael in Camden Town.

St Michael Queenhithe parish boundary marker

St Michael Queenhithe parish boundary marker

 

St Michael Crooked Lane

St Michael Crooked LaneAnother in the  occasional series on churches built by Wren after the Great Fire of 1666 that have been lost  since …

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.

St Michael Crooked Lane parish boundary marker

St Michael Crooked Lane parish boundary marker

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”.

 

St Michael Bassishaw

Demolished in 1900

Demolished in 1900

Another in the occasional series on churches built by Wren after the Great Fire of 1666 that have been lost  since …

St Michael Bassishaw was originally built in around 1141, and rebuilt in the fifteenth century.  It was burnt  down in the Great Fire of 1666, and rebuilt by Wren in 1676-9, only to be allowed to fall into disrepair, and to be declared an unsafe structure in 1892, and demolished in 1900, when the parish was merged with St Lawrence Jewry.

A Corporation “Blue Plaque” marks the former site of the church.   The weather-vane salvaged from the church still survives, atop St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe.  An early nineteenth-century painting of the church by William Pearson also survives,  in the Guildhall Art Gallery. A “Museum of London Archaeology Service” monograph  deals with the finds from the church.

Blue Plaque at the site of the church, near the Guildhall

Blue Plaque at the site of the church, near the Guildhall

 

St Matthew Friday Street

Another in the occasional series on churches built by Wren after the Great Fire of 1666 that have been lost  since …

St Matthew Friday StSt Matthew Friday Street was originally built around 1261.  It was  burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666, and rebuilt by Wren in 1681-7, only to be demolished  in 1881, when the parish was merged with St Vedast-alias-Foster.

Only some parish boundary  markers survive at its former site.   Some salvaged interior fittings also survive, in St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe and St Vedast-alias-Foster.

St Matthew Friday Street parish boundary marker

St Matthew Friday Street parish boundary marker

Sir Hugh Myddelton (1555-1631), one of the architects of  the “New River”, was buried in St Matthew’s, where he had served as a warden.  Concerted attempts to locate his coffin and monument following the church’s demolition were ultimately unsuccessful.

 

St George Botolph Lane

Another in the occasional series on churches built by Wren after the Great Fire of 1666 that have been lost  since …

Lost Wren ChurchesSt George Botolph Lane was originally built in around 1180.  It was burnt down in the  Great Fire of 1666, and rebuilt by Wren in 1671-6, using material from the old St Paul’s, only to be allowed to fall into disrepair, and declared an unsafe structure and demolished in 1904, when the parish was merged with St Mary-at-Hill.

St George Botolph Lane

Essentially nothing now remains of the church at its former site, other than the name, which lives on in that of St George’s Lane, and parish boundary markers in  Botolph Alley and on Pudding Lane.

Two seventeenth-century chairs salvaged from the church survive, in St Margaret Pattens.

 

Lost Wren churches – St Christopher-le-Stocks

Another in the occasional series on churches built by Wren after the Great Fire of 1666 that have been lost  since …

St Christopher le StocksSt Christopher-le-Stocks was originally built around 1225, and added to in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, badly damaged in the  Great Fire of 1666, and rebuilt by Wren, in 1669-71, using some surviving materials, and by Dickinson, in 1711-4, only to be demolished in 1781, to allow for improvements to the security  of the Bank of England after the previous year’s Gordon Riots, wherepon  the parish was merged with St Margaret Lothbury.

Only  parish boundary markers survive at its former site.

St Bartholomew by the Exchange, St Christopher le Stocks and St Margaret Lothbury parish boundary markers, Bank of England

St Bartholomew by the Exchange, St Christopher le Stocks and St Margaret Lothbury parish boundary markers, Bank of England

Some salvaged  interior fittings survive in St Margaret Lothbury, including the bronze head by Hubert le Sueur (who also made the equestrian statue of Charles I at Charing Cross), and the paintings of Moses and Aaron.   The salvaged reredos survives in St Vedast-alias-Foster (and the pulpit in St Nicholas  in Canewdon in Essex).   A thirteenth-century gravestone, discovered during the rebuilding of the Bank in 1934, can be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Lost Wren Churches – St Benet Gracechurch

Another in the occasional series on churches built by Wren after the Great Fire of 1666 that have been lost  since …

St Benet GracechurchSt Benet Gracechurch was originally built sometime before 1291, burnt down  in the  Great Fire of 1666, and rebuilt by Wren in 1681-7, only to be demolished, to allow for road-widening, in 1867-8, when the parish was merged with All Hallows Lombard Street.  A Corporation “Blue Plaque” marks  its former site.  The salvaged seventeenth-century pulpit survives in St Olave Hart Street.

St Benet Gracechurch plaque

St Benet Gracechurch and All Hallows Lombard Street parish boundary markers

St Benet Gracechurch and All Hallows Lombard Street parish boundary markers

Lost Wren churches – St Benet Fink

Another in the occasional series on churches built by Wren after the Great Fire of 1666 that have been lost  since …

St Benet Fink drawingSt Benet Fink, Threadneedle Street was originally built in around 1216, burnt down  in the  Great Fire of 1666, and rebuilt by Wren in 1670-5, only to be demolished, to make way for the rebuilding of the Royal Exchange, in 1841, when the parish was merged with St Peter-le-Poer.  A Corporation “Blue Plaque” marks  its former site.  Some salvaged communion plate  still  survives,  in the church of St Benet Fink  in Tottenham.  Salvaged paintings of Moses and Aaron, which were formerly part of the altar-piece, ended up  in Emmanuel School in Wandsworth.

St Benet Fink plaque

 

Lost Wren churches – St Bartholomew by the Exchange

Lost Wren Churches

Another in the occasional series on churches built by Wren after the Great Fire of 1666 that have been lost  since …

St Bartholomew-by-the-Exchange was probably originally built in the thirteenth century, although first recorded in the fourteenth, in 1438, and subsequently rebuilt in the fifteenth, in 1438 (William Capel, sometime Mayor of London, adding a chapel in the sixteenth, in around 1509).  The church was badly damaged  in the  Great Fire, and rebuilt by Wren in 1675-83, only to be demolished,  to allow for the rebuilding of the Royal Exchange and the widening of Threadneedle Street, in 1840/1.  A Corporation “Blue Plaque” marks  its former site.

St Bartholomew by the Exchange plaque

St Bartholomew by the Exchange plaque

The salvaged organ of 1731 survives, in St Vedast-alias-Foster.  The salvaged pulpit also survives,  in the church of St Bartholomew in Craven Hill in Tottenham (having been housed in St Bartholomew Moor Lane until that church was demolished to make way for the extension to the Metropolitan Line in 1902).

St Bartholomew by the Exchange, St Christopher le Stocks and St Margaret Lothbury parish boundary markers, Bank of England

St Bartholomew by the Exchange, St Christopher le Stocks and St Margaret Lothbury parish boundary markers, Bank of England

St Bartholomew by the Exchange parish boundary markers

St Bartholomew by the Exchange parish boundary marker