St Michaels Church was founded in 1070 which makes it Southampton's oldest functioning building. The church is located opposite the Tudor House in what was the Norman-French quarter of the old town and is named after the patron saint of Normandy. It is Grade 1 listed and the only one of the old town's original five Parish Churches still regularly practising Christian worship. St John and St Lawrence having been demolished in 1708 and 1925 respectively and All Saints and Holyrood destroyed by bombing in 1940. All five Parish Churches are represented in the magnificent east window of the church. This window replaced the original which was blown out by a bomb blast in the Second World War.

The church was initially of a simple cruciform construction with a central tower which can be clearly seen internally and externally. In the early 13th century two chapels were constructed each side of the chancel one of which, the Lady Chapel on the north side, was used from 1677 until 1835 to swear in new Mayors at Michaelmass each year.

Located in the centre of the busy market area of the town with the butchers, bakers and fish market close by the church suffered violence, bloodshed and damage in the raid of October, 1338. Several wooden buildings attached to the church were set ablaze and townsfolk killed inside the church which had to be reconciled by the Bishop of Sarum the following summer.

By the late 15th century the north and south aisles were widened and the first spire was built. The spire was rebuilt in 1732 and its height increased to 50 metres to provide a bearing point for shipping. In the early 16th century a chantry chapel was added to the south east side of the church traces of which can still be seen on the exterior stone work. Due to the declining wealth of the town the Chantry chapel was closed off in the late 16th century and used as a dwelling and later as a barber's shop. It was demolished in 1880.

The last major changes to the fabric of the church occurred in 1828 when the town's population was growing rapidly. The walls were raised and the roof line changed from the former three spans to a single roof and gable end. Evidence of this can be seen on the west gable end. The box pews were also replaced at this time. All of this was in preparation for the construction of galleries which within fifty years had to be removed as they threatened the building's stability.

Inside the church is one of only four Tournai marble fonts to be found in Hampshire, the gift of Henri de Blois, Bishop of Winchester and brother of King Stephen. There are two medieval brass lecterns believed to be the oldest in the country dating from the late 14th century.

Located in the south west corner of the church was a 17th century desk with chained books which included two volumes of annotations on the books of the Bible and two volumes of Fox's Book of Martyrs. Sadly these books were stolen some while ago. The church also contains The tomb of Sir Richard Lyster, Lord Chief Justice to Henry VIII which was erected in 1567.

St Michael's is open to the public most days and volunteers are happy to show visitors around this important and ancient church.