Matthew Wren

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Matthew Wren
Bishop of Ely
Bp Matthew Wren, Pembroke.jpg
ChurchChurch of England
DioceseDiocese of Ely
In office1638–1667
PredecessorFrancis White
SuccessorBenjamin Lany
Other postsBishop of Hereford (1634–35)
Bishop of Norwich (1635–38)
Personal details
Born(1585-12-03)3 December 1585
Parish of St Peter, Westcheap, London
Died24 April 1667(1667-04-24) (aged 81)
Ely House, Holborn, London
BuriedPembroke College, Cambridge
SpouseElizabeth Cutler
EducationMerchant Taylors' School
Alma materPembroke College, Cambridge

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


He attended Merchant Taylors' School and proceeded in 1601 to 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 and Clerk of the Closet. 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 1642 to 1660[3]. 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 fulfill 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.[4]

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. ^ Cranfield, Nicholas. "Wren, Matthew". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  4. ^ Wikisource:Wren, Matthew (1585-1667) (DNB00)

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Leonard Mawe
Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge
Succeeded by
John Cosin
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Augustin Lindsell
Bishop of Hereford
Succeeded by
Theophilus Feild
Preceded by
Richard Corbet
Bishop of Norwich
Succeeded by
Richard Montagu
Preceded by
Francis White
Bishop of Ely
Succeeded by
Benjamin Lany