The Battle of Flodden Field, and the bizarre tale of the King’s Head

The Lost City of London

James IV James IV

September 9th –  Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Flodden Field, one of the bloodiest ever fought on British soil, between the English and the Scots, which took place in 1513.

According to John Stow, in his “Survay of London written in the Year 1598(* see below for the relevant extract), sometime after the battle, the decapitated head of the defeated Scottish King, James IV, ended up being buried in  the church of St Michael, Wood Street, just off Cheapside.

The church was later  burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666, rebuilt  by Christopher Wren between 1670-75, and modified  in 1887-88, only to be demolished in 1897. Nothing remains of it at its former site, now occupied by the “Red Herring” public house.

St Michael Wood Street (as rebuilt by Wren post-fire) St Michael Wood Street (as rebuilt by Wren post-fire)

(*) The relevant part of the text…

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