An occasional saunter through the churches of the Square Mile                                
        An occasional saunter through the churches of the Square Mile

                                 
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          St Michael Cornhill                                          
          Christ in Majesty                                    
         
The rabbit-eared tower, with its echoes of St Mary Aldermary, is hemmed in by the busy 19th Century townscape of Cornhill. The church, apart from its tower, was destroyed in the Great Fire, but then rebuilt by the parish. The rebuilding is often credited to Wren, but as Simon Bradley points out there is no evidence that the workshop was involved. The old tower was then taken down and the parish proceeded to build a new one. It was completed to the design of Nicholas Hawksmoor in the 1720s. In the 1850s George Gilbert Scott came along, and St Michael received what was probably the biggest Victorianisation of any large City church. All the 17th Century furnishings were removed, the windows filled with Italian-style tracery and a porch was added facing into Cornhill. Most invasive of all, Scott filled the interior with polychromatic decoration in the style of the day, although Wayland Young notes that the devastating effect of Scott's work... was reduced in 1952 by the substitution of white and gold paint for his harsh polychrome. However, Scott's furnishings are all of the highest quality, and it is difficult to regret his impact. One great survival is the organ, originally of 1684 and generally considered one of the best in the City.

The Pterodactyl about to pounce on the font is actually a pelican in her piety if you look closely, though it is hard to tell. The splendid war memorial depicting the church's patron saint is by Richard Goulden. There is a sweet little garden out the back, and its rectangular shape with a path going around the outside might help to suggest to you what it once was, a cloister.

Simon Knott, December 2015


location: Cornhill 3/048
status: working parish church
access: currently, the church appears to be open daily, Monday to Friday.

St Michael Cornhill St Michael Cornhill St Michael Cornhill St Michael Cornhill looking east looking west font and pterodactyl chancel Crucified St Michael killing a dragon Font: Sir James Paul 1672 Late of Kingston, Jamaica, Merchant adoration of the magi adoration of the angels Christ at Gethsemane Annunciation The Magi ask Herod the way to the Christ child think of your brothers who before you trod pterodactyl/pelican in her piety St Michael Cornhill St Michael Cornhill St Michael during the Great War

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          home   index   map   latest   e-mail   about this site   resources   small print   simonknott.co.uk   norfolkchurches.co.uk   suffolkchurches.co.uk
     
An occasional saunter through the churches of the Square Mile
                               
        An occasional saunter through the churches of the Square Mile