Matthew Wren

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For his son, the English politician and writer, see Matthew Wren (writer).
Matthew Wren

Matthew Wren (3 December 1585 – 24 April 1667) was an influential English clergyman, bishop and scholar.


He attended Merchant Taylors' (??-1601), and Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he was a protégé of Lancelot Andrewes. He became a Fellow in 1605 and later President. He was Master of Peterhouse from 1625 to 1634.[1][2] From this point, his rise was rapid. He accompanied Charles I to Holyrood Palace for his Scottish coronation in 1633, and was appointed chaplain. He became Bishop of Hereford in 1634, Norwich in 1635, and Ely in 1638.

However, his strong support of Archbishop Laud, and his toughness on Puritans, led to his being imprisoned in the Tower of London by the Parliamentarian faction from 1641 to 1659. Unlike Laud, he survived, and was allowed the freedom to write notes on improvements to the Book of Common Prayer, on which he later had some influence.

While in the Tower, he vowed to devote a sum of money to "some holy and pious employment" should he be released. To fulfil this vow, he chose to pay for a new Chapel for Pembroke College, and had it built by his nephew Christopher Wren — one of his first buildings, consecrated in 1665. Matthew Wren also led the movement to rebuild St Paul's Cathedral after it had been damaged by the Puritans, and again his nephew accomplished the task.

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Cutler of Ipswich. Their eldest son was Matthew Wren, secretary to the Duke of York.

He died at Ely House, Holborn, on 24 April 1667, and was buried in the chapel he had built at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge.[3]

List of appointments[edit]


  1. ^ "Wren, Matthew (WRN604M)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ Phillimore, Lucy (30 November 2007). Sir Christopher Wren: His family and his times, 1585-1723. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-0-548-80595-4. 
  3. ^ Wikisource:Wren, Matthew (1585-1667) (DNB00)

External links[edit]

Church of England titles
Preceded by
Richard Corbet
Bishop of Norwich
Succeeded by
Richard Montagu
Preceded by
Francis White
Bishop of Ely
1638 to 1667
Succeeded by
Benjamin Laney
Academic offices
Preceded by
Leonard Mawe
Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge
Succeeded by
John Cosin