Peoples and Nations

Christopher Wren - Historical People

Christopher Wren - Historical People

Famous for being a great architect
Born - 20th October 1632, Wiltshire UK
Parents - rector of East Knoyle
Siblings - None
Married - 1. Faith Coghill
2. Jane Fitzwilliam
Children - Marriage 1 - Gilbert, Christopher
Marriage 2 - Jane, William
Died - 25th February 1723 London, UK aged 90 years

Christopher Wren was born in 1632 the son of the rector of East Knoyle. He attended Westminster School and Oxford University. He had always been interested in mathematics and science and and after graduating from university in 1651 became professor of astronomy at Gresham College, London. In 1655 he held the same position at Oxford.

In 1662 Wren was one of the founders of the Royal Society, set up to be a place for research and discussion of all things scientific.

In 1663 Wren was asked to design Pembroke College Chapel at Cambridge University, this was followed by a commission to design the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford. Wren chose to base the theatre design on classical Roman styles and the resultant building sealed his reputation as an architect.

After the Great Fire of London destroyed much of the city in 1666, Wren produced designs for rebuilding the entire city. Although Wren's plans for the city were rejected he was appointed one of the architectural commissioners. He also drew up designs for the rebuilding of 51 of the city's churches, work which took 46 years to complete.

Wren's design and building of St Paul's Cathedral was his greatest project and one for which he has become famous. The great dome of the cathedral was based on St Peter's Basilica in Rome and the second largest dome ever built. The cathedral took 35 years to rebuild and was completed in 1708.

Other notable buildings designed by Wren include Drury Lane Theatre, Chelsea Hospital, The Royal Exchange, The College of Physicians, Trinity College library and Tom Tower at Christ's Church, Oxford.

In 1673 Christopher Wren was knighted by King Charles II and after his death on 25th February 1723 he was the first person to be buried in the new St Paul's Cathedral.