St Michael, 1918


The April 1918 Parish Magazine states that the statue was produced by C W Jewitt, a member of the choir, with the gilding for the wings and parts of the armour, halo and crucifix done by Mr Harper, who had also gilded the reredos in the Resurrection Chapel. The magazine added:

The stone base especially intended for it was let into the wall near the door at the time the church was built, and we have been hoping all that time, wondering whether the Figure would ever come to stand on it. A propos of this hangs an amusing tale. In the old days, when the present Vicar was curate at S Michael’s, Mr Penfold was catechising the Sunday School children one Sunday afternoon in church, and pointing to the stone pedestal on the wall, asked if they knew for whom it was intended. One bright youngster immediately held up his hand and said “Please Sir, for Mr O—n”! Even Mr Penfold, we believe, could not keep his countenance when this amazing idea was proposed!

The same article also described the statue:

S. Michael is holding the scales of judgement. He is weighing a soul in one scale against its sin in the other. The sin is as black and ugly as it always is when stripped of its worldly trappings, and by placing one foot against S. Michael’s armour is trying to force down the scale, looking down with his mouth open, perhaps calling for help from the demons of hell. His weight and malice make it evident that the soul being weighed in the other scale would be found wanting were it not that S Michael is placing the Crucifix in that scale. To the foot of this the soul clings, bringing the scale down so completely that it leaves no doubt that the merits of the Cross outweigh the power of evil. The soul is on S Michael’s right hand, the side of the blessed… while the sin in the scale on S Michael’s left hand … the Figure altogether is full of grace and beauty.

On Easter Eve, at the first Evensong of Easter, it was solemnly dedicated, the clergy and choir, accompanied by the Thurifer, Cross-bearer and Candlebearers, going there at the end of the Procession. After the prayers of Dedication, Hymn 616, “Life and strength of all Thy servants,” was sung, the inspiring words of which are so appropriate to the present time. We owe a great debt of gratitutde to Mr Jewitt for all his work … which has been a labour of love to him during a very long time. The incidental expenses connected with completing and gilding the statue, removing it from its former place, and repainting the west wall for its reception, have been borne by the Women’s Branch of the Guild of S Michael.

By the time of the 1923 history the sculpture was on the interior west wall behind the font – the September 1926 magazine added that a Union Jack and the Girl Guides’ company colour had been placed under the statue. It had returned to its original plinth by the west door by the 2000s, when it was removed from there with a view to carrying it in procession. It proved too heavy for this and was moved to the Resurrection Chapel. In 2018 it was placed just outside the entrance to the chapel to make room for the installation of an icon of St Michael, though this installation did not in the end occur.