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Title: Sir Christopher Wren - His Family and His Times
Author: Phillimore, Lucy
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's note:

      Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

      A carat character is used to denote superscription. A
      single character following the carat is superscripted
      (example: y^r). Multiple superscripted characters are
      enclosed by curly brackets (example: ma^{tie}).

      The right-hand pages of the original text used italicised
      page headings to indicate the current topic. These have
      been retained and placed at the start of the paragraph
      where the topic is addressed, using square brackets,
      e.g.: [_OLD FAMILY MOTTO._].

      A lengthy paragraph may have multiple topics, and each is
      placed separately.

      There are several Greek citations, which are rendered
      here using a simplified transliteration, denoted with
      square brackets, as [Hoti anestê Basileus...]. There is
      also a Maltese Cross which is likewise rendered as
      [Maltese Cross].

      For detailed information about any corrections made,
      consult the tenscriber's note at the end of this text.



[Illustration: S^R. CHRIS. WREN K^T]


His Family and His Times.

With Original Letters and a Discourse on
Architecture Hitherto Unpublished.




Author of 'Bishop Wilberforce, a Sketch for Children' etc.

   'The modest man built the city, and the modest man's skill was
   unknown.'--_The Tatler_, No. 52.

With Two Engravings.


Kegan Paul, Trench, & Co., 1 Paternoster Square.

(The rights of translation and of reproduction are reserved)


                            CATHERINE PIGOTT,


                       ARE GRATEFULLY DEDICATED.


The materials necessary for writing a life of Sir Christopher Wren are
so difficult of access as possibly to explain the unsatisfactory
character of such biographies as do exist. Mr. James Elmes, who
venerated Wren's genius, published in 1823, a Life which contained a
careful if a dry account of Wren's architectural works and of some of
his scientific discoveries. He also published a smaller work, 'Sir C.
Wren and his Times,' intended perhaps to give a flavour of personal
interest to the other volume. Neither book succeeds in doing this, and
both have suffered from the circumstance that Mr. Elmes' failing
eyesight did not permit him to correct the proofs of either work, and
accordingly many serious errors as to names and dates stand unaltered in
them. There is a sketch of Wren in the British Family Library, one
published by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, and one
in the 'Biographica Britannica,' but in them all it is with some of the
works of the great architect that we become acquainted, not with

The chief authority to which any biographer of Wren must perforce turn
is, the 'Parentalia, or Memoirs of the Family of the Wrens: viz., of
Matthew, Bishop of Ely; Christopher, Dean of Windsor and Registrar of
the Garter; but chiefly of Sir Christopher Wren.' This work, a folio,
with portraits[1] of the three whose lives it records, was published in
London in 1750, dedicated to Mr. Speaker Onslow. It was chiefly written
by Christopher, the eldest surviving son of Sir Christopher Wren,
finished and finally published by Stephen Wren, M.D., the second and
favourite, son of the Mr. C. Wren above mentioned, 'with care of Joseph
Ames,' a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. Several copies were
presented to the University of Oxford.

The 'Parentalia,' of which but a small edition was published, is now
scarce and little known. It is put together, not quite at hap-hazard,
but with no real method or order: digression ensues upon digression
until all clue to the original date or subject is lost. Nor is the very
imperfect 'index of names' of any real assistance in the labyrinth thus
created. Yet, with all its faults, the book is of great interest, and
bears amidst all errors and omissions an unmistakably genuine stamp.

'Bishop Wren's Diary,' reference to which will be frequently found in
the following pages, was kept by him in the blank leaves of 'Pond's
Almanack,' after this fashion:

'August 30.--_Per vim hostilem eripior domo meâ._ 1642.'

These entries cease with the death of his wife in 1646; even his own
release from prison is not mentioned.

The old heirloom copy of the 'Parentalia' intrusted to the writer of
these pages contains a large additional number of prints and wood
engravings by Virtue, Vandergucht, Loggan, and others, some printed
accounts of the City Churches, and several letters, rough drafts of
treatises, Garter records, and other MSS. in the handwritings of the
Bishop, the Dean, Sir Christopher himself, and of some of their
correspondents. Among the curious omissions of the 'Parentalia' are the
maiden name of Bishop Wren's wife, the date of the death of Sir
Christopher's mother, Mrs. Mary Wren, and the places and the dates at
which either of Sir Christopher's two weddings took place. Some of these
and other gaps I have, by the aid of 'Notes and Queries,' been able to
supply. Wren's son and grandson are both alike silent on all political
matters subsequent to the Restoration. The Popish Plot, the Trial of the
Seven Bishops, King James's Abdication, the Landing of William of Orange
are all passed by in perfect silence. The traditional politics of the
Wrens were certainly those of the loyal Cavalier party, and they were in
favour at the Court of the Stuarts.

It is curious how all political colouring disappears from the record
after the period of the Restoration. Yet Sir Christopher, his cousins,
and the very Mr. Wren who writes the book were all in Parliament, and
that in more or less critical times. Such accidental hints as there are
point, I think, to Sir Christopher as adhering, though very quietly, to
the politics of his ancestors; and assuredly neither he nor his
descendants had any cause to love the house of Hanover!

Wren was a steady Churchman, bred up in that school of Andrewes, of
Laud, and of Matthew Wren, which, if it was anti-Puritan, was equally
and emphatically anti-Roman. For this reason, if for no other, after the
trial of the Seven Bishops had shaken the confidence of every Churchman
in the country, Wren may have acquiesced in a settlement which appeared
to promise protection to the Church without finally excluding the Stuart
line. The 'Parentalia,' published five years after the last Jacobite
rising in 1745, preserves, as has been said, a political silence which
may be that of discretion or of disappointment.

One word should be said as to Gresham College, where Wren held his first
professorship. It was founded in 1579 by the will of Queen Elizabeth's
great merchant Sir Thomas Gresham. The college was no other than his own
house in Bishopsgate, forming a quadrangle round a large garden. The
seven professors, each of whom gave a lecture a day in term time, had a
salary of 50_l._ a year and were lodged in the house. Gresham College
escaped the Fire, and gave lodgings at that time to the Lord Mayor and
the aldermen, who had been less fortunate. In 1768 it was pulled down by
Act of Parliament, to give a site to the new Excise Office, and the
original collegiate scheme was destroyed, though the lectures are still
given in a lecture hall.

Little is known of Wren in his Masonic capacity. He is said to have been
a member and a master of the 'Old Lodge of S. Paul,' now known as the
'Lodge of Antiquity.' All the records of the Lodge belonging to that
time have unfortunately been lost, so that they cannot be consulted with
reference to this matter.

The question has been raised whether Wren was a Freemason or not. On
this point the 'Parentalia' makes no explicit statement, though it
appears to imply Wren's connection with the Order.

The Duke of Sussex caused a plate to be engraved in 1827 and affixed to
the mallet which Sir Christopher was said to have presented to the
Lodge, with this inscription:--'A. L. 5831. A.D. 1827. To commemorate
that this, being the same mallet with which His Majesty King Charles II.
levelled the foundation stone of S. Paul's Cathedral, A. L. 5677, A.D.
1673. Was presented to the Old Lodge of S. Paul, now the Lodge of
Antiquity, acting by immemorial constitution, by Brother Sir Christopher
Wren, R.W.D.G.M., Worshipful Master of this Lodge and Architect of that

The statement respecting King Charles's presence is probably an
erroneous one. The Lodge possesses also three gilt wooden candlesticks
in the form of columns, inscribed 'Ex dono Chr. Wren Eq. A. L. 5680.'

Where quotations have been made directly from the Wren MS., from the
'Parentalia,' or from Evelyn's Diary, the spelling and stopping of the
originals have been faithfully reproduced. For the rest, the writer can
only hope that these pages may serve as a contribution towards that full
and worthy biography of the great architect which may yet, she trusts,
be written before London is finally robbed of the Churches with which
Wren's genius endowed her.

     _August 1, 1881._


[1] From which the three vignettes in this volume are taken.


                                CHAPTER I.

     Ancestry of the Wrens--Matthew Wren--Travels to Spain with
        the Prince of Wales--Interview at Winchester
        House--Bishop Andrewes' Prophecy--Wren made Master of
        Peterhouse--Bishop of Hereford--Consecration of Abbey
        Dore--Office of Reconciliation--Foreign Congregations
        and the Norwich Weavers--Result of 'a Lecturer's'
        Departure.                                                     3

                               CHAPTER II.


     Dr. C. Wren--Birth of his Son Christopher--East
        Knoyle--Order of the Garter--How a Murderer was
        Detected--Christopher at Westminster--A Latin
        Letter--Diocese of Ely--Impeachment of Lord
        Strafford--Of Archbishop Laud--Articles against Bishop
        Wren--Resigns the Deanery of the Chapels Royal.               31

                               CHAPTER III.


     Bishop Wren accused--Westminster Abbey attacked--Imprisonment
        of the Bishops--Bishop Wren's Defence--'Utterly Denieth
        all Popish Affections'--The Garter Jewels--Archbishop Laud
        Murdered--Christopher at Oxford--Philosophical Meetings.      55

                               CHAPTER IV.


     Death of Mrs. M. Wren--King Charles Murdered--A monotonous
        Walk--Inventions--A Dream--All Souls' Fellowship--
        Beginnings of the Royal Society--Astronomy--An Offer of
        Release--The Cycloid--Cromwell's Funeral--Letters from
        London.                                                       85

                               CHAPTER V.


     Apostolical Succession--Difficulty of preserving
        it--Letters from Lord Clarendon--Bishop Wren's
        Release--The Restoration--Convocation--Savilian
        Professorship--Royal Society--'Elephant in the
        Moon'--Pembroke Chapel begun.                                109

                               CHAPTER VI.


     Repair of S. Paul's--Sheldonian Theatre--The Plague--A
        Letter from Paris--Consecration of Pembroke Chapel--Fire
        of London--Bishop Wren's Death--His Family.                  139

                               CHAPTER VII.


     Patching S. Paul's--Sancroft's Letters--Wren's Examination
        of S. Paul's--Salisbury Cathedral--London as it might
        have been--Letter to Faith Coghill--Wren marries
        her--Temple Bar--S. Mary-le-Bow--Artillery
        Company--Gunpowder used to remove Ruins.                     165

                               CHAPTER VIII.


     Birth of his eldest Son--S. Stephen's, Walbrook--S. Bennet
        Fink--Plans for S. Paul's--The Excavations--Son
        Christopher born--Death of Faith, Lady Wren--Second
        Marriage--City Churches--The Monument--Tomb of Charles
        I.--Remains of the little Princes in the Tower.              191

                               CHAPTER IX.


     Emmanuel College--Greenwich Observatory--Birth of Jane and
        William Wren--S. Bartholomew's--Portland Quarries--Dr.
        and Mrs. Holder--Death of Lady Wren--Popish
        Plot--Papin's Digester--Sir J. Hoskyns--All Hallow's,
        Bread Street--Palace at Winchester.                          215

                               CHAPTER X.


     Chelsea College--S. James's, Westminster--A hard
        Winter--Chichester Spire--An Astronomical Problem--A
        Seat in Parliament--More City Churches--A curious
        Carving.                                                     239

                               CHAPTER XI.


     Parliament dissolved--Church building--Acquittal of the
        Seven Bishops--James the Second's Flight--William and
        Mary--College of Physicians--Hampton Court--Greenwich
        Hospital--Richard Whittington--S. Paul's Organ.              259

                             CHAPTER XII.


     Opening of S. Paul's Choir--A moveable Pulpit--Letter to
        his Son at Paris--Order against Swearing--Peter the
        Great--S. Dunstan's Spire--Morning Prayer Chapel
        opened--Westminster Abbey.                                   279

                             CHAPTER XIII.


     Member for Weymouth--Rising of the Sap in Trees--Prince
        George's Statue--Jane Wren's Death--Thanksgiving at S.
        Paul's--Letter to his Son--Son marries Mary
        Musard--Death of Mr. Evelyn--Queen Anne's Act for
        Building fifty Churches--Letter on Church Building.          297

                             CHAPTER XIV.


     Private Houses built--Queen Anne's Gifts--Last Stone of S.
        Paul's--Wren deprived of his Salary--His
        Petition--'Frauds and Abuses'--Interior work of S.
        Paul's--Wren Superseded--Purchase of Wroxhall
        Abbey--Wren's Thoughts on the Longitude--His
        Death--Burial in S. Paul's--The End.                         317


     I. Reverendo Patri Domino Christophoro Wren S.T.D. et D. W.
           Christophorus Filius Hoc Suum Panorganum Astronomicum
           D.D. xiii. Calend. Novem. Anno 1645.                      337

     II. Churches, Halls, Colleges, Palaces, other Public
           Buildings, and Private Houses built and repaired by Sir
           Christopher Wren.                                         338

     III. A Discourse on Architecture, from Original MS.             340

     INDEX      351

               FROM A DRAWING BY C. R. COCKERELL, R.A.]

                               CHAPTER I.



                    Time, like an ever-rolling stream
                    Bears all its sons away.

The name of Christopher Wren is no doubt familiar to the great majority
of English people, and to Londoners especially; but it is to many of
them little more than a name with which is connected S. Paul's Cathedral
and a now, alas! diminished number of City churches. Yet the great
architect's ninety-one years of life were passed among some of the most
stirring times of our history, in which his family played no
inconsiderable part, and he himself was not only the best architect of
his day, but was also the foremost in many other sciences. A singularly
patient and far-seeing intellect aiding a strong religious faith enabled
him 'to keep the even tenour of his way' through a life of incessant
labour and considerable temptation. It has been truly said,

     'It seems almost like a defect in such a biography as that of Wren,
     that it presents nothing of that picturesque struggle, in the rise
     from a lower to a higher condition, which has so commonly attended
     the conquest of genius over difficulty.'[2]

Far otherwise, the Wren family was an old one, tracing its descent from
the Danes; one of the house fought in Palestine under Richard I., and
his fame long survived, as in Charles I.'s time it was quoted against
one of the knight's descendants.

In 1455, during the reign of Henry VI., in the Black Book (or register)
of the Order of the Garter, mention is made of a Wren who probably
belonged to this family:--

     'The Lord of Winchester, Prelate of the order, performed the Divine
     Service proper for S. George the Martyr, but the Abbots Towyrhill
     and Medmenham being absent, were not excused, in whose stead Sir
     William Stephyns read the gospel and Sir W. Marshal the epistle,
     both of them singing men of the king's choir. The dean of the same
     choir presented the gospel to the sovereigne to be kissed, and the
     next day celebrated Mass for the deceased, Sir J. Andevere and John
     Wrenne assisting in the reading of the epistle and gospel. The
     reader of the gospel, after censing the reader of the epistle,
     reverently tendered the heart of S. George to the sovereigne and
     knights in order to be kissed.'

The heart of S. George was presented by Sigismund, Emperor of Germany,
on his admission to the Order of the Garter.

The spelling of 'Wrenne' was a very common form of the family name, and
it seems very likely that John Wrenne belonged to this family, who were
much connected with S. George's, Windsor.


William Wren was in Henry VIII.'s time the head of the family; his
younger brother Geoffrey, who was a priest, was of Henry VII.'s privy
council, and was confessor both to him and to Henry VIII. He held the
living of S. Margaret's, Fish Street, in the City of London, from 1512
till his death.[3] Geoffrey Wren was also a canon of S. George's at
Windsor, where he founded the seventh stall. There he died in 1527, and
was buried in the north aisle of the chapel under a brass bearing his
effigy in the Garter mantle, with this inscription at his feet:

               'Sub saxo ponor, et vermibus ultimis donor,
               Et sicut ponor, ponitur omnis honor.'[4]

This tomb and brass have disappeared, as has the 'South Lodge' with its
window displaying his coat of arms and emblem; the latter, a wren
holding a trefoil in its claw, and his motto--'Turbinibus superest coelo
duce praescius.' Dean Wren explains this emblem as chosen because, 'the
trefoil or clover shrinking before a storm foretold a change of
weather,' and the wren was supposed to have the same prescience. Both
motto and emblem were changed by the descendants of the family.

William Wren's grandson, Francis, was born 1552, two years before the
close of Queen Mary's reign, at Monk's Kirby in Warwickshire, where the
family had property. He was a mercer and citizen of London, and was
steward to Mary Queen of Scots during her captivity in England. He
married Susan, daughter of William Wiffinson; they lived in the parish
of S. Peter's Cheap, and had three children: a daughter Anna, and two
sons; Matthew, born 1585, and Christopher, born 1589. Both were educated
at the Merchant Taylors' School, and there Matthew especially attracted
the notice of Lancelot Andrewes, then Dean of Westminster, who
frequently came to the school where he had been bred, and examined the
boys in various subjects, particularly in the Hebrew Psalter. He was
struck by the proficiency of the eldest of the Wrens, and obtained for
the boy a scholarship at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, of which he was
himself master. From that time Dr. Andrewes appears never to have lost
sight of Wren, but to have guided his studies and fostered 'the most
passionate affection for the ministry of the Church' which the young man
showed. Nor was Wren's university life undistinguished, for he became
Greek scholar of his college, and when King James visited Cambridge,
Matthew Wren, then in priest's orders, 'kept the Philosophy Act' before
him with great applause. The subject given was, 'Whether dogs were
capable of syllogisms.' Old Fuller says of this extraordinary 'Act,' 'he
kept it with no less praise to himself than pleasure to the king; where
if men should forget even dogs should remember his seasonable
distinction what the king's hounds could perform above others by virtue
of their prerogative.'[5] Probably this speech and its ready wit
remained on the mind of the King, who dearly loved a compliment to the
royal prerogative, and determined him to favour Matthew Wren.


Lancelot Andrewes, who had been Bishop of Chichester, was in 1609
translated to Ely, and so enabled to watch over the University and 'to
search out,' as he entreated his friends to do also, 'hopeful and
towardly young wits,' and train them up for Holy Orders.[6] He made
Matthew Wren his chaplain, gave him the living of Feversham in
Cambridgeshire, and some years later made him a canon of Winchester. But
very different duties from the ordinary ones of a parish priest devolved
upon Wren. King James planned for the Prince of Wales the famous
'Spanish match,' and gave a most reluctant consent to the Duke of
Buckingham's scheme, that the Prince should himself go to Spain to fetch
home his bride. Two of his chaplains were to attend the Prince, and by
the advice of Bishop Andrewes and of Laud, then Bishop of S. David's,
Dr. Leonard Maw, afterwards Bishop of Bath and Wells, and Dr. Matthew
Wren were chosen. The Prince and Buckingham departed hastily, leaving
the chaplains and suite to follow as they could. King James had no
sooner allowed the expedition than he repented of it, and being unable
to recall his permission, was tormented by a thousand fears for the
Prince's safety. The nation was in a state of ferment, persuaded that
the Prince's faith would be tampered with as well as his person
endangered. Thus the two chaplains had by no means an enviable post.
They went down to Newmarket, took their leave of the King and received
his last instructions:--

   'So as all their behaviour and service should prove decent and
   agreeable to the purity of the Primitive Church, and yet so near
   the Roman form as can lawfully be done; "for," said he, "it hath
   ever been my way to go with the Church of Rome _usque ad

   'The two bishops gave them also written and detailed instructions
   that there might appear a face of the Church of England in all
   forms of worship; that in the sermons there may be no polemical
   preachings to inveigh against the Romanists or to confute, but only
   to confirm the doctrine and tenets of the Church of England by all
   positive arguments either in fundamental or moral points.'

A full list followed of vestments for the clergy, ornaments and hangings
for the altar, and altar lights, Latin service books, directions for a
room to be adorned chapel-wise, and for frequent services, all to be
read in Latin so that the Spaniards might comprehend them. All this
careful provision seems to have been defeated by the fact of the Prince
and his suite being lodged in the palace at Madrid, so that there was no
public service, only bed-chamber prayers. Contemporary letters show that
the chaplains' position was not an easy one, though the Prince remained
steadfast, and in the congenial atmosphere of the dignified Spanish
court became every day more gracious. 'Dr. Wren forbears,' says one of
these letters, 'to write any particulars, but intimates all is not as it
should be.' It was no doubt a necessary precaution on the chaplain's
part to preserve this discreet silence, but it is tantalising to have
only a hint concerning the transactions in Spain. How the negotiations
were delayed, how the King recalled the Prince and the marriage was
broken off, are historical facts too well known to need repetition here.
One result seems to have been a strong bond of affection between the
Prince and those who went with him on this singular expedition.


That his departure was attended with some sea-peril appears from one of
Edmund Waller's[8] early poems on 'the Danger which His Majesty, being
Prince, escaped in the Road at S. Andero':--

         'Now had his Highness bid farewell to Spain,
         And reached the sphere of his own pow'r, the main;
         With British bounty in his ship he feasts
         The Hesperian princes his amazed guests,
         To find that wat'ry wilderness exceed
         The entertainment of their great Madrid.'

A description follows of the Prince being rowed in a barge to his own
ship, a sudden storm arises in which there is a great difficulty in
making the ship; at length the Fates allow the rope to be successfully
thrown, knowing it to be for England:--

        'Whose prince must be (as their own books devise)
        Lord of the scene where now his danger lies.'

On October 8, 1623, Dr. Wren's diary records 'we landed at Portsmouth,'
and his first and only journey out of Great Britain was over.

The sea-voyage, probably a stormy one, made an impression on his mind
and he preached before the Universities on the text 'One deep calleth to
another.' This is said to have been a remarkable sermon, and old Fuller
declares that he became an excellent preacher. The one sermon of his now
extant, preached at a later date, on the text 'Fear God, honour the
King,' shows that he modelled his style greatly on that of Bishop
Andrewes, though without attaining to the same excellence. The sermon is
a bold and outspoken one, and has its striking passages. King James, in
testimony of his approval of Dr. Wren's conduct as his son's chaplain,
bestowed on him the valuable living of Bingham, in Nottinghamshire, to
which he was inducted during the next year, resigning his fellowship of
Pembroke and the living of Feversham.


Previous to this event, and soon after the Prince's return, a singular
incident occurred. Wren, who had been down to Cambridge, came up, as he
says, 'suddenly' to London, and as it was late, lodged with his sister
in Friday Street, instead of going to Winchester House, where the Bishop
kept 'three rooms near the garden' fitted and reserved for him, and
where he had lodged twice or thrice. He had, however, seen the Bishop
twice, also the Bishops of Durham and S. David's, had taken leave of
them on a Saturday, and was prepared to return to Cambridge on the
Monday morning following. His journey was, however, delayed by an event
which shall be given in his own words:--[9]

   'On Monday morne by break of the day there was a great knocking at
   the door where I lay. And at last the apprentice (who lay in the
   shop) came up to my bedside, and told me there was a messenger from
   Winchester House to speak with me. The business was to let me know,
   that my Lord, when he came from Court last night, had given his
   steward charge to order it so that I might be spoken with, and be
   required as from him without fail to dine with him on Monday; but
   to be at Winchester House by ten of the clock, which I wondered the
   more at, his lordship not using to come from his study till near
   twelve. My businesse would hardly permit this, yet because of his
   lordship's importunity, I got up presently, and into Holborn I
   went, and there used such despatch, that soon after ten of the
   clock, I took a boat and went to Winchester House, where I found
   the steward at the water gate waiting to let me in the nearest way;
   who told me that my lord had called twice to know if I were come. I
   asked where his lordship was? He answered, in his great gallery (a
   place where I knew his lordship scarce came once in a year), and
   thither I going, the door was locked, but upon my lifting a latch,
   my lord of St. David's opened the door, and, letting me in, locked
   it again.

   'There I found but those three Lords, who causing me to sit down by
   them, my Lord of Durham began to me: "Doctor, your Lord here will
   have it so, I that am the unfittest person must be the speaker. But
   thus it is. After you left us yesterday at Whitehall, we entering
   into further discourses of those things which we foresee and
   conceive will ere long come to pass, resolve to again to speak to
   you before you went hence.

   '"We must know of you, what your thoughts are concerning your
   master the Prince. You have now been his servant above two years,
   and you were with him in Spain. We know he respects you well; and
   we know you are no fool, but can observe how things are like to
   go." "What things, my Lord?" (quoth I). "In brief," said he, "how
   the Prince's heart stands to the Church of England, that when God
   brings him to the Crown we may know what to hope for."

   'My reply was to this effect, that however I was most unfit of any
   opinion herein, attending but two months in the year and then at a
   great distance, only in the closet and at meals; yet, seeing they
   so pressed me, I would speak my mind freely; so I said, "I know my
   master's learning is not equal to his father's, yet I know his
   judgement to be very right; and as for his affection in these
   particulars which your Lordships have pointed at, for upholding
   the doctrine and discipline and right estate of the Church, I have
   more confidence of him than of his father, in whom they say (better
   than I can) is so much inconstancy in some particular cases."


   'Hereupon my Lords of Durham and St. David's began to argue it with
   me, and required me to let them know upon what ground I came to
   think thus of the Prince. I gave them my reasons at large; and
   after many replyings, (above an hour together,) then my Lord of
   Winchester (who had said nothing all the while) bespake me these

   '"Well, Doctor, God send you may be a good prophet concerning your
   master's inclinations in these particulars, which we are glad to
   hear from you. I am sure I shall be a true prophet: I shall be in
   my grave, and so shall you, my Lord of Durham; but my Lord of St.
   David's and you, Doctor, will live to see that day that your master
   will be put to it, upon his head and his crown, without he will
   forsake the support of the Church."

   'Of these predictions made by that holy father,' adds the writer,
   'I have now no witness but mine own conscience and the Eternal God
   who knows I lie not; nobody else being present when this was spoken
   but these three Lords.'

After this the four friends separated and Wren returned to Cambridge.

In two years from the time of that conference King James died, in the
following year the saintly Bishop Andrewes, the kind and unfailing
friend of both the Wrens, died also. It is to the great discredit of
James I., and probably was the inconstancy to which Dr. Wren alluded,
that, as has happened in our own day, the greatest Prelate, the
'incomparable preacher,' the truest and wisest champion of the Church,
was passed over when the archbishopric was vacant, an inferior man put
above him, and at last the see of Winchester offered to him in tardy
amends. At Archbishop Bancroft's death in 1610, everyone's eyes had
turned to Bishop Andrewes as his natural successor: but, in the words of
a contemporary letter from Lord Baltimore (then Mr. Calvert) to Sir T.

   'The Bishop of London (Abbot) by a strong north wind blowing out of
   Scotland is blown over the Thames to Lambeth; the king having
   professed to the Bishop himself as also to all the Lords of this
   council that it is neither the respect of his learning, his wisdom
   nor his sincerity (although he is well persuaded there is not any
   one of them wanting in him), that hath made him to prefer him above
   the rest of his fellows, but merely the recommendation of his
   faithful servant Dunbar that is dead, whose suit on behalf of this
   Bishop he cannot forget, nor will suffer to lose his


The consequences of such an ecclesiastical appointment made for so
insufficient a reason were disastrous indeed. Had Andrewes succeeded
Bancroft, and had Laud succeeded Andrewes, 'the Church had been settled
on so sure a foundation that it had not easily been shaken.'[11]

There was general lamentation when Andrewes died, and few can have
mourned him more sincerely than Matthew Wren, whom he had loved as a
son. Wren attended the funeral, received the gold ring which was the
Bishop's bequest to him, and composed the Latin epitaph for his tomb in
S. Saviour's, Southwark, which is no unworthy tribute to the holy

During this year Dr. Wren was elected, by the unanimous wish of the
fellows, Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he 'exercised such
prudence and moderation in his government that he reduced all the
fellows to one sacred bond of unity and concord.' Besides this he
rebuilt the college in great part from the ground, and perceiving that
the absence of a chapel was a great obstacle in the way of reverent and
frequent services, he did not rest until he had raised subscriptions
enough to build a handsome chapel, and to ornament it richly.[12] The
wood-panelled hexagonal roof, the marble steps on which the altar
stands, flanked by two tall candlesticks, give a character to the
interior enhanced by the east window, which is in part a copy of that
famous picture of the Crucifixion, then just finished, by Rubens, at
Antwerp. This window was carefully taken down in the Rebellion before
the college was visited, and hidden away in boxes. A wise precaution,
for the commissioners destroyed all the other ornaments, pulling down
'two mighty angels with wings, divers other angels, the four
evangelists, and Peter with his keys on the chapel door, together with
about a hundred cherubim and many superstitious letters in gold.
Moreover,' they say, 'we found six angels on the windows which we
defaced.' After the Restoration the hidden glass was brought forth again
and put back in its place over the altar.[13] While Dr. Wren was thus
adorning his college chapel King Charles did not show himself forgetful
of Bishop Andrewes' well-loved pupil and chaplain, but in 1628 appointed
him Dean of Windsor and registrar of the Order of the Garter. The year
after this appointment the peace between England and France was solemnly
ratified in the chapel at Windsor and Dean Wren administered the oath to
the French ambassador, the Marquis de Châteauneuf.

About this time, as his diary says, he was 'joined together in happy
matrimony.' His wife was Eliza Brownrigg, the widowed daughter of Thomas
Cull, Esquire, of Ipswich; she had one daughter by her first marriage,
and seems to have been possessed of some property in Suffolk. The
marriage was in truth as happy as the cruel times in which their lot was
cast would allow, though chequered with many sorrows; for of the twelve
children whose birth Wren records in his diary, six died while very
young. When King Charles journeyed to Scotland for his coronation he
summoned Wren to attend him. No shadow of the coming trouble showed
itself then. The young King was everywhere received with enthusiasm.
Whether Dr. Wren, mindful of Andrewes' words, suspected what lay under
this fair show, there is no record left to tell us. In after years Sir
Thomas Widdrington's venomous attack on himself must have strangely
recalled his tones when on this occasion he addressed the King in terms
of fulsome adulation at Berwick. On his return from Scotland the King
passed the holy week at York, where on Maunday Thursday Dr. Wren washed
the feet of thirty-nine poor old men in warm water, drying them with a
linen cloth, and Dr. Curle, Bishop of Winchester, washed them over again
in white wine and then kissed them.


Shortly after this, Dr. Lindsell, the Bishop of Hereford, died, and
Matthew Wren was appointed (1634) to the vacant see. He thereupon
resigned the Mastership of Peterhouse, probably with much regret, for
all his life he retained a strong affection for his University. His
successor was one whose name is well known in church history, Dr. John
Cosin, afterwards Dean of Durham and Bishop of Peterborough, a great
authority on the ritual and ornaments of the Church. The King would not
then suffer Wren to resign the Deanery of Windsor. When Dr. Juxon, who
was Clerk of the Closet, was made Bishop of London, the King showed how
highly he valued and esteemed Bishop Wren by giving him the post which
Juxon resigned, and Dr. Wren then gave up his Deanery. His new post was
one of great nearness to the King; to fill it well required great tact
and a discreet deafness to the whispers of court intriguers. King
Charles was well aware of this, and as soon as Wren had settled himself
in his new post said to him:[14]

   'Now you are at my elbow there will be many devices to set you and
   the Archbishop (Laud) at odds. But I warn you of it that you suffer
   no such trick to be put on you, and therefore I require you both,
   by that faith which I am sure you will both perform to me, to bind
   yourselves mutually neither of you to believe any report against
   the other; and if you meet with any such thing, believe it not, yet
   presently impart it to each other.'

The wisdom of the King's counsel was quickly shown, for when Dr. Hackett
came in his turn of office as the next month's chaplain, he told Wren
how they had expected him to be made Bishop of London, and but for the
Archbishop preferring Juxon, as a man of whom he had experience and on
whom he could rely, it would have been done. Wren paid no regard to
these suggestions, suspecting them to be the device of some discontented
courtier in order to make him the Archbishop's enemy. To keep his faith
with the King and the Archbishop, he presently told them what had
passed. The King praised his conduct and told him, 'there was no truth
in the report, but only a plot to kindle coals between them two.'


Bishop Wren began vigorous work in Hereford, holding a visitation,
collecting and setting in order the statutes of the cathedral, which
were in a state of great confusion. Another congenial piece of work came
also into his hands. John, Viscount Scudamore, a friend of Laud's, had
inherited, with other property, the old Cistercian abbey of Dore, near
Monmouth; the building had been greatly damaged in the reign of Henry
VIII., but the transepts, chancel, and lady chapel still stood, as they
do now, and Lord Scudamore was minded to restore the building to its
true use. He accordingly repaired it, setting up again the old stone
altar on its four pillars, and providing the church with everything
needful for service. Bishop Wren was unable to consecrate the building
himself, being in constant attendance on the King, but he busied himself
in drawing up an office for the occasion, like, but not identical with,
that used by Bishop Andrewes, and commissioned Bishop Field of S.
David's to act for him. Bishop Wren was, as Lord Clarendon testifies,
'much versed in the old liturgies, particularly those of the Eastern
Church.' He employed himself, at Laud's request, in preparing a service
for the reconciliation of those who had apostatised when in slavery with
the Moors, and when released wished to return to the faith. The
merchants and seamen who were taken by 'Barbary pirates,' and when
released came sadly back to England with their story of cruel sufferings
undergone and faith reluctantly forsworn, were numerous enough to
require a special provision to be made for them.

Knolles' quaint 'Historie of the Turks' shows that they even made
descents on the western coasts of England and carried off men, women,
and children into slavery. In 1636, with some of the much-grudged
'ship-money,' a very successful expedition was made under Lord
Rainsborough against Sallee, which resulted in the release of large
numbers of captives and a promise from the Moorish king to suppress
Christian slavery. It is significant that the real leader of the
expedition was John Dunton, a reformed renegade taken _off the Isle of
Wight_ in command of a Sallee ship. He was tried and condemned, but
saved his life by offering to show the assailable points of the Barbary
ports, and sailed as master on Lord Rainsborough's ship.[15]


The 'Form of Penance and Reconciliation of a Renegado or Apostate from
the Christian Religion to Turcism,'[16] which Wren and Laud prepared
together, is a very striking one. First came the solemn excommunication,
then for two Sundays the penitent came to the door of his parish church
in a white sheet carrying a white wand, craving the prayers of all 'good
Christians for a poor wretched renegado;' on the second Sunday he was
allowed to enter and kneel by the font and pray to be 'restored to the
rights and benefits of the blessed sacrament which I have so wickedly
abjured,' and then return to the church porch as before. On the third
Sunday, when the Apostles' creed had been said, after being publicly put
in mind of his sin, and advised 'that a slight and ordinary sorrow is
not enough for so grievous an offence,' the penitent, kneeling eastward,
and bowing to the very pavement, was to confess his sin and declare his
sorrow and repentance, and to ask the prayers of the congregation. Also
to 'thank God for His mercies, especially for the divine ordinance of
His Holy Sacraments, and of His heavenly power committed to His Holy
Priests, in His Church for the reconciliation of sinners unto Himself
and the absolving them from all their iniquity.'

   'Then,' says the rubric, 'let the Priest come forth to him, and
   stand over him, and laying his hand on his head, say, as is
   prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer, thus:--

   Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has left power to his Church to absolve
   all sinners which truly repent and believe in Him, of His great
   mercy forgive thee thine offences; and, by His authority committed
   unto me, I absolve thee from this thy heinous crime of
   renunciation, and from all thy other sins, in the name of the
   Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.'

After this follows, with slight alteration, a collect, also from the
Visitation of the Sick, and then the priest was to take the penitent by
the hand, take away from him the white sheet and the wand, and address
to him, once again as dear brother, an affectionate exhortation to walk
worthy 'of so great a mercy,' and promise him re-admission to the Holy
Communion on the next opportunity. How often this service was employed
does not appear. The whole form is so beautiful that it is matter for
regret it should be so much forgotten.

Wren had been Bishop of Hereford but one year, when the Bishop of
Norwich, Dr. R. Corbet, was translated to Oxford, and Bishop Wren
translated in turn to the vacant see. It is easy to see Laud's hand in
this. Norwich was a large wide diocese, much shaken by schism and
faction and abounding with lecturers who were the torment of the Church
at that time and were not unaptly compared 'to bats or reremice, being
neither birds nor beasts, and yet both together,'[17] i.e. neither clerk
nor layman.

They were not unfrequently men who had been ordained without cure of
souls and served as chaplains in gentlemen's houses, or men whose orders
were doubtful, or mere laymen who had failed in other callings. They
were all strong Calvinists, seldom read the services, but called a fast,
quite irrespective of those of the Church, and gave a lecture. This
speedily became a 'running lecture,' i.e. was not confined to one place
but ran from parish to parish. Every possible check was put by the
Archbishop upon these lectures, which were fatal to the proper order of
the parishes and all church discipline. Private gentlemen were forbidden
to have chaplains, all who preached were compelled to wear a surplice
and first to read the Church Service, and in the afternoon to teach the
Church Catechism. Wren, Mainwaring, Corbet, Montague, and other
like-minded bishops set themselves vigorously to enforce the
Archbishop's plans, esteeming the discipline and doctrine of the Church
more valuable than the popularity which their firmness forfeited.
Norwich presented an especial difficulty to the Bishop in the great
number of weavers and other workmen who had taken refuge there from the
Low Countries in times of persecution, and who still kept up their
schismatic services.

As his treatment of the Norwich weavers has always been the principal
ground of attack against Wren, from Lord Clarendon down to writers of
the present time, it is needful to enter somewhat into the question, and
to see where the truth lies.


These foreign workmen had settled in England at various times, escaping
from persecutions in the Low Countries and in France, and, though they
had never had any distinct permission to use their own services, their
doing so had been winked at by Queen Elizabeth and King James. Now they
had reached a third generation and continued to profit by an exemption
which was enjoyed by no other body of the kingdom. It will be borne in
mind that as the laws then ran and were understood, every English
subject was required to be also a member of the Church of England. The
first generation of refugees were an exception, but when they reached a
second and third generation, had their own ministers and pretended to
the power of Ordination, they became an anomaly, and as Laud, when
Bishop of London, said, 'The example is of ill-consequence in Church
affairs to the subjects of England, many being confirmed by it in their
stubborn ways and inconformities.' The matter was not likely to be
mended by Archbishop Abbot; but when Laud succeeded him he addressed
himself, in 1634, vigorously to the business, and set out this dilemma:

   'If they were not of the same religion' (as the Church of England),
   'why should they, being strangers, born in other countries, or
   descending from them, expect more liberty of conscience than the
   Papists had, being all natives, and descending from English
   parents? If of the same, why should they not submit to the
   government and forms of worship, being the outward acts and
   exercises of the religion here by law established?'

Every art that could be used was employed by the congregations to avoid
returning an answer to the Archbishop's inquiries, whether the
English-born members would conform and use the Liturgy in their own
language. The two congregations in Norwich resisted vehemently and
remonstrated with Bishop Corbet, who was then bishop of the diocese; but
Archbishop Laud himself visited the diocese and caused the injunction to
be published in the congregations. It had been modified until it only
ordered that, while strangers, as long as they were strangers, might use
their own discipline, yet that the English Liturgy should be translated
into French and Dutch for the better fitting of their children to the
English Government. In Canterbury, he kept them 'on a harder diet,' and
allowed only the translated Liturgy. All this took place before Bishop
Wren came to Norwich, so it is manifestly unjust to accuse him of having
set the measure, moderate as it was, on foot. The congregations remained
a focus of Calvinism and discontent, secretly encouraged by all the
leading Puritans, and envied by the lecturers who wished themselves in
the like case.


Another trouble in Norwich, was the failure of business amongst the
cloth weavers, whose trade was the chief industry of the town; the
failure appears to have been, in a great measure, caused by the plague,
which raged in London in 1636,[18] and put a stop for a considerable
time to the weekly traffic between it and Norwich. Many of the workmen
in consequence betook themselves to Holland, to obtain the means of
livelihood. The same thing had happened in Bishop Corbet's time, but as
in this instance it coincided with Wren's first visitation, there were
not wanting those who said that his severity in enforcing conformity was
the main reason of their departure. This accusation seems never to have
been made at the time, but only later on, when every conceivable charge
was being raked up against the Bishop. He truly says, that, often as at
the council board the failure of the weaving trade and the emigration of
the skilled workmen to Holland was lamented, it was never suggested that
his severity was in any way the cause of it. In his defence, prepared
for the House of Commons, the Bishop, besides accounting for much of
the emigration by the failure of trade, consequent on the plague,
reduces the number, by comparing it with the records kept at the various
ports, from the alleged 3,000 to about 300, and drily says: 'The
defendant humbly conceiveth that the chiefest cause of their departure
was the small wages given to the workmen, whereby the workmasters grew
rich, and the workmen were kept very poor.'


The charge has been often revived, the more so as though the accusation
is well known enough, the defence, only to be found in the 'Parentalia,'
is hardly known except to the few who have threaded the labyrinth of
that scarce volume. That Wren was a great upholder of discipline and
authority, a man of a fiery energetic temper, decided opinions, and an
unyielding, perhaps a severe, disposition, is certainly true; but it is
also true that he practised, as Laud and Strafford did, an even-handed
justice, laying his hand on rich and poor alike, and would not turn
aside for any suggestion of policy or expediency. It should, however, in
fairness be added, that though he made his authority felt and obeyed, he
did not press matters to extremity against any clergyman without grave
cause, and was very ready to receive those who showed any readiness to
submit. Of the 1,300 clergy in the diocese, not including those attached
to the Cathedral or the schoolmasters, in spite of 'many disorders,'
there were in 1636 but thirty excommunicated or suspended, some for
contumacy, some for obstinately refusing to publish the King's
declaration, some 'for contemning all the Orders and Rites of the
Church and intruding themselves, without licence from the Ordinary, for
many years together.' His returns to the Archbishop show how very
thoroughly and diligently he, to use a modern phrase, 'worked his
diocese,' visiting parish after parish, causing the fabrics to be
repaired,[19] the clergy to reside, to hold the appointed services and
to catechise the children. Here and there a lecturer who promised
conformity was allowed to remain, but generally they were checked and
discouraged. Great Yarmouth must have gladdened the Bishop's heart, as,
two years before Bishop Wren came to the Diocese, the lecturer had gone
to New England, 'since which time,' the Bishop says, 'there hath been no
lecture and very much peace in the town and all ecclesiastical orders
well observed.' It was in truth a great undertaking to bring the Diocese
of Norwich into order; but Wren did not shrink from the task, and had
all the support which the King and the Archbishop could give, a support
afterwards imputed as a crime both to those who gave and to him who
received it.


  [2] _Warwickshire Worthies_, p. 845. Article by C. Wren Hoskyns, Esq.,

   [3] S. Margaret's, standing close to Pudding Lane, where the Fire of
       London began in 1666, was the first church consumed. Its site is
       now occupied by the Monument, and the parish incorporated with
       that of S. Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge.

   [4]        Laid under the stone,
              For the worms alone,
              All mortal pride
              Is laid aside. (G. A. D.)

   [5] Bishop Andrewes was so well pleased that he 'sent the moderator
      (Dr. Meade), the answerer (Mr. M. Wren), the varier, and one of
       the repliers that were all of his house (i.e. Pembroke), twenty
       angels apiece.' _Life of Bishop Andrewes_, Lib. Anglo-Catholic
       Theology, p. xxi.

   [6] _Life of Bishop Andrewes_, Lib. Anglo-Catholic Theology, p.

   [7] _Cypr. Ang._, p. 100. Heylin.

   [8] Edmund Waller, born March 3, 1605. He was connected by his
       marriage with Cromwell, and wrote one of his best poems as a
       panegyric on the Protector, but was supposed to be a Cavalier at
       heart and rejoiced at the Restoration; died 1687.

   [9] 'A transcript of a certain narrative written by the late Bishop
       of Ely (Dr. Matthew Wren) with his own hand, of that remarkable
       conference, which after his return from Spain with Prince
       Charles, 1636, he had with Dr. Neile, then Bishop of Durham, Dr.
       Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, and Dr. Laud, Bishop of S.
       David's, touching the said Prince, whereat something prophetical
       was then said by that Reverend Bishop of Winchester.' Printed
       from a MS. in the Ashmolean Museum. _Life of Bishop Andrewes_,
       Lib. Anglo-Catholic Theology, p. lvii.

  [10] _Life of Bishop Andrewes_, Lib. Anglo-Catholic Theology, p. x.

  [11] _Cypr. Ang._, p. 59. Heylin.

  [12] Evelyn, who visited Cambridge in 1655, says of Peterhouse, 'a
       pretty neate college having a delicate chappell.'

       The chapel, especially the west front, of S. Peter's College, is
       one of the best specimens of the Renaissance Art at
       Cambridge.--_Hist. of Modern Architecture_, p. 275. Fergusson.

  [13] _Beauties of England and Wales_ (Cambridgeshire).

  [14] _Life of Archbishop Juxon_, p. 27. Rev. W. H. Marah.

  [15] _Annals of England_, p. 407.

  [16] _Eccles. Hist._, vol. ix. p. 388, ed. 1841, Collier, where the
      office may be found entire.

  [17] _Cypr. Ang._, introduction, p. 9. Heylin.

  [18] 'On August 29, 1636 (the plague then raging in London), King
      Charles, the Queen, and the Court arrived at Oxford. The
      Chancellor (Archbishop Laud), the Vice-Chancellor, and numerous
      doctors and masters went out to meet the royal retinue. The
      Chancellor, accompanied by the Lord Treasurer (Bishop Juxon),
      the Bishop of Winchester (Dr. Curle), the Bishop of Norwich (Dr.
      M. Wren), and the Bishop of Oxford (Dr. Bancroft), rode in a
      coach.' The Court was entertained with very brilliant
      festivities, and a series of masks and interludes arranged by
      Inigo Jones.--_Oxfordshire Annals_, p. 25, by J. M. Davenport.

  [19] The state of the diocese is vividly shown in Bishop Corbet's
      charge of 1634 (for the repairs of old S. Paul's Cathedral).
      'Some petitions,' he says, 'I have had since my coming to this
      diocese, for the pulling downe of such an isle [aisle] or for
      changing lead to thatch, soe far from reparations that our sute
      is to demolish.... Since Christmas I was sued to and I have it
      yett under their hands, the hand of the minister and the hand of
      the whole parish, that I would give way to their adorning their
      church within and out, to build a stone wall round the
      churchyard which now had but a hedg. _I took it for a flout at
      first_, but it proved a very sute; they durst not without leave
      mend a fault forty yeares ould.' The spire of Norwich Cathedral
      where Bishop Corbet was preaching had fallen in, and during
      three years but two yards had been rebuilt. See _Documents
      relating to S. Paul's_ by Dr. Sparrow Simpson, p. 137. Camden

                               CHAPTER II.



               Instead of kitchen-stuff, some cry
               A gospel-preaching ministry,
               And some for old suits, coats, or cloak,
               No surplices nor service-book.
               A strange harmonious inclination
               Of all degrees to Reformation.
                                  _Hudibras_, pt. i. canto 2.

Less is known of the early years of Christopher Wren than of his
brother's more eventful life. Christopher went to Oxford, to S. John's
College, was admitted to Holy Orders, and, like his brother, became
chaplain to Bishop Andrewes, from whom in 1620 he received the living of
Fonthill Bishops in Wiltshire.

It may be said in passing, that to receive preferment from Lancelot
Andrewes was in itself a proof of merit, for it was his especial care,
in the three dioceses which he successively governed, only to promote
able and good men to 'such livings and preferments as fell within his
gift, and to give Church preferment to _none that asked for it_.' To
this rule he rigidly adhered, and his disciple, Matthew Wren, followed
the same plan when he became a Prelate of the Church.

Christopher did not hold this living more than three years, and then
received, also from Bishop Andrewes, the neighbouring living of East (or
Bishop's) Knoyle, very near Fonthill Abbey, afterwards a place famous
for its beauty and its curiosities, then the property of a Mr. Robert
Cox. This gentleman had an only child, Mary, who inherited his property;
she became the wife of Christopher Wren, probably a few years after his
appointment to East Knoyle, where their seven children were born--five
girls, of only one of whom there is any subsequent record, and two sons.
A Christopher, baptized in the November of 1630, who probably died very
young, as in the register the record stands, 'Christopher, first sonne
of Doctor Wren,' 'first' is added above in another hand. The next
baptism is, 'Christopher, 2nd (_sic_) sonne of Christopher Wren, Dr. in
Divinitie and Rector now.' This is in the entries for 1631 (O.S.),
followed by those for March, and is dated only '10th.'

This 'second Christopher' is the one who was to make the name afterwards
so famous; but the date is very perplexing. Dr. Wren and his son both
reckoned the latter's age from his birthday, October 20, 1632, as
appears again and again in the 'Parentalia,' notably in Dr. Wren's own
MS. note to a letter from his son.[20] The East Knoyle Register would,
if the baptism is rightly put among the entries for _March_ 1631 (O.S.),
make the birthday October 20, 1631; but it seems more likely that this
is an error, and 1632 the correct date.


At East Knoyle Dr. Wren appears to have passed most of his time, leaving
it occasionally, as he had done his previous living, to attend on Bishop
Andrewes. He was a good scholar, if less deeply learned than his
brother; a mathematician, a good musician, and had besides some
knowledge of drawing and architecture. He employed himself in decorating
East Knoyle chancel, and to him, in all probability, are owing the[21]
'flower borders, figures, and texts of Scripture in raised plasterwork'
which, though much defaced, still cover the chancel. The subjects
are--'Jacob's Dream,' 'The Ladder with the Angels,' 'Jacob anointing the
Pillar.' Over the chancel arch 'The Ascension of our Lord.' Round the
capitals of the columns are quaint inscriptions:

               Sic    ae      Am          a
                   pr    sis.    a.  A Deo pta.[22]
                ut    o       or          o

'Unum necessarium.' The texts of holy Scripture, which are very well
chosen, are all quoted from that earlier translation known as the
'Bishops' Bible,' to which the Psalms, Offertory sentences, and
'Comfortable Words' of the Prayer Book belong.

Besides this, Wren contrived a new roof for the church, as the old one
was falling into decay. In the hall of the rectory he put up the
following inscription:

          'In quamcunque domum introeritis primum dicite:
                      paX sIt hVIC DoMVI
                Tam solenni præcepto, tempestivo voto
                        Subscripsi introiens
                          C. W. RECTOR,
                      Julii 28. Anno dicto.'[23]

The inscription is not a little characteristic of the gentle,
peace-loving nature of Christopher Wren, and the quaint conceits in
which the wits of the time delighted. This form of chronogram was one
which he frequently used. His second daughter, Susan, was born in 1627,
and as she and the 'second Christopher' clung closely together in after
life, and the others are never mentioned, it seems likely that they two
were the only survivors of the seven children. Christopher was a very
delicate, weakly boy, who early gave promise of brilliant abilities. No
records say when Mrs. Wren died, but various things seem to show that
she died when her children were still very young.

Dr. Wren had been one of the King's chaplains in ordinary since 1628,
and so well did he acquit himself that when his brother the Bishop
resigned the deanery of Windsor and the registrarship of the Garter, the
King appointed Christopher to the vacant post. It was an appointment
which suited him well; he took up with equal energy his brother's work,
of arranging the documents and records, and continuing the history of
the Order. Two autograph letters relating to this are preserved in the
'Parentalia,' one from the chancellor of the Garter, Sir Thomas Rowe:--

   'Reverend Sir,--I had wayted on you before this tyme, but that I
   have been punished with Lamenes, both for my owne advantage to
   learne of y^u and to acquaint y^u with some orders I have received
   from his ma^{tie} and to give y^u ye summe of ye last chapiter as I
   conceived it.'


Sundry particulars follow, and he promises a record of the members of
the Garter from its foundation. The King, he says, is anxious that every
'chapiter of the Order' should be fully recorded. Sir Thomas asks for
'the papers of Sir John Fynnet' in order to send them to King Charles,
'who is very curious of them.' 'On all occasions,' the letter concludes,
'I shall be glad to give y^u ye testimonye of my desire to be esteemed
and to be y^r affectionate friend to serve y^u,

                                                      'THO. ROWE.
 'Cranford, 9 Jan. 1636 (O.S.)'

The Dean's answer comes promptly:--

                                               'Jan. 10, 1636 (O.S.)

   'Honorable Sir,--How much you obliged me I shall endeavour to
   demonstrate to you upon better opportunities. For ye present I
   returne y^r books and promise you ye sight of another some^{wt} of
   them(?) w^{ch} phaps you will not dislike, though I begin to think
   your exact diligence hath lefte none of those monuments lye
   undiscryed, where they might be gained. I send back likewise Sir
   John Finet's Paps; whereof I reserve ye copyes. And now that I
   begin to finde a little respiration, I will draw y^m up into acte.
   Till I had y^m I could not well begin, and now that you are pleased
   to send me ye last, drawne up into forme, I shall ye better
   accomplish ye whole business of my little time. Whereof I will send
   you ye whole contextures, Deo dante, ere longe. I should however
   give you a formall thanks that you imploy yourselfe soe largely,
   soe nobly for me in present, and in promise more. Knowing your
   reality in all worth, I abstain from other compliments then those
   wherein Affection must pforce speake yf she speake at all. Once for
   all, that branch of our comon oath is never out of my minde:
   Sustentabis Honores hujus Ordinis atq. omni^m qui in eo sunt. Of
   w^{ch} omni^m you are Pars Magna and shall ever be to your
   affectionate ob: servant friend,

                                                     'CHR. WREN.

   'To the Honble Sr. Tho. Row Chancelor of ye most Honble
   Order of ye Garter.'

The Garter history appears to have been carefully continued, and Dean
Wren describes, in a long picturesque account, the admission on May 19,
1638, of the Prince of Wales, then but eight years old, as a 'companion
of the Garter.' The little Prince, Dean Wren says, acquitted himself
admirably during the three days of intricate ceremonial, doing his part
with accuracy and spirit, a sweet dignity, and an unwearied patience
until all was completed.

He must have been a very hopeful, engaging, boy, and it is sad to think
how little his after life fulfilled its early promise: had he remained
in his father's care a very different record might have been left of him
in English history. The Service of Admission is a curious one, and the
prayers on the putting on the Garter, the ribbon, the collar, and the
mantle have considerable beauty. On this occasion the festival was
celebrated with great splendour. King Charles presented two large silver
flagons, cunningly carved and very richly gilt, offering them on his
knees with these words: 'Tibi, et perpetuo Tuo servitio, partem
bonitatis Tuae offero Domine Deus Omnipotens.'[24]

These were added to the treasury of the Garter, which contained many
articles of great value. There was a set of triple gilt silver plate
wrought by Van Vianen[25] of Nuremberg, estimated at over 3,000_l._,
several other pieces of plate, Edward IV.'s steel armour, gilt, and
covered with crimson velvet embroidered with pearls, rubies and gold,
fifteen rich copes embroidered in gold, altar-cloths and hangings worked
with the same costly material.


There was also the blue velvet mantle, the George and Garter of Gustavus
Adolphus, each letter of the motto made in diamonds. These had been sent
to the King of Sweden by Charles I. at the close of the campaign in 1627
as a mark of friendship and respect for his valour, and were the richest
ever sent even to a sovereign.

After the heroic king's death on the field at Lutzen, in 1634, a solemn
embassy brought the mantle and the jewels back to England, when they
were consigned to the Dean and Chapter of Windsor, with a charge from
King Charles to lay them up in the treasury 'for a perpetual memorial of
that renowned King, who died in the field of battle wearing some of
those jewels, to the great honour of the Order, as a true martial prince
and companion thereof.'

A few years later King Charles presented Dean Wren to the rectory of
Great Haseley[26] near Oxford, with a fine old church containing two
crusaders' tombs.

In the parish of Haseley is the manor of Ryecote (or Ricot), which by
marriage had become the property of Sir Henry Norris, Queen Elizabeth's
ambassador to France, whom she created Baron Norris (or Norreys) of
Ryecot, and whose descendants, now the Earls of Abingdon, possess the
manor to this day. During Dr. Wren's incumbency, a strange event took
place. Among the retainers of Lord Norris was an old man who had charge
of the fish ponds; he had one nephew, who was the heir of all his
uncle's possessions and savings. The nephew enticed the old man out one
night, waited till he fell asleep under an oak tree, murdered him by a
blow on the head, dragged the body to one of the ponds, tied a great
stone to the neck and threw the corpse in. There it lay _five weeks_,
during which time Lord Norris and all the neighbours wondered what had
become of the old man. At length the body was found by the men who were
about to clean the pond, and were attracted to the spot by the swarms of
flies; they raised the corpse with great difficulty and recognised it.


The stone tied to the neck was evidence of foul play, though no one
could guess at the murderer. Lord Norris, in order to detect the
criminal, after the usual manner, commanded that the corpse, preserved
by the water from the last extremity of decay, should on the next Sunday
be exposed in the churchyard, close to the church door, so that everyone
entering the church should see--and touch it. The wicked nephew shrank
from the ordeal, feigning to be so overwhelmed with grief as to be
unable to bear the sight of his dearest uncle. Lord Norris, suspecting
that the old man had been murdered by the one person whom his death
would profit, compelled him to come, and to touch with his finger, as so
many had willingly done, the hand of the dead. At his touch, however,
'as if opened by the finger of God, the eyes of the corpse were seen by
all to move, and blood to flow from his nostrils.' At this awful witness
the murderer fell on the ground and avowed the crime, which he had
secretly committed and the most just judgment of God had brought to
light. He was delivered to the judge, sentenced, and hanged.

The event must have made a deep impression on Dean Wren, who recorded it
at length in Latin and signed the record to attest its truth.

He also mentions that in the east window of the church was the

   'Coat of France azure fretté and semé of Flower de Lyces or, put
   there together with his own coat by Lord Barentine, knight of
   Rhodes and a great benefactor to that church. A man of great valour
   and possessions in France as well as in England, his tomb at the
   north-east side of the chancel shows he was of a gigantic stature;
   and his statue of one entire stone, which I digged out of a heap of
   rubbish there, makes it appear he was (not two inches lower than)
   seven foot high.'

Dr. Wren seems to have divided his residence between Haseley and
Windsor, probably spending most of his time at the Deanery, where many
of the learned men and philosophers of the day sought his society. Among
these was the Prince Palatine Charles, who was a frequent guest at the
Deanery, enjoying its learned quiet, and interested in his host's young
son, whose great gifts were early remarkable. Many a little note did
Dean Wren make of curious things that came under his observation,
particularly of an oak that grew in the New Forest and sent out young
fresh leaves on Christmas Eve. So much discussion was raised about it at
court and King James would so little believe it, that good Bishop
Andrewes sent a chaplain on Christmas Eve to the forest, who gathered
about a hundred fresh shoots, stuck them into wet clay, and sent them
straight to the court, where Dr. Wren witnessed the opening of the
boxes. The tree was then cut down by some spiteful fellow, 'who,' says
the Dean, 'made his last stroke on his own leg, whereof he died,
together with the old wondrous tree.'

King Charles engaged Dr. Wren to make an estimate for a building at
Windsor for the use of the Queen; it was to be of considerable size,
containing a chapel, a banqueting room, galleries and rooms for the Lord
Chamberlain and court officials. The estimate exists in business-like
detail, the total amounting to 13,305_l._; but it was probably not even


To his other employments the Dean added the tender care of his young
son. Christopher's case was one of those rare ones in which a precocious
child not only lives to grow up, but also amply fulfils his early
promise. His delicate health was the cause of much anxiety to his father
and to his sister Susan, and it may be that the skill in nursing and
medicine for which she was afterwards famous, had their beginning in her
watchful care of her little brother.

His frail health seems to have been rather a spur than a hindrance to
his studies, and when very young he had a tutor, the Rev. W. Shepheard,
who prepared him for Westminster, where he was sent in his ninth or
tenth year. Westminster was then under the rule of its famous headmaster
Dr. Busby, to whose especial care young Christopher was committed.

The school with its stir of life, the grand abbey, the Houses of
Parliament then empty and silent, Lambeth, from which his uncle's
friend, Archbishop Laud, might be seen frequently coming across the
river in his barge; the whole surroundings must have been wonderful to
the country-bred boy who was one day to connect his name indissolubly
with that of London. Did he, one cannot but wonder, ever on a holiday
take boat down the river, shooting the dangerous arches of London
Bridge, and look at S. Paul's with its long line of roof, its tall tower
and shattered spire; little S. Gregory's nestling by its side, and all
the workmen busied on the repairs which had been begun after King
James's solemn thanksgiving in 1620? Laud, while Bishop of London, had
carried on the works with a vigour that had given them a fresh impetus,
and was one great cause of his unpopularity. Inigo Jones had
superintended them and finished the interior, and at the west end, the
stately portico of Portland stone, which, though incongruous, was in
itself beautiful, was being erected by King Charles's orders. How little
could the boy have guessed at the ruin which was approaching those pious
builders, or the desecration and destruction that awaited the fine old
building itself!

At school no pains were spared with so promising a pupil as young Wren
soon showed himself to be. His sister Susan married, in 1643, Mr.
William Holder, subdean of the Chapel Royal, of a Nottinghamshire
family, a good mathematician, and one 'who had good skill in the practic
and theoretic parts of music'[27] Susan Wren was sixteen when she
married, and though childless the marriage was a very happy one.

Mr. Holder early discerned his young brother-in-law's talent for
mathematics and gave him private lessons. Mr. Holder was subsequently
appointed to the living of Bletchingdon in Oxfordshire, which he held
until 1663.


Among the few autograph letters of Christopher Wren's which remain in
the family, is one written to his father from Westminster in a boy's
unformed hand, the faintly ruled lines still showing.

   [28]'Venerande Pater,--Sententia apud antiquos vulgata est, quam
   ex ore tuo me habuisse memini, Parentibus nihil posse reddi
   æquivalens. Frequentes enim curae et perpetui labores circa pueros
   sunt immensi quidem amoris indicium. At praecepta illa mihi toties
   repetita, quae animum ad bonas Artes, & Virtutem impellunt, omnes
   alios amores superant. Quod meum est, efficiam, quantum potero ne
   ingrato fiant hac munera. Deus Optimus Maximus conatibus meis adsit
   et Tibi, pro visceribus illis Paternae Pietatis, quae maximè velis

   'Id orat Filius tuus, Tibi omni obsequio devotissimus,

                                           'CHRISTOPHORUS WREN.

          'Has tibi primitias Anni, Pater, atq. laborum
          Praesto (per exiguas qualibet esse sciam)
          Quas spero in messem posse olim crescere, vultu
          Si placido acceptes tu, foveasque sinu.

          'To you, Deare Sir, your Son presenteth heere
          The first-fruits of his pains and of the yeare;
          Wich may (though small) in time an harvest grow,
          If you to cherish these, your favour shew.

     'E. Musaeo Meo. 'Calendis Januarii 1641 (1642 N.S.)'


While young Christopher was thus delighting his father with his
'first-fruits,' his uncle the Bishop was encountering many adversities.
While he was busied in Norwich, and in the midst of his work, Dr. White,
Bishop of Ely, died; he had resided mostly in London, as was then too
commonly the habit of the bishops, and it is to be supposed that there
was plenty of work to be done in the diocese. Laud reckoned it as a very
important one on account of its university, and could think of no one so
well suited to the post as Bishop Wren, who was a distinguished
Cambridge scholar. To Ely accordingly the Bishop was translated, May 5,
1638, and rejoiced in renewing his connection with the university where
his early years had been spent. The expenses attending so many removals
must have fallen heavily upon him; all the more, as in Norwich the
palace was out of repair and he lived for some time in a house of his
own at Ipswich, which was probably a part of Mrs. Wren's property,
finding that much attention was required by that part of his diocese.
Prynne was born at Ipswich, and though shut up in the Tower of
London,[29] retained friends in his native town; thus the Bishop knew he
was entering a hornet's nest. Prynne speedily produced his
'Quench-Coal,' which professed to answer a tract called 'A Coal from the
Altar,' wherein were explained the reasons for placing the Holy Table
altarwise, and railing it in. Next came 'The News from Ipswich,' which
reviled all bishops under the names of 'Luciferian Lord Bishops,
execrable Traytors, Devouring Wolves,' and the like; especially
attacking Wren, and declaring, that, 'in all Queen Marie's time, no such
havoc was made in so short a time of the faithful ministers in any part,
nay in the whole Land, than had been made in his Diocese.' There was one
great riot at Ipswich, which the Bishop was able to quell. Prynne was
fined, branded, and imprisoned in Carnarvon Castle, and the town was for
the time tranquil, but Prynne was destined to be a deadly and utterly
unscrupulous enemy.

For nearly two years after his translation to Ely, Dr. Wren was able to
govern his new diocese in comparative peace. Little opposition seems to
have been made, for the factious spirit which was rampant in Norfolk and
Suffolk was less violent here. In his beloved university there were many
points which needed amendment. When he was master of Peterhouse and
built the chapel, he gave it that which many colleges then lacked, and
were lacking still when he returned, to visit Cambridge.

The churchyards of the parish churches had been in many instances
encroached upon and profaned, and in most of the chancels were 'common
seats over high and unfitting that place.' 'In all these businesses,'
says Archbishop Laud in his yearly report to the King, 'the Bishop hath
been very tender, both out of his respect to his mother the University
of Cambridge, and because divers of the benefices are impropriations
belonging to some of the Colleges there.' Nor was Wren's care alone for
the fabrics of the Church; he was careful to secure resident and
diligent clergy in all the parishes as far as he could and to see that
they did their duty. His advice and help were readily given. A
clergyman, Mr. John Bois, applied to him for advice in the case of a
woman of twenty-nine, of whom no one knew whether or no she was
baptized. Mr. Bois had applied by letter and word of mouth to the
previous Bishops of Ely (Bishops Buckeridge and White), and could get no
answer. Bishop Wren replied to him promptly, directing him to baptize
her forthwith, which was accordingly done.[30] Upon these peaceful
labours the long-pending storm broke and called Wren to harder duties.

In 1640 the discontent of the times declared itself openly in Scotland,
where the Puritan party took up arms against the King, and began to
league themselves with the party in England whose opinions or prejudices
coincided with their own. King Charles had summoned a parliament, and
again dismissed it, having obtained no assistance against the Scotch.
'The minds of men had taken such a turn,' says Hume, 'as to ascribe
every honour to the refractory opposers of the King and the ministers.
These were the only patriots, the only lovers of their country, the only
heroes, and perhaps, too, the only true Christians.' The mob of
sectaries in London, encouraged by the successes obtained by the Scotch,
burst into S. Paul's, where the High Commission then sat, and tore down
the benches, with cries of 'No Bishops--no commission!' Before this they
had attacked Lambeth Palace, threatening to tear the Archbishop in
pieces, and would probably have done so had he not been prepared for
them. From that time he knew his life to be in constant peril. An
unknown friend had written to warn him that the Scotch Puritans
justified assassination, and openly hoped the Primate might meet the
same fate as his early friend and patron, the Duke of Buckingham. His
integrity and singleness of mind, to which Clarendon gives high
testimony, had made him bitter enemies. A hasty temper and sharp mode of
speech alienated many who could not but respect him. The difficulties of
his task had been doubled by the lax, un-Catholic rule of his
predecessor at Lambeth. Both Puritans and Romanists alike reckoned him
as their greatest opponent. He was nearly seventy years old, and sadly
felt that 'there wanted not many presages of his ruin and death.' The
King's return, on October 30, brought a gleam of sunshine.


Evelyn[31] says:--

   'I saw His Majesty (coming from his Northern expedition) ride in
   pomp and a kind of ovation with all the markes of a happy peace,
   restored to the affections of his people, being conducted through
   London with a most splendid cavalcade; and on 3 November following
   (a day never to be mentioned without a curse), to that long,
   ungrateful, foolish, and fatal Parliament, the beginning of all our
   sorrow for twenty years after, and the period of the most happy
   monarchy in the world.' In truth its opening augured ill for the
   country and for the Church.

Lord Strafford was impeached and sent to the Tower, and the Archbishop
next attacked. Sir Harbottle Grimston, in a virulent speech, vented his
hatred against Archbishop Laud; 'and those prelates he hath advanced--to
name but some of them: Bishop Manwaring, the Bishop of Bath and Wells,
the Bishop of Oxford, and Bishop Wren--the last of all those birds, but
one of the most unclean ones.' The debate which followed ended--as in
the temper of the House it was certain to do--in a vote that the
Archbishop was a traitor. Allowed the afternoon at Lambeth to collect
papers for his defence, he attended the evening prayers for the last
time in the chapel that he had repaired and adorned with loving care.
The service, which he had restored to its full beauty, soothed that
bitter hour. 'The Psalms of the day (December 18) and chapter l. of
Isaiah gave me great comfort. God make me worthy to receive it,' he
wrote in his diary. The poor thronged round Lambeth Palace, and bitterly
lamented the departure of their best friend, showering blessings on his
head as he was carried away. He remained in the custody of Maxwell, the
Usher of the Black Rod, ten weeks, compelled to pay 436_l._ for his
charges, besides a fine of 500_l._ He was then transferred to the Tower.


The Archbishop being secured, the Bishops were next attacked. Hampden
came to the Lords with a message to acquaint their lordships that the
Commons had received matters of a high kind against the Bishop of Ely,
for the 'setting up of idolatry and superstition in divers places, and
acting the same in his own person;' adding that he was intending to
escape from England, and that they therefore desired he might be put in
security, to be forthcoming and abide the judgment of Parliament. Bishop
Wren was in his place in the House when this summons came, and was
ordered to find bail for 10,000_l._; helped by three of the bishops, he
managed to do so. When the Primate was in custody, and Wren under
censure, at the beginning of the next year Lord Strafford was attacked.
Dr. Williams, Bishop of Lincoln, not long released from the Tower,
anxious to please the Commons, declared that the canon law forbade the
Bishops to sit as judges in a case of blood. He spoke in the name of the
other Bishops; and the decision was too welcome to Strafford's enemies
not to be agreed to instantly; but it was a concession afterwards very
dangerous to those who made it. The issue of that iniquitous trial,
perhaps as great a perversion of justice as England had ever then known,
needs no repetition here.

The King's best advisers were in prison or under restraint, except good
Bishop Juxon, who bravely told him he ought not, upon any considerations
in the world, to do anything against his conscience; and Bishop
Williams, who hated Strafford and Laud alike, sent by the Commons to
induce the King to sign the death-warrant, had a fatal success.

Bishop Wren came to Windsor after this to marry Princess Mary, the
King's eldest daughter, to William, eldest son of Henry Frederick,
Prince of Orange, whom he succeeded in six years. The alliance was one
which gratified the Parliament, being so Protestant a connection.
Little, however, could they have guessed how deadly an enemy Princess
Mary's son would prove to the house of Stuart. Ten days after this
wedding came May 12, when 'the wisest head in England was severed from
the shoulders of Lord Strafford.' So writes John Evelyn. To the
Archbishop, his friend's death must have been a terrible blow. He was
just able to bestow a parting blessing through his prison window, and to
hear Lord Strafford say, 'Farewell, my lord. God protect your
innocency.' The Princess's marriage was the last occasion on which
Bishop Wren was to officiate as Dean of the Chapels Royal.

The Commons had been industriously at work against him since the first
attack in December, and as Archbishop Laud said of Prynne, 'by this time
their malice had hammered out somewhat.' The committee sent in a report,
charging the Bishop with 'excommunicating fifty painful ministers,
practising superstition in his own person, placing "the table"
altarwise, elevation of the elements, the "eastward position," as it is
now called, at the Eucharist, bowing to the Altar, causing all seats to
be placed so that the people faced east, employing his authority to
restrain "powerful preaching," and ordering catechising in the words of
the Church Catechism only, permitting no prayer before the sermon but
the bidding prayer (canon 5), publishing a book of articles, to which
the churchwardens were sworn, containing 187 questions.'


Upon this report a debate ensued, ending in a vote that it was the
opinion of the House that Matthew Wren was unworthy and unfit to hold or
exercise any office or dignity in the Church, and voting that a message
be sent to the House of Lords to desire them to join the Commons in
petitioning his Majesty to remove Bishop Wren from his person and
service. Evelyn's expression, 'to such an exorbitancy had the times
grown,' aptly describes the state of matters when, for details such as
these of the government of a diocese, and for practices which, if they
had been proved, were both legal and reasonable, an assembly of laymen
presumed to pronounce a bishop unfit for his office in the Church.
Whether the petition ever came before the King does not appear, but Wren
thought it best to take the initiative; for he writes in his diary five
days after the debate: 'I hardly obtained leave from the King to resign
the deanery of the Chapels Royal.'


   [20] _Vide infra_, p. 43.

   [21] I am indebted to the kindness of the Rev. R. N. Milford,
        rector of East Knoyle, for this account. See Sir R. C. Hoare's
        History of Wiltshire. The inscriptions on the columns have
        been destroyed.

   [22] So guide and govern as to profit souls. Love, Pray. One thing
        needful. Ask fit things from God.

   [23]          Into whatsoever house ye enter, first say
                         Peace be to this house.
                 To so solemn a precept, by a seasonable vow,
                         I, entering, have set my name.
                             C. W. Rector.
                 July 28. In the said year, i.e. MDCXVVIII.

   [24] 'To Thee, and to Thy service for ever, I offer a portion of
        Thy bounty, O Lord God Almighty.'

   [25] Christian Van Vianen was an embosser and chaser of plate, much
        esteemed by Charles I. The gilt plate above mentioned was
        wrought at the rate of 12_s._ per oz.--_Anecdotes of
        Painting_, Walpole, vol. ii. p. 323.

   [26] William Lenthall (born at Henley-on-Thames 1591), Speaker of
        the House of Commons 1640-1653 and 1660, lived chiefly at
        Lachford Manor in Great Haseley parish, which had been in his
        family since the reign of Edward IV. The property was sold by
        his eldest son. It may have been owing to the influence of the
        Speaker that Dean Wren escaped imprisonment during the

   [27] Wood, _Fasti Oxon._, p. 139.

   [28] 'Revered Father,--There is a common saying among the ancients
        which I remember to have had from your mouth; there is no
        equivalent that can be given back to parents. For their cares
        and perpetual labours concerning their children are indeed the
        evidence of immeasurable love. Now these precepts so often
        repeated, which have impelled my soul towards all that is
        highest in man, and to virtue, have superseded in me all other
        affections. What in me lies I will perform, as much as I am
        able, lest these gifts should have been bestowed on an
        ungrateful soul. May the good God Almighty be with me in my
        undertakings and make good to thee all thou most desirest in
        the tenderness of thy fatherly love. Thus prays thy son, most
        devoted to thee in all obedience,
                                               'CHRISTOPHER WREN.'

        'Script. hoc, A^o Ætatis suae, Decimo. Ab Octobris 20^o elapso'
        is the note in different hand of Dean Wren, who may very
        probably have felt that in the fast-rising storm all this fair
        promise might be swept away.

   [29] Heylin, _Cypr. Ang._, p. 309.

   [30] _Desiderata Curiosa_, p. 336. Peck. It will be borne in mind
        that the Office for the Baptism of such as are of Riper Years
        was only added to the Prayer Book at the last revision in
        1662. Mr. John Bois was made a Prebendary of Ely by Bishop
        Andrewes, and was one of the translators of the Bible
        (1604-1611); he was on the Cambridge Committee, and assisted
        in the translation of the Apocrypha.--_Key to the Holy Bible_,
        p. 28. Rev. J. H. Blunt.

   [31] _Diary_, October 30, 1640.

                               CHAPTER III.



                    For though outnumber'd, overthrown,
                    And by the fate of war run down,
                    Their duty never was defeated,
                    Nor from their oaths and faith retreated;
                    For loyalty is still the same,
                    Whether it win or lose the game;
                    True as the dial to the sun,
                    Although it be not shined upon.
                                     _Hudibras_, pt. iii. canto 2.

The concession Bishop Wren had thus made did not satisfy the Commons,
and on July 20 they drew out the report into twenty articles of
accusation, containing all the former charges and several additional
ones, among which were the setting up of altar-rails, ordering the Holy
Communion to be received kneeling, ordering the reading of the 'Book of
Sports,' and preaching in a surplice; causing by prosecutions 3,000 of
the King's poor subjects to go beyond the sea.

For these offences they prayed that Bishop Wren might answer, and suffer
such punishment as law and justice required. The articles were
transmitted to the House of Lords at a conference, and were read by Sir
T. Widdrington, Recorder of York,[32] who prefaced them by a venomous
speech against the Bishop of Ely, whom he compared to 'a wolf devouring
the flock; an extinguisher of light; a Noah, who sent out doves from the
ark, and refused to receive them back unless they returned as ravens, to
feed upon the carrion of his new inventions, he himself standing with a
flaming sword to keep such out of his diocese.' He accused the Bishop of
raising fines for his own profit; called him a great robber, a
malefactor, 'a compleat mirror of innovation, superstition, and
oppression: an oppugner of the life and liberty of religion, and a
devouring serpent in the diocese of Norwich.'

These are but a few phrases from Sir Thomas's speech; he used no
argument, adduced no proof, but contented himself simply with clamour
and reviling, and these were amply sufficient. In the Long Parliament it
was enough to accuse anyone, especially a bishop, of Popery,
superstition and 'innovation'--which was a term invented by Bishop
Williams, then as now commonly applied to the oldest dogmas and
practices of the Church--to insure his imprisonment, or at the least a
heavy fine. In Wren's Diary opposite the day of the month is merely,
'Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered.' Dr. Pierce, Bishop of
Bath and Wells, was attacked at the same time; but at first no active
steps were taken against them, perhaps because the Commons found matters
not yet ripe for a wholesale imprisonment of the Bishops. Dr. Wren well
knew that matters would not stop here, and while awaiting the next
attack began to prepare his Defence against the Articles of Accusation.

The mob in the meanwhile were encouraged by caricatures, libels, and
invectives to rail against the Bishops and impute every misfortune and
every trade failure to them, by which means the Puritan leaders
contrived to stir up a yelling mob of men and women.



All petitions against the Church were received and the petitioners
encouraged and praised. The populace insulted the Bishops whenever they
appeared, and threatened their lives. Westminster Abbey was attacked,
when the Bishops were there, by a violent mob, led by Wiseman, a knight
of Kent. The officers and choirmen of the Abbey with the boys of the
School, among whom must have been Christopher Wren, defended it
gallantly, and the fray ended when Wiseman was killed by a tile thrown
from the battlements by one of the defenders. After this the Bishops who
were in London met in the Deanery at Westminster, the lodging of
Williams, Archbishop of York, who had just been translated from Lincoln
to York, in succession to the late Archbishop Neile,[33] to consult what
should be done. At the Archbishop's suggestion, they drew up a paper,
remonstrating against the abuse offered them, and the manner in which
they had been hindered from coming to the House of Lords, their coaches
overset, their barges attacked and prevented landing, and they
themselves beset and threatened. They claimed their right to sit in the
House of Lords and vote, and protested against all that had been done
since the 27th of that month (December, 1641), and all that should
hereafter pass in time of this their forced and violent absence. This
paper was signed by the Archbishop and eleven Bishops, of whom Bishop
Wren was one, and presented to the King, who delivered it to Littleton,
the Lord Keeper, to be communicated next day to the Peers. The Lord
Keeper, who had already deserted his benefactor, Lord Strafford,
contrary to the King's orders showed the paper first to 'some of the
preaching party in both Houses,' and then to the Peers. Upon the reading
a conference was desired between the Houses, and the Lord Keeper
declared that the Bishops' paper contained 'matters of high and
dangerous consequence, extending to the deep intrenching upon the
fundamental privileges and being of Parliament.' The Commons, whose
part, like that of the Lord Keeper[34] was pre-arranged, impeached the
Bishops of high treason; the usher of the Black Rod was despatched to
find and bring them before the House. They, lodging in different parts
of London, were not all collected until eight o'clock on the winter's
night, and then, their offence being signified, were committed to the
Tower.[35] The Bishops of Durham and Lichfield, both aged and infirm,
obtained leave to be in the custody of the Black Rod. The other bishops
were carried to the Tower on the following morning. A libellous
pamphlet was published at this time, entitled 'Wren's Anatomy,
discovering his notorious Pranks &c., printed in the year when Wren
ceased to domineer,' has in the title-page a print of Bishop Wren
sitting at a table; out of his mouth proceed two labels: on one,
'Canonical Prayers;' on the other, 'No Afternoon Sermon.' On one side
stand several clergy, over whose heads is written 'Altar-cringing
Priests.' On the other, two men in lay habits, above whom is this
inscription, 'Churchwardens for Articles.' It serves to show what were
considered as really the Bishop's crimes, and that he had a fair
proportion of faithful clergy.[36] The Archbishop of York had served the
Commons' turn in procuring the King's assent to Lord Strafford's
death-warrant, and had enjoyed for a short time a remarkable though
transient popularity both on that account and as Laud's bitter opponent.
The Commons were, however, soon weary of him, and gladly availed
themselves of the pretext afforded by the protest to throw him aside. A
pamphlet was published, which had a great success, entitled the 'Decoy
Duck,' in allusion to the fens of his former diocese of Lincoln, in
which he was represented as only released from the Tower in order to
decoy the other bishops there. It was thought prudent that the bishops
should make no attempt either to see each other, or Archbishop Laud, who
had preceded them to that dreary lodging, so that only loving messages
passed between the prisoners. So many bishops being in custody, and five
sees vacant, the Commons took their opportunity, and brought in a Bill
depriving the Bishops of their seats in Parliament, and of the power of
sitting as judges or privy councillors. It was feebly opposed by the
Churchmen, who had been alienated by the prelates' desertion of Lord
Strafford, and was finally carried. The remark made a little later by
Lord Falkland on Sir E. Deering's 'Bill for the Extirpation of
Episcopacy,' when the Churchmen, weary of their attendance, left the
House at dinner-time, and did not return--'Those who hated the bishops,
hated them worse than the devil, and those who loved them did not love
them so well as their dinner,'--appears to have been applicable to this
occasion also. Not very long after the first-named Bill had passed, some
of the bishops were set at liberty, but Bishop Wren was not released
until May 6, 1642.


It was a brief respite. He went down to his diocese, to a house at
Downham, near Ely, where his wife and children were living, and there,
August 17, he kept the last wedding-day that he and his wife were ever
to celebrate together. On August 25 King Charles set up his standard at
Nottingham and the Civil War began. On the 30th of the month Bishop
Wren's house was entered by soldiers and he was taken prisoner, without,
it will be observed, the shadow of a legal charge against him. On
September 1st he was again thrown into the Tower, leaving Mrs. Wren with
a daughter only eight days old and mourning for their son Francis, who
had died in the previous month. Matthew, the eldest son, was then only
thirteen years old. Bishop Wren's was a singularly steadfast, hopeful
nature, and it may be that he expected to be speedily released by the
victorious Royalist armies. Could he have foreseen the duration of his
imprisonment and the miseries which were to befall the Church and the
country, even his dauntless spirit might have been crushed. He did not
seek an interview with Archbishop Laud, lest they should be accused of
plotting, and so each injure the other. Otherwise it would not have been
difficult, as the Archbishop was at first carelessly watched, in the
hope that he would, by escaping, rid the Commons of a difficulty. The
Archbishop 'would not, at seventy years, go about to prolong a miserable
life by the trouble and shame of flying,' though Grotius sent him an
intreaty to copy the example of his own marvellous escape from
Loevenstein Castle twenty-one years previously.[37] The services in the
Tower Chapel, where they probably met at first, could have given them
little comfort, marred and mangled as the services were by the
intruders, who came often with no better object than to preach insulting
sermons against the prelates.

Dr. Wren busied himself in the completion of the 'Defence,' to which
allusion has been made in the first chapter.[38] It is too long to allow
of being set out in full, but a few points may be touched upon. Of the
'fifty painful ministers' whom he was said to have excommunicated, for
some of the sentences there was, as has been said, very sufficient
reason. As the Bishop says, 'Excommunication doth by law fall upon
those that are absent, either from visitation, or synods; and
suspension is a censure which in the practice of those courts is
incurred in one hour and taken off in another, and is of little or no
grievance at all except it be wilfully persisted in.' He complains of so
vague a charge, not stating who the clergy were, and proceeds as well as
he can recollect to mention those who had fallen under his censure. For
those whose licence to preach had been withdrawn, the greater number
ought never to have received it at all; one had been a broken tradesman
in Ipswich, one a country apothecary, another a weaver, another 'no
graduate, not long translated from common stage-playing to two cures and
a publick lecture.' Yet still when all were reckoned who had ever been
censured or admonished, the Bishop thinks that the fifty will hardly be
made up.[39]


It is a curious instance of the temper of the times that one head of so
serious an indictment should be that 'To manifest his Popish Affections,
he in 1636, caused a crucifix to be engraven upon his Episcopal seal.'
Bishop Wren carefully addresses himself to the defence of this point,
and to that of bowing at the name of our Lord, and to the Altar.

   'He began so to do by the example of that learned and holy Prelate
   Bishop Andrewes, now with God, under whom this defendant was
   brought up from his youth, and had depended upon him more than
   forty years since, and constantly and religiously practised the
   same upon all occasions ... as his own years and studies increased
   he found first, the bowing at the name of the Lord Jesus, had not
   only been practised by the clergy but had also been enjoined to all
   the people, ever since the first reformation, as appeareth by the
   Injunctions, 1^o Eliz. Cap. 52, thereby to testify our due
   acknowledgment that the Lord Jesus Christ, the true and Eternal Son
   of God, is the only Saviour of the world, in whom alone the
   mercies, graces and promises of God to mankind for this life and
   the life to come are fully and wholly comprised, 1^o Jac. Can. 18.'

For bowing to the Altar, while setting out how old a practice of the
Church it was, designedly continued at the Reformation, how a like
reverence was paid always to the King, or to his chair of estate if he
was not in the Presence Chamber,

   'No Christian would ever deny that bowing or doing adoration, was
   to be used as a part of God's worship, the affirmative act being
   necessarily included in the negative precept, "Non adorabis ea,
   ergo adorabis Me."' 'No more as he humbly conceiveth is it any
   superstition, but a sign of devotion, and of an awful apprehension
   of God's divine Presence, to do Him reverence at the approach into
   the House of God, or unto the Lord's Table....

For the crucifix--

   'He utterly denieth all popish affections, and saith that
   the figure of Christ upon the Cross may be had without any popish
   affection, and that the said figure upon his seal did itself
   declare what affection it was to manifest. For there was this posy
   engraven with it, "[Greek: En hô kosmos emoi kagô tô kosmô]," being
   taken out of S. Paul, Gal. vi. 14.... In an holy imitation whereof
   this defendant beareth divers coats of arms (as the use is) upon
   the said seal, to wit, the arms of the See of Norwich, and the arms
   of the See of Hereford, and of the Deanery of Windsor, and of the
   Mastership of Peterhouse, together with his own paternal coat of an
   ancient descent; he, considering with himself, that these were
   emblems all, and badges but of worldly and temporal glories, and
   desiring that the world should have a right apprehension of him,
   and to testify that he did no way glory in any thing of this
   transitory world, but humbly endeavoured to wean himself from all
   temporal and vain rejoycing, he therefore caused such a small
   figure of Christ on the Cross to be set over all the said coats.'

   He adds that he principally used it in signing 'presentments of
   Popish recusants.' ... not to say that although the said seal lay
   all the year long locked up in a chest, but at the time of sealing,
   and that when any sealing there was no worship done by any; yet
   nevertheless, as soon as he understood that any had taken scruple
   at it, he presently, to avoid all pretence of scandal, caused the
   said seal to be altered and the figure of Christ to be wholly


The part of the Defence, which has been most challenged, is that for the
use of the 'Eastward position.' It is, however, important to remember
that the Bishop had to defend himself against the charge, that once,
while celebrating in the Tower Church at Ipswich, he had 'used
idolatrous actions' in administering the Holy Communion, Consecrating
the Elements with his face eastward, elevating the Paten and Chalice
'above his shoulders and bowing low either to or before them when set
down on the Table.'

The charge of 'idolatry' divides itself into three heads. The last two
Wren met by a full denial, the first he confesses, while explaining his
reason for his position in _that special instance_, when, as he says,
the Elements being on the middle of the Holy Table, 'were farther from
the end thereof than he, being but low of stature, could reach over his
book unto them and yet still proceed in reading the words without stop
or interruption and without danger of spilling the Bread and Wine ...
and he humbly conceiveth that although the Rubrick[41] says that the
Minister shall stand at the north side of the Table, yet it is not so to
be meant as that upon no occasion during all Communion time he shall
step from it.' For the rest, the whole tone of the Defence is brave and
dignified; and despite the knowledge that his life was at stake, despite
of the 'humbly conceiveth' which runs through it, it is evident that the
Bishop considered his position to be in reality unassailable, and that
he was more or less condescending in making these explanations. There is
an irony in the studied simplicity with which the scholar and theologian
explains elementary truths and ordinary rules of church discipline to a
House of Commons who certainly stood in need of instruction in such

The Bishop, when his part was done, and he had received notice to
prepare for trial on a day appointed, put his manuscript, with an
injunction of secresy, into the hands of a lawyer who was supposed to be
friendly, that he might give his advice on the technical and legal

   'The person,' says the 'Parentalia,' 'thus intrusted discovering
   (on the perusal) matters of such moment, as he conceived might be
   very expedient for the Prosecutors to be forewarned of, betrayed
   his trust, and to ingratiate himself treacherously delivered up the
   Bishop's papers to the chief persons in power of the governing
   faction. The consequence thereupon was--that the resolution which
   had been taken to bring him to trial for life was suddenly
   countermanded and an order by the House of Commons made to continue
   him in prison during their pleasure.'


So began the long years of Bishop Wren's captivity. Few trials could
have been harder for a man of vigorous active nature to bear than this
one which rendered him powerless, when all he held dear was at stake,
loaded him with calumnies and prevented his uttering a word in his
defence. The diary gives no hint of what his feelings were. In silence
he resigned himself, resolved to afford no triumph to his enemies. Dean
Wren was somewhat better off, though he had his share of misfortunes.
The valuable plate and treasures belonging to the Order of the Garter
were a serious responsibility, and, though the treasure-house was
strong, he could not feel that it offered a sufficient security. The
plate and armour were not easily hidden, but the Diamond George and
Garter of Gustavus Adolphus he determined, if possible, to save.
Accordingly, with the help of one trustworthy person and every
precaution for secresy, he dug a hole in the treasury floor and there
deposited them, concealing the place with the utmost care, and leaving a
note in the hand of one worthy person intimating where the jewels might
be found in the event of his death. He had good cause to rejoice in this
precaution, for a few months later, in October 1642, down came

   'one Captain Fogg pretending a warrant from the King and demanding
   the keys of the Treasury, threatening if they were denied him by
   the Dean and Prebendaries, to pull the Chapel about their ears.'

As his threats had no effect, he forced the stone jambs of the doorway
with crowbars, and carried off all the treasures except those which the
Dean had buried. These, however, did not long remain secure, for in
1645 they were discovered and placed in the keeping of Colonel Ven, then
governor of Windsor Castle, and finally, through several hands, reached
the trustees of the Long Parliament, who sold the jewels to Thomas
Beauchamp, their clerk. The Deanery was not spared during the first
pillage of the chapel, though the Dean possessed a formal protection
from the Committee of Public Safety, but was ransacked by the soldiers,
and the Registry of the Garter, sealed by order of the House of Lords,
broken open, and the records stolen. Dean Wren lost many things of
value--books and manuscripts dear to the careful scholar, and also
plate, including two large silver tankards, the gifts of the Elector
Palatine. Of his own effects the Dean was only able, after an interval
of six years, to recover one harpsichord valued at ten pounds; but he
succeeded, after much expense and frequent attendances at Somerset
House, by the favour of the trustees' chairman, Major Wither, in
regaining the registers of the Order of the Garter, known from the
colours of the velvet in which they were bound as 'the Black, the Blue,
and the Red,' though not until a considerable space of time had passed;
they contained all the principal records of the Order, and were
therefore very valuable. The diamonds however, he was never able to
regain, or the Altar Plate. After the first plunder of the Chapel and
the Deanery Dr. Wren appears to have left Windsor and to have followed
the Court for a time.

Christopher, meanwhile, was at Westminster advancing steadily in
learning, while the loyal principles of his family must have been
confirmed by the whole tone of the school which was ardently royalist.
South, in a sermon for January 30, says,[42] speaking of Westminster:
'Upon that very Day, that black and eternally infamous Day of the King's
murder, I myself heard, and am now a witness, that the King was
publickly prayed for in this School but an hour or two (at most) before
his sacred head was struck off.'


Whether at this period Christopher ever saw his uncle in the Tower does
not appear. The Bishop's position was sad enough. During 1643 and 1644
his diary records the death of five of his children; in the monotony of
his prison life these sorrows must have pressed on him with double
force. Nor was there any consolation to be derived from public matters.
The royal cause, prosperous at first, grew less and less so, as the
King's lack of money became an ever-increasing difficulty. Another
grief, keenly felt by all Churchmen, was the order of the Parliament for
the abolition of the Prayer Book and the alteration of the Thirty-nine
Articles in a sense pleasing to the Puritans. Then came the
long-deferred trial of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was treated with
a cruel disregard of his high position and of his age, every kind of
insult and indignity being offered him. He however rose superior to it
all, and defended himself with an eloquence, vigour, and courage which
dismayed and enraged his enemies, though it could not change their
purpose. The Bishop of Ely's name was frequently mentioned, and his
promotion objected to as one of the Archbishop's crimes; but no further
steps were taken against him then, as he was safe in custody, and the
Commons had enough on their hands.

In his defence, the Archbishop thought it prudent to say nothing
respecting the Bishops whose advancement was objected against him,
deeming it for their interest to entangle them as little as possible in
his misfortunes. They were able to speak for themselves he said, but the
memory of the dead Archbishop Neile he warmly defended. The trial was
long protracted in order to give a specious colouring of justice to the
predetermined sentence.

For this Prynne 'kept a school of instruction' for the witnesses, and
tampered with the Archbishop's papers, of which he had forcibly
possessed himself. The spirit that guided the whole trial was shown in
his reply to one who said the Archbishop was a good man. 'Yea, but we
must make him ill.' The Peers raised a feeble opposition. The King,
whose consent the Parliament had not attempted to procure, sent to the
Archbishop by a sure hand, from Oxford, a full pardon under the Great
Seal, but neither received the least attention.


On January 10, on Tower Hill, the unjust sentence was fulfilled. Few
things are more touching than the account given by his chaplain and
biographer, Heylin, of the way in which the Archbishop met that cruel
fate. It is some comfort to remember that, though the Church Services
were then forbidden, yet his enemies did not interfere, but suffered the
Burial Service to be read in All Hallows, Barking, where he was first
interred. After the Restoration, the coffin was removed to S. John's
College, Oxford, and buried under the altar in the chapel. He left
Bishop Wren and Dr. Duppa, Bishop of Salisbury, executors of his will.
It contained a great number of bequests for charitable foundations,
especially for his native town of Reading; but as his whole estate had
been taken from him, these were unfulfilled. His murder was an immense
triumph to all the Sectarians in England and Scotland, who probably
considered it as a death-blow to the Church.

The Bishop of Ely in his cell must have listened in grief and horror to
the tolling of the Tower bell which proclaimed the bloody death of the
friend with whom he had laboured for many years, latterly his patient
fellow-prisoner. The entry in the diary is brief: 'Parce, O Deus
Requisitor sanguinis.' The same fate seemed very near to himself, and he
was ready to follow the Archbishop; but he had eighteen years of close
imprisonment to endure, and a different work to do.

Early in 1644, George Monk, then a colonel in the King's service, was
taken prisoner by Fairfax in his attack upon the army besieging
Nantwich, in Cheshire. He was imprisoned first at Hull, and then, as he
was thought too important to be exchanged except for some considerable
prisoner, he was sent to the Tower, and there remained two years. The
Tower charges were high, and a long confinement in its walls was a
strain upon the resources of a prisoner, which reduced those, whose
fortune, like that of Monk, was scanty, to extreme poverty. The King,
who knew Monk's condition, contrived to send him a hundred guineas, and
upon this he existed for some time, and resisted the offers of Cromwell,
then rapidly rising in power and authority.

Somehow or other, Monk contrived to obtain several interviews with
Bishop Wren, who did his best to confirm the soldier in his loyalty. He
perceived that Monk, whose popularity with the army was very great, and
whose military talents were thought to be of a high order, might one day
be a valuable ally, and a useful counterpoise to Cromwell. At length,
when the King's cause appeared for the time lost, and Monk himself was
reduced to extreme poverty, he yielded to Cromwell's request, and
accepted a commission in the Irish army, under his kinsman Lord Lisle.
Before his release, Monk had a final interview with the Bishop of Ely,
and, as he knelt to ask the Bishop's blessing, bound himself with a
solemn engagement never to be an enemy to his king, and said he was
going to do his majesty the best service he could against 'the rebels in
Ireland, and hoped he should one day do him further service in England.'

Bishop Wren held firmly to his trust in Monk's loyalty, though many
things might well have shaken his confidence. In the curious life of Dr.
John Barwick, one of the King's most faithful agents, from whom Sir
Walter Scott may have taken many of the features of his indefatigable
plotter 'Dr. Rochecliffe,' it is said that[43] 'he' (Dr. Barwick) 'often
heard the Right Reverend Bishop of Ely promise himself all he could
wish from the General's fidelity.' As Monk gave no other hint of his
intentions, refusing even to receive Charles II.'s letters, this
assurance was precious to the Royalists.


In 1646, Christopher Wren left Westminster, and at the age of fourteen
went up to Oxford, and was entered as a Gentleman Commoner at Wadham
College. He had, young as he was, distinguished himself at Westminster,
inventing an astronomical instrument, of which no description remains,
and dedicating it to his father in a short Latin poem,[44] which has
been often praised for the flow and smoothness of its lines; a set of
Latin verses in which the signs of the Zodiac are transformed into
Christian emblems, is, in spite of its ingenuity, much less successful;
a short poem on the Nativity also in Latin, belongs probably to the same
date, and is of the same order of poetry.

Far more graceful are the playful lines cut on the rind of an immense
pomegranate sent to 'that best man, my dearest friend E. F., by
Christopher Regulus,' in which on the 'Pomo Punico,' as he calls it,
Christopher rings the changes on 'Punic gifts' and 'Punic faith,' and
declares his pomegranate is connected neither with the one nor the

One English poem, an attempt to paraphrase the first chapter of S.
John's Gospel, fails of necessity from the impossibility of such an
attempt, and Wren handles the English verse far more stiffly and
uneasily than he did the Latin. What however is striking is the
penmanship of the 'Parentalia' autograph; the writing, the capital
letters, and the little flourishes are executed with a delicate finish
really remarkable.

There is no date to this autograph, but the handwriting appears firmer
and more regular than that of the dedication to his father, and it was
probably an Oxford composition.

Christopher came up to Oxford a slight, delicate boy, with an
understanding at once singularly quick and patient, readily seconded by
very dexterous fingers, and keen powers of observation. He brought with
him a reputation for, in the phrase of the day, 'uncommon parts,' and
speedily showed that besides a classical education, he had acquired a
strong bent for the experimental philosophy of the 'New learning.'

Oxford, when Wren came there, was not only the seat of learning, it was
a Court and a Camp as well, to which all the Royalist hearts in England
turned. In the midst of these curiously differing influences,
Christopher pursued his studies under the care of the 'most obliging and
universally curious Dr. Wilkins,'[45] as Evelyn calls him, a man as
devoted to experiments as Christopher himself. Dean Wren had been in
Bristol with his daughter and son-in-law, accompanying Prince Rupert,
and on the Prince's unexpected surrender of the town to Fairfax (1645),
seems to have returned with Prince Rupert and Mr. and Mrs. Holder,
either to his own living of Great Haseley, or to Mr. Holder's at


In those times no place could long be a tranquil habitation. The King's
affairs went from bad to worse, and at length the near approach of
Fairfax with his victorious army made it evident that Oxford could no
longer be a safe refuge for the Court. King Charles accordingly left
Oxford in disguise, and, attended only by Mr. Ashburnham and Dr. Michael
Hudson,[46] who was well acquainted with the lanes and byeways of the
country, proceeded by Henley-on-Thames and St. Albans, to Southwell in
Nottinghamshire, throwing himself on the loyalty of the Scots, then
encamped at Newark. How unworthy of his confidence they proved to be,
and how they finally sold him to the Parliament, are matters of history
too notorious for repetition here.

Oxford, thus saved from the ruin of a siege, capitulated to Fairfax June
24, 1646, on the express condition that the University should be free
from 'sequestrations, fines, taxes and all other molestations
whatsoever.' But the Parliament was not famous for keeping its
engagements, and at once proceeded to break through those made with
Oxford and reduce it to the same condition as Cambridge, which they had
devastated in 1642. A passage from 'Querela Cantabrigiensis,' which is
supposed to be written by Dr. Barwick, gives some idea of what this
condition was:

   'And therefore,' he says, 'if posterity shall ask "Who thrust out
   one of the eyes of this kingdom, who made Eloquence dumb,
   Philosophy sottish, widowed the Arts, and drove the Muses from
   their ancient habitation? Who plucked the reverend and orthodox
   professors out of their chairs, and silenced them in prison or
   their graves? Who turned Religion into Rebellion, and changed the
   apostolical chair into a desk for blasphemy, and tore the garland
   from the head of Learning to place it on the dull brows of disloyal
   ignorance?" If they shall ask "Who made those ancient and beautiful
   chapels, the sweet remembrances and monuments of our fore-fathers'
   charity and the kind fomenters of their children's devotion, to
   become ruinous heaps of dust and stones?"... 'Tis quickly
   answered--"Those they were, who endeavouring to share three Crowns
   and put them in their own pockets, have transformed this free
   kingdom into a large gaol, _to keep the liberty of the subject_:
   they who maintain 100,000 robbers and murderers by sea and land,
   _to protect our lives and the propriety of our goods_ ... they who
   have possessed themselves of his majesty's towns, navy, and
   magazines, _to make him a glorious king_; who have multiplied
   oaths, protestations, vows, leagues and covenants, _for ease of
   tender consciences_; filling all pulpits with jugglers for the
   Cause, canting sedition, atheism, and rebellion, _to root out
   popery and Babylon and settle the kingdom of Christ_:... The very
   same have stopped the mouth of all learning (following herein the
   example of their elder brother the Turk), lest any should be wiser
   than themselves, or posterity know what a world of wickedness they
   have committed."'[47]


Wadham College probably suffered less than many, as its head, Dr.
Wilkins, who had married Cromwell's sister, was very submissive to the
then Government. As matters settled down somewhat at Oxford towards
1648, Dr. Wilkins, Dr. Jonathan Goddard, Dr. Wallis, Mr. Theodore Hank,
who came from the desolated Palatinate, and Mr. S. Foster, the Gresham
Professor of Astronomy, met together weekly, 'to discourse and
consider,' writes Dr. Wallis, '(precluding theology and state affairs),
of philosophical enquiries, and such as related thereunto: as physick,
anatomy, geometry, astronomy, navigation, staticks, magneticks,
chymicks, mechanicks, and natural experiments with the state of those
studies as then calculated at home and abroad.'

The meetings, at which Christopher Wren, young as he was, appears to
have been a constant attendant, were frequently held at the house of Dr.
Goddard for the convenience of his having there a workman skilled in the
nice work of grinding glasses for microscopes and telescopes. Dr.
Goddard became body physician to Cromwell, was by him made Warden of
Merton College, Oxford, and subsequently represented the university in
Parliament. Dr. Wallis, a famous Oxford mathematician, was employed by
the Parliament to decipher the King's cabinet of letters taken at
Naseby, and also was proved by Matthew Wren, the son of the Bishop, to
have deciphered several very important letters sent by Charles II. to
England, and intercepted at Dunkirk.

As by degrees these meetings were more largely attended, and men came
who held very different opinions from those of Dr. Goddard and Dr.
Wallis, the exclusion of theology and politics from the discussions was
a needful precaution. Many inventions of Christopher's date from this
time, a design for a reflecting dial for the ceiling of a room,
ornamented with quaint figures and devices, some Latin lines ending in a
chronogram of his age, and the date of the invention, suggested probably
by the one in the rectory at East Knoyle, which he had known from a
child; an instrument to write in the dark; and an instrument of use in
gnomonics.[48] At the same time he had attracted the notice of Sir
Charles Scarborough, a friend of Dean Wren's, then just rising to fame
as a surgeon. Christopher, whose health, as has been said, was delicate,
fell dangerously ill and considered that he owed his life to the skilful
care of his new friend. Dr. Scarborough, who could recite in order all
the propositions of Euclid and Archimedes, and could apply them, found
in his patient a kindred spirit, and induced Wren, young as he was, to
undertake the translation into Latin of the 'Clavis Aurea,' by the Rev.
W. Oughtred, a mathematical treatise of great reputation.


That Christopher was able to satisfy the old man is evident from the
preface, even while making allowance for the complimentary style of the
time. Mr. Oughtred speaks of--

   'Mr. Christopher Wren, Gentleman Commoner of Wadham College, a
   youth generally admired for his talents, who, when not yet sixteen
   years old, enriched astronomy, gnomonics, statics and mechanics, by
   brilliant inventions, and from that time has continued to enrich
   them, and in truth is one from whom I can, not vainly, look for
   great things.'[49]

Mr. Oughtred was a Canon of Chichester, and after the siege of the city
and the wanton sack of the cathedral by Sir E. Waller in 1642, deprived
and heart-broken, wandered to Oxford, refusing the offers of home and
emolument which came to him from France, Italy, and Holland. He gladly
availed himself of young Wren's services in the work of translation,
which he had not energy to undertake himself, and waited, hoping for
better times. When at length they drew near, and he heard of the vote
passed at Westminster (May 1, 1660), for the Restoration of the Royal
Family, the relief was too great, and Mr. Oughtred 'expired in a sudden
ecstasy of joy.'[50]

Dean Wren, in the meanwhile, though deprived of his living, does not
seem to have been in any personal danger, having a protection from
Parliament, possibly obtained by his friend the Elector Palatine, or
Speaker Lenthall, by favour of which he boldly attended the Committee
Meetings at Somerset House. He made an attempt to gather together the
Knights of the Garter, and addressed the following petition, an
autograph copy of which is contained in the 'Parentalia':

        '_To ye Right Honble ye Knights of ye Most Noble
                       Order of ye Garter._

   'Dr. C. Wren Register and Secretarye of ye sd Most Noble Order of
   ye Garter in discharge of his sworne service.

   'Prayeth, that according to ye commission directed to all ye Honble
   Peers of ye said Most Noble Order or to any Three of them [to
   muster and consult in ye absence of ye Sovraine upon all such
   emergent occasions as may concerne ye advancement or indemnity of
   ye said Most Noble Order]

   'It may therefore please your Honors to give yr. consent for some
   sett Time and Place of meeting with such convenient speed as may
   best stand with ye great Affairs. That yr. humble Servant ye
   Register may Represent to yr. Honors some few Things, w^{ch} hee
   humbly conceaves may much concerne ye Honor & Interest of ys. Most
   Honble Order to bee provided for.'

   'I delivered this Petition in ye Parliament Howse before they sate,
   Jan. 23d. 1647.' (O. S.)


A copy of this Petition he sent to the Deputy Chancellor. It would seem
to have startled the Knights, and Dr. Wren evidently wishes the way
smoothed. His letter, also an autograph, is headed

   'Copye of my letter sent to the Deputie Chancelor for removal of
   some scruples w^{ch} arose among ye Knights of ye Order before ye
   Time of their meeting in Council.'

   'Honble Chancelor.--I have no pticular aime in this my humble suite
   to ye Lords of ye Order to propose any private or Personal Interest
   of my owne, or any other man's, much lesse to engage their Honors
   in anything that may seeme to contest w^{th} or dissent from ye
   Highe Court of Parliament wherein they now sit & from whence I am
   not ignorant ye Most Honble Society of ye Most Noble Order receaved
   as at first Life and Being soe now holds its establishment. My
   humble & earnest desires, are to represent such Things only as I
   humbly conceave may nearly concerne ye Honor & Interests of their
   Most Noble Order. To w^{ch} (next as yr. Selfe Honored Sir) I am by
   oath obliged: (to preserve ye Honor thereof, & of all in itt to my
   utmost Power) For zeale of this duty w^{ch} upon ye intimation of
   what I here profess, I presume they will not reject, I beseech you
   to give y^m this assurance as yf itt were from ye tender of my owne
   mouthe, who am at this period God's Prisoner, & under Him,

                                                 'Yr servant, C. W.'

Whether the Dean succeeded in gathering the Knights together, and what
the 'Things nearly concerning their Honor' may have been if they were
_not_, as the letter implies they were not, the King's deliverance, the
'Parentalia' does not say, neither does it give any hint of the illness
to which the end of the Dean's letter appears to point.


   [32] _Vide supra_, p. 17.

   [33] R. Neile, successively Bishop of Rochester, Lichfield,
        Lincoln, Durham and Winchester, and Archbishop of York, died
        1640. Godwin speaks strongly of his loyalty to Church and
        King, and the hatred borne to him by the Puritans.--_Praesul.

   [34] 'The Commons not being able to come at their intended
        alterations in the Church while the Bench of Bishops remained
        entire in the House of Peers, formed several schemes to divide
        them.'--_Hist. of the Puritans_, vol. ii. p. 388. Neale.

   [35] 'We, poor souls,' says Joseph Hall, Bishop of Norwich, in his
        _Hard Measure_, 'who little thought we had done anything that
        might deserve a chiding, are now called to our knees at the
        bar, and charged severally with high treason, being not a
        little astonished at the suddenness of this crimination
        compared with the perfect innocency of our own intentions,
        which were only to bring us to our due places in Parliament
        with safety and speed, without the least purpose of any man's
        offence; but now traitors we are in all the haste, and must be
        dealt with accordingly. For on December 30, in all the
        extremity of frost at eight o'clock on the dark evening, are
        we voted to the Tower; only two of our number had the favour
        of the Black Rod, by reason of their age, which though desired
        by a noble lord on my behalf would not be granted; wherein I
        acknowledge and bless the gracious Providence of my God, for
        had I been gratified I had been undone both in body and purse;
        the rooms being strait, and the expense beyond the reach of my
        estate.'--_Annals of England_, p. 420.

   [36] _Biographical History of England_, vol. ii. p. 157. Grainger.

   [37] _Vide Life of Barnevelde_, vol. i. p. 408. Motley.

   [38] P. 26.

   [39] 'Certainly,' says Nalson, 'notwithstanding this black
        accusation (he is speaking of the 'fifty painful ministers'),
        there cannot be a greater demonstration of the innocence of
        this worthy prelate than the very articles; and that this
        accusation wanted proof to carry it further than a bare
        accusation, and a commitment to the Tower, where, with the
        courage and patience of a primitive Christian, he continued
        prisoner till the year 1660.'--_History of the Puritans_, vol.
        ii. p. 223. Grey, Examination of Neale's.

   [40] It is curious that nearly as violent an attack was made a
        hundred years later upon Bishop Butler (the author of the
        _Analogy_), because, when Bishop of Bristol, he put up a
        plain, inlaid, black marble cross in the Chapel of the Palace
        there. He died 1752.

   [41] The Rubric before the Prayer of Consecration in the Prayer
        Book of 1559-1604, was simply:--

        'Then the Priest, standing up, shall say as followeth.'

        The first rubric of position at the beginning of the service had
        placed him 'at the north side of the Table.' For a full and
        very interesting defence of Bishop Wren, see _Worship in the
        Church of England_, Right Honourable A. B. B. Hope, and, _Dean
        Howson 'Before the Table,'_ by the same author, in the _Church
        Quarterly Review_, January, 1876.

   [42] South's _Sermons_, vol. v. p. 45, ed. 1727.

   [43] _Life of Dr. Barwick_, p. 267, ed. 1724.

   [44] See _Appendix I._

   [45] Dr. Wilkins published a book (_A Discovery of a New World_),
        concerning the art of flying, in which he said he did not
        question but in the next age it will be as usual to hear a man
        call for his wings when he is going a journey, as it is now to
        call for his boots. The Duchess of Newcastle objecting to Dr.
        Wilkins the want of baiting places on the way to his New
        World, he expressed his surprise that the objection should be
        made by a lady who had all her life been employed in building
        castles in the air. (_The Guardian_, No. 112. Addison.) This
        scheme does not seem to have reached the length of an

   [46] A most zealous Royalist; King Charles called him 'my
        plain-dealing chaplain,' because Dr. Hudson told him the truth
        when others would not. He was murdered at Woodcroft House,
        Northamptonshire, 1648. _Desiderata Curiosa_, p. 378. Peck.

   [47] _Annals of England_, p. 432.

   [48] i.e. the art of dial-making.

   [49] _Lives of the Gresham Professors._ Ward, p. 96.

   [50] _Memorials of the See of Chichester_, p. 290.

                               CHAPTER IV.



     La Royauté seule, depuis vingt ans, n'avait pas été mise à
     l'épreuve; seule elle avait encore à faire des promesses auxquelles
     on n'eut pas été trompé.... On y revenait enfin, après tant
     d'agitations comme au toit paternel qu'a fait quitter l'espérance
     et où ramène la fatigue.--_Monk_, par M. Guizot, p. 69.

A heavy sorrow fell upon the imprisoned Bishop of Ely at the close of
1646. His wife was worn out by grief for the loss of her children and
anxiety for her husband, for whom Laud's fate seemed but too probable,
and the Bishop's diary records that on 'December 8, 1646, Ad Christum
evolavit pia anima conjugis E. mediâ post 5^{vum} matutinam.'[51] The
diary contains no remark, no murmur, though this loss left Bishop Wren
very desolate and full of anxiety for his seven surviving children, of
whom the eldest, Matthew, was but seventeen. Upon such troubles as these
prison life must have pressed heavily, and if Bishop Wren's captivity
was half as strict as was that of Dr. John Barwick, who was consigned to
the Tower in 1650,[52] it was a sufficient hardship. Every rumour which
reached his ears from the tumultuous world outside must have added to
his grief. The King's affairs grew more desperate, and the shadow of
Cromwell loomed larger and larger. Probably the Bishop did not expect a
long captivity. It must have come to his ears that in the proposed
treaty of Newport (1648), 'the persons only who were to expect no
pardon were the Princes Rupert and Maurice; James, Earl of Derby; John,
Earl of Bristol; William, Earl of Newcastle; Francis, Lord Cottington;
George, Lord Digby; Matthew Wren, Bishop of Ely,' and some fifty

Condemned thus without a trial, without a chance of his vindication
being known, the Bishop betook himself to prayer, and to writing a
commentary on the Holy Scriptures, a task for which, as a fine Hebrew,
Greek and Latin scholar, he was well qualified. In this work he found
solace and support, and quietly waited until the tyranny should be

There is no need to recall in detail the thickcoming sorrows of that
time; it is but too easy to guess how doubly galling imprisonment must
have been to Bishop Wren when the royalists who were at liberty were
straining every nerve, exhausting every device to save if possible their
beloved King from his fate. In vain--at length came the fatal January 30
(1649), and King Charles, attended by Bishop Juxon, walked to the
scaffold and uttered his final words, 'I have a good cause and a
gracious God on my side; I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible
Crown where no disturbance can be, no disturbance in the world.' There
was one of the King's loyal subjects who, we may well believe, envied
Bishop Juxon his privilege of attendance on his master to the
last--Bishop Wren, who had been with him in bright early days, had
attended him when Prince of Wales, on his romantic journey to Spain,
and, when the weight of the corruptible crown first came upon the
prince's head, had accompanied him on the journey to Scotland for his
coronation at Scone, who ever since then had been so trusted by him.

No word of his own grief, of his unavailing longing to see his King once
more, and once more kiss his hand, is expressed in the brief record in
his diary. It is simply 'A sanguinibus, O Deus!'


Horror at the crime, at the stain of innocent blood which now defiled
his country, seems to have swallowed up all expression of personal
feeling. By degrees the rigour of his imprisonment appears to have been
a little relaxed, and by the connivance of his gaoler he obtained the
opportunity, rarely granted to prisoners, of walking upon the leads of
one of the towers. Thither he daily went for his exercise, and, says the
writer of the 'Parentalia,'

   'by a just computation, he walked round the world. The earth being
   affirmed to be 216,000 miles in compass (at a calculation of sixty
   miles to a degree);[54] if it were possible to make a path round
   the earth, an able footman going constantly twenty-four miles a
   day, would compass it in 900 days, and so on in proportion of time
   and miles.'

It would seem that the Bishop, finding his life was for the time spared,
and having a steady conviction that the evil days would pass, had
determined to keep himself ready in body, as in soul, for what work the
future might bring. A prison life leaves little to be recorded; the days
wore away in the Tower, divided between devotion, study, and that
unchanging monotonous walk which at least gave the prisoner a distant
glimpse of the world from which he was excluded.

He was allowed the Bible and paper and ink, but no other books. It is
the testimony of one who has studied Bishop Wren's manuscript--

   'He wrote in an exquisite hand, in very fair Latin, a commentary on
   much of Holy Scripture enough to fill an oak box of no mean
   dimensions. This box he committed to the care of Dr. Beaumont,
   master of S. Peter's College.[55] Had the Puritans read the MS.
   they would have found some antidote to their poison.'

Two sermons and some treatises were also written during his captivity.
Probably suspicion attached to anything that he did, for it is said to
have been all written by stealth.

His nephew's life differed as widely from his own as did their
characters. Christopher was at Oxford, deep in the experiments of the
'New learning,' and in the inventions which it suggested to his ready
brain and dexterous fingers.


One invention which he was at the time proud of was that of a--

   'diplographic instrument for writing with two pens,' whose uses he
   thus describes; 'by the help of this instrument, every ordinary
   penman may at all times be suddenly fitted to write two several
   copies of any deeds and evidences, from the shortest to the
   longest length of lines, in the very same compass of time, and
   with as much ease and beauty, without any dividing or ruling; as,
   without the help of the instrument, he could have despatched but

So successful was this instrument, that he obtained a patent for it for
seventeen years. In the same year an exact duplicate of this invention
was brought from France, and another patent taken out for the same
number of years, by Mr. William Petty,[56] who claimed to be the

Wren was indignant at the notion that he had copied another person's
idea, and gives good reasons for his belief that his own instrument had
been described to Petty by a friend of his. Three years later Wren wrote
of it as 'an obvious Thing, a cast-off Toy;' ending, 'Indeed though I
care not for having a Successor in Invention, yet it behoves me to
vindicate myself from the Aspersion of having a Predecessor.'

Another invention Wren describes as a 'weather clock.' It consisted of a
clock affixed to a weather cock that moved a rundle covered with paper,
upon which the clock moved a black-lead pencil, so that the observer,
by the traces of the pencil on the paper, might certainly conclude what
winds had blown in his absence for twelve hours' space. The 'Parentalia'
contains a careful drawing in pen and sepia of this invention
elaborately worked out and remarkable for the truth and finish of the
drawing. Some of these designs, and an instrument for sowing corn,
nearly identical with a modern 'drill,' he dedicated in a quaintly
formal letter to his father's friend, the Prince Palatine. He appeared
before the Prince in another character, due probably to his Westminster
training. A play was performed (about 1652) at Oxford before the Prince,
Dr. Seth Ward,[57] and several others, entitled 'Hey for Honesty, down
with Knavery,' translated by Thomas Randolph from the Plutus of
Aristophanes, in which Christopher sustained the part of Neanias.[58] It
is provoking to have this bare record merely, and no clue as to the
success or failure of any part of the performance, especially where the
young actor was concerned.

To about the same date belongs a Latin letter written by Christopher to
his father, signed 'Christophorus Regulus,' describing in glowing terms
a visit paid in the spring to a friend's house. Some pretty touches give
'the lofty woods with their clamorous republic of rooks, the great
fountains, the placid pools--without, you might say a terrestrial
paradise, but within, heaven itself.' It may have been, though there is
nothing in its favour but conjecture, that this was Bletchingdon House,
and that among 'the virgins singing holy psalms,' whom he mentions, was
his future bride Faith, (or as she spelt it, 'ffaith') Coghill. The
letter says much, as does all that passed between them, for the warm
affection existing between father and son, and the sincerely religious
tone of Christopher's mind.


The desperate efforts of the Royalists shortly after this period to
overthrow Cromwell's tyranny and to put Charles II. on the throne,
received a cruel check in the disastrous battle of Worcester (1651),
Cromwell's 'crowning mercy.' This crushed the hopes of the Royalists and
obliged them to turn their every effort and thought to effecting the
escape of their prince. He must have passed very near Knoyle Hill, when
he crossed Salisbury Plain and met at Stonehenge the friends who at last
succeeded in conveying him to the coast. Knoyle Hill had its own
fugitive to shelter.

Aubrey, the Wiltshire Antiquary, gives the account of a vivid dream
which Christopher Wren had, when staying, in the autumn of 1651, with
Dean Wren at Knoyle. He

   'dreamed he saw a fight in a great market-place, which he knew not,
   where some were flying and others pursuing; and among those who
   fled, he saw a kinsman of his, who went into Scotland with the
   King's army. They heard in the country that the King was come into
   England, but whereabouts he was they could not tell. The next night
   came his kinsman to Knoyle Hill, and brought with him the
   disastrous news of Charles II.'s defeat at Worcester.'[59]

It seems likely that this 'kinsman' was Bishop Wren's son Matthew, who
afterwards went to the Hague. There also, when his escape had been with
great difficulty contrived, went King Charles, as his brother-in-law,
the Prince of Orange, was his steady friend. In the hope of utterly
putting down the Cavaliers, the greatest severity was shown at this time
to all who had helped the King, and even to those who merely boasted of
their good will towards him. Among those who suffered was Inigo Jones,
who had been architect to James I. and to Charles I., had been steadily
loyal to the Stuarts, and was therefore an object of suspicion. He lived
to see what was thought the utter downfall of the monarchy, and
following upon this the desecration and ruin of the finest churches in
England. S. Paul's, on which he had spent much labour and skill, was, as
being connected with Archbishop Laud, an object of special hatred to the
Puritans. It suffered every possible injury. The fine portico designed
by Inigo Jones was filled with stalls, blocked up by booths, and used as
a market-place. The year after the battle of Worcester, Inigo Jones
died, poor and lonely, in a lodging close to the defaced cathedral. He
and Christopher Wren must probably have met. Wren had a sincere
admiration for his predecessor's skill, and spoke of the S. Paul's
portico as 'an exquisite piece in itself.'


In the autumn of 1653, Wren, then just twenty-one, was elected to a
fellowship at All Souls, and happy in the comparative tranquillity of
Oxford, pursued the various studies which he loved. All this time he was
'making himself,' as was said of Sir Walter Scott in his childhood on
the Scotch hills, though perhaps at the time no one could have guessed
the particular manner in which he would distinguish himself.

In the following summer he made acquaintance with John Evelyn, who had
come up to Oxford to hear the 'Philosophy Act.' Evelyn mentioned that
after a dinner at All Souls he 'visited that miracle of a youth Mr.
Christopher Wren, nephew to the Bishop of Ely.'[60]

   'A day or two later Evelyn dined with 'that most obliging and
   universally curious Dr. Wilkins at Wadham College, who showed him
   his "transparent apiaries, built like castles, and so ordered one
   upon another as one might take the honey without hurting the bees,"
   his "hollow statue, which gave a voice and uttered words, by a
   long, concealed pipe that went to its mouth, whilst one speaks
   through it at good distance;" and his gallery filled with
   mathematical and other curiosities; a "thermometer," still a
   curiosity, though fifty-two years had elapsed since Galileo
   invented the first; a "way-wiser," which, when placed in a coach,
   exactly measured the miles it travelled, and showed them by an
   index; "a monstrous magnet," and many other inventions, most of
   them of his owne and that prodigious young scholar, Mr. Christopher
   Wren, who presented me with a piece of white marble which he had
   stained with a lively red very deepe, as beautiful as if it had
   been natural.'

The acquaintance thus made with Christopher Wren ripened into a
friendship lasting until Evelyn's death in 1706.

Dr. Wilkins was also of Evelyn's friends, though he was very submissive
to Cromwell.[61] It is curious to contrast two accounts which occur in
the same page of Evelyn's diary.

   '_December 25, 1655._ There was no more notice taken of Christmas
   Day in churches. I went to London, where Dr. Wild preached the
   funeral sermon of Preaching, this being the last day, after which
   Cromwell's proclamation was to take place, that none of the Church
   of England should dare either to preach or administer Sacraments,
   teach schoole etc. on paine of imprisonment or exile. So this was
   the mournfullest day that in my life I had seene, or the Church of
   England herselfe since the Reformation; to the greate rejoicing of
   both Papist and Presbyter. So pathetic was his discourse (on 2 Cor.
   xiii. 9) that it drew many teares from the auditory. Myself, wife,
   and some of our family received the Communion; God make me
   thankfull that hath hitherto provided for us the food of our soules
   as well as bodies! The Lord Jesus pity our distressed Church, and
   bring back the captivity of Sion!

   '_February 10, 1656._ I heard Dr. Wilkins preach before the Lord
   Mayor in S. Paul's, shewing how obedience was preferable to
   sacrifice. He was a most obliging person, who had married the
   Protector's sister, and tooke greate paines to preserve the
   Universities from the ignorant sacrilegious commanders and
   souldiers, who would faine have demolished all places and persons
   that pretended to learning.'


Dr. Wilkins appears, like too many of that time, to have regarded the
Church as utterly overthrown, and probably believed honestly in his
peculiar interpretation of the text upon which he preached. Much credit
is however due to him for the idea of the Oxford meetings, and for the
hospitality which he showed. These meetings were the germ of the Royal
Society, and to them Dr. Thomas Sprat (afterwards Bishop of Rochester),
a great friend of Christopher Wren's, bears testimony:--

   'Wadham College,'[62] he says, 'was then the place of resort for
   virtuous and learned men. Their first purpose was no more than
   only the satisfaction of breathing a freer air, and of conversing
   in quiet, one with another, without being engaged in the passions
   and madness of that dismal age. And from the institution of that
   assembly it had been enough if no other advantage had come but
   this; that by these means there was a race of young men provided
   against the next age, whose minds receiving from them their first
   impressions of sober and generous knowledge, were invincibly armed
   against all the enchantments of enthusiasm.... It was in good
   measure by the influence which these gentlemen had over the rest,
   that the university itself, or at least any part of its discipline
   and order, was saved from ruin.... Nor indeed could it be
   otherwise, for such spiritual frenzies, which did then bear rule,
   can never stand long before a clear and deep skill in nature. It is
   almost impossible, that they who converse much with the subtilty of
   things, should be deluded by such thick deceits. There is but one
   better charm in the world than real philosophy, to allay the
   impulses of the false spirit, and that is the blessed Presence and
   assistance of the True.'

In 1656, on the 29th of May, Dean Wren died. Sorrow and anxiety, the
desolation of the Church, the apparent ruin of the monarchy, had worn
out his gentle spirit; and probably little thinking how great a change
was approaching to free the country, he passed away, aged 69, at the
house of his son-in-law, Mr. Holder, and was buried in the chancel of
Bletchingdon Church.[63] When we look back to the years of the
Rebellion, their darkness is lightened for us by the knowledge that the
Restoration came at last, and it is difficult to realise fully how the
times appeared to those who actually lived in them, to whom the years
brought only fresh losses and sorrows, and the sickness of hope

Knowing how, on the 29th of May, but four years later, all England was
welcoming back the King to 'enjoy his own again,' one can hardly forbear
wishing that Dean Wren might have been spared to see that day; yet those
who loved him best cannot have grudged him the fulness of that peace
which all his life he had desired, and which he had invoked upon his
first home. Christopher was very warmly attached to his father, as all
his letters show, and must have grieved greatly for his death.


Soon after this he was summoned to London. The Gresham professor of
astronomy, Mr. Laurence Rooke, retired in 1657, and the chair was
offered to Wren. He was but twenty-four and doubted whether he should
accept such a post while so young, and he clung to Oxford and his
studies there.

The friends whom he consulted advised him differently; accordingly he
came up to London and delivered his opening address to a considerable
audience. It was in Latin, and after a brief apology for his youth
passed into a sketch of the history of astronomy. He dwells on the great
riches of the science, how it is the handmaid of theology, the queen of
sciences, speaks of the vast discoveries made by its means, touches upon
Copernicus, whose mind first grasped the idea that the earth moved round
the sun, then upon Kepler and upon Galileo, and the storms that had
arisen, when in 1632 he had demonstrated that truth at which Copernicus
had guessed; he praises highly Galileo's invention of the telescope,
pays a tribute to the great men who had lectured at Gresham on these
subjects, and especially to his own predecessor, Rooke, and winds up
with an eloquent description of London as a Pandora of cities to whom
each of the choir of planets gave a peculiar blessing, on whom the sun
shines benignly, who possesses more inhabitants than any city in the
world, a healthy air, a fertile soil stretching far around her,
beautiful buildings springing as of themselves from the earth, and,
lastly, is blessed by the moon, 'the governess of floods,' who alluring
the seas thus far inland by means of the beloved Thames, makes her the
city which nourishes the best seamen of the world. The rough draft of
this address, written by Christopher in a bold hand with a few changes
and corrections, is preserved in the 'Parentalia.'

This professorship obliged him to come up to London and give a course of
lectures every Wednesday in term time at Gresham College. None of these
lectures have been preserved, and it seems from a hint in one of Dr.
Sprat's letters, that Wren was in the habit of lecturing from rough
notes merely, and used no pains to keep any record of them.


At this time he made acquaintance with Richard Claypole, who was
married to Elizabeth, Cromwell's favourite daughter; both she and her
sister, Lady Falconbridge, were faithful members of the persecuted
Church of England. Dr. Hewet still read the Prayer Book services in S.
Gregory's Church, which adjoined S. Paul's, and there the two sisters
resorted, there Dr. Hewet secretly married Mary Cromwell to Lord
Falconbridge, as neither would be satisfied with the ceremony performed
by an independent preacher. Cromwell's daughters used all their
influence with their father on the side of mercy, but when the excellent
Dr. Hewet fell under his displeasure they pleaded in vain for his
life.[64] Mr. Claypole professed a fondness for mathematical science and
frequently invited Christopher Wren to his house. On one of these
occasions when Wren was dining there, Cromwell himself entered, and, as
was his custom in his own family, sat down to table without speech or
ceremony. After a while he fixed his eyes on Christopher and said, 'Your
uncle has been long confined in the Tower.' 'He has so, sir,' said Wren;
'but he bears his afflictions with great patience and resignation.' 'He
may come out an he will,' was Cromwell's unexpected reply. 'Will your
Highness permit me to take him this from your own mouth?' said Wren,
hardly able to believe his ears. 'Yes, you may,' said Cromwell briefly.
At the earliest possible moment Christopher hurried to the Tower to
communicate to his uncle the tidings that the long years of his
imprisonment were over. When he had poured out his news the Bishop
replied warmly that it was not the first time he had received the like
intimation from that miscreant, but he disdained the terms proposed for
his enlargement, which were a mean acknowledgment of his favour and an
abject submission to his detestable tyranny; that he was determined to
tarry the Lord's leisure, and owe his deliverance, which was not far
off, to Him only. Such an answer must have been startling enough to
Christopher, and may have opened his eyes to the causes of Cromwell's
seeming leniency. He left the brave old man to await the deliverance
which the keen sight of faith showed him as drawing near, and returned
to his own work.

The death of Mrs. Claypole in the following summer must have checked an
intimacy upon which Bishop Wren looked with little favour. She died of a
terrible illness, and in the paroxysms of her pain bitterly reproached
Cromwell for the innocent blood that he had shed, and particularly for
that of Dr. Hewet.

At about this period some experiments were made by Wren's philosophical
friends wherein he took a principal part, and to which the barometer,
now in common use, is mainly due. The first instrument of the kind was
invented by Torricelli, the pupil of Galileo, who used it in order to
ascertain the pressure of the air on fluids, the supposed cause of which
pressure was the passing by of the body of the moon. Pascal, in those
earlier days when his great genius employed itself on natural
philosophy, made several experiments at Rouen, in 1646, with a friend,
M. Petit, using 'Torricelli's tube,' as it was called. Similar trials
were afterwards made by M. Perier, his brother-in-law, among the
mountains of Auvergne. They then discovered that the rising and falling
of the mercury was due not to the moon, but to the differences in the
specific gravity of the atmosphere. Wren's experiments led him to the
same conclusion, and at a later period he and Robert Boyle continued
them until they produced the barometer, though it was not used commonly
as a weather-glass until a much later date. Pascal did not pursue his
discovery, but was satisfied with having proved the point for which he
was contending.


Though Wren and Pascal never met, some communication passed between
them. Pascal, who was Wren's senior by eleven years, propounded a
problem, under the name of Jean de Monfert, to the mathematicians of
England, adding a challenge to them to solve it by a given day.
Christopher sent a solution, and in his turn propounded a problem which
seems never to have been answered. Pascal is said to have considered
Wren's solution very carefully, but the promised prize of twenty
pistoles was withheld by some trickery. Besides this, Wren wrote four
mathematical tracts on the cycloid, and sent them to Dr. J. Wallis, who
was publishing a book on mathematics. He corresponded with Pascal,[65]
who was writing on the cycloid by the name of _la Roulette_, the
problem being 'to determine the curve made in the air by the nail of a
coach wheel from the moment it rises from the ground, till the moment
when the continual rolling of the wheel brings it back to the ground,
after a complete turn, supposing the wheel a perfect circle and the
ground perfectly level.'


Wren was engaged also in a series of observations on the planet Saturn.
These pursuits were, however, interrupted by an event that convulsed all
England. On September 3, 1658, during a fearful storm which swept over
London, Oliver Cromwell died. Hume[66] gives a terrible account of the
state of constant suspicion and fear of assassination in which Cromwell
passed the last year of his life; the secret armour which he wore, his
constant guard of soldiers wherever he moved, his fears on a journey,
his habit of never returning the way he had come, nor by the direct
road, seldom sleeping above three nights together in the same chamber,
or in any he did not choose himself, or without sentinels. His body lay
in state for a considerable time. The funeral, on October 22, Evelyn
calls 'superb.' He says:--

   'I saw the Protector carried from Somerset House on a velvet bed of
   state drawn by six black horses, houss'd with the same; the pall
   held up by his new lords; Oliver lying in effigie in royal robes,
   crown'd with a crown, sceptre, and globe like a king ... a knight
   of honour armed _cap-à-pie_, and, after all, his guard, soldiers,
   and innumerable mourners. In this equipage they proceeded to
   Westminster; but it was the joyfullest funeral I ever saw, for
   there were none that cried but dogs, which the soldiers hooted away
   with a barbarous noise, drinking and taking tobacco in the streets
   as they went.'

Under the feeble rule of Richard Cromwell at first and then under the
multiform tyranny of the reassembled 'Long Parliament,' every kind of
disorder and oppression had free course. Monk grievously disappointed
the Royalist hopes by proclaiming Richard Cromwell. The day of
deliverance appeared more than ever distant.


The Gresham Professors were all driven out of the college except Dr.
Goddard, Cromwell's physician, and the place was garrisoned by soldiers,
who did it great damage. Matthew Wren made an attempt two days after
Cromwell's funeral to enter the college, and sent a curious account to
Christopher, who had returned to All Souls at Oxford. He writes:

   'Dear Cousin,--Yesterday being the first of the term, I resolved to
   see whether Dr. Horton[67] entertained the new auditory at Gresham
   with any lecture, for I took it for granted that if his divinity
   could be spared your mathematics would not be expected. But at the
   gate I was stopped by a man with a gun, who told me there was no
   admission upon that account, as the college was reformed into a
   garrison. Then changing my pretension, I scarce got permission to
   go in to Dr. Goddard, who gave me assurance enough that none of
   your colleagues intend to appear this term unless the soldiers be
   removed, of which there is no probability. Upon these premises it
   is the opinion of all your friends that you may save that journey
   hither, unless some other occasion calls you; and for these I
   expect you will make me your agent, if they be such as I am capable
   of despatching.

   'But it will not perhaps be amiss to take from hence the occasion
   of a short and civil letter to the Committee, signifying that you
   hope you have not deceived their expectations in choosing you, and
   that you are ready to attend your duty but for this public
   interruption and exclusion from your chamber; or what else you will
   that looks towards this.

   'I know no more domestic news than what everybody talks of.
   Yesterday I was in Westminster Hall, and saw only Keudigate and
   Windham in the two courts, and Wild and Parker in the Exchequer. In
   the Chancery none at all; Bradshaw keeps the seal as if it were to
   be carried before him in the other world, whither he is going. Glyn
   and Fountain pleaded at the bar. They talk much of the mediation of
   the two Crowns, and proceed so far as to name Marshall Clerambault
   for the Embassador who is to come hither from France. My service
   to all friends. Dear Cousin, your most humble servant,

                                                         'M. W.

   'London, October 25, 1658.'

Dr. Sprat[68] writes also to Christopher at about the same time:

   'Dear Sir,--This day I went to visit Gresham College, but found the
   place in such a nasty condition, so defiled, and the smells so
   infernal that if you should now come to make use of your tube, it
   would be like Dives looking out of hell into heaven. Dr. Goddard,
   of all your colleagues, keeps possession, which he could never be
   able to do had he not before prepared his nose for camp perfumes by
   his voyage into Scotland, and had he not such excellent
   restoratives in his cellars.'


   [51] 'December 8, 1646. The pious soul of my wife Eliza flew up to
        Christ at half-past five in the morning.'

   [52] _Life of Dr. Barwick_, ed. 1724, p. 122.

   [53] Grey's Examination of Neale's _History of the Puritans_, vol.
        iii. p. 333.

   [54] It is really 24,899 miles.

   [55] The box is, I believe, in Peterhouse Library to this day, but
        a portion of the Commentary was published as a treatise
        against the Socinians by the Bishop's son Matthew, under the
        title of _Increpatio Bar Jesu, sive polemicae adsectiones
        locorum aliquot S. Scripturae ab imposturis perversis in
        Catechesis Racoviana collectae._

   [56] Petty's history is a curious one. The son of a clothier of
        Rumsey; he educated himself; was some years in the navy;
        became Gresham professor of music; then a physician of some
        fame; was also Henry Cromwell's secretary; was a commissioner
        for Ireland, and married Sir Hardress Waller's daughter. Soon
        after the Restoration he was knighted by Charles II. Petty
        invented a 'double-bottomed ship to sail against wind and
        tide; it was flat-bottomed, had two distinct keels cramped
        together with huge timbers, so as a violent stream run
        between: it bore a monstrous broad sail.' It excited much
        interest at the time, made one very successful voyage, and was
        afterwards wrecked in a frightful storm. Its model is still
        preserved at the Royal Society, of which he became a member.
        He died in 1687. _Lives of the Gresham Professors_, p. 217.
        Ward. See also Evelyn's _Diary_ of March 22, 1675, for an
        interesting account of Petty's career.

   [57] Seth Ward, born 1617. Was Savilian Professor of Astronomy at
        Oxford and an active member of the Royal Society. Afterwards
        Bishop of Exeter and then of Salisbury; died 1689.

   [58] _Life of Sir C. Wren_, by J. Elmes, p. 12. The full title of
        the play was '[Greek: Ploutophthalmia Ploutogamia],' a
        pleasant comedy intituled _Hey for Honesty_, &c., augmented
        and published by F. J. A copy, published in 1651, and
        containing a MS. note saying that Wren took the part of
        'Neanias Adolescens,' was in the possession of Isaac Reed, a
        commentator on Shakespeare and a great book collector, who
        died in 1807. His epitaph (given in _Notes and Queries_,
        series v., xiii. p. 304) was as follows:--

        'Reader of these few lines take heed, And mend your ways for
        my sake; For you must die like Isaac Reed, Tho' you read till
        your eyes ache.'

        T. Randolph was a friend and pupil of Ben Jonson's; he published
        _The Muses' Looking Glass_, which satirised the Puritans; died

   [59] Miscellanies, ed. 1696.

   [60] _Diary_, July 13, 1654.

   [61] _Præsul. Ang._, p. 779. Godwin.

   [62] _Hist. of Royal Society._ Bishop Sprat, ed. 1722, p. 53.

   [63] 'Dr. Christopher Wren, Deane of Windsor, was buried June 3,
        1656,' is the entry in the register; there does not appear to
        be any monument or brass to his memory. The _Parentalia_ and
        Elmes's Life give 1658, but the dates are frequently
        inaccurate in both books.

   [64] Evelyn's _Diary_, March 31, 1658. 'That holy martyr Dr. Hewer
        condemned to die, without law, jury or justice by a mock
        council of State as they called it. A dangerous, treacherous
        time. June 8, _ib._ That excellent preacher and holy man Dr.
        Hewer was martyred for having intelligence of his Majesty,
        through the Lord Marquess of Ormond. He was beheaded on Tower
        Hill. The name was spelt Hewer, Hewet, and Hewett.

   [65] Pascal is said to have written his treatise on the cycloid
        from a religious motive. It was a common opinion in France
        that the study of natural sciences, especially of mathematics,
        led to infidelity. Accordingly Pascal, writing for
        geometricians and mathematicians, wished to show, by the
        solution, vainly sought before, of this problem, that the same
        man who wrote the _Lettres à un Provincial_ could also
        instruct them in abstract science, and he published his
        treatise in the intervals of writing the _Pensées_. See _Vie
        de Pascal, par sa soeur Mad. Perier, Pensées de Pascal_, p.
        13, ed. 1839.

   [66] _Hist. of England_, vol. vii. ch. lxi. p. 292.

   [67] Gresham Professor of Divinity, confirmed in his post by

   [68] Thomas Sprat, D.D., Dean of Westminster, and afterwards Bishop
        of Rochester; was an active member of the Royal Society, and
        was educated at Wadham College with Sir C. Wren, whose
        intimate friend he was: born 1636; died 1713.

                               CHAPTER V.



  Yet bethink thee that the spirit whence those princely bounties flowed
  To the ties of private feeling all its force and being owed;
  Severed from the bonds of kindred, taught his lonely heart to school,
  By his Father's chastening kindness or his Church's sterner rule;
  Oft to spots by memory cherished, where his earliest love began,
  In his age's desolation, fondly turned the childless man.

                                   _Phrontisterion_, by Dean Mansel.

All was confusion, doubt and anxiety in the country; the Royalist plots
failed; the Parliament was powerless; no one knew whether Monk intended,
as was still hoped by a few, to bring back the King, or to support the
Parliament, or to make himself dictator; those were keen eyes which
could discern through the darkness any ray of approaching light.

Nowhere perhaps did matters seem more desperate than in the Church. Her
discipline and order, barely revived by the murdered Archbishop, had
been for eighteen years trampled upon and neglected; 'by the
licentiousness of the times,' many were growing up unbaptised and
ignorant of Christianity. The number of bishops living was but small,
many sees being already vacant when the Civil War broke out, and
imprisonments and hardships had so reduced the Prelates that, in 1659,
but ten survived, one of whom, Dr. Brownrigg, Bishop of Exeter, very
soon died. Of the nine others, many were very old; the Bishop of London
(Juxon) was very ill, and the Bishop of Ely was in prison. How was the
succession to be preserved if the troubles of the times continued? The
Scotch Church had been reduced by persecution; the Irish Bishops were in
as evil a plight as their English brethren, and the difficulty of
communication was great. There was then no daughter Church in America or
in the Colonies to render back in time of need the grace they had
themselves received. It was hardly possible for the English Bishops to
meet for consultation; but the indefatigable Dr. Barwick was

     'not only to ride about among them all, and by proposing and
     explaining to each what was thought for the Church's Service; to
     collect the opinions and resolutions of every one of them upon all
     difficult affairs; but also to procure the communication of all
     that was needful between their lordships and His Majesty, which he
     frequently did by letters written in characters' (_i.e._ cypher).


Great difficulties lay in the way of the first step--a canonical
election--and in the face of the watchful enmity of the Church of Rome,
no doubtful step could be taken; and even were this difficulty
surmounted and three Bishops got together, the risk of imprisonment and
death to both consecrators and consecrated needed no one to point it
out. The two with whom Dr. Barwick principally consulted were the
Bishops of Ely and Salisbury. Many letters passed between Dr. Barwick
and Mr. Hyde,[70] at Brussels, in one of which, written on July 8,
1659,[71] the latter speaks of--

   'much preferring the Bishop of Ely's judgment and advice in that
   point (the method of election) before any man's. I pray remember my
   service with all imaginable reverence to my Lord of Ely and assure
   him, that the King will always return that candour, benignity and
   equality to both the Universities, which he wishes; and I hope all
   who shall be entrusted by him in that great affair will be as just
   and dispassioned in all their interpositions and look upon them as
   equal lights to learning and piety and equally worthy of all
   encouragement and protection. And if at present my Lord of Ely will
   recommend any person to his Majesty for the Bishoprick of Carlisle,
   he shall be approved. And if my Lord will transmit a list of
   persons to be specially recommended to the King for any dignities
   of the Church, I dare promise the persons shall find that they
   could not have been better recommended. I know not what more to add
   but my hearty service to your sick friend,[72] whose health I pray
   for as a publick concernment. To yourself I shall say no more but
   that I shall think myself very faulty if I do not serve you very
   heartily, and if you do not with the first receive some evidence of
   the sense the King hath of your service.

   'I am very heartily, Sir, your most affectionate servant,


These letters, thirty-six in number, were transmitted in cypher, and
with the utmost precaution and considerable delay in awaiting a safe
opportunity; the one quoted from is endorsed 'Received not till Aug.
29.' Nor was the cypher, however carefully contrived, always a security
when the letters fell into the wrong hands. Dr. Wallis, the
mathematician, was a most skilful decypherer, and was the person who
decyphered the King's papers taken in his cabinet at Naseby, though the
Royalists considered this a vain boast until Matthew Wren, the Bishop's
eldest son, obtained the proof of it from Dr. Wallis himself. One
important letter from Dr. Barwick to Mr. Hyde fell into Dr. Wallis'
hands; Mr. Allestry his coadjutor coming from Brussels was seized and
imprisoned as soon as he landed. Bishop Morton of Durham, the last
surviving Prelate of the province of York, had died, as his epitaph
says, 'deprived of all his goods except a good name and a good
conscience.' The rising in Cheshire had been unsuccessful. Monk refused
to give even his brother any hint of his intentions, and made no reply
to the letter which King Charles sent to him from Breda. In short,
matters were as adverse as it was possible for them to be, but yet Dr.
Barwick was undiscouraged; with fresh precautions the correspondence
with Mr. Hyde was resumed, and in truth the matter pressed; 'for,' says
Dr. Barwick, writing in Sept. 1659, after mentioning his circuit among
some of the surviving Bishops,[73] 'I fear this winter will go hard with
some of them that may worst be spared in the due performance of such a
work.' It is evident that Dr. Barwick was able to see and consult the
imprisoned Bishop of Ely whenever it was needful. These hurried
meetings, full of anxiety and peril as they were, must have been a great
refreshment to the Bishop, who thus still took part in the work of the
Church. He declined to send any list of names to the King, though he
pressed Dr. Barwick to accept the Bishoprick of Man. Mr. Hyde[74] wrote
a letter in September, which was not received till November 10, where he


   'The King hath done all that is in his power to do; and if my Lords
   the Bishops will not do the rest, what is to become of the Church?
   The conspiracies to destroy it are very evident; and if there be no
   combination to preserve it, it must expire. I do assure you the
   names of all the Bishops who are alive, and their several ages, are
   as well known at Rome as in England, and both the Papist and the
   Presbyterian value themselves very much upon computing in how few
   years the Church of England must expire.' ... And again: 'His
   Majesty is most confident that the Bishop of Ely will give all the
   assistance and advice which his restraint will permit him to do....
   I do beseech you,' says the next letter, 'present my humble service
   to my Lord of Ely, whose benediction, I do hope to live to receive
   at his own feet. I pray send me word our sick friend is in perfect

But little progress appears to have been made, since Mr. Hyde writes,
Nov. 28:--

   'I can say no more with reference to the Church, but that if there
   be nothing hinders it but the winter it be quickly over, whilst
   preparations are making; and yet, God knows, it will be almost a
   miracle, if the winter doth not take away half the Bishops that are
   left alive; and I must still lament that some way is not found that
   the Bishop of Ely may be at liberty; which would carry on this work
   more than any expedient that I can think of.'

An entry in Evelyn's diary shows the general state of affairs at this

   '_October 11._ The armie now turned out the Parliament. We had now
   no government in the nation; all in confusion; no magistrate either
   own'd or pretended but the souldiers, and they not agreed. God
   Almighty have mercy on and settle us!'

Evelyn was not slack in doing what in him lay towards this much-desired

   '_November 7._ Was published my bold "Apologie" for the King in
   this time of danger when it was capital to speake or write in
   favour of him. It was printed twice, so universally it took.'

A fast was kept in secret, apparently about once a fortnight, by the
Churchmen in London to pray 'for God's mercy to our calamitous Church.'

On _February 3, 1660_, Evelyn writes:--

   'General Monk came to London from Scotland, but no man knew what he
   would do or declare. Yet he was met on all his way by the gentlemen
   of all the counties which he passed, with petitions that he would
   recall the old, long-interrupted Parliament, and settle the nation
   in some order, being at this time in most prodigious confusion and
   under no government, everybody expecting what would be next and
   what he would do.'

Later in the same month Mr. Hyde wrote almost in despair to Dr.

   'It would be very good news if I could hear of my Lord
   of Ely being in full liberty, to whom I pray present my humble
   service. The truth is I have but little hope of the business of the
   Church but by his being at liberty, and therefore I hope he will
   make no scruple of accepting it if it be offered, or if it can be
   reasonably obtained.'

The suspense which Evelyn describes had not long to be endured. On
February 11, the very day after Monk had dismayed the city by breaking
down its gates and allowing the soldiers to march about it in triumph,
he turned out the Parliament then sitting at Westminster, and called
together the former one, to the great joy of the people. From this
moment all hearts and wishes turned to the exiled royal family as the
one hope left of tranquillity and order; thus suddenly, when the
royalist hopes were lowest, their hearts' desire was given to them.


Monk, now in supreme power, did not forget the Bishop of Ely, whose
fellow-captive he had been and who must have rejoiced to see Monk at
last justify his confidence. On March 15 the lieutenant of the Tower
received the order 'That Dr. Wren, Bishop of Ely, be discharged from his
imprisonment.' Thus the eighteen years of captivity came to an end, and
the Bishop came forth from the Tower, an old man of seventy-five,
broken by many sorrows.

It cannot have been with unmixed joy that he once more trod another path
than that wonted one on the leads of the Tower. True, the King was
coming home in peace to a people longing to receive him. This return was
a promise of deliverance for the Church, and an end to that difficulty
of preserving the Apostolical Succession which had so nearly proved a
fatal one. And yet, the flood, which in those eighteen years had passed
over the land, had swept away many whom the Bishop loved well. The King
might return in triumph, but he was not the sovereign whom, from his
youth, Bishop Wren had loved and served. The primate with whom he had
worked, had been cruelly murdered; and none could restore the wife and
children who had pined and died during the long years of his
imprisonment. The Church, however, remained, and for her Bishop Wren
would work while life lasted. Part of his employment in the Tower had
been the writing of treatises and sermons, one of which on the Scotch
Covenant, from the text 'Neither behave thyself frowardly in the
covenant,' he dispersed over the dioceses of Norwich and Ely, lodging
the while where he could in London, as he was not yet allowed to go back
either to Downham in Suffolk or to Ely House in Holborn. It appeared, as
was truly said, as if he had not been 'so much released as thrust out of

Homeless and penniless as he then seemed, Bishop Wren's spirit was in no
respect daunted; when he left in safety the Tower where he had once
thought to lay his head on the block, he planned the thank-offering
which he would make to God. His children, from whom he had been so long
separated, who were scattered everywhere and had been reduced to the
greatest straits, he with much difficulty gathered together again, and
they awaited the event of Monk's decision.


At length came that 29th of May so often described in history and
fiction. Evelyn's[76] account of it is interesting, as that of an

   'This day his majestie Charles II. came to London, after a sad and
   long exile and calamitous suffering both of the king and church,
   being seventeen yeares. This was also his birthday; and with a
   triumph of above 20,000 horse and foote, brandishing their swords
   and shouting with inexpressible joy; the wayes strewed with
   flowers, the bells ringing, the streetes hung with tapestry,
   fountaines running with wine; the maior, aldermen, and all the
   companies in their liveries, chaines of gold, and banners; lords
   and nobles clad in cloth of silver, gold, and velvet; the windowes
   and balconies well set with ladies: trumpets, music, and myriads of
   people flocking even so far as from Rochester, so as they were
   seven houres in passing the citty, even from two in afternoone till
   nine at night. I stood in the Strand and beheld it, and blessed
   God. All this was don without one drop of bloudshed, and by that
   very army which rebelled against him.'

By degrees, matters settled down to a more ordinary level. The Church
Service was restored at Whitehall, and on June 28 Pepys mentions[77]
'poor Bishop Wren going to chapel, it being a thanksgiving day for the
King's returne.'

The vacant sees were now filled up as speedily as possible. Bishop Juxon
was translated to Canterbury, Sheldon succeeding him as Bishop of
London; the northern province, then wholly without bishops, had its
losses supplied.

The Prayer Book was not by any means commonly used again for some time.
Pepys characteristically says--[78]

   '_July 1._--This morning come home my fine camlett cloak, with gold
   buttons, and a silk suit which cost me much money, and I pray God
   make me able to pay for it. In the afternoon to the Abbey, where a
   good sermon by a stranger, but no Common Prayer yet.'

In the following November, to quote the same writer, 'men did begin to
nibble at the Common Prayer.' Matters were really progressing, the
cathedrals and the court chapels as well as those in the Bishop's
palaces setting the example. In February (1661) Evelyn heard 'Dr.
Baldero preach at Ely House on St. Matthew vi. 33; after the sermon the
Bishop of Ely gave us the blessing very pontifically.'[79]


Ely House was an ancient possession of the see,[80] the gift of William
de Ludd, who in the reign of Edward I. gave the house and endowed it
with his manor of Ouldbourne, a name which soon grew into Holbourn. The
garden and its strawberries are immortalised by Shakespeare. It was
leased to Sir Christopher Hatton by Bishop Cox in Queen Elizabeth's
reign, and a struggle between the Hatton family and the Bishops of Ely
then began which lasted until 1772.[81] In Wren's time, the Bishops had
recovered some of the buildings, and he had lived here before the
rebellion. During that time the house had been used as a prison for
'malignant priests,' especially those of the city of London, and he must
have found the whole building sorely defaced and injured.

The chapel, dedicated to S. Etheldreda, is a beautiful piece of Gothic
architecture; and there, when it had been cleansed and restored to some
order, many of the new bishops were consecrated, and Bishop Wren
assisted at that preservation of the Apostolical Succession which but
two years before had seemed well-nigh hopeless.

Much was done at Ely House. In the May of 1661 the Convocation of
Canterbury met in S. Paul's, its marred, plundered condition not inaptly
showing the adversities through which the Church of England had passed.
The Convocation had much work before it, the most pressing being to
prepare a service for the baptism of those of riper years and for May
29. In order to this a committee of both Houses of Convocation was
formed, which met at Ely House, and of which Bishop Wren appears to have
been the ruling spirit. Many were still half afraid of their true
position and afraid of the Puritan party; eighteen years of confusion
and persecution had slackened all discipline, and many things seemed
natural to the new generation which neither Bishop Andrewes nor
Archbishop Laud would have tolerated for a day. It is implied in Dr.
Barwick's Life that many of those who should have upheld the Church
discipline were willing, from a mistaken notion of conciliation and
peace, to let it go. Bishop Wren set his face resolutely against this


In November the Convocation met again. Dr. John Barwick had been
appointed to the deanery of S. Paul's, and in spite of very failing
health, had resumed the weekly Communions, daily prayers, and musical
services of the cathedral, and had succeeded in making the choir, where
the Puritans had stabled their horses, once more fit for Divine service.
At this session of Convocation the Prayer Book was finally revised,
after the Bishops had heard at the Savoy Conference all that the
Puritans could urge against it. Bishop Wren had been actively engaged in
this work, and suggested a considerable number of alterations and
additions, many of which were adopted. A large number of grammatical
errors had crept in to the old book: for example, 'which' instead of
'who' was in almost all the collects and the Apostles' creed. It still,
by some oversight, survives in the Lord's Prayer.[82] 'The altering
whereof,' says Bishop Wren, 'if it may seem strange at first to
unskilful ears, yet will it not be a nine days' wonder, but for ever
after a right expression in all our addresses unto God.'

Page after page he corrected with the utmost care, from the very
title-page and calendar to the end. July has the characteristic note,
'Out with Dog-days from amongst the Saints.'--A considerable number of
his suggestions are part of the Prayer Book to this day. The final
clause of the prayer for the Church Militant beginning 'We also bless,
etc.,' though not Bishop Wren's composition, as he intended to have
replaced the Commemoration of the Saints and the Thanksgiving as it
stood in the first Prayer Book of Edward VI., is yet due to his
suggestion. The whole series of notes and emendations is very
interesting, though they are more than can be given here. Two things
plainly appear: that he wished to return as nearly as possible to the
first Prayer Book of Edward VI., as the one most closely resembling the
offices of the Early Church; that he was very desirous to have the book
made as full, as plain, and as clear as the English language could make
it. He was anxious that no needless stumbling-blocks should remain in
the path either of Churchmen or of Nonconformists, but at the same time
he had no intention of bartering any portion of Church truth or
discipline for the doubtful advantages of 'comprehension.'

It is a proof that he was not, with all his high-minded firmness, the
persecuting prelate of Puritan pamphleteers, or the sour and severe man
which, in early days, Lord Clarendon thought him, that both in Norwich,
his former diocese, and in the one he then ruled, most of the clergy
renounced the Covenant.[83]

S. Bartholomew's day, 1662, was the time fixed for those who refused to
conform to the Church to resign their livings. It has been easy to
represent this as a piece of cruel tyranny, as the turning out of a body
of pious men who were labouring in the work which others neglected. In
truth, as even Milton says, they were 'time-servers, covetous,
illiterate persecutors, not lovers of the truth, like in most things
whereof they had accused their predecessors.' To this grave indictment
must be added that they were, in the strictest sense, intruders, thrust
into charges by Cromwell's authority, while the true priests were
imprisoned, fined, forbidden to minister, or even to teach as
schoolmasters, and literally left to starve.

   'The majority of these were dead and none had been ordained to fill
   up the gaps, during all the long years since the Church's
   overthrow.... Of the eight thousand intruding Nonconformists, a
   bare two thousand--1700 would probably be nearer the
   number--refused conformity.

   'In other words, the Church of the Restoration had to begin her
   work with a clergy of whom at least three-fourths were aliens at
   heart to her doctrine and her discipline. To the politician this
   result was most satisfactory; to the Church little short of


One of the earliest appointments made at the Restoration was that of Dr.
Bruno Ryves[85] to be Dean of Windsor and Registrar of the Garter. In
the August of 1660, Christopher Wren went to Windsor, and solemnly
delivered to the Dean the three registers and the note books of the
Order of the Garter, which Dean Wren had, with so much difficulty,
recovered and hidden carefully until, at his death, he transferred the
charge to his son. Dean Ryves gave a written acknowledgment to
Christopher that he had safely received the books, and the service his
father had done in preserving them was fully admitted. Gresham College
had been cleansed and set in order after the Restoration, and
Christopher resumed his lectures there, which were largely attended.

After one of these lectures given in November, Lord Brouncker, Mr.
Robert Boyle, Dr. Goddard, Dr. Petty, Dr. Wilkins, Sir Robert Moray and
others withdrew with Wren to his room, where they discussed a project
for a philosophical College or Society. It was not an entirely new idea,
for it had been a favourite scheme of Evelyn's, also of the poet
Cowley's.[86] It was not a matter to be arranged in one sitting, and
accordingly they settled to meet weekly in Wren's rooms after his
lectures, and agreed that for incidental expenses each should pay down
ten shillings and subscribe a shilling weekly. A list was made of
between thirty and forty probable members, among them those previously
mentioned, and Christopher's old friend Sir C. Scarborough, Dr. Seth
Ward, Matthew Wren, Cowley, Sir Kenelme Digby, Mr. Evelyn and others.
Sir Robert Moray undertook to explain the project to King Charles, and
brought back a gracious message that he well approved of it, and would
be ready to give it every encouragement. One of the first orders of the
Society was that Wren should at the next meeting of the Society bring in
his account of the pendulum experiment, with his explanation of it: this
experiment related to 'the determination of a standard measure of length
by the vibration of a pendulum.'[87] There followed experiments for the
improvement of shipping, in which Wren worked with Dr. Petty and Dr.
Goddard. It was a question to what mechanical powers sailing, especially
when against the wind, was reducible; 'he showed it to be a wedge; and
he demonstrated how a transient force upon an oblique plane would cause
the motion of the plane against the first mover. He made an instrument
that mechanically produced the same effect and showed the reason of
sailing to all winds.'

But to give all Christopher's experiments would be to write over again
the already well-told history of the Royal Society. It had few more
assiduous members.


In 1661, Christopher resigned his Gresham Professorship, in order to
accept the Savilian Professorship of Astronomy, at Oxford.[88] It had
been held by Dr. Seth Ward, who was soon afterwards made Bishop of
Salisbury in succession to Bishop Hyde. Shortly after his appointment,
Christopher had a command from the King to make him a lunar globe,
according to the observations made with the best telescopes. He
constructed one 'representing not only the spots and various degrees of
whiteness on the surface, but the hills, eminences, and cavities moulded
in solid work.' This curious toy was highly admired, placed in the
King's cabinet at Whitehall, and esteemed a great 'rarity.'

In this year Wren took his degree as Doctor of Civil Laws, Oxford, and
received a similar honour from the University of Cambridge. King Charles
purposed paying a visit to Oxford, and the Philosophical Society both
there and in London resolved to give him an entertainment. Lord
Brouncker wrote from London to Wren to consult him. Wren wrote back:--

   'My Lord,--The Act and noise at Oxford being over, I retir'd to
   myself as speedily as I could to obey your Lordship and contribute
   something to the collection of Experiments designed by the Society,
   for his Majesty's Reception. I concluded on something I thought
   most suitable for such an occasion; but the stupidity of our
   artists here makes the apparatus so tedious that I foresee I shall
   not be able to bring it to anything within the time proposed. What
   in the meanwhile to suggest to your Lordship I cannot guess.'...
   'Geometrical problems, and new methods, however useful, will be but
   tasteless in a transient show.' He enumerates various things which
   he had thought of and rejected: 'designs of engines, scenographical
   tricks, designs of architecture, chymical experiments, experiments
   in anatomy, which last are sordid and noisome to any but those
   whose desire of knowledge makes them digest it.' 'Experiments of
   Natural Philosophy are seldom pompous, and certainly Nature in the
   best of her works is apparent enough in obvious things, were they
   but curiously observed; and the key that opens treasures is often
   plain and rusty, but unless it be gilt it will make no show at

He proposed to show an experiment with a 'weather wheel to measure the
expansions of air.' Another--'no unpleasing spectacle--of seeing a man
live without new air as long as you please;' this was to be effected by
an instrument of Wren's invention which cooled, percolated, and purified
the air. Also 'an artificial eye truly and dioptrically made as big as a


   'My Lord,' the letter ends, 'if my first design had been perfect I
   had not troubled your Lordship with so much Tattle, but with
   something performed and done. But I am fain, in this letter, to do
   like some chymist who when Projection (his fugitive darling) hath
   left him threadbare, is forced to fall to vulgar Preparations to
   pay his Debts.'

The King appointed Wren as assistant to Sir John Denham, the
Surveyor-General of Works. Sir John had been appointed by Charles I., in
reversion during the lifetime of Inigo Jones, surveyor at that time, and
had succeeded, at Inigo Jones's death, to what was then but a barren
honour. Evelyn, who had a dispute with Sir John about the placing of
Greenwich Palace in that very year, says: 'I knew him to be a better
poet than architect, tho' he had Mr. Webb[89] (Inigo Jones's man) to
assist him.' Of this Charles II. was probably aware, and anxious to
supply his deficiency. That his choice should have fallen upon Wren,
unless Evelyn's friendship suggested it, is remarkable, as, until then,
Wren seems to have made no special study of architecture. No doubt the
practical experience learned in the details of the assistant-surveyor's
work was afterwards very serviceable to him. He appears to have had a
most retentive memory as well as a very quick eye and power of
apprehension. In spite, however, of these calls on his time he was
assiduous at the Society's meetings.

The death of Laurence Rooke, his friend and fellow-labourer, threw more
work on his hands. Rooke was succeeded in the Geometry Professorship by
Isaac Barrow, afterwards a well-known divine who, in his first Latin
oration, eulogised the Savilian Professor as 'formerly a prodigy of a
boy, now a miracle of a man, and a genius among mortals. Lest I should
appear to speak falsehood, it will be enough for me to name to you the
most ingenious and excellent Christopher Wren.'[90] It was a high
compliment, but Barrow knew that his audience would heartily re-echo it.
It is to be hoped that Barrow's lectures were somewhat shorter than his
sermons, which, fine as they are, were not always listened to with


   'On one occasion, when he was long preaching in the Abbey on a
   holiday, the servants of the Church, who on those days showed the
   tombs and effigies in wax of the Kings and Queens to the common
   people, fearing to spend that time in hearing which they might more
   profitably employ in receiving, caused the organs to blow until
   they had blowed him down.'[91]

On March 25, 1663, the Society was finally incorporated by a charter
from the King, with a preamble written by Christopher Wren, explaining
its objects. The style of the preamble is far more florid than is usual
in Wren's writing: it has in it the exultation of one who is
accomplishing a long-cherished scheme. One paragraph is evidently
intended as a defence against certain attacks which were made upon the
English philosophers as they had been in past times against Galileo:--

   'Not that herein we would withdraw the least ray of our influence
   from the present established nurseries of good literature and
   education, founded by the piety of our royal ancestors and others,
   and whose laws which as we are obliged to defend, so the holy blood
   of our martyred Father hath especially endeared to us, but, that we
   purpose to make further provision for this branch of knowledge
   likewise, Natural Experimental Philosophy.'... 'Taking care as in
   the first place for Religion so next for the riches and ornaments
   of our kingdoms, as we wear an Imperial Crown in which flowers are
   alternately intermixed with the ensigns of Christianity.'

King Charles, the Duke of York, and Prince Rupert, always a lover of
experiments, were among the first members of the Society, and its
beginning was prosperous enough; but Court favour has always created
some envy. It happened that in the self-same year Butler,[92] then
secretary to Jeremy Taylor's friend, Lord Carbery, published his famous
'Hudibras.' It created a great sensation; the Court read it, the town
read it; Pepys, hearing 'the world cry it up so mightily, tried twice or
three times reading to bring himself to think it witty.' It was in
everyone's mouth, and Butler naturally thought himself sure of
promotion. None, however, came to him, and he directed his bitter wit
against those more fortunate than himself, the members of the new Royal
Society, and Bishop Sprat in particular, in a poem called 'The Elephant
in the Moon,' which opened as follows:--


               'A learn'd Society of late,
               The glory of a neighbouring state,
               Agreed upon a summer night
               To search the moon by her own light,
               To take an invent'ry of all
               Her real estate and personal.

                      *       *       *       *       *

               To observe her country how 'twas planted,
               With what she abounded most or wanted,
               And make the proper'st observations
               For settling of new plantations,
               If the Society should incline
               T' attempt so glorious a design.'

With sharp touches indicating the various Members of the Society the
satire continues, telling how they see in the moon, through the
telescope, marvellous things, and an appearance of an immense elephant;
they agree that a record must be made, and during the discussion who is
to write it, one of the servants peeping through the telescope discovers
that a _mouse_ has got in between the two glasses! It, and a swarm of
small flies, are the causes of the mysterious phenomena, the vast beast,
the marching and countermarching armies which have been so learnedly

The Society does not seem to have paid much attention to the poet, and
the experiments went on as usual. A different task was presently offered
to Wren by the King. When he married Catharine of Portugal, he received
Tangiers, Tripoli, and Bombay as part of her dowry. Tangiers was
reckoned as a very important place to the English, whose sailors were
still constantly harassed by the Moorish pirates, and the fortifications
of the town were a pressing care. King Charles offered, through Matthew
Wren, then Lord Clarendon's secretary, a commission to Christopher Wren,
as one of the best geometricians in Europe, to survey and direct the
works at the mole, harbour, and fortifications of Tangiers, offering him
an ample salary, leave of absence from his Professorship, and a
reversionary grant of Sir John Denham's office. Flattering though the
offer was, Christopher declined it on the ground of his health, and
begged the King to command his duty in England.


He no doubt judged wisely, and the refusal gave no offence at Court.
Perhaps the leave of absence might not have been easily obtained, for
the following letter from Dr. Sprat shows that Wren was already
embarrassed by the difficulty of being in two places at once:--

   'My dear Sir,--I must confess I have some little Peek against
   you--therefore am not much displeased, that I have this occasion of
   telling you some ill news. The Vice-Chancellor did yesterday send
   for me to inquire where the _Astronomy Professor_ was, and the
   reason of his absence so long after the beginning of the _term_. I
   used all the arguments I could for your Defence. I told him that
   _Charles the Second_ was King of _England_, _Scotland_, _France_
   and _Ireland_; and that he was by the late _Act of Parliament_
   declared absolute Monarch in these his dominions: and that it was
   this mighty Prince who had confined you to _London_. I endeavour'd
   to persuade him that the drawing of lines in _Sir Harry Savill's_
   school was not altogether of so great a concernment for the benefit
   of Christendom as the rebuilding of _St. Paul's_ or the fortifying
   of _Tangier_; (for I understood those were the great works in which
   that extraordinary Genius of yours was judg'd necessary to be
   employ'd). All this I urged, but after some Discourse, he told me,
   that he was not now to consider you as _Dr. Bayly_[94](for so he
   ow'd you all Kindness) but as _Vice Chancellor_, and under that
   Capacity he most terribly told me that he took it very ill you had
   not all this while given him any Account of what hinder'd you in
   the Discharge of your Office. This he bid me tell you, and I do it
   not very unwillingly because I see that our Friendships are so
   closely ty'd together that the same Thing which was so great a
   Prejudice to me (my losing your Company all this while here) does
   also something redound to your Disadvantage. And so, my dear Sir,
   now my Spite and Spleen is satisfied, I must needs return to my old
   Temper again, and faithfully assure you that I am with the most
   violent Zeal and Passion, your most affectionate and devoted

                                                       'THO. SPRAT.'

Wren had also employment at Cambridge, of a kind he would have been loth
to put in other hands. His uncle, the Bishop of Ely, had instantly on
his release determined to give a chapel to Pembroke Hall, Cambridge,
where he had been a scholar under Launcelot Andrewes,[95] and he
employed his nephew as his architect. Upon this work and its endowment
the Bishop expended 5,000_l._, the first money he received after his
release. His personal habits were austerely simple; for the last twenty
years of his life he drank no wine, and only ate off a wooden trencher,
practising fasting and abstinence with great strictness. He had never
spent any of the revenues of his see upon his children, and now he made
the chapel his heir, bestowing upon it an estate at Hardwick in

The chapel, which has a peculiar interest as Wren's first architectural
work, is built in the classical style he was to make famous in England,
and bears his mark in its beautiful proportions, the richness of its
stucco ceiling and the pannelled wood-work. The plain glazing of the
windows and a something of bareness about the whole, are probably to be
accounted for by the necessity of limiting the expense to a fixed sum.
Its first stone was laid May 13, 1663, by the Master, Dr. Frank, acting
for Bishop Wren, who was not present.[96]


It was probably at the same time that Wren executed some repairs in Ely
Cathedral which had suffered, like every other grand church, from the
fury of the Puritans. Bitter indeed must have been the regret with which
the surviving clergy returned to find the fabrics of their churches
plundered and laid waste, and their flocks scattered or corrupted.


   [69] _Life of Dr. Barwick_, p. 201.

   [70] Afterwards Lord Clarendon.

   [71] _Life of Dr. Barwick_, p. 424.

   [72] Probably Bishop Juxon, more than once alluded to under this
        name in these letters.

   [73] _Life of Dr. Barwick_, p. 437.

   [74] _Life of Dr. Barwick_, p. 449.

   [75] _Life of Dr. Barwick_, p. 496.

   [76] _Diary_, May 29, 1660.

   [77] _Diary_, vol. i. p. 112, ed. 1828.

   [78] Ib., p. 114.

   [79] _Diary._

   [80] _Repertorium_, vol. ii. p. 273. Newcourt.

   [81] In that year the last Lord Hatton died; the bishops resigned
        Ely House to the Crown, and received No. 37 Dover Street in
        exchange. The chapel, after years of neglect, has also been
        suffered to pass out of the hands of the Church into those of
        the Romanists. See _Walks in London_ by A. C. Hare, vol. ii.
        pp. 196-201.

   [82] _Fragmentary Illustrations of the History of the Book of
        Common Prayer_, edited by the Bishop of Chester, p. 47, _et

   [83] Bishop Kennet says, 'One particular will appear' (from Bishop
        Wren's _Register_), 'that there were but few of the parochial
        clergy deprived in this diocese (Ely) in 1662, for not
        submitting to the Act of Uniformity, though more of the old
        legal incumbents had been sequestered about 1644 than in
        proportion within any other diocese.'--Grey's Examination of
        Neale's _History of the Puritans_, vol. iv. p. 328. From the
        same authority it appears that most of the clerks deprived in
        1662 had other callings, _e.g._ cobbling, gloving, skinning,
        bookselling, husbandry, and to these they generally returned.

        Some of his clergy had come to him in the Tower for institution,
        in the early part of his imprisonment, and that many were
        faithful to him is evident from the fact they were expelled
        their livings for 'following Bishop Wren's fancies,' no other
        crimes being pretended against them.--_Annals of England_, p.

   [84] See an interesting article, _The Church of England in the
        Eighteenth Century_, in the _Church Quarterly Review_, July,
        1877, p. 321, _et seq._ It is not however quite accurate to
        say '_none_ were ordained,' for Bishop Duppa held secretly
        'frequent ordinations of young loyal church scholars,' among
        whom was Tenison, afterwards Archbishop of
        Canterbury.--_History of the Book of Common Prayer_, Lathbury,
        p. 296.

   [85] Dr. Bruno Ryves, Dean of Chichester in 1642, was in the city
        during Sir William Waller's siege, and left a description of
        the sack of the cathedral and robbery of its plate by the
        commander and his troops. Dean Ryves was fined 120_l._ and
        deprived.--_Memorials of the See of Chichester_, p. 286.

   [86] Abraham Cowley, born 1618; educated at Westminster; was the
        intimate friend of Lord Falkland and of the poet Crashaw.
        Cowley followed Henrietta Maria to Paris, remaining steadily
        loyal. He died 1667.

   [87] _History of the Royal Society_ (by C. R. Weld), p. 96. Galileo
        is said to have first discovered the use of the pendulum as a
        measure of time, while watching the oscillations of the bronze
        lamp in the cathedral at Pisa. A pendulum clock was long
        reckoned a 'rarity.' Bishop Seth Ward presented one, made by
        Fromantel, to the Society in 1662, in memory of his friend Mr.
        Laurence Rooke, late Astronomy Professor at Gresham College.

   [88] Founded 1619 by Sir Henry Savile. He required that the
        Professor should explain the Ptolemaic and Copernican and
        other modern astronomical systems, should teach and read on
        Optics, Dialling, Geography and Navigation. He was to be of
        any nation in Christendom, provided he was of good reputation,
        had a fair knowledge of Greek, and was twenty-six years of
        age. If an Englishman he must have taken his M.A. degree. The
        choice of a professor was to lie with the Archbishop of
        Canterbury, the Lord Chancellor, the Chancellor of the
        University, the Bishop of London, the principal Secretary of
        State, Chief Justices, the Lord Chief Baron, and Dean of
        Arches. _Oxford_, vol. ii. p. 188. Ayliffe.

   [89] He married Inigo Jones's daughter.

   [90] _Lives of the Gresham Professors_, Ward, p. 97.

   [91] Isaac Barrow, born 1630. He was so little studious as a boy,
        and so fond of fighting, that his father used often solemnly
        to wish that if it should please God to take one of his
        children it might be his son Isaac. When, however, in 1677, he
        did really die, the Lord Keeper (Lord Nottingham) sent his
        father a message of condolence, importing that 'he had but too
        great reason to grieve, since never father lost so good a
        son.' Dr. Isaac Barrow, Bishop of Man, 1663, and S. Asaph,
        1669, was his uncle. _Life of Dr. Barrow_, vol. i. p. ix., ed.
        1830. Among his poems is the following, which seems to be

                         AD. DD. CHR. WREN.
              Ad te, sed passu tremulo vultuque rubenti,
              Fertur ad ingenii culmen, opella levis,
              Nec quid vult aliud (quid enim velit haud tibi notum)
              Quam ut justum authoris deferat.--_Ib._ vol. viii. p. 541.

   [92] Samuel Butler, born 1612, died, it is said, in great poverty,
        and was buried in S. Paul's, Covent Garden, 1680.

   [93] Wren's lunar globe will be remembered. _Vide supra_, p. 125.

        The satire made some sensation and caused La Fontaine to write
        _Un Animal dans la Lune_, in which, courtier like, he pays a
        compliment to Charles II., and hints at the happiness of
        England at peace and able to give herself 'à ces emplois,'
        while France was at war with Holland, Spain, and the Empire.

   [94] Dr. Richard Bayley, President of S. John's College.

   [95] Bishop Andrewes bequeathed 332_l._ to the library of Pembroke

   [96] Some alterations have recently been made at Pembroke, in
        which, under the late Sir G. Scott's orders, the chapel has
        been lengthened by about 20 feet, the stucco of the exterior
        stripped, and the red brick pointed.

                               CHAPTER VI.



          Yet, London, Empress of the Northern Clime,
            By an high fate thou greatly didst expire,
          Great as the world's, which, at the death of time,
            Must fall, and rise a nobler frame by fire

                       _Annus Mirabilis_, ccxii. Dryden.

The repairs of S. Paul's Cathedral could not be delayed. Wren, as Sir
John Denham's assistant, was greatly occupied about the matter, which
was one of no ordinary difficulty. The responsibility was really his,
for Sir John went out of his mind, and though he recovered, probably did
but little business.

When Inigo Jones built his portico, he cased the nave with Portland
stone, and rebuilt the north and south fronts. In doing so he pared down
the original pointed architecture, until little of its beauty or
character remained. His work had in its turn been damaged by the
Puritans, who set up booths in the portico, and dug sawpits in the
cathedral inclosure. Besides these injuries Christopher Wren's accurate
eye detected graver faults in the original design, some of which he
enumerates. 'The pillars of the nave, though eleven feet in diameter,
were only cased with stone, and filled up with rubbish inside. The roof
was always too heavy for them, so that they are bent outwards on both
sides, so that the roof already cracked will finally fall in.' He
proposed to substitute a roof[97] of 'a light, thin shell of stone,
very geometrically made.' The tower leant much to one side, and was
propped with arches and buttresses, so as to block the view from the
west end. Upon this tower, which he despairingly calls 'a heap of
deformities,' there had been formerly a tall, thin, wooden spire, which
was destroyed by lightning. For this he wished to substitute 'a dome or
rotunda, and upon the cupola for outward ornament, a lantern with a
spring top to rise proportionately.' He hints that when the dome was
finished the rest of the cathedral should be harmonised with it, almost
impossible though the task appeared. He expected great difference of
opinion, and that 'some would aim at a greater magnificence than the age
would afford, and some might fall so low as to think of piecing up the
old fabric here with stone, there with brick, and covering all faults
with a coat of plaster, to leave it still to posterity as an object of
charity.' The miserable state of the building is implied in the epitaph
of its Dean, Dr. Barwick, who in 1664, 'Inter sacras Ædis Paulinæ ruinas
reponit suas (utrasque resurrecturas securus)'.[98]


Another work upon which Wren was engaged was the Sheldonian Theatre at
Oxford. Sheldon, who succeeded Archbishop Juxon in the see of Canterbury
in 1663, was determined to free S. Mary's Church from the profane uses
to which it was put when the various 'Acts' were kept there, and any
kind of jesting and buffoonery was considered allowable. He had had
experience of Wren in the discussions about S. Paul's, and now engaged
him as architect. The building is too well known to need a description;
the roof was reckoned a triumph of skill because of 'the contrivance of
supporting the same without the help of any beam, it being entirely kept
up by braces and screws; and is the subject of an excellent mathematical
treatise by that prodigy of the age, Dr. Wallis.'[99] It was six years
building, and cost 25,000_l._ Evelyn, with whom Wren had often discussed
the plans, went to Oxford on purpose to be present at the opening on
July 9, 1669.

   'In the morning,' he says, 'was celebrated the Encenia of the New
   Theater ... it was resolved to keep the present Act in it and
   celebrate its dedication with the greatest splendor and formalitie
   that might be, and therefore drew a world of strangers and other
   companie to the Universitie from all parts of the nation. The Vice
   Chancellor, Heads of Houses and Doctors, being seated in
   magisteriall seates, the Vice Chancellor's chaire and deske,
   Proctors etc. covered with Brocatall (a kind of Brocade) and cloth
   of gold; the Universitie Register read the founder's grant and gift
   of it to the Universitie upon these solemn occasions. Then followed
   Dr. South, the Universitie's orator, in an eloquent speech which
   was very long and not without some malicious and indecent
   reflections on the Royal Society as underminers of the Universitie,
   which was very foolish and untrue, as well as unseasonable. But,
   to let that pass from an ill-natured man, the rest was in praise of
   the archbishop and the ingenious architect.'

Dr. Plot, the historian of Oxfordshire, who was a member of the Royal
Society, in his quaint book gives a careful technical description of the
construction of the theatre by Wren, and his assistant, 'Richard
Frogley, an able carpenter.'

During the years that the theatre was building Wren did not intermit his
attendance at the Royal Society; amongst other inventions he produced a
machine for drawing in perspective, which was exhibited at one of the


A frightful interruption came to these and to all other pursuits in
London. In 1665, the plague, which had more than once afflicted England,
broke out with fearful force in London, where the dark narrow streets
with their houses meeting overhead, and the foul state of the entire
town, gave every encouragement to its ravages. Pepys, who stayed in
London all through the worst time of the plague, gives many a record of
this visitation.[100]

   '_June 7th._--The hottest day that ever I felt in my life. This
   day, much against my will I did in Drury Lane see two or three
   houses marked with a red cross upon the doors and "Lord have mercy
   upon us!" writ there; which was a sad sight to me, being the first
   of the kind that, to my remembrance, I ever saw.

   '_August 16th._--To the Exchange, where I have not been a great
   while. But Lord! how sad a sight it is to see the streets empty of
   people and very few upon the 'Change! Jealous of every door that
   one sees shut up lest it should be the plague, and about us two
   shops in three, if not more, generally shut up.

   '_September 3rd_ (Lord's Day).--Up; and put on my coloured silk
   suit very fine, and my new periwigg, bought a good while since, and
   durst not wear because the plague was in Westminster when I bought
   it; and it is a wonder what will be the fashion after the plague is
   done as to periwiggs, for nobody will dare to buy any haire for
   fear of the infection, that it had been cut off the heads of people
   dead of the plague. My Lord Brouncker, Sir J. Minnes and I up to
   the Vestry' (he was then at Greenwich) 'at the desire of the
   justices of the peace, in order to the doing of something for the
   keeping of the plague from growing; but Lord! to consider the
   madness of the people of the town who will, because they are
   forbid, come in crowds along with the dead corpses to see them
   buried; but we agreed on some orders for the prevention thereof.
   Among other stories, one was very passionate, me-thought, of a
   complaint brought against a man in the town for taking a child from
   London from an infected house. Alderman Hooker told us it was the
   child of a very able citizen in Gracious Street' (Gracechurch
   Street), 'a saddler, who had buried all the rest of his children
   with the plague, and himself and his wife being now shut up and in
   despair of escaping, did desire only to save the life of this
   little child; and so prevailed to have it received stark naked into
   the arms of a friend who brought it, having put it into fresh
   clothes, to Greenwich, where upon hearing the story we did agree it
   should be permitted to be received and kept in the town.'

So the days went on and the grass waved in Whitehall Court, and to quote
Pepys again: 'Lord! how everybody's looks and discourse in the streets
is of death and nothing else, and few people going up and down, that the
town is like a place distressed and forsaken.'

None but those whom absolute necessity kept in London stayed in the
infected air; the works at S. Paul's were stopped; all meetings and
lectures ceased, with good reason, since to gather people together was
but to spread the infection.

Christopher Wren profited by the cessation of his London work, to travel
abroad. Before going he had much to settle; to help Mr. Evelyn find a
tutor, 'a perfect Grecian and more than commonly mathematical,' for his
son. This youth went two years later, at the age of thirteen, to Trinity
College, Oxford, 'being newly out of long coates.'


Wren's Oxford Professorship, and his works, both there and at Cambridge,
required to be set in good order before he could go. At Oxford he was
engaged on the repairs of Trinity College, for his friend Dr.
Bathurst.[101] On June 22, 1665, Wren writes to them as follows:--

   'My honoured Friend,--I am convinced with Machiavel or some unlucky
   fellow, 'tis no matter whether I quote true, that the world is
   generally governed by words. I perceive the name of a quadrangle
   will carry it with those whom you say may possibly be your
   benefactors, though it be much the worse situation for the
   chambers, and the beauty of the college, and of the particular pile
   of building. If I had skill in enchantment to represent the pile,
   first in one view, then in another, I should certainly make them of
   my opinion; or else I will appeal to Mons. Mansard or Signor
   Bernini, both of which I shall see at Paris within this fortnight.

   'But, to be sober, if anybody, as you say, will pay for a
   quadrangle, there is no dispute to be made; let them have a
   quadrangle, though a lame one somewhat like a three-legged

Some technical details for the builder follow, and then:

   'You need not use any apologies to me, for I must beg you to
   believe you can command me in things of greater moment, and that I
   love to serve you as your most faithful and affectionate Friend and

                                               'CHRISTOPHER WREN.'

The College was repaired by Sir Thomas Pope, it having been left in a
very ruinous condition, but the ornamental part is due to Dr. Bathurst,
aided by munificent Archbishop Sheldon and other old members of the

He was making considerable additions to Trinity College at Cambridge: to
this date belongs the library, which he added to the beautiful western
Quadrangle known as Nevile's Court.

   'A building,' said Wren, in a letter to the Master of Trinity, 'of
   that consideration you go about, deserves good care in the design
   and able workmen to perform it; and that he who takes the general
   management upon him may have a prospect of the whole, and make all
   parts inside and outside correspond well together.'

Very full directions and six drawings follow, explaining the plan and
its details.

   'I suppose,' he ends, 'you have good masons; however, I would
   willingly take a farther pains to give all the mouldings in great;
   we are scrupulous in small matters and you must pardon us, the
   architects are as great pedants as critics and heralds.'


It was not until midsummer that Wren was able to start on his journey:
he went at once to Paris to the Earl of S. Albans, the English
ambassador, to whom he had letters. Lord S. Albans had lived at Paris in
great ease and luxury all through the Rebellion, far more so, Evelyn
indignantly says, than had the King. He was supposed to be privately
married to the Queen Dowager, Henrietta Maria. He was what was then
called a great virtuoso, a friend of Cowley and of other wits, and
entertained Wren with much courtesy and hospitality. Wren's name was, in
itself, a sufficient introduction to the scientific men and philosophers
of the city, in whose society he took great pleasure.

He had long been a Member of the Order of Freemasons, and had
distinguished himself by the attention he gave to the lodges under his
care: at the time of his journey to France he was Deputy Grand Master
under Earl Rivers; no doubt he availed himself to the full of the
opportunities which Freemasonry afforded him for observing the details
of the work and becoming acquainted with the workmen, the architects,
and the sculptors, whom Louis XIV. had brought in great numbers to

It would have been interesting had Wren left us a record of his
impressions of Paris from a political point of view. It was the brief
interval of peace between England and France before the war of the
Netherlands. Louis XIV., climbing upwards to the zenith of his brilliant
reign, keeping the supreme power in his own hands since Mazarin's death
(in 1661), with the wise Colbert for his financier, surrounded by all
the great captains, statesmen, wits and artists who made up the 'Siècle
de Louis XIV.,' must have been a very interesting subject for the
observation of a philosopher like Wren, whose youth had been passed
among terrible political storms. There is, however, but one slight hint
in his journal, but one suggestion that he discerned the true value of
much of the glitter and veneer of universal, if temporary, success.
Pascal, with whom he had corresponded, and between whose brief career
and his own there is a curious resemblance, had died three years before
Wren took his one foreign journey.

The 'Académie Royale des Sciences,' which had just received the formal
sanction of Louis XIV., had begun much like the English Royal Society,
by small meetings and conferences at Paris amongst scientific men, and
in these conferences, Pascal, while very young, had taken a brilliant
place. His father, Etienne Pascal, when he found it a vain attempt to
withhold mathematical science from his son, cultivated the boy's genius
to the utmost, beyond, perhaps, what the very feeble physical frame
could bear.

One cannot doubt that Wren was introduced to this society, and took an
interest in its discussions, though his attention seems most of all to
have been given to architecture.


In a journal written for a Dr. Bateman, the friend who gave him the
letters to Lord S. Albans, he says:

   'I have busied myself in surveying the most esteemed Fabrics of
   Paris, and the country round; the Louvre for a while was my daily
   object where no less than a thousand hands are constantly employed
   in the works; some in laying mighty Foundations, some in raising
   the stories, columns, and entablements &c. with vast stones, by
   great and useful engines, others in carving, inlaying of marbles,
   plaistering, painting, gilding &c., which altogether makes a School
   of Architecture, the best probably at this day in Europe. The
   college of the Four Nations,[102] is usually admired, but the
   Artist had purposely set it ill-favouredly that he might shew his
   wit in struggling with an ill-convenienced situation. An Academy of
   Painters, Sculptors, Architects and the chief Artificers of the
   Louvre, meet every first and last Saturday of the month. Mons.
   Colbert, Surintendant, comes to the works of the Louvre every
   Wednesday, and if business hinders not, Thursday. The Workmen are
   paid every Sunday duly. Mons. Abbé Charles introduced me to the
   acquaintance of Bernini,[103] who showed me his designs of the
   Louvre, and of the King's Statue. Abbé Bruno keeps the curious
   rarities of the Duke of Orleans' library, well filled with
   excellent Intaglios, medals, books of Plants and Fowls in
   miniature. Abbé Burdelo keeps an Academy at his house for
   Philosophy every Monday afternoon. But I must not think to describe
   Paris, and the numerous observables there in the compass of a short
   letter. The King's Houses I could not miss, Fontainbleau has a
   stately wildness and vastness suitable to the Desert it stands in.


   'The antique mass of the Castle of S. Germains and the hanging
   gardens are delightfully surprising (I mean to any man of
   judgement), for the pleasures below vanish away in the breath that
   is spent in ascending. The Palace, or if you please the Cabinet, of
   Versailles call'd me twice to view it; the mixtures of brick,
   stone, blue tile and gold make it look like a rich livery: not an
   inch within but is crowded with little curiosities of ornaments:
   the women as they make here the language and fashions and meddle
   with Politics and Philosophy, so they sway also in Architecture;
   works of Filgrand and little Knacks are in great vogue; but
   Building certainly ought to have the attribute of Eternal and
   therefore the only thing uncapable of new Fashions. The masculine
   furniture of _Palais Mazarine_ pleased me much better, where is a
   great and noble collection of antique Statues and Bustoes, (many of
   porphyry), good Basso-relievos: excellent pictures of the great
   masters, fine Arras, true Mosaics, besides _pièces de Raport_[104]
   in compartiments and pavements, vases of porcelain painted by
   Raphael, and infinite other rarities. The best of which now furnish
   the glorious appartment of the Queen Mother at the Louvre which I
   saw many times. After the incomparable villas of Vaux and Maisons,
   I shall name but Ruel, Coutances, Chilly, Essoane, St. Maur, St.
   Mande, Issy, Meudon, Rincy, Chantilly, Verneuil, Liancour, all
   which, and I might add many others, I have surveyed, and that I
   might not lose the impressions of them, I shall bring you all
   France on paper. Bernini's design of the Louvre I would have given
   my skin for; but the old reserved Italian gave me but a few
   minutes' view; it was five designs on paper, for which he hath
   received as many thousand pistoles. I had only time to copy it in
   my fancy and memory, and shall be able, by discourse and a crayon,
   to give you a tolerable account of it. I have purchased a great
   deal of taille-douce, that I might give our countrymen examples of
   ornaments and grotesques, in which the Italians themselves confess
   the French to excel. I hope I shall give you a very good account of
   all the best artists of France; my business now is to pry into
   trades and arts. I put myself into all shapes to humour them; it is
   a comedy to me, and though sometimes expenseful, I am yet loth to
   leave it.' There follows a long list of what he calls 'the most
   noted artisans within my knowledge or acquaintance,' in which is
   many a famous name, Bernini, Poussin, Mignard, Mansard, &c., and
   then he says, 'My Lord Berkeley returns to England at Christmas,
   when I propose to take the opportunity of his company, and by that
   time to perfect what I have on the anvil--observations on the
   present state of architecture, arts, and manufactures in France.'

With the great men Latin was probably the common tongue, but with the
artizans he must have talked in French, and have either possessed or
acquired no small mastery of the language and of the technical terms of
their various trades. The 'observations' were either never hammered into
the shape Wren wished, or else were subsequently lost or copied by
someone else, as frequently happened to one so careless of his own fame
as was Wren. In January 1666, the English Ambassador was recalled from
Paris, and the war began between England, and the Netherlands with
France for their ally.


Pembroke Chapel was meanwhile completed, and

   'being beautified with splendid and decorous furniture and amply
   endowed with an annual revenue, was upon the feast of S. Matthew'
   (the Bishop's patron saint) '1665, solemnly consecrated and
   dedicated by Bishop Wren in person and by his Episcopal authority
   to the honour of Almighty God. A noble and lasting monument of the
   rare piety and munificence of that great and wise Prelate and in
   every point accorded to his character, which was so well known that
   the sole nomination of the founder was a sufficient account of the
   magnificence of the foundation. Before evening service the
   exterior or outer chapel and the cloister leading to it (a new
   fabrick of Sir R. Hitcham's foundation) were by his Lordship also
   consecrated for places of sepulture for the use of the Society,
   together with a cell or vault at the East end of the chapel under
   the altar for a dormitory for his Lordship.'[105]

Bishop Wren must have looked with joy on the completion of his
thankoffering, and may have guessed, as he surveyed its beautiful
proportions, that he had set his nephew, its young architect, on the
road to fame. Very little is told us of the latter years of Wren's
Episcopate; one or two stories are given in the 'Parentalia' and then
contradicted, but it seems he kept his old firmness. In 1662 he held the
second Visitation of his Diocese and the articles of inquiry and
directions show no change in his opinions and no deference to Puritan
notions. It was by a stretch of his power as Visitor that he admitted
Dr. Beaumont to be master of Peterhouse, though the college had
nominated two other deserving persons, of whom Cosin was one. The choice
proved, in the end, a very wise one. He could be lenient also when he
thought it right, and admitted several Fellows of Jesus College who came
to him, in some fear of a refusal, for institution. He 'was very fair
and civil towards them, despatched them without the usual height of the
fees and persuaded them to studiousness and peace against all
animosities.' So says a contemporary letter quoted in the 'Parentalia.'

Wren had come home at Christmas to find London comparatively free from
the plague, and people gradually returning. The Royal Society, whose
meetings had of course ceased during the infection, busied themselves in
investigations as to the plague, and the possible methods of preventing
it. It still raged in the country, and especially at Cambridge, driving
Isaac Newton from his lectures there to the garden at Woolsthorpe in
Lincolnshire, where the idea of the law of gravitation first occurred to
his mind.

The repair of S. Paul's was again discussed and commissioners appointed
in 1666, among whom were Evelyn, Wren, Dean Sancroft, and the then
Bishop of London, who was Humphrey Henchman, the early friend of George


On August 27th they inspected the cathedral. Two of the commissioners,
Mr. Chichley and Mr. Prat, evidently wished to do as little as possible,
declaring, when the nave was proved to lean outwards on both sides, 'it
was so built for an effect of the perspective,' and proposing to repair
the steeple on its old foundations. Wren thought very differently,
insisted on new foundations, renewed his former proposal of 'a noble
cupola' which was strongly supported by Evelyn, who had never forgotten
the grandeur of S. Peter's just completed when he went to Rome as a
young man in 1644. They retired to the Deanery to give their opinions in
writing, promising to send estimates of the cost of their several plans.
Six days later a new disaster overwhelmed London and solved the
question of repairing the cathedral. On the night of September 2nd the
Fire of London began; for three days and four nights it burned
unchecked, having gained such strength during the first panic that it
could not be beaten back, the sparks constantly kindling new centres of

   'All the skie,' says Evelyn,[106] 'was of a fiery aspect, like the
   top of a burning oven, and the light seen above forty miles round
   about for many nights. God grant mine eyes may never behold the
   like who now saw 10,000 houses all in one flame; the noise and
   crackling and thunder of the impetuous flames, the shrieking of
   women and children, the hurry of people, the fall of towers, houses
   and churches, was like an hideous storme, and the aire all about so
   hot and inflam'd that at last one was not able to approch it, so
   that they were forc'd to stand still and let the flames burn on,
   which they did for neere two miles in length and one in bredth. The
   clowds also of smoke were dismall and reached upon computation
   neere fifty-six miles in length. Thus I left it this afternoone
   burning, a resemblance of Sodom, or of the last day.

   '_Sept. 4._--The burning still rages and it was now gotten as far
   as the Inner Temple; all Fleet Streete, the Old Bailey, Ludgate
   Hill, Warwick Lane, Newgate, Paules' Chaine, Watling Streete now
   flaming and most of it reduced to ashes; the stones of Paules flew
   like granados, the mealting lead running downe the streetes in a
   streame and the very pavement glowing with fiery rednesse so as no
   horse nor man was able to tread them and the demolition had stopped
   all the passages so as no help could be applied. The Eastern wind
   still more impetuously driving the flames forward. Nothing but the
   Almighty power of God was able to stop them, for vaine was the help
   of man.'

At last the people were roused to take some steps. King Charles, who
showed on this occasion great courage and presence of mind, got by water
to the Tower and insisted on the houses near being blown up so as to
prevent the flames from reaching the powder magazine.


Pepys gives a vivid account of the dismay and confusion; the goods
removed and removed again as the fire reached what had been thought to
be places of safety; the rain of fire drops, and the ever-new places in
which the fire broke out, and his own difficulties of getting anything
to eat but the cold remains of his Sunday's dinner! On September 17 he
went by water to Greenwich--'seeing the City all the way, a sad sight
much fire being in it still.' S. Paul's suffered terribly; the Portico
was split and rent, nothing but the inscription remaining, of which each
letter was perfect. The heat had calcined the largest blocks of stone,
the Portland stone flew off wherever the flames touched it; the lead
roof (no less than six acres by measure[107]), melted and fell in, and
carrying everything with it in its fall, broke into S. Faith's, the
crypt below the choir, where the books belonging to the Stationers'
Hall had been carried for safety. They caught fire and continued burning
for a week. The altar and roof above it, though of lead, remained
untouched, and one Bishop's tomb.[108] When at length the fire burnt
out, the city was a 'ruinous heap,' the air still so hot as almost to
singe the hair of those who sought amongst the ruins for some remains of
former wealth. In the fields all round were two hundred thousand people
of all classes equally destitute, silent from the very greatness of
their calamity and asking no relief. The King did his utmost for them,
and a proclamation was made for the country to come in and refresh them.
Most fortunately the weather was warm and fair.

For a few days their stupor lasted, when it was broken into by a general
alarm that the Dutch were in the river burning all the shipping. When
this was at length appeased, the people flocked back to what had been
the city, and either set up little sheds where their houses had been or
took refuge with friends whose dwellings were uninjured, so that in four
days' time of the hundreds who had thronged the fields not one remained.
To rebuild the city was an urgent necessity, and while the flames were
in parts still burning Wren and Evelyn had both made plans for a new
city and presented them to the King. Wren's was the first shown to King
Charles, and though there is much resemblance between it and that of
Evelyn, yet Wren's is evidently the more useful, as well as the finer
plan of the two, and was the one which the King accepted. All persons
were agreed that to allow the old, narrow, filthy streets, with their
magazines of oil and rosin, and their wooden houses touching each other
overhead, to be put back was only to insure another plague and another
fire, but the manner of rebuilding was in as great dispute as was the
origin of the fire. Pepys believed that it was caused by the Dutch, who
in the following year did venture into Chatham and burnt several
men-of-war as they lay at anchor there; but the popular idea was that it
was caused by the French and the Roman Catholics, and there were plenty
ready to swear that they had seen foreigners kindling the flames in
fresh places by throwing fire-balls into the houses. Some said it was
done by the Puritans, and very few appear to have accepted the theory,
probably the true one, that it was caused by the over-heating of a
baker's oven.

Christopher Wren began his work by having the ruins cleared away. It was
no easy task, especially as every now and then the flames would break
out anew when the air reached the cellars where they had been
smouldering. But it was a mere matter of necessity, as until this was
done it was not possible to pass to and fro or take the necessary levels
and measurements. He also repaired a portion of the west end of S.
Paul's, which best permitted it, for divine service. It was employment
enough for one man, but as the evenings grew longer, in the intervals of
elaborating his plans for the new city, he returned to the Royal
Society and attended all its meetings.

Improvements in building naturally occupied much of the Society's
attention. Mr. Hooke produced a scheme for a better method of
brick-making;[109] new models for the London granaries were required,
and Wren gave an account of those at Dantzic.


On April 24, 1667, his uncle, the Bishop of Ely, died, at the age of
eighty-one, at Ely House, in Holborn, which had probably been his chief
abode, though he left it on occasions for the work of his diocese and
for the consecration of the chapel at Pembroke Hall. Back to his
well-loved University, and to the resting-place he had prepared for
himself underneath the altar of the chapel, the Bishop's remains were
slowly borne during the first bright days of May, attended by 'his
children, his alliance, and his family.' The Heralds' College conducted
the funeral with full dignity and solemnity. When they reached Cambridge
the Vice-Chancellor and the whole university met the procession, which
was headed by Rouge Dragon, Pursuivant-at-arms, carrying the silver-gilt
Crozier, and Norroy, King-at-arms, carrying the silver-gilt Mitre, both
of which, as well as a pair of massive silver altar candlesticks, the
Bishop had provided a year before. On May 9, with the same attendance,
which included 'twenty-four scholars of S. John's, Peter House, and
Pembroke who were his relations,'[110] the coffin was borne to Pembroke
Chapel from the Registry, at the end of the Regent's Walk, where it had
lain in state for two days, and after Evening Service had been said was
laid in a 'coffin of one fair whole stone,' in the vault of the chapel.
Dr. Pearson pronounced a Latin oration over it, recalling the chief
events of the Bishop's long and troubled life, describing his
high-minded character, his resolute self-denial, and contrasting his
conduct in never seeking, or by the least word asking, for promotion,
but rather being besought to accept it, with those who gaped for church
preferment, and rather snatched honours than received them. Dr. Pearson
dwelt on his liberality to the University, on his never enriching his
family out of the revenues of the sees he had ruled; and paid a warm
tribute to the courage and faith with which he had fought for the
Church, and either alone, or amongst very few, had understood her
discipline and dared to revive it.


Of the four sons who survived the Bishop, Matthew, the eldest, early
attracted notice by an answer to Harrington's 'Commonwealth of Oceana'
and by a pamphlet 'Monarchy asserted,' a vindication of a former work
written in 1659. He was highly thought of by the Royalists, and was a
member of the Parliament which met in 1661. He was Lord Clarendon's
secretary, remained loyal to him during his unmerited disgrace, and was
then taken by the Duke of York as his secretary. Matthew remained with
the Duke until 1672; when he died and was buried in the vault at
Pembroke Chapel. He had taken a share in most of the political events of
his day, always with honour and credit. Thomas, the next brother, left
the profession of medicine, received holy orders, and was given the
Rectory of Littlebury in Essex by his father; a preferment that he held
until his death in 1680. Bishop Wren also made him Archdeacon of Ely. He
was a great musician and a member of the Royal Society. The two younger
sons, Charles and William, were both Oxford scholars, and received
degrees at the Restoration. Charles sat for Cambridge in the Parliament
of 1685, called by James II. on his accession. All these three younger
sons received degrees in 1660, with many others who had been ejected by
the Parliamentary Visitors in 1648-9. William Wren, who was made a
knight, was a barrister of the Middle Temple, and enjoyed the
questionable advantage of Judge Jeffreys' acquaintance. Jeffreys, then
Lord Chancellor, writing to Pepys[111] in 1687, says:--

   'My most Hon^{ed} Friend,--The bearer, Capt. Wren, came to mee this
   evening, with a strong fancy that a recommendation of myne might at
   least entitle him to your favourable reception; His civillities to
   my brother and his relation to honest Will Wren, and you know who
   else, emboldens me to offer my request on his behalfe. I hope he
   has served our M^r. well, and is capable of being an object of the
   King's favour in his request; however, I am sure I shall be
   excused for this impertinency, because I will gladly, in my way,
   embrace all opportunities wherein I may manifest myselfe to be what
   I here assure you I am, Sir,

                   'Your most entirely affectionate
                                    'Friend and Servant,
                                             'JEFFREYS, C.'

William Wren died in 1689 and was buried in the Temple Church. There is
no mention of the marriage of any of the Bishop's children, and
respecting the daughters I can find no record whatever, so it seems that
that branch of the Wren family died out. Captain Wren was probably one
of the Durham Wrens, or of those who lived at Withibrook in Warwickshire
and are mentioned by Dugdale.


   [97] For an account of the great rarity of stone roofs see
        Fergusson's _Illustrated Handbook of Architecture_, vol. ii.
        p. 879. It is said that Wren used often to look at the
        beautiful roof of King's College Chapel, Cambridge, and say
        he would build such another if anyone would tell him where to
        put the first stone.

   [98] 'Among the sacred ruins of S. Paul's Church laid down his own
        (sure that both will rise again).' Sancroft, afterwards
        Archbishop of Canterbury, succeeded him.

   [99] _Oxford_, vol. i. p. 473. Ayliffe.

  [100] _Diary_, vol. ii. p. 273, _et seq._, ed. 1828.

  [101] Dr. Ralph Bathurst, born 1620, educated at Coventry and
        Oxford. Was ordained, but during the rebellion maintained
        himself by the practice of medicine. He was a fellow of the
        Royal Society, and in 1688 its president. He was president of
        Trinity from 1644 till his death in 1704. He was Dean of
        Wells, and was offered the bishopric, but refused it as taking
        him from his college and hindering the improvements he was
        making there. Evelyn speaks highly of his preaching and his
        admirable parts and learning.'

  [102] Wren refers to the University of Paris, which was divided into
        four faculties--arts (letters and science), theology, civil
        and canon law, and medicine. The faculty of arts was divided
        into four _nations_. That of France divided again into five
        provinces or tribes, that of Picardy divided in the same way,
        that of Normandy, and that of Germany which was divided into
        two tribes, that of the continents (divided into two
        provinces), and that of the islanders, which included Great
        Britain and Ireland.--_Dictionnaire Historique de la France_,
        par L. Lalanne.

  [103] Gio. Bernini was born at Naples 1598 and was a great sculptor
        as well as architect. He made a bust of Charles I. of England
        after a picture by Vandyke. When the bust was carried to the
        king's house at Chelsea his Majesty with a train of nobles
        went to view it, and as they were viewing it a hawk flew over
        their heads with a partridge in his claw which he had wounded
        to death. Some of the partridge's blood fell on the neck of
        the bust, where it always remained without being wiped off.
        This bust, with the picture from which it was taken, is
        thought to have perished in the fire at Whitehall,
        1697.--_Biographical History_, vol. ii. p. 88. Grainger.

        Bernini was splendidly received at Paris and employed in
        several works of sculpture, among which was a bust of Louis
        XIV., probably the one to which Wren refers. His design for the
        Louvre was accepted, and he had just begun to work it out at
        the time Wren wrote, but Colbert and the two Perraults stirred
        up so many difficulties that Bernini abandoned the task, and
        the Louvre was left in the hands of Claude Perrault. Bernini
        returned to Rome and died there in 1680.

  [104] _i.e._ Mosaic.

  [105] Wood. _Athenæ Oxoniensis_, vol. i. p. 735. He used certain
        peculiarities in the Act of Consecration which have been
        repeated at the consecration of the addition to the chapel,
        March 25, 1881.

  [106] _Diary_, September, 1666.

  [107] Evelyn's _Diary_, September, 1666.

  [108] That of Robert de Braybrook (Bishop of London 1382 and 1405).
        The tomb of Donne (Dean of S. Paul's 1621-1631) was not
        entirely destroyed.

  [109] The bricks, which were temporarily used in the building of S.
        Paul's, were of so good a quality that Richard Jennings,
        Wren's master carpenter, bought and transported them by water
        to Henley-on-Thames (his native town), and with them built a
        house a mile from Henley, which, bearing the name of
        'Badgemore,' is still to be seen. The bricks of which it is
        built are often admired.

  [110] _Desiderata Curiosa_, p. 545. Peck.

  [111] Pepys' _Diary_, vol. v. p. 326.

                               CHAPTER VII.



               Methinks already from this chymic flame,
                 I see a city of more precious mold,
               Rich as the town which gives the Indies name,
                 With silver pav'd, and all divine with gold.

               Already, labouring with a mighty fate,
                 She shakes the rubbish from her mounting brow,
               And seems to have renewed her charter's date,
                 Which heaven will till the death of time allow.

                                     Dryden, _Annus Mirabilis_, ccxciii.

After the death of Bishop Wren, Christopher was a frequent attendant at
the Royal Society, where several experiments were made of raising
weights by means of gunpowder, a matter which Wren was anxious to
investigate before trying to remove the mass of ruins which had been S.
Paul's. Much very tedious work of carting away rubbish and opening
roadways still pressed on Wren and his assistants before even the
necessary levels could be taken and adjusted or any building could be

In spite of Wren's previous statement, and that of Evelyn and Sancroft,
in spite of the immense additional damage which the conflagration had
caused, attempts were still made to patch up the remains of S. Paul's

As has been said, something was done in order to make it possible to
hold Divine Service in the ruins, and there Sancroft ministered, and
there possibly he preached before the King on the occasion of the solemn
fast held for the fire on October 10, 1666.[112] Parts of the sermon
rise to real eloquence, and he admonishes King Charles and his luxurious
Court with singular courage and directness. So matters remained with
the Cathedral until the spring of 1668.


Wren was at Oxford, delivering his Astronomy Lectures, when he received
the following letter from the Dean of S. Paul's:[113]

   'What you whispered in my ear, at your last coming hither, is now
   come to pass. Our work at the west end of S. Paul's is fallen about
   our ears. Your quick eye discerned the walls and pillars gone off
   from their perpendiculars and I believe other defects too, which
   are now exposed to every common observer. About a week since, we
   being at work about the third pillar from the west end on the south
   side, which we had new cased with stone, where it was most
   defective almost up to the chapiter, a great weight falling from
   the high wall, so disabled the vaulting of the side aisle by it,
   that it threatened a sudden ruin so visibly that the workmen
   presently removed, and the next night the whole pillar fell, and
   carried scaffolds and all to the very ground.

   'This breach has discovered to all that look on it two great
   defects in Inigo Jones' work; one that his new case of stone in the
   upper walls (massy as it is) was not set upon the upright of the
   pillars, but upon the core of the groins of the vaulting; the other
   that there were no keystones at all to tie it to the old work; and
   all this being very heavy with the Roman ornaments on the top of
   it, and being already so far gone outwards, cannot possibly stand
   long. In fine, it is the opinion of all men, that we can proceed no
   farther at the west end. What we are to do next is the present
   deliberation, in which you are so absolutely and indispensably
   necessary to us that we can do nothing, resolve on nothing without
   you.'... 'You will think fit, I know, to bring with you those
   excellent draughts and designs you formerly favoured us with; and,
   in the mean time, till we enjoy you here, consider what to advise
   that may be for the satisfaction of his Majesty and the whole
   nation, an obligation so great and public, that it must be
   acknowledged by better hands than those of

   'Your affectionate Friend and Servant,
                                                       'W. SANCROFT.'

Wren seems to have been unable to come up to London, and to have written
an answer to Dean Sancroft reiterating his opinion, while the attempt at
repairs continued.

At the beginning of July Sancroft wrote to him again:--

   'Sir,--Yesterday my Lords of Canterbury, London, and Oxford met on
   purpose to hear your letter read once more, and to consider what is
   now to be done in order to the repairs of S. Paul's. They
   unanimously resolved, that it is fit immediately to attempt
   something, and that, without you, they can do nothing. I am
   therefore commanded to give you an invitation hither in his Grace's
   name, and the rest of the commissioners, with all speed, that we
   may prepare something to be proposed to his Majesty (the design of
   such a quire, at least as may be a congruous part of a greater and
   more magnificent work to follow); and then, for the procuring of
   contributions to defray this, we are so sanguine as not to doubt of
   it, if we could but once resolve what we would do, and what that
   would cost; so that the only part of your letter we demur to, is
   the method you propound of declaring first what money we would
   bestow, and then designing something just of that expense: for
   quite otherwise--the way their lordships resolve upon, is to frame
   a design, handsome and noble, and suitable to all the ends of it,
   and to the reputation of the city and the nation; and to take it
   for granted that money will be had to accomplish it: or, however,
   to let it lie by, till we have before us a prospect of so much as
   may reasonably encourage us to begin.

   'Thus far I thought good to prepare you for what will be said to
   you when you come, that you may not be surprised with it: and, if
   my summons prevail not, my lord the Bishop of Oxford hath
   undertaken to give it you warmer, _ore tenus_,[114] the next week,
   when he intends to be with you, if, at least, you be not come
   towards us before he arrives, which would be a very agreeable
   surprise to us all, and especially to your very affectionate,
   humble Servant,
                                                  'W. SANCROFT.'


Wren obeyed this intreaty, came up from Oxford, made a thorough
examination of the Cathedral, and wrote a report for the commissioners.

   'What time and weather,' he says, 'had left entire in the old and
   art in the new repaired parts of this great pile of S. Paul's, the
   calamity of the fire hath so weakened and defaced, that it now
   appears like some antique ruin of two thousand years' continuance,
   and to repair it sufficiently will be like the mending of
   Argo-nairs,[115] scarce anything at last will be left of the old.'

He enumerates the various 'decays' of the building from the date of the
fire in Queen Elizabeth's reign which burnt the whole roof and caused
'the spreading out of the walls above ten inches from their true
perpendicular'--up to the last fire, of which he says--

   'The second ruins are they that have put the restoration past
   remedy, the effects of which I shall briefly enumerate.

   'First, the portico is nearly deprived of that excellent beauty and
   strength which time alone and weather could have no more overthrown
   than the natural rocks; so great and good were the materials, and
   so skilfully were they laid after a true Roman manner. But so
   impatient is Portland stone of fire that many tons are scaled off
   and the columns flawed quite through.'

Then follows an account of the injuries to the rest of the building, but
as they have been already touched on in the extracts from Evelyn's Diary
and Sancroft's letters, they shall not be repeated here.

   'Having shown in part,' he continues, 'the deplorable condition of
   our patient, we are to consult of the cure, if possible art may
   effect it. And herein we must imitate the physician, who, when he
   finds a total decay of nature, bends his skill to a palliative to
   give respite for the better settlement of the estate of the
   patient. The question is then, where best to begin this sort of
   practice; that is to make a new quire for present use.'

The only part of the cathedral where this could be safely and easily
done was at the eastern end of the nave:--

   'Since,' he said, 'we cannot mend this great ruin, we will not
   disfigure it, but that it shall still have its full motives to
   work, if possible upon this or the next ages: and yet prove so
   cheap, that between three and four thousand pounds shall effect it
   all in one summer.

   'And, having with this ease obtained a present cathedral, there
   will be time to consider of a more durable and noble fabric, to be
   made in the place of the lower and eastern parts of the Church,
   when the minds of men, now contracted to many objects of necessary
   charge, shall by God's blessing be more widened, after a happy
   restoration, both of the buildings, and the wealth of the city and
   nation. In the meantime to derive, if not a stream, yet some little
   drills of charity this way; or, at least, to preserve that already
   obtained from being diverted, it may not prove ill-advised to seem
   to begin something of the new fabric. But I confess this cannot
   well be put in execution without taking down all that part of the
   ruin; which whether it be yet seasonable to do we must leave to our


Many meetings and much discussion ensued, and Wren's opinion at last
prevailed; the King issued an order in council for taking down the walls
at the east end, the old choir, and the tower, and for clearing the
ground in order to lay a fresh foundation. While this was being done,
Wren prepared sketches and designs for a new S. Paul's. He had also an
engagement out of London: his friend Dr. Seth Ward, the Bishop of
Salisbury, an active member of the Royal Society, asked Wren to survey
his beautiful cathedral, which had suffered much in the civil wars, and
lately by lightning and tempest.

Though the architecture of the cathedral was not of the kind which he
considered the best, Wren had too fine a taste, too quick an eye for
beauty of form, not to admire it heartily, and in his report he
pronounced that 'the whole pile was large and magnificent, justly
accounted one of the best patterns of the age wherein it was built.' He
praised the pillars and mouldings, 'the stately and rich plainness' to
which the architect had trusted. He made a thorough examination of the
whole, especially the spire, which had declined to the south-west, and
had caused great alarm. Wren was of opinion that the architect had not
laid as sufficient foundations, especially under the pillars, as he
should have done, considering the marshy nature of the soil, the
frequent inundations, the great weight that the pillars had to bear,
and that they themselves were too slight, particularly those under the

To prevent further mischief to the spire, he ordered some timbers in it,
and in the tower, to be cut away, and put in bands and braces of iron
wrought by anchor smiths who were accustomed to great work for ships. He
then had a plummet dropped to the pavement, from the highest possible
part of the spire, the height of which he reckoned at 404 feet from the
ground, to see exactly what the decline was, and ordered this trial to
be repeated at certain times to see if the decline increased.

When, nearly 200 years later, Mr. Wyatt made the trial, he found that
the decline was unaltered, so true had Wren's science proved.


Both this year and the previous one had, so far as London was concerned,
been taken up by the business of levelling, marking out streets, and
adjusting the claims of such as had had houses in the city before the
fire. Wren had laid before the King and Parliament a model of the city
as he proposed to build it, with full explanations of the details of the
design; the model probably does not exist, but the ground-plan has been
preserved, and suggests a London very different to the present one.

The street leading up Ludgate Hill, instead of being the confined,
winding approach to S. Paul's that it now is, even its crooked
picturesqueness marred by the viaduct that cuts all the lines of the
Cathedral, gradually widened as it approached S. Paul's, and divided
itself into two great streets, ninety feet wide at the least, which ran
on either side of the Cathedral, leaving a large open space in which it
stood. Of the two streets, one ran parallel with the river until it
reached the Tower, and the other led to the Exchange, which Wren meant
to be the centre of the city, standing in a great piazza, to which ten
streets, each sixty feet wide, converged, and around which were placed
the Post Office, the Mint, the Excise Office, the Goldsmiths' Hall, and
the Ensurance, forming the outside of the piazza. The smallest streets
were to be thirty feet wide, 'excluding all narrow, dark alleys without
thoroughfares, and courts.'

The churches were to occupy commanding positions along the principal
thoroughfares, and to be 'designed according to the best forms for
capacity and hearing, adorned with useful porticoes and lofty ornamental
towers and steeples in the greater parishes. All churchyards, gardens,
and unnecessary vacuities, and all trades that use great fires or yield
noisome smells to be placed out of town.'

He intended that the churchyards should be carefully planted and
adorned, and be a sort of girdle round the town, wishing them to be an
ornament to the city, and also a check upon its growth. To burials
within the walls of the town he strongly objected, and the experience
derived from the year of the plague confirmed his judgment. No gardens
are mentioned in the plan, for he had provided, as he thought,
sufficiently for the healthiness of the town by his wide streets and
numerous open spaces for markets. Gardening in towns was an art little
considered in his days, and contemporary descriptions show us that
'vacuities' were speedily filled with heaps of dust and refuse.

The London bank of the Thames was to be lined with a broad quay, along
which the halls of the city companies were to be built, with suitable
warehouses in between for the merchants, to vary the effect of the

The little stream whose name survives in _Fleet_ Street was to be
brought to light, cleansed, and made serviceable as a canal one hundred
and twenty feet wide, running much in the line of the present Holborn

These were the main features of Christopher Wren's scheme, and had he
been allowed to accomplish it, we can imagine what the effect of London
might have been without its noisome smells, without its dark crooked
lanes, without its worst smoke, its river honoured not only with the
handsome quay it has at length obtained, but with a line of beautiful
buildings and fair spires, and above all S. Paul's, with an ample space
around it, giving free play to its grand proportions. Wren, with a
perfect knowledge of his own powers, which he considered as
dispassionately, and knew as accurately as any matter of mathematical
science, was ready to undertake and perform his scheme to the uttermost.


The difficulties were however considerable: there were the endless
quarrels about property, the reluctance to part with an old site, and,
chief difficulty of all, the utmost hurry of rebuilding in order to
house the people before the approaching winter.

Pepys[117] says that in April 1667:--

   'Moorefields have houses two stories high in them, and paved
   streets, the city having let leases for seven years, which will be
   very much to the hindering of the building of the city; but it was
   considered that the streets cannot be passable in London till the
   whole street be built; and several that had got ground of the city
   for charity to build sheds on, had got the trick presently to sell
   that for 60_l._ which did not cost them 20_l._ to put up; and so
   the city being very poor in stock, thought it as good to do it
   themselves and therefore let leases for seven years of the ground
   in Moorefields.'

Thus Wren had by no means clear ground on which to work, and an
opportunity was forfeited, which, _absit omen_, may never recur, of
making London one of the beautiful cities of the world.

Important sanitary improvements were, however, made: the houses were not
built of wood; the principal streets were less narrow; and, above all,
the lingering contagion was burnt away. Nothing less would probably have
availed; but the fire was a cleansing one, and left behind it this
blessing, that though more than two hundred years have elapsed the
plague has not, as yet, reappeared.

The Custom House of London was one of the first buildings to be
restored, and Wren began it in 1668. It was a stately stone edifice,
built in three sides of a square, with an open court in front. The same
fate befell this building which had overtaken its predecessor; in 1719
it was burnt down.


Besides all these architectural and scientific cares, Wren had business
of his own on hand, and was at this time engaged to be married to a lady
four years younger than himself, whom probably he had known for some
time. His bride was Faith, daughter of Sir Thomas Coghill and Elizabeth
his wife, who lived at Bletchingdon in Oxfordshire. Sir Thomas was
sheriff of the county in 1633, and was knighted at Woodstock in that
year, the same in which King Charles was crowned in Scotland. Sir Thomas
was a grandson of Marmaduke Coghill,[118] of Coghill, Knaresborough. He
married, in 1622, Elizabeth Sutton, the heiress of Horsell and some
lands in Surrey. Faith, their daughter, was born on March 17, 1636, and
baptized in the same month at Bletchingdon by her relation the Rev. John
Viell, the then rector. It seems likely that Wren made her acquaintance
while both were children when staying with his sister Susan and her
husband, Dr. William Holder, at Bletchingdon Rectory. It may have been
Faith who comforted him when, on June 3, 1656, they laid Dean Wren in
the chancel of Bletchingdon Church.

One letter to Faith Coghill from her lover, exists among the curious
autographs of the 'Parentalia,'[119] its delicate, finished and yet firm
writing, eminently characteristic of Christopher Wren: it is as

   'Madam,--The artificer having never before mett with a drowned
   watch, like an ignorant physician has been soe long about the cure
   that he hath made me very unquiet that your commands should be soe
   long deferred; however, I have sent the watch at last and envie the
   felicity of it, that it should be soe neer your side, and soe often
   enjoy your Eye, and be consulted by you how your time shall passe
   while you employ your hand in your excellent workes. But have a
   care of it, for I put such a Spell into it that every Beating of
   the Ballance will tell you 'tis the pulse of my Heart which labours
   as much to serve you and more trewly than the watch; for the watch
   I believe will sometimes lie, and sometimes perhaps be idle and
   unwilling to goe, having received so much injury by being drenched
   in that briny bath, that I dispair it should ever be a trew servant
   to you more. But as for me (unlesse you drown me too in my teares)
   you may be confident I shall never cease to be,

   'Your most affectionate humble servant,
                                                       'CHR. WREN.

   'June 14.

   'I have put the watch in a box that it might take noe harm, and
   wrapt it about with a little leather, and that it might not jog, I
   was fain to fill up the corners either with a few shavings or wast

On December 7, 1669, Christopher Wren and Faith Coghill were married in
the Temple Church in London. Of their married life there is absolutely
no record; they probably lived chiefly in London, as Wren had a house in
Scotland Yard, which went with the office of Surveyor-General.

One of Wren's early works was the rebuilding, on a somewhat larger
scale, of the Royal Exchange. 'Charles II. went to the Exchange with his
kettle-drums and trumpets to lay the first stone of the new building of
the Exchange on the 23rd of October 1667.'[120] Wren's own wish had
been, as has been said, to make it the nave or centre of the town, in
which case he meant to contrive it after the form of a Roman Forum with
double porticoes. Thwarted in this, he restored it as much as possible
to what it had previously been, replacing the statue of Sir Thomas
Gresham, the only thing in the building uninjured by the Fire. It is
curious that this restoration should have begun just a hundred years
from the time when Queen Elizabeth was feasted by Sir Thomas Gresham at
his house, visited the new building, and caused it to be proclaimed 'the
Royal Exchange' by the sound of the trumpet.

The rebuilding was very quickly performed, though at considerable
cost.[121] Readers of the _Spectator_[122] will remember Addison's fine
description of the Exchange, and 'the grand scene of business which gave
him an infinite variety of solid and substantial entertainments.'


Next came Temple Bar, which was begun in 1670, and finished in 1672. It
was built of Portland stone, and had in its four niches statues of James
I. and Anne of Denmark on the west side, Charles I. and Charles II. on
the other.[123] Blackened and defiled as it was, and disfigured by the
neighbouring houses, it was one of the picturesque, characteristic
buildings of London, now disappearing with alarming rapidity, and had
seen many a generation pass in triumph or in sorrow under its archway.
The thanksgiving for the Prince of Wales's recovery (1872) was the last
historical spectacle with which Temple Bar was connected. On that
occasion the City was moved to wipe off some of the smoke of two hundred
years, and to let Temple Bar be seen somewhat as it must have been when
the great architect finished it, as the entrance to a city which, in
spite of all drawbacks, might be fairly called his creation.

Wren attempted to prosecute his design for the quay along the northern
bank of the Thames, but the ground was being rapidly encroached upon by
buildings, some few of which were tolerable, but the greater part
unsightly. Various interests;--the immense water traffic, doubled, one
can believe, at a time when the city streets were still impassable; the
uncertain support given by the King--all combined to defeat his plan.
Could he now walk along that glorious achievement the Embankment, what
would not his feelings be on seeing the hideous buildings which it has

The Surveyor-General's office was one which entailed endless work. There
was not a street laid down, hardly a house built, in any part of the
town, without the surveyor being first consulted;--now about 'a parcel
of ground bought by Colonel Panton' (the present Panton Street, S.W.);
now about the houses pulled down for the safety of Whitehall during the
Fire.--Into every case Wren made careful inquiry, visiting the places
himself, and insisting on the buildings being of stone or brick, with
proper paving in the streets, and having a due regard to health.

In spite of his care several wretched buildings were put up in places
which, as a few surviving names testify, were then fields near the City.


When Wren found that the owners persisted in erecting such shabby
buildings he presented a petition to the King, as follows:--

   'To the King's Most Excellent Majesty. The humble petition of
   Christopher Wren, sheweth. That there are divers buildings of late
   erected, and many foundations laid, and more contrived in Dog's
   Fields, Windmill Fields, and the fields adjoining to Soe Hoe,[124]
   and several other places without the suburbs of London and
   Westminster; the builders whereof have no grant nor allowance from
   Your Majesty, and have therefore been prohibited and hindered by
   your petitioner as much as in him lieth. Yet, notwithstanding, they
   proceed to erect small and mean habitations which will prove only
   receptacles for the poorer sort, and the offensive trades, to the
   annoyance of the better inhabitants, the damage of the parishes
   already too much burthened with poor, the rendering the government
   of these parts more unmanageable, the great hindrance of perfecting
   the city buildings, and others allowed by Your Majesty's broad
   seal; the choking up the air of Your Majesty's palace and park, and
   the houses of the nobility; the infecting or total loss of the
   waters which by many expenseful drains and conduits, have formerly
   been derived from these fields to Your Majesty's palace of
   Whitehall and to the mewes; the manifest decay of which waters
   (upon complaint of your serjeant plumber) the office of Your
   Majesty's works by frequent views and experiments have found.

   'May it, therefore, please Your Majesty to issue a royal
   proclamation, to put stop to these growing inconveniences and to
   hinder the buildings which are not already or shall not be licensed
   by Your Majesty's grant; and effectually to empower your petitioner
   to restrain the same or otherways to consider of the premises as
   in Your Majesty's wisdom shall seem most expedient.

   'And your Petitioner, &c.'

The petition was considered by the King in council, a proclamation was
issued, and full powers were given to the surveyor, backed by commands
that he should take effectual care that the proclamation was obeyed.
This Wren was very ready to do: with all his gentleness and courtesy he
had inherited much of Bishop Wren's firmness, and had no intention of
swerving from his point.

The churches of the City began to rise gradually. Pepys says:[125]--

   'It is observed, and is true, in the late fire of London, that the
   fire burned just as many parish churches as there were hours from
   the beginning to the end of the fire; and next that there were just
   as many churches left standing as there were taverns left standing
   in the rest of the City that was not burned, being, I think,
   thirteen in all of each: which is pretty to observe.'

There has been much dispute as to whether or not Wren repaired S.
Sepulchre's Church. Mr. Elmes and others declare that he repaired it in
1671, but Mr. Hoby, one of its churchwardens, who made a careful study
of all the parchments and papers belonging to S. Sepulchre's, gives it
as his deliberate opinion that--

   'The church was not destroyed, but very much injured, by the Fire
   of London, in 1666. The inhabitants would not wait until Sir C.
   Wren could attend to them, but repaired their own church, and did
   it so badly that a long time elapsed before he would grant the
   certificate necessary to enable them to obtain the money from the

As has been said, such unauthorised building and patching took place
pretty frequently, and all that recent researches have brought to light
goes to prove that Wren had very little to do with S. Sepulchre's.


S. Mary le Bow, with its proverbial bells,[127] was begun in this year
and finished five years later, on a very old foundation. The first S.
Mary's was built by William the Conqueror,[128] on marshy land, and
stood upon arches of stone, whence the church took the name of S. Maria
de Arcubus or le Bow. The 'great bell of Bow' was, in 1469, ordered by
the common council to be rung at nine o'clock every evening, and money
was left for this object; when the church was burnt in the Great Fire it
had twelve very melodious bells hung in its steeple. When Sir
Christopher came to rebuild the church he found an older foundation to
work upon than even that in 1100. In clearing the ground he came upon a
foundation firm enough to build upon, which on examination proved to be
the 'walls, with windows and pavement, of a Roman temple.' Upon these
walls he built the body of the church, but for its beautiful steeple it
was necessary to buy the site of an old house and to advance about
forty feet to the line of the street. Here the workmen dug through about
eighteen feet of made earth, and then, to Wren's surprise and their own,
came to a Roman causeway of rough stone firmly cemented, about four feet
thick, underneath which lay the London clay.

With this foundation Wren was content and built up what has ever ranked
as one of his finest churches. A good judge of architecture has
pronounced that the steeple is 'beyond all doubt the most elegant
building of its class erected since the Reformation ... there is a play
of light and shade, a variety of outline, and an elegance of detail,
which it would be very difficult to match in any other steeple.'[129]

The Arches Court of Canterbury derived its name from this church, where,
until the fire, its sittings were held. The court then sat at Exeter
House in the Strand, then at Doctors' Commons, and finally in
Westminster Hall.

The vane which completes the spire is the City dragon, with a cross on
either wing, curiously chased in gilt copper.

The ancient Church of S. Christopher le Stocks in Threadneedle Street
suffered severely in the Fire, only the mere shell of the building
remaining; it had been made a storehouse for a quantity of papers
hastily rescued from some merchant's office and placed in S.
Christopher's, where they perished and greatly damaged the church. It
had been lately repaired and was endowed with 20_l._ in trust 'for a
minister to read divine service there daily at 6 o'clock in the morning
for ever. 50_s._ each yearly to the clerk and the sexton for their
attendance, and 5_l._ yearly to provide for lights in winter time.' In
1671, Wren finished the repairs of the church, carefully preserving its
pinnacled Gothic tower; in 1696 he further adorned the interior. It is
curious that the first church which came under Wren's hands should have
been one dedicated to his patron saint; curious also that this should
have been the first of the churches destroyed by those who should have
been their guardians. S. Christopher's was literally sacrificed to
Mammon; it was destroyed for the enlargement of the Bank of England in


In 1669 Wren appears in a new character as a member of the Honourable
Artillery Company. He was admitted at their festival on August 17, when
the company marched in state to a church in Broad Street, probably one
of the many temporary ones put up after the Fire, and rewarded Dr.
Waterhouse for his sermon with three of the newly-coined guinea pieces.
A great banquet in the Clothworkers' Hall in Mincing Lane, where the
Duke of York, Prince Rupert, the Archbishop of Canterbury and many other
distinguished persons were present, concluded the festival.[130] It is
hardly conceivable that Wren could have found time to be more than an
honorary member, but scattered notices here and there of observations
made when 'firing off my piece' seem to point to his having attended the
drills of the company.

One wishes there was a portrait extant of Sir Christopher in his
uniform, wearing the red-plumed high hat which appeared on gala days!

In 1673 Wren resigned the Savilian astronomy professorship, to which the
pressure of his architectural work made it impossible he should any
longer attend. No doubt it was with great regret that he gave up the
post, with all its curious speculations, its boundless possibilities of
discovery, and turned himself from the study of the heavens to the dust
and turmoil, the endless difficulties and petty quarrels, which thwarted
him at every step of his London labours.

In truth, the pressure of business was enormous. Not a moment could be
spared while the population of the City had neither churches, places of
traffic, nor houses to dwell in; and the architect, whose plan had been
marred, had to do the best he could in the midst of every kind of

The futile attempts to patch up S. Paul's were in 1673 at last
abandoned, and Wren ordered the ground to be cleared that new
foundations might be laid. A great mass of material for building had had
to be disposed of while the repairs were going on.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops of London, Winchester, and
Oxford, and the Lord Mayor, were commissioners for the repair of S.
Paul's; from them Wren obtained an order that--

   'The clerk of the works shall be required to dispose of and sell
   the stone, chalk, timber and free stone for, and towards, the
   rebuilding of the parochial churches and to _no other use
   whatsoever_, as he shall be directed, at merchantable rates to the
   masons and carpenters that build the said churches by order of Sir
   Leoline Jenkins (judge of the Admiralty Court), Dr. Sancroft, and
   Dr. Wren, or any two of them.'

The money thus collected was put aside for the fabric of the Cathedral.


Though much of the old material was removed in this manner, and yet not
diverted from its proper purpose, the ground was by no means clear.
Wren, appointed under the Great Seal, architect of S. Paul's, and one of
the commissioners in the new commission for its rebuilding, had to take
down by degrees what portions of the old building were still standing.

Warped and cracked as they were, the walls, eighty feet high and five
thick, were yet strong enough to make the process of pulling down both
difficult and tedious. Wren determined to avail himself of the knowledge
he had acquired in the Royal Society's recent experiments in raising
weights by means of gunpowder. Houses, it is true, had been blown up in
several places during the Fire in order to protect the Tower of London
and Whitehall, but the use of gunpowder to raise a definite weight, and
throw it a fixed distance and no farther, was a novel experiment. When
the labourers reached at last the old central tower, the walls of which
were two hundred feet high, they were afraid to go up to the top, as
they had done elsewhere, and work with their pickaxes, while those below
shovelled away the stones and mortar that they threw down into separate

This was the time for Wren's experiment.

With great precautions, and the use of eighteen pounds of gunpowder
only, he blew up the north-western angle of the tower, so contriving it
that, while he raised more than three thousand tons weight, it was not
scattered and no damage was done, though the shock made the neighbours
imagine it to be an earthquake.

Encouraged by this success, Wren had another mine prepared, but
unluckily was obliged to go out of town himself and to leave it in the
charge of his next officer.

The man, thinking to improve upon his master, increased the quantity of
powder, caused an explosion which shot stones far and wide, and though
no lives were lost, terrified the City, all the more that an old
superstition declared that the tower of S. Paul's and the City of London
would fall together.

Forbidden, owing to the panic thus caused, the use of this modern
method, Wren betook himself to ancient times, and devised a gigantic
battering ram, with a great spike at one end. Thirty men, fifteen on
each side, worked the ram against one place in the wall, Wren watching
and encouraging them when, disheartened by a day's work without visible
result, they were ready to give up in despair. On the second day the
wall fell.

Wren made great use of this machine and 'pleased himself that he had
recovered so notable and ancient an engine.'


  [112] 'Lex Ignea, or the School of Righteousness.'--_Life of
        Sancroft_, vol. ii. p. 355. Doyley.

  [113] _Life of Sancroft_, vol. i. p. 141. Doyley.

  [114] i.e. by word of mouth.

  [115] Probably a misprint for 'Argo-navis,' referring to the
        frequent repairs of the Argo.

  [116] In 1672 a bridge, with a beautiful arch resembling those that
        cross the canals at Venice, was built over 'the Ditch,'
        opposite Bridewell Hospital. One or two other bridges were
        built, and the stream made navigable, but apparently not
        'cleansed,' which in time rendered it a nuisance. The bridges
        were taken down and the stream reduced to a drain in
        1765.--_Ann. Reg._, 1765, p. 136.

  [117] _Diary_, vol. iv. p. 8.

  [118] The Coghills of Glen Barrahane, county Cork, are descended
        from the elder branch of this family. Captain Coghill, who
        died with Lieutenant Melville, having carried off the colours
        from the battle of Isandula, January 1879, was the eldest son
        of the present head of the family.

  [119] Never before printed.

  [120] Pepys' _Diary_, vol iv. p. 241.

  [121] This building was destroyed by fire 1838, and rebuilt from
        designs by Mr. Tite 1844.

  [122] _Spectator_, vol. i. No. 69.

  [123] They were the best work of John Bushnell, an eccentric and
        half-crazy sculptor, who died in 1701.

  [124] 'Soe Hoe' became a favourite residence. In November 1689,
        Evelyn came up 'with his family to winter at Soho in the Great
        Square.' Some handsome houses are still standing.

  [125] _Diary_, Jan. 31, 1667-8.

  [126] _Restoration of the Church of St. Sepulchre, London._ A.

  [127] It is said that in the children's game of 'Oranges and Lemons,
        say the bells of S. Clement's, &c.' the best peals of bells in
        London are enumerated. I do not know the date of the game.

  [128] _Repertorium_, vol. i. p. 437-440. Newcourt.

  [129] _Hist. of Modern Architecture._ Fergusson, pp. 306-307.

  [130] _Hist. of the Honourable Artillery Company._ Captain Raikes,
        vol. i. p. 194.

                               CHAPTER VIII.



               _K. Rich._ But didst thou see them dead?
               _Tyr._ I did, my lord.
               _K. Rich._             And buried, gentle Tyrrel?
               _Tyr._ The chaplain of the Tower hath buried them,
                      But where, to say the truth, I do not know.

                                       _Richard III._, Act 4, scene 3.

Early in October, 1672, Christopher Wren's eldest son was born, and
baptized by the name of Gilbert, at S. Martin's-in-the-Fields, a very
different-looking building from the present S. Martin's with its stately
portico. Wren and his wife lived in the house in Scotland Yard, and,
avoiding the uneven, difficult streets, could daily go by water, then
the favourite way of transit for a Londoner, to examine and superintend
his works in the city. Later on Wren built himself a little house of red
bricks in the yard of the Falcon Inn at Southwark, and watched from its
window the progress of S. Paul's and of his other buildings in the city.

Besides the churches already begun, three new ones were taken in hand
that year. S. Mary-at-Hill[131] was only partially destroyed by the
fire. Upon it Wren first tried his plan of a domed roof, and succeeded
in making it, at any rate within, a beautiful little church. S.
Michael's, Cornhill, of which only the tower was left standing, was
rebuilt that year; its situation threw a great difficulty in the
architect's way, as it could only be lit from one side; this difficulty
Wren overcame and produced an interior[132] equally light and good. The
tower was taken down in 1722, and rebuilt from designs of Wren's. These
designs were taken from the tower of Magdalen College at Oxford, and
instance Wren's power of producing a bold, rich effect in a style of
architecture altogether foreign to his taste.

Perhaps the most beautiful of all Wren's churches is S. Stephen's,
Walbrook, begun at this same time, and finished seven years later. The
outside, cramped by its situation, and overshadowed by tall houses, is
not handsome, but within, the church is as original as it is graceful
and beautiful:--

   'The circular dome, placed on an octagonal base supported by eight
   pillars, was an early, and long a favourite, mode of roofing in the
   East.... Wren, however, is the only European architect who availed
   himself of it ... he certainly has produced the most pleasing
   interior of any Renaissance church which has yet been

So great was the fame, and such the charm of the building that when the
great sculptor Canova[134] visited England, and was asked should he ever
wish to return to the country? he answered, 'Yes, that I might again see
S. Paul's Cathedral, Somerset House, and S. Stephen's, Walbrook.'


In the midst of so much work it is not wonderful that, for the moment,
Wren's diligent attendance at the Royal Society slackened somewhat,
though at the end of 1672 his name occurs among those of the Society who
cordially welcomed Isaac Newton to their fellowship. Wren bestowed
especial praise on Newton's invention of a refracting telescope. Friends
they appear always to have remained, and their dispositions were not
unlike, though the travels and varied experiences of Wren's early years
had quickened his faculties, and prevented that entire absorption in one
idea which is evident from many stories about Isaac Newton. As, for
instance, when one of Newton's philosophical friends abroad--

   'Sent him a curious prism, at that time a rarity in England, it was
   taken to the Custom House and Newton claimed it. The officers asked
   him to set some value upon it that they might regulate the duty.
   Newton, rating the prism by his own idea of its use and excellence,
   replied, "The value is so great I cannot ascertain it." They
   pressed him again to set some estimate on it, but he still replied,
   "I cannot say what it is worth, for the value is inestimable." The
   honest Custom House officers took him at his word, and made him pay
   an exorbitant duty for the prism, which he might have taken away
   upon only paying a rate according to the weight of the glass!'[135]

The Royal Society was at this time put to serious inconvenience, as more
than half of the members failed in paying their weekly money. Wren, who,
as might be expected, was one of those who paid most punctually, was
re-elected a member of the council, and agreed to serve on a committee
for this special matter.

The death of his friend and cousin, Matthew, in the summer of 1672, was
a grief to him, as well as a loss to the Royal Society, of which he had
been a member from its beginning. On the 20th of November, 1673, Wren
received the well-earned honour of knighthood from King Charles at
Whitehall. No details of any kind respecting the ceremony are to be
found in the chary family record.

S. Bennet Fink, a very graceful and original composition despite the
corner into which it was squeezed; and S. Olave's, Jewry, built of brick
and stone with a good pinnacled stone tower, were begun at this period,
and finished three years later. S. Dionysius, or, as it was commonly
called, S. Dionis, Back Church Street, was one of the first completed;
its Ionic eastern façade was in Wren's most classical style; the pulpit
was carved by Grinling Gibbons. Its tower and steeple, according to a
frequent custom of Wren's, were added some years later. S. Dionis has,
alas! now been swept away, and its site, where the original church was
consecrated in 1288, desecrated.[136] The beautiful little S. Bennet's
has shared the same unholy fate. S. George's, Botolph Lane, built also
in 1674, a handsome stone church with a vaulted roof and good oak
fittings, though threatened, still fortunately survives.


Grinling Gibbons, whom Wren continually employed, was introduced to him
by Evelyn, who found the young man in a cottage at Deptford carving a
copy of Tintoretto's beautiful Crucifixion. Evelyn showed Wren the
carving and besought him to give some employment to a man of such
genius. This he gladly promised, and accordingly, many a little known
city church is adorned with carvings so light and so graceful that it is
hard to believe that they are cut out of wood.

Some works in stone Gibbons also did for Sir Christopher, but wood
appears to have been the material he preferred. In 1674 Wren had the
satisfaction of restoring Le Soeur's[137] beautiful statue of King
Charles to its place at Charing Cross. In the Rebellion it had been
overthrown by order of the Parliament, who directed that it should be
broken up. John Rivet, a brazier in Charing Cross, purchased it, hid it
in the vaults of S. Paul's, Covent Garden, and, to divert suspicion,
sold bronze medals and knife-handles, professedly made from its metal.
After the Restoration, he produced it intact, and, under Wren's
direction, it was placed on its present pedestal, which was carved by
Gibbons, whose handywork is easily recognised in the free, flowing lines
of the deeply-cut carving, much as time, aided by London atmosphere,
has eaten the very stone away. The poet Waller wrote an epigram[138] on
its restoration, which, besides its intrinsic merit, is interesting in
connection with the statue:--

             That the first Charles does here in triumph ride,
             See his son reign where he a martyr dy'd;
             And people pay that rev'rence as they pass,
             (Which then he wanted) to the sacred brass,
             Is not th' effect of gratitude alone,
             To which we owe the statue and the stone.
             But heav'n this lasting monument has wrought,
             That mortals may eternally be taught
             Rebellion, though successful, is but vain,
             And kings so kill'd rise conquerors again:
             This truth the royal image does proclaim
             Loud as the trumpet of surviving Fame.


It was about this period that Wren rebuilt the theatre in Drury Lane,
which had fallen a prey to its usual enemy, fire. It was reopened in
1674 with a play whose epilogue was written by Dryden. The 'old theatre
in Salisbury Court,' as Horace Walpole calls it, was also built by Wren.
During this time Sir Christopher, now formally appointed architect of S.
Paul's with a modest salary of 200_l._ a year, had busied himself in
designs for the future cathedral. Everyone, whether qualified or not,
gave their opinion about the designs. The first, which was 'a fabrick of
moderate bulk, but of good proportion, a convenient quire with a
vestibule and portico, and a dome conspicuous above the houses,' was
planned by Wren at a time when the Cathedral fund was very small, and
the chances of increasing it appeared but slender. This design was
rejected as deficient in size and grandeur. After this, in order to
find out what style of building was really desired, Wren made several
sketches 'merely for discourse sake,' and perceiving that the generality
had set their hearts upon a large building, he designed one with which
he was himself satisfied, considering it 'a design antique and well
studied, conformable to the best style of Greek and Roman architecture.'
The design was greatly admired by those who understood the matter, and
they begged Sir Christopher to let them see it in a model.[139] Wren
accordingly made a large one, apparently with his own hands, in wood,
with all the intended ornaments properly carved. Its ground plan was
that of a Greek cross, the choir was circular, it had a very short nave,
and no aisles. Externally there was a handsome portico, one small dome
immediately behind it, and over the centre of the cross a larger dome.
Within it would have been as beautiful as it was original, with the
eight smaller domes, not seen outside, encircling the central dome. The
Duke of York on seeing the plan complained much of the absence of side
oratories, such as are common in most foreign cathedrals, and insisted
upon their being added. Sir Christopher knew that such a change would
cramp the building and break the beauty of the design to a degree that
went to his heart. He shed tears in attempting to change the Duke's
opinion. The latter was, as ever, obstinate, and the change had to be

The outside, with the two hollow curves joining the transepts with the
nave, and the two different-sized domes, would probably have been
disappointing; but one speaks with diffidence, for this was Sir
Christopher's favourite design, the S. Paul's which he told his son he
would most cheerfully have accomplished. When the time came for working
out the design, it is very likely that he would have remedied many of
the defects which critical eyes now see in the model; but no such
opportunity ever came. Preparations were indeed made, in May 1674, for a
building after this design; but the clergy were startled by the novelty
of the plan, the circular choir, and the absence of aisles, and the
architect was compelled to give up his cherished scheme. Several
designs, none equal to the first, were produced by Sir Christopher, the
large central dome appearing in each of them. Upon this feature he had
determined, even in the days before the fire, when the old pointed choir
still stood.


At length Wren grew weary of criticism and showed his designs no more to
the public. King Charles decided on one,[140] and issued a warrant for
its erection, stating that the duty on coal[141] amounted to a
considerable sum, and saying:--

   'Among the designs we have particularly pitched on one as well
   because we found it very artificial, proper and useful as because
   it was so ordered that it might be built and finished by parts.'

The east end was to be begun first. Liberty was left to Wren 'to make
some variations rather ornamental than essential as from time to time he
should see proper,' and the whole was left to his management.

This design is wholly unlike the present Cathedral, and is inferior to
any of Wren's other buildings. 'Artificial' in the modern sense of the
word, it undoubtedly is. The west end much resembles old S. Paul's as
Inigo Jones left it, and is poor and flat; there is a low flat dome,
then a lantern with ribbed vaulting, surmounted by a spire something
like S. Bride's, but thin and ungraceful. One feels that Wren must have
been disgusted with the design when finished, and could only have done
such a thing at a time when his genius was rebuked and harassed by
vexatious limitations and interference. Accepted, however, the design
was, and Wren, provided with funds and ordered to begin, shook off the
fetters which had so cramped him, and by a series of alterations, which
certainly reversed the King's order, being essential rather than
ornamental, he by degrees worked out the plan of the beautiful S. Paul's
which is the crown of London.

No objection seems to have been raised to these changes.

He had a large staff of workmen under him, and an assistant surveyor,
John Oliver, who directed the workmen, measured the masons' work, bought
in materials, and examined the accounts; a clerk of the works, Laurence
Spenser, who overlooked the men, saw that they did their work as
directed, and made up the accounts; each of these was paid 100_l._ a
year, half as much as the salary of the architect himself; a clerk of
the cheque, Thomas Russell, who called over the labourers three times a
day, and kept them to their business. Besides these, there was the
master-mason,[142] Thomas Strong, the master-builder of S. Stephen's,
Walbrook, frequently employed by Wren, and the master-carpenter, Richard
Jennings; all were carefully chosen, and were devoted to Sir
Christopher, whose great genius, gentle disposition, and steady equable
mind made him much beloved and respected.

On June 21, 1675, the first stone of S. Paul's was laid by Sir
Christopher and his master-mason, not by King Charles, as is sometimes

In the previous year Wren had lost his son Gilbert, who was buried in S.
Martin's on March 23. In the February following another son was born and
baptized by the name of Christopher. This son survived his father and
began the collection of letters, papers, and miscellaneous facts about
the Wren family which was afterwards published under the name of
'Parentalia; or, Memoirs of the Wrens.' It is, in truth, little but a
heap of materials amongst which each fact has to be sought for and its
proper place ascertained.


It has been truly said that the accounts of the building of S. Paul's
are meagre in the extreme. A little is, however, known. As Wren had
foretold, there was much 'to be done in the dark;' the old foundations
were not to be trusted, and immense excavations had to be made. In the
course of this work, he discovered 'graves of several ages and fashions,
in strata or layers of earth, one above another, from the British and
Roman times.' The 'Parentalia' describes

   'a row of Saxon graves, the sides lined with chalk stones, below were
   British graves, where were found ivory and wooden pins of a hard
   wood, seemingly box, about six inches long; it seems the bodies were
   only wrapped up and pinned in woollen shrouds, which being consumed
   the pins remained entire. In the same row and deeper were Roman urns

Below this was hard 'pot-earth,' which Wren thought would be
sufficiently firm to bear the great weight about to be laid upon it, but
to ascertain its depth he had dry wells dug, and found it very unequal,
in one place hardly four feet; he searched lower and found loose sand,
then sand and shells; he speaks of them as sea shells, but it is now
thought that they were probably river; below this again hard beach, and
then London clay. He took great precautions when he laid any foundations
here, fearing lest the sand should slip. The bed of sand is a danger
still, for if pierced by a drain or other underground works the sand
might run off, leaving a hollow under the pot-earth. The Cathedral
authorities are accordingly wisely jealous of any excavations near S.
Paul's. When the north-east portion of the choir was reached, in digging
the foundations a pit was found, from which all the pot-earth had been
taken, containing many fragments of vases and urns, all of Roman
pottery. This pit was a very serious difficulty, occurring as it did at
the very angle of the choir.

Sir Christopher's assistants suggested to him to drive in piles of
timber; but he knew that, though timber lasted well under water, yet in
this case, where it would be half in dry and half in wet sand, it would
rot in the course of time, and 'his endeavours were to build for
eternity.' He dug down more than forty feet, till he came to the hard
beach, below which was the London clay, and upon the beach built a pier
of solid masonry ten feet square, till within fifteen feet of the
ground, and then by turning an arch brought it level with the rest of
his foundation.

The theory commonly received was that a temple of Apollo stood where
Westminster Abbey now stands, and that the site of S. Paul's Cathedral
was occupied by a temple of Diana. Wren, however, believed in neither
legend. The temple of Apollo he thought was invented merely that the
monks of Westminster might not be behind the Londoners in antiquities.
In spite of the horns of stags, tusks of boars, and the like, said to
have been found during former repairs of S. Paul's, in spite of an image
of Diana dug up hard by and in the possession of Dr. Woodward,[144] he
wrote to Bishop Atterbury[145] that he 'changed all the foundations of
old S. Paul's, and rummaged all the ground thereabouts, and being very
desirous to find the footsteps of such a temple, I could not discover
any, and therefore can give no more credit to Diana[146] than to

In the September of 1675, when the work with which her husband's
name is for ever connected was but little advanced, Lady Wren died,
and was buried, as her son Gilbert had been, in the chancel of S.
Martin's-in-the-Fields, leaving her husband with a baby son hardly seven
months old. The 'Parentalia,' with characteristic carelessness, gives
neither the date of her death nor the place of her burial.


No hint even is to be found of how this loss affected Sir Christopher,
but whether it was from the desolate state of his home, or the
helplessness of a widower left with an infant son, or from other causes,
he was not long in marrying again. His second wife was Jane Fitzwilliam,
daughter of the second Baron Fitzwilliam, her mother was an heiress, the
daughter of Hugh Perry _alias_ Hunter, a sheriff and alderman of London.
Lord Fitzwilliam died in 1643, the same year that he had succeeded to
his father, and the widowed Lady Fitzwilliam died twenty-seven years
later at 'Dutchy House in the Savoy,' the family house; so Jane
Fitzwilliam had been some years an orphan when she was married to Sir
Christopher in the Chapel Royal at Whitehall, on February 24, 1676-7.

In this year Wren rebuilt S. Magnus, London Bridge,[147] which having
escaped one 'most dismal fire' in 1633, was destroyed by the Great Fire
of 1666. Sir Christopher rebuilt the church with Portland stone and oak
timber, adding to it a picturesque tower with a cupola and a peal of ten
bells. London Bridge, then covered with little houses and shops, would,
Sir Christopher foresaw, require alteration, and he, anxious that S.
Magnus should not suffer when the time came, proposed to leave space by
it for a footway. The churchwardens overruled him. The improvement Wren
expected has since been made, and when the workmen came to make a
pathway under the portico they discovered to their great surprise that
Sir Christopher had made the necessary arches, though bricked up, and
left them to be in readiness for the change which he foresaw, though the
churchwardens of S. Magnus did not. The state of London Bridge was very
unsatisfactory; constant repairs were needed, and to shoot the narrow
arches and not be swamped by the fall of the water was no easy feat.
Wren had a plan for saving repairs and improving the water way by wide
Gothic arches, taking away every other arch, and making the two into
one, which would reduce the fall to nine inches at the most. This seems
to have remained a scheme only.


S. Mildred's in the Poultry was also begun in this year, a small stone
church with a tower and cupola. It was destroyed in 1872,[148] and the
details of its removal are instructive as well as painful, and may well
be contrasted with the account of the manner of removing the remains of
old S. Paul's.[149]

S. Stephen's, Coleman Street, on the site of an old Jewish synagogue, is
of the same date; it is a neat small church mostly built of stone, with
a curious old stone carving, in high relief, of the Last Judgment, over
the door leading to the churchyard.

S. Lawrence, Jewry, 'that new and cheerful pile,'[150] is a large
well-proportioned building in the Corinthian style, with a tower and
spire, built in the following year. It had been repaired by the
parishioners in 1618, and boasted among its vicars three who had become
bishops: Edward Reynolds, Bishop of Norwich, one of those who, during
the Rebellion, sided strongly with the Presbyterians, and conformed at
the Restoration; Dr. Seth Ward, Bishop of Exeter and Salisbury, who has
been mentioned before; and Wren's other scientific friend, Dr. Wilkins,
Bishop of Chester, who was buried in the chancel of S. Lawrence's Church
in 1672.

S. Lawrence's possesses some excellent stone carving of fruit, possibly
from Gibbons' chisel.

S. Nicholas, Coleabbey, was built this year by Sir Christopher on the
site of a church so ancient that it stood some feet below the street,
and was entered by steps descending down to the floor; its most recent
addition was in Richard II.'s reign, though the whole building was
repaired in 1630. Wren's is a well-proportioned brick and stone church
with a square tower and short fat steeple. S. Mary's, Woolnoth, was only
repaired by Sir Christopher; it was afterwards rebuilt entirely by his
clerk and pupil, Nicholas Hawksmoor,[151] in 1719. S. Mary's,
Aldermanbury, a fine bold stone church, its nave and aisles divided by
well-sculptured columns; and S. Michael's, Queenhithe, belong also to
this busy year. S. Michael's, standing close to the river, built of
stone with plenty of space and room in it; its slender graceful spire
ever beckoning to the swarming river and riverside population, might,
one would have imagined, have been invaluable in zealous hands, but it
has been swept away and the opportunity is lost.


It was also in 1677 that Sir Christopher completed the column generally
known to Londoners as 'the Monument.' He began it in 1671; but the work
had been much hindered by the difficulty of getting blocks of Portland
stone of sufficient size. There had been great debate about the ornament
for the summit. Wren wished it to be a large statue, as 'carrying much
dignity with it, and being more valluable in the eyes of forreigners and
strangers.' It was to be fifteen feet high, cast in brass, at a cost of
1,000_l._ The expense was one reason why this was given up, and the
present ornament, a flaming vase of gilt bronze, substituted.
Cibber[152] carved a basso-relievo on one side, representing King
Charles in a Roman costume, protecting the ruined city. The four dragons
at the base were carved by Edward Pierce,[153] a sculptor and architect
who frequently worked for Wren. The other three sides have Latin
inscriptions, of which one is an account of the fire, accusing the
_furor Papisticus_ as its cause; a brief inscription in English, lower
down on the pedestal, repeats the same charge against the 'treachery and
malice of the Popish faction.' Sir Christopher had written a Latin one
for the column, which spoke of the fire as originating in a humble
house, and briefly recounted its ravages; he added, as he was well
entitled to add, that the city was rebuilt 'not with wood and mud as
before, but with edifices, some brick and some stone, and adorned with
such works that it was seen to rise fairer from its ruins far than
before.' As he wrote, he must have given a sigh of regret to the
perfection of his unused plan.

The accusation against the Romanists appealed powerfully to the
inveterate prejudices of the multitude. It was accordingly insisted upon
and ordered to be put up. James II. had the inscription effaced, but in
William III.'s reign it was re-cut deeper than before, and so remained
to justify Pope's well-known lines:--

          ----London's column pointing to the skies,
          Like a tall bully lifts the head and lies.[154]

It is a curious retribution that the Monument designed by so great an
architect as Wren, to commemorate such an event as the burning of
London, and the singular courage and energy of its citizens, is now more
generally connected in men's mind with falsehood and calumny than with a
great historical event.

The column was at first used, as Wren had intended it should be, as a
place for certain experiments of the Royal Society; but the vibration of
the column during the ceaseless traffic of London proved too great to
allow of the experiments being successfully carried on. Evelyn, with
much sense, wished that the column had been placed where the fire ended,
and a 'plain lugubrious marble' where it began; and says:--

   'I question not but I have the architect himself on my side, whose
   rare and extraordinary talent and what he has performed of great
   and magnificent, this column and what he is still about and is
   advancing under his direction, will speak and perpetuate his
   memory, as long as one stone remains upon another in this


The King had proposed to Sir Christopher a very congenial piece of work.
The remains of Charles I., which had been hastily buried in S. George's
Chapel at Windsor, were to be removed to what was known as the
tomb-house at the east end of the chapel, re-interred there with the
solemn service that had been denied to them before, and a grand tomb
built over them. Lord O'Brien proposed in the House of Commons a grant
of money for the purpose, and the House voted 70,000_l._ to be raised by
a two months' tax. Sprat, Bishop of Rochester, preaching before the
Commons on the following day, the anniversary of King Charles's death,
alluded to the tardy honour done 'by that much-desired, long-expected
vote.' Sir Christopher prepared designs for a splendid monument.

It was to take the form of a Rotundo with a beautiful Dome and Lantern,
and a Colonnade without, like that of the Temple of Vesta at Rome.
Mosaic work was to be freely used, black and white marble and gilded
brass; the cupola was to be painted in fresco. In the central niche
fronting the entrance was the King's monument. Four statues, emblems of
heroic virtues, standing on a square plinth, and pressing underneath the
prostrate figures of Rebellion, Heresy, Hypocrisy, Envy and Murder,
support a large shield, on which is a statue erect of King Charles in
modern armour, over his head a group of angels bearing a crown, a cross,
and branches of palm. Two designs were made, one for brass work, one for
marble: one design is drawn by Grinling Gibbons, whom Wren meant to
employ for the carving. The other is by Wren himself, drawn with
extraordinary care, in delicate pen and ink, and they yet remain with
his note upon them. 'Alas! for the state of the times!--not yet
erected.' The failure of his design was a great annoyance to Wren, who
was most anxious to have paid this tribute to the King's memory.

Why the plan was never executed it is hard to say. Charles II. kept the
designs for some time and then returned them, begging Wren to keep them
carefully; but the moment for their use never arrived.

Though he was not allowed to honour King Charles, curiously enough, it
fell to Wren's lot to provide a tomb for two other murdered Princes of


Some repairs were being made in the Tower of London under the orders of
Wren, who was at that time repairing what is known as the White Tower,
one of the oldest parts of the fortress. As the workmen were removing
some stairs which led from the Royal lodgings to S. John's Chapel, they
came upon a wooden chest, which proved to contain the remains of two
children, exactly corresponding in age and state of decay with the date
of the murder of Edward V. and his brother Richard Duke of York in 1573.
The place also corresponded in every respect with the traditions
respecting the murder:[156] it was said to have been done in the Bloody
Tower--the spot where the bones were found is but seventy yards distant;
they were always said to have been buried in consecrated ground by the
Priest of the Tower--the place where the remains were was just within S.
John's Chapel. The discovery caused considerable interest, and was fully
represented to the King, who desired that the bones should be laid,
under the Surveyor's directions, in Henry VII.'s Chapel in Westminster
Abbey in a white marble coffin with a suitable monument. Wren designed a
pedestal and urn of white marble surmounted by twin crowns and palms. No
doubt the monument accords better with the taste of the age in which it
was erected than with that of the building in which it is placed, but it
has an interest of its own. By the King's wish a mulberry-tree was
planted on the spot where the bones were discovered, but subsequent
buildings at the Tower destroyed the tree, and even its stump has


  [131] To this church and parish belongs the honourable distinction
        of having successfully resisted the encroachments of the
        railway company which recently attempted to desecrate the
        church. 'The City Church and Churchyard Protection
        Society'--alas! that any such society should be needed--which
        fought this battle, must have the best wishes of any
        biographer of Christopher Wren.

  [132] The interior has been lately altered.

  [133] _History of Modern Architecture._ Fergusson, p. 307.

  [134] Antonio Canova, born 1757, died 1822. He had come to England
        to see the Elgin Marbles.

  [135] _History of the Royal Society_, p. 237. Weld. The anecdote is
        taken from an article in an old _Gentleman's Magazine_,
        written professedly by one who knew Sir I. Newton.

  [136] Destroyed 1876.

  [137] Hubert Le Soeur was a pupil of John of Bologna; he came to
        England in 1630. The statue of Lord Pembroke at Oxford, and
        that of King Charles, which has Le Soeur's name on the horse's
        hoof, are all that now remain of his works.

  [138] On the statue of King Charles I. at Charing Cross in the year
        1674. E. Waller.

  [139] The model was long preserved in what was called the Trophy
        Room of S. Paul's. 'It unfortunately has suffered much from
        neglect, decay, and the uncontrolled mischief of visitors;
        that which was one of its noblest features, its long stately
        western portico, has entirely disappeared. The model was lent
        to and still remains in the Architectural Exhibition at South
        Kensington, on condition of repairing some of its reparable
        parts (a condition but imperfectly fulfilled).'--_Annals of S.
        Paul's Cathedral_, Dean Milman, p. 40.

  [140] An engraving giving a section of this very curious design is
        to be found at page 97 of Mr. Longman's exhaustive and
        interesting _Three Cathedrals dedicated to S. Paul's in

  [141] The fourth portion of the tax on coal granted for the public
        buildings of the City was given for the rebuilding of S.

  [142] Thomas was the son of Mr. Valentine Strong, a well-known
        master-mason of Hertfordshire; his six sons were all engaged
        in the same trade as himself. _Life of Sir C. Wren_, p. 316.

  [143] Sir C. Wren gave the mallet and trowel used on this occasion
        to the Freemasons' lodge of which he was master, then called
        after his name, now the 'Lodge of Antiquity, No. 21.'

  [144] J. Woodward, the founder of the Cambridge Geological
        Professorship, was born 1665, published a series of curious
        geological speculations under the name of _A Natural History
        of the Earth_. In 1707 he published _An Account of Roman Urns
        and Antiquities lately dug up near Bishopsgate_, addressed to
        Sir C. Wren, whom, as I have said, he did not convince.
        Woodward was a Fellow of the Royal Society and the College of
        Physicians. He died 1728.

  [145] Francis Atterbury, born 1662, made Dean of Westminster and
        Bishop of Rochester 1715; was a strong Jacobite, and was
        banished in 1723: died 1732.

  [146] A stone altar was however found during some excavations in
        Foster Lane in 1830, at no great distance from the Cathedral,
        with an image of Diana about which there can be no
        misapprehension, as it closely resembles the Diana of the
        Louvre.--_Annals of S. Paul's_, p. 7.

  [147] Jack Cade's instruction to his followers on reaching London
        was 'Up Fish Street, down _S. Magnus_ corner. Kill and knock
        down, throw them into the Thames.' _Henry VI._, part ii. act
        iv. scene 8.

  [148] The following interesting anecdote was related to one of the
        Honorary Secretaries (Mr. Wright) by a member of the Society
        (Mr. Fytche):--'Walking one fine summer morning in June 1872
        down to the Mansion House, on reaching the Poultry I was
        surprised to see a man on the top of the tower of S. Mildred's
        Church hammering away at the stones with a crowbar; so,
        finding the door open, I went up the stairs of the tower and
        said to my friend of the crowbar, "Why, you are pulling the
        church down!" "Ay," says he, "it's all to be down and carted
        away by the end of July." "I suppose it's going to be rebuilt
        elsewhere!" "_Built_ anywhere? No; my master has _bought_ it."
        "Who is your master?" "Don't you know him? Mr. So-and-So, the
        great contractor." "What's he going to do with it?" "Do with
        it? Why, he's twenty carts and forty horses to lead it away to
        his stoneyard, and he's going to grind it up to make Portland
        cement!" So I asked him of the crowbar to show me round the
        church. "Would your master sell the stones instead of grinding
        'em up?" I asked. "Sell 'em? Yes, he'll sell his soul for
        money!" So I made an appointment for his master to come up to
        the Langham Hotel next morning, and we agreed about the
        purchase--he to deliver the stones at a wharf on the Thames,
        and they were brought down in barges and landed at the head of
        a canal on the east coast of Lincolnshire, and are now lying
        in a green field near my house, called S. Katherine's Garth,
        from an old Priory of S. Katherine, which formerly stood
        there, and which I hope some day to rebuild as my domestic
        chapel.'--_Report of the City Church and Churchyard Protection
        Society_, 1880.

  [149] _Vide supra_, p. 186-7.

  [150] Evelyn's _Diary_, May 28, 1682.

  [151] Nicholas Hawksmoor, born the year of the fire, became Wren's
        pupil in 1683 and helped him in many of his works. Hawksmoor
        built several churches under Queen Anne's Act; they are
        original, but heavy, and not always in good taste. He died

  [152] Caius Cibber, born 1630. The statues of Melancholy and Madness
        at Bedlam were his greatest works: died about 1700.

  [153] He did much of the work of S. Clement Danes under Wren's
        directions, and made a bust of Sir Christopher, now at All
        Souls: died 1698.

  [154] _Moral Essays_, Ep. iii.

  [155] _Of Medals_, p. 162, ed. 1697. Evelyn.

  [156] For an interesting account of these see _The Tower of London_,
        by Lord de Ros, p. 417.

                               CHAPTER IX.



  Who taught that heaven-directed spire to rise?--POPE, _Moral Essays_.

Great as was the pressure of Wren's London work, he did not confine
himself to that city alone, but in 1677, we find him at Cambridge,
busied with buildings there. The beautiful chapel of Emmanuel College,
which still stands unaltered as he left it, was Sir Christopher's work
in that year. More than thirty years before, Bishop Wren, when Bishop of
Ely, had instanced amongst the irregularities to be amended at Cambridge
the absence of a chapel at Emmanuel College,[157] and it well became his
nephew to supply this lack. Sancroft had first set the plan on foot, and
when he was removed in 1665 to S. Paul's--a removal so costly that,
little knowing, he consoled himself by thinking the next would be to his
grave--his successor, Dr. Breton, continued his work.

A picturesque cloister runs north and south across the façade built of
stone instead of the brick with stone dressing as Wren at first
intended; within the chapel the rich stucco ceiling, the pannelling and
wood carving, the tall columns which support a pediment behind the
altar, as well as the bold metal scroll-work of the altar rails, all
show Wren's hand and eye. In the manuscript list of Wren's architectural
works in the 'Parentalia' the Chapel of Queen's College at Oxford is
assigned to him as built at about this time; but it does not appear in
the more accurate printed list, and is not generally reckoned amongst
his works.

The Observatory at Greenwich, known by the name of Flamsteed House, was
being completed. It was built at the suggestion of Sir Jonas Moor, the
Surveyor-General of the Ordnance, for the purpose of ascertaining the
motions of the moon and the places of the fixed stars, in order, if
possible, to discover accurately the longitude at sea.[158] Wren,
confessedly one of the best astronomers in England, was on the
commission for building the Observatory, and was its architect.
Greenwich was chosen as the site at his suggestion; the King, who took a
great interest in the project, allowed 500_l._ towards it, and Sir
Christopher used in the work some spare wood, iron, and lead from the
Tower Gatehouse, and the bricks taken from Tilbury, the fort built by
Elizabeth to repel the Spanish Armada.

The Observatory was begun in June, 1675, and roofed in at the Christmas
of the same year, and Flamsteed shortly afterwards installed there.


The Museum at Oxford, known as the Ashmolean, was Sir Christopher's work
in 1677. It contained a collection of objects of natural history which
was then reckoned a very good one: it had been collected by John
Tradescant, and bequeathed by him to Mr. Elias Ashmole, the historian of
the Order of the Garter, who made the whole over to the University,
endowing a lecture upon them.

The collection contained several curious specimens of Roman, Indian, and
other weapons, some clothing made of feathers; among other 'rarities,' a
'toad included in amber,' and a 'habit of feathers from the Phoenix
wing as tradition goes.'[159] Ashmole was of the Royal Society and a
student of astrology.

In the November of this year, Sir Christopher's only daughter Jane was
born, and was baptized at S. Martin's, probably by the Rev. William
Lloyd, then the vicar, who bore the high character of 'an excellent
preacher, a man of great integrity and piety, one who thoroughly
understood all the parts of his function and had a mind fully bent to
put them in execution.' Wren's fourth and youngest child was born in
June, 1679, and baptized, also at S. Martin's, by the name of William.
Sir Christopher's good friend Evelyn was one godfather, the other was
Sir William Fermor, the head of an old Cavalier family of
Northamptonshire, whose father, all but ruined in the civil wars,
survived to attend as one of the Knights of the Bath at Charles II.'s
coronation. Sir William, who was by his mother's side first cousin to
Lady Wren, was a friend of Evelyn's, whose tastes he shared. He was
created Lord Lempster[160] by William and Mary. The other sponsor was
Lady Newport, daughter of the Earl of Bedford, and wife of the Lord
Treasurer, Lord Newport, who, greatly distinguished by his loyalty and
his suffering in the Civil War, was made Comptroller of the Household,
and in 1672 Lord Treasurer, an office which he held under the two
succeeding monarchs.[161] Lord Newport was a friend both of Wren and of
Evelyn, and entertained them, Prince Rupert, and others at his house,
where he had a fine collection of pictures.

Wren began five of his churches in this year: one was the little square
church of SS. Anne and Agnes, Aldersgate, with its four Corinthian
columns and decorated ceiling.

'There is a constant tradition in the parish that SS. Anne and Agnes
were two sisters who first built this church at their own charge,'[162]
but at what date is not said. It once bore the name of 'S.
Anne-in-the-Willows,' from the willow-trees that grew hard by.

S. Bartholomew's, Bartholomew Lane, near the Exchange, had been consumed
all but its old square tower, which must have been a striking object
standing up tall and fire-scathed amongst the ruins. To this tower Wren
added a sort of crown of open arches, but he carefully preserved the
tower, itself a curious relic of London before the fire. Internally it
was a handsome basilican church, effective from the good keeping and
harmony of all its parts. Its date of consecration went back to the
beginning of the fourteenth century. Bishop Miles Coverdale[163] was
buried there. Alas! that all must be written in the past tense! The
church has been destroyed because its site was wanted for the Sun Fire
Office! It is a cruel fate, having been rebuilt after the Great Fire to
be destroyed for a Fire Insurance Office.

S. Michael's, Bassishaw, or Basinghall, taking this name from the great
merchant family of Basing, several of whom were sheriffs, and others
lord mayors of London, was rebuilt of brick and stone with a curious
little stone spire.


S. Swithin's in Cannon Street is reckoned a model of excellence in
construction; it is of stone with a tower and spire, and domed roof; the
curious relic known as 'London Stone,' is built into the church wall; it
was formerly fixed in the ground in the street. Many different opinions
have been advanced about it--that it was the centre of the City, which
however it was not, being too near the river; that it was a place for
tendering money before the Exchange existed; and, most prosaic of all,
that it was set up by one named London Stone who lived there![164] All
agreed that it had been there since the time of the Saxon kings.

S. Bride's, Fleet Street, was begun in this year, but not entirely
finished until twenty years later; on it Wren lavished considerable
care and skill, securing a spacious handsome interior, and a richly
carved oak altar-piece. The bold tower and steeple,[165] with its
graceful diminishing circles with their open arcades, are thought to
rival S. Mary's, Bow, but the latter is perhaps the more poetical of the

The great work at S. Paul's was the while proceeding. In 1676 Compton,
Bishop of London, issued an Address, urging the claims of the Cathedral,
not on the citizens alone, but upon the country at large; he insisted
with some eloquence that all churches should as much as possible imitate
the 'exceeding magnifical' temple of Solomon in their beauty and
grandeur, and especially the cathedral of wealthy London. His address,
his warm interest in the work, and that of Dean Sancroft, who was a
contributor until driven from his archbishopric, brought many
contributions: among them may be mentioned Morley, Bishop of Winchester,
who gave 1,800_l._; Dr. John Fell, who gave 100_l._, 'in lieu of his
consecration dinner and gloves' when consecrated Bishop of Oxford, 1680;
Bishop Ken, who gave the same sum at his consecration, 1685, also in
lieu of the dinner and gloves; Bishop Wilson, of Sodor and Man, who gave
from the quarries of the island the dark stone steps which lead to the
west doors. Though hampered often, the architect was never actually
stopped by lack of money. He himself out of his scanty salary gave
50_l._ towards the expenses.


In a letter speaking of his progress in building S. Paul's he says, 'I
have received a considerable sum, which, though not proportionable to
the greatnesse of the work, is notwithstanding sufficient to begin the
same--and with all the materials and other assistances which may
probably be expected, will put the new quire in great forwardness.' The
materials referred to are probably such parts of the old building as it
was possible to use again; and it may here be said that Wren had the
control of the quarries of Portland stone.[166] In 1669, King Charles
issued a proclamation that--

   'Whereas great waste had been for many years past made of our
   quarries in the Isle of Portland, ... and the great occasion we
   have of using much of the said stone, both for the building and
   repairing our houses and for the repaire of S. Paul's, our pleasure
   is ... that all persons forbeare to transport any more stone from
   our Isle of Portland without the leave and warrant first obtained
   from Dr. Christopher Wren, Surveyor of our Works, as hath been
   formerly accustomed in that behalf.'

Wren must have commanded an army of quarrymen in the little island, not
then grim with convicts and with a prison; but nevertheless he had, as
in the case of the Monument, not seldom to pause in his work before he
could get blocks of the size he required. As the choir rose the time
came in which the space for the great Dome was to be marked out. The
architect stood watching with some of his friends, and called to one of
the workmen to bring him a stone to mark a special spot; when the man
obeyed, Wren saw that the stone thus brought had an inscription upon
it--the single word 'Resurgam.'[167] It was looked upon by Sir
Christopher as a singularly happy omen, and he took great pleasure in
telling the anecdote.


In the meantime a sharp controversy was going on within the Royal
Society between Dr. Wallis and Sir Christopher's brother-in-law, Dr.
Holder. Dr. Holder had a living in Hertfordshire and had received from
Bishop Henchman a canonry in S. Paul's. In 1678 he brought out a book
called 'The Elements of Speech' with an appendix concerning 'Persons
deaf and dumb.' In this book he described the cure he had himself
performed when at Bletchingdon of a young gentleman, Mr. Alexander
Popham, the son of a certain Edward Popham, admiral in the service of
the Long Parliament, whom, though born dumb, he had gradually taught to
speak. The youth, taken away before the cure was quite finished, lost
the lately acquired power of speech, but on being sent to Dr. Wallis
recovered it; thereupon Dr. Wallis claimed the entire credit. In his
book Dr. Holder took occasion to speak of the Royal Society as
originating in meetings held at Oxford.

Upon this Dr. Wallis wrote a pamphlet entitled 'A Defence of the Royal
Society in reply to some cavils of Dr. W. Holder.' The quarrel appears
to have been a hot one, turning chiefly on the credit of curing
Alexander Popham.

Wood, the antiquary,[168] speaks of Dr. Wallis 'as one that can make
black white, and white black, for his own ends, and hath a ready knack
of sophistical evasion (as the writer of these matters doth know full
well),' and gives the credit to Dr. Holder. Wallis was little loved by
any royalist because of his conduct in decyphering King Charles I.'s
papers at Naseby.[169] In the 'Parentalia' are two finger alphabets,
with two hands drawn in Indian ink, the fingers of which have different
letters assigned to the different joints; one is an ordinary and simple
way, the other, more elaborate, is entitled 'An arte to make the Dumbe
to speake, the Deafe to heare. To speake amongst others unseen and
unhearde. Learned in an howre.' Minute directions are given, but the
system is so elaborate that it is very sanguine to think it could have
been 'learned' under several hours. The writing is not like Christopher
Wren's, and I think it must belong to Dr. Holder's scheme.

Mrs. Holder went on in her tranquil course, ministering to the poor
around her. In early days she had made a careful study of such medical
science as was then known. Barbarous as the surgery was, the remedial
part of medicine appears to have been somewhat better understood. The
circulation of the blood had very lately been discovered by Harvey; and
whether it was the efficacy of the herbs and simples used, or the faith
of the patients, or both, it is certain that many cures were made and
much suffering alleviated. It is said of Mrs. Holder that 'she happily
healed thousands.' She cured Charles II. of a hurt in his hand, whether
in his early days of peril and wandering, or in later life, is not said.
After the Restoration she was connected more or less with the Court, as
her husband was subdean of the Chapels Royal, and she healed Queen
Catharine and many of the Court. When one reads in Evelyn's or in Pepys'
diary of the frightful remedies used: the 'hot fire pans' applied to the
head in cases of apoplexy, the constant bleeding, the roughness of the
entire treatment, one is thankful to think that they were occasionally
ministered to by the gentler hand of a woman.

A taste for the science of medicine seems to have been common in the
Wren family. Sir Christopher studied it at Oxford under Sir Charles
Scarborough and drew the plates for Dr. Thomas Willis' 'Cerebri
Anatome,' which was in great repute. His cousin, Thomas Wren, made it a
matter of serious study, probably living by it as a profession at the
time when Bishop Wren's imprisonment left his younger children
penniless. The same honourable calling was chosen by Sir Christopher's
grandson, Stephen Wren. Among all the patients whom good Mrs. Holder
tended and cared for, in none could she have taken more pride than in
the brother over whose sickly childhood she had watched, and whose fame
she saw daily increasing. Nor was there any drawback to her delight:
loving, gentle, modest, and courteous he had been as a boy, and the
famous successful architect possessed those qualities still. In a
corrupt age, all testimony leaves him spotless; in positions of great
trust and still greater difficulty his integrity was but the more
clearly shown by the attacks made against him; among the foremost
philosophers of his age, he was a striking example that 'every good gift
and every perfect gift is from above;' no child could hold the truths of
Christianity with a more undoubting faith than did Sir Christopher Wren.


His personal appearance is only known to us from pictures: it seems he
was 'thin and low of stature,' and it is recorded that when he was
building a hunting palace at Newmarket for Charles II., the King came to
see it, looked round, and was well satisfied with the general effect,
but said he thought the rooms were too low. Wren, who knew the King
well, and could hold his own when needful, looked up to the ceiling, and
said quietly: 'Sir, I think they are high enough.'

On hearing this, King Charles stooped till he was the architect's
height, crept about the room in this attitude, and said laughing, 'Ay,
Sir Christopher, I think _they are high enough_.'[170]

The beautiful S. Stephen's, Walbrook, was finished in 1679, and the
parishioners, aware that their church was a gem of no common order,
offered 'a purse of twenty guineas to the Lady of Sir Christopher Wren,
as a testimony of the regard that the parish has for the great care and
skill that Sir Christopher Wren showed in the rebuilding of our
church.'[171] Lady Wren did not long survive to share in her husband's
fame and to sympathise in his work.

Early in October she died and was buried in S. Martin's-in-the-Fields,
where Dr. Thomas Tenison[172] had succeeded Dr. Lloyd, when the latter
was made Bishop of S. Asaph. He, too, was a hard-working parish priest,
though neither so zealous nor so whole-hearted a churchman as the former
vicar. He communicated to Evelyn[173] his plan 'of erecting a library in
S. Martin's parish for the public use, and desired his assistance with
Sir Christopher Wren about the placing and structure thereof.' Dr.
Tenison said that he had 'between thirty and forty young men in orders
in his parish either governors to young gentlemen, or chaplains to
noblemen, who being reproved by him on occasion for frequenting taverns
or coffee-houses, told him they would employ their time better if they
had books.' Wren fell readily into a scheme so congenial as this, and
in a very few days the two friends were together at Dr. Tenison's making
a drawing and estimate of the library to be begun in the spring of that
same year.


In 1678, the nation was excited to absolute frenzy by the declarations
of the infamous Titus Oates concerning the 'Popish Plot.' In the same
spirit as that in which they had laid the burning of London at the door
of the Romanists, the mob lent greedy, credulous ears to the tales of
Oates, and were encouraged by Lord Shaftesbury and his party, who made
political capital out of this madness. Looking back, it is difficult to
understand how such manifest falsehoods could have obtained credit; but
it should be borne in mind that only seventy-three years had passed
since the Gunpowder Plot had all but succeeded, and despite its failure
left a mark in popular feeling which, however obscured and travestied,
remains to this day. That it was fresh in the minds of the Members of
Parliament may be seen from their insisting that a guard should be
placed in the vaults over which they sate.

Bedloe, Oates' villainous ally, having declared that an army of thirty
thousand pilgrims was coming from Spain to join forty thousand who were
ready to rise in London, the House of Lords insisted that a
communication between the Spanish ambassador's house and that of his
neighbour Mr. Weld should be secured. No less a person than Sir
Christopher himself was to be despatched by the Lords' committee to see
to this matter. Wren took the matter quietly enough; went with Mr.
Edward Warcup, one of his assistants, and sent in a report stating that
they had caused 'padlocks to be hung on all such dores as open out of
Mr. Weld's house into the Spanish Embassador's house;' had then
'acquainted his Excellency Count Egmont, who with great civility gave
permission for all things necessary to be done on his side.' They locked
the doors on his side, barred some with iron, and handed over the keys
to the Clerk of the Parliament, which no doubt felt itself more secure
after this precaution.

Evelyn, it is plain from passages in his diary, disbelieved and
distrusted Oates, and Wren, who gave no heed to panics, was probably of
the same opinion. One wishes that Pepys had not been compelled in 1669,
by failing eyesight, to give up keeping his most amusing diary, that he
might have recorded his impressions of this time of frenzy. He, however,
was a sufferer by it, being clapt into the Tower on a charge of 'Popery,
felony, piracy, and treason,' in 1679. The 'treason' charged seems to
have been that he sent information to the French Court about the state
of the English navy. The 'Popery,' from which he was certainly free, was
probably thrown in to give a flavour suited to the times. It is an
incredible charge, and Pepys, who defended himself in a spirited letter
to the Duke of York, was discharged in the following February.

The Royal Society, despite all these storms, kept its even course. Wren,
who had been Vice-President, was elected President in 1680. With all his
work, he contrived to take the Chair frequently at the meetings. Their
discussions were very varied:--observations with the barometer, ways of
sounding the sea, the curve described by a granado shot into the air, an
account of the anatomy of the otter, and its power of diving;--Sir
Christopher hereupon described the seal which was in S. James's Park, as
having muscles by which it could contract and dilate its nostrils, and
by such means sink itself and lie at the bottom of the pool made for it,
for a great while together, and that it ate its food at the bottom of
the river.


A new discovery by a French doctor named Papin[174] of a 'digester' for
softening bones, caused much discussion at the Society. Wren inquired
whether a contrary process to M. Papin's could not be devised to harden
bones, but Papin could give no answer. Two years later M. Papin gave a
supper to which several of the Society went. Evelyn says, it was[175]--

   'All dress'd, both fish and flesh, in M. Papin's Digestors, by
   which the hardest bones of beef itselfe and mutton were made as
   soft as cheese, without water or any other liquor, and with lesse
   than eight ounces of coales producing an incredible quantity of
   gravy; and, for close of all, a jelly made of the bones of beef,
   the best for clearness and good relish, and the most delicious that
   I had seene or tasted. We eat pike and other fish bones, and all
   without impediment; but nothing exceeded the pigeons, which tasted
   just as if baked in a pie, all these being stewed in their own
   juice, without any addition of water, save what swam about the
   Digestor, as _in balneo_; the natural juice of these provisions
   acting on the grosser substances, reduced the hardest bones to
   tenderness; but it is best descanted with more particulars for
   extracting tinctures, preserving and stewing fruite, and saving
   fuel, in Dr. Papin's booke[176] published and dedicated to our
   Society, of which he is a member.... This philosophical supper
   caus'd much mirth amongst us, and exceedingly pleased all the
   company. I sent a glass of the jelly to my wife, to the reproch of
   all that the ladies ever made of the best hartshorn.'


The Royal Society had another foreign visitor, M. Chardin,[177] the
Persian traveller. Sir Christopher, Sir John Hoskyns, and Evelyn[178]
went to visit him when he arrived in England in 1680, and invited him to
honour the Royal Society with his company. They found him dressed in his
Eastern habit, speaking Latin, and understanding Greek, Arabic, and
Persian from his eleven years of travel in those parts. He was a
well-bred, modest man 'not inclined to talk wonders.' Chardin was a fair
draughtsman and had besides taken two artists with him to draw
landscapes, to measure and design the palaces and temples burnt at
Persepolis. He was then on his way to France, but on his return promised
to show the drawings. He returned, finding the persecution of the
Protestants still hot in France, and Sir Christopher proposed him as a
member of the Royal Society. His book, 'Travels of Sir John Chardin,'
was published in London and is still in high esteem both for its special
interest and the accuracy of its statements. Evelyn assisted him in
engraving the plates and in the translation of the book. Charles II.
made him a knight, and he was employed in Holland as the agent of the
English East India Company.

At the meeting of the Royal Society on November 30, 1681, Wren was
re-elected President and chose Sir John Hoskyns as Vice-president.[179]
Sir John Hoskyns, who, like Wren, had been educated at Westminster, was
a Master in Chancery highly thought of for his legal attainments and his
integrity; he and Wren appear always to have been friends; and when Wren
resigned the presidency, Sir John succeeded him. Tradition[180] says
that Sir John

   'affected plainness in his garb, walked in the street with a cudgel
   in his hand and an old hat over his eyes. That he was often observed
   to be in a reverie; but when his spirits were elevated over a
   bottle, he was remarkable for his presence of mind and quickness of
   apprehension and became a most agreeable and instructive companion.'
   It also says that he bore an irreproachable character.

The great western front of Christ Church, Oxford, was at this time
occupying Wren's attention. Wolsey had laid the foundations of the
gateway, but it had been left unfinished until Wren took it in hand and
built the grand gateway and noble tower which are among the features of

The churches which at this time were building in London were All
Hallows, Bread Street; the original church dated back to the beginning
of the thirteenth century. Lyndwode, the author of the 'Provincial
Constitutions,' was rector there in 1418. The poet Milton was baptized
there December 20, 1608. An inscription on a tablet at the west end of
the church recorded this, and also Dryden's lines:--

               Three Poets in three distant ages born,
               Greece, Italy, and England did adorn;
               The first in loftiness of thought surpassed,
               The next in majesty; in both the last.
               The force of nature could no further go,
               To make a third she joined the other two.

Here also it is supposed that Sir Isaac Newton was buried, though the
exact spot was not known.

Wren built on the old site a stone church of considerable beauty, whose
tall pinnacled tower had a singular grace of its own. All, alas!
destroyed, the ancient site desecrated, and the materials sold, no
matter for what purpose.


S. Peter's, Cornhill, a small compact brick and stone church with a low
tower and a key for its vane and camerated roof, was rebuilt in this
year. Several small charitable legacies belong to this church: Sir B.
Thorowgood settled three shops, at the west end of the churchyard, upon
the parish for the maintenance of an organist to play on Sundays and
Holydays for ever. In 1700 these shops were all three let for 24_l._!

S. Clement Danes in the Strand, which had been patched up in 1674, was
taken down and rebuilt, being finished in 1682. Sir Christopher, who
received the moderate salary of 100_l._ for the rebuilding of the _City_
churches, had nothing necessarily to do with S. Clement's, but yet, as
is recorded on a marble slab on the north side of the chancel, he
'freely and generously bestowed his great care towards the contriving
and building.' It stands in too frequented a place and is too well known
to need description, and will, I think, be readily admitted to bear
Wren's mark. Evelyn calls it 'that pretty and well-contrived church.'
The steeple surmounting the tower was added by Wren's pupil Gibbs[181]
in 1719. S. Antholin's, Watling Street, was entirely consumed by the
fire, so that all its registers perished, a misfortune which happened to
but few of the churches. Sir Christopher spent especial care upon it.
The roof was a cupola adorned with rich festoons; the octagonal spire
was built of freestone, with three circles of windows and considerably
ornamented, was the chief feature of this beautiful little church. At
the time of its building the spire was much remarked, and must have
formed a pleasant contrast to the little neighbouring church of S.
Augustine in the same street, with its tower cupola and small steeple,
which was added in 1695. This church was finished in 1683 and survives
S. Antholin's, which has shared the evil fate of All Hallows, Bread

The hunting palace at Newmarket, of which mention has been made, was
accidentally burnt down, and this made King Charles more anxious to have
a palace in the ancient city of Winchester. Lands were bought for a
park, a river was to have been brought from the downs with a thirty-foot
cascade in the park, and a broad street planned to lead to the cathedral
from the future palace. Wren designed a magnificent palace,[182] with a
great cupola which would have been seen far out at sea, and laid the
first stone on March 23, 1683. The work was much pressed forward both by
King Charles and by the Duke of York, who frequently stayed at
Winchester for a considerable time watching the progress of the
building, and hunting in the forest. At such times the King was lodged
in the Deanery and his train in the houses of the close, where most of
them were sufficiently incongruous inmates. Ken, then a prebendary of
the Cathedral, utterly refused to give a lodging in his house to the
notorious Nell Gwynne.

Winchester had many associations for Wren, to whom the name of Lancelot
Andrewes must have been a household word from childhood, and it is
pleasant to think that he at this time became acquainted with the
saintly Ken. The palace, which was finished as far as the shell in 1685,
was never used either by Charles II. or his successors, though Queen
Anne made one visit to Winchester, and was so much struck with the
situation and the shell of the building as it stood awaiting completion,
the marble pillars sent by the Duke of Tuscany for the great staircase
lying on the ground, that she resolved to finish it as a jointure house
for Prince George, but his death and the cost of the great war made her
give up the scheme. Sir Christopher seems to have hoped that George I.
might finish it. It is, however, now used as a barrack.


Dr. Morley, Bishop of Winchester, had also engaged Sir Christopher's
assistance; and having pulled down a part of the old episcopal palace,
he began to build another; he died when but one wing was erected and
left sufficient money to finish it. Bishop Mew, his successor, as the
'Parentalia' says, 'never minded it;' but it was finished, apparently
not under Wren's auspices, by Sir Jonathan Trelawney. He became Bishop
of Winchester in 1707; as Bishop of Bristol he was one of the famous
'Seven Bishops.'


  [157] It was founded in 1584 by Sir Walter Mildmay, a great
        supporter of the Puritans.

        In Bishop Corbet's poem, _The Distracted Puritan_, the hero

        'In the house of pure Emmanuel I had my education, Where my
        friends surmise I dazel'd my eyes With the sight of Revelation.'

        Evelyn, who visited it in September 1655, says: 'That zealous
        house ... the Chapel (it was but a room) is reformed _ab
        origine_, built N. and S. as is the Librarie.'

  [158] _Vide infra_, p. 331-3.

  [159] Evelyn's _Diary_, September 17, 1657, and July 23, 1678.

  [160] His son Thomas was created Earl of Pomfret by George I., 1721;
        the title is extinct.

  [161] He appeared for the seven bishops on their trial, greatly
        angering King James thereby. He voted for William and Mary,
        and was by them created Earl of Bradford, 1694.

  [162] _Repertorium_, vol. i. p. 276. Newcourt.

  [163] Born 1437. Assisted Tindal in translating and printing the
        Bible. Died 1568.

  [164] _New View of London_, vol. i. p. 14. E. Hatton.

  [165] The steeple has been slightly lowered by Sir W. Staines in
        recent years: it was 234 feet high. When this was done, it was
        discovered that an old hawk had inhabited the two upper
        circles, the open arcades of which were filled with masses of
        bird's bones, chiefly those of the city pigeons upon which he
        had preyed.

  [166] There is a quantity of stone quarried for S. Paul's still
        lying at the back of the island, ready for transportation.

  [167] _Anecdotes of Distinguished Persons_, vol. ii. p. 310. Seward.
        It is supposed to have been part of the gravestone of Dr. John
        King, Bishop of London, 1611-21, called by King James 'the
        _King_ of preachers.' 'He was a most solid and profound divine
        of great gravity and piety, and a most excellent volubility of
        speech.'--_Repertorium_, vol. i. p. 29. Newcourt. Bishop King
        preached at S. Paul's Cross before King James I. and all his
        Court when James the First began the restoration of the
        Cathedral under Inigo Jones. A quaint print of this scene
        still exists.--_Three Cathedrals of S. Paul_, p. 20. Longman.

  [168] _Fast. Oxon._, vol. i. p. 139. Wood.

  [169] _Vide supra_, pp. 77, 78.

  [170] _Biographical History of England_, vol. iii. p. 327. Noble.

  [171] _Lives of the Gresham Professors_, p. 104. Ward. The church
        has been lately cleansed, but the disfiguring pews most
        unfortunately still encumber the area.

  [172] Thomas Tenison, Bishop of Lincoln and Archbishop of
        Canterbury; his endowments were munificent: died 1715.

  [173] _Diary_, February 15, 1684. The very valuable library which
        Dr. Tenison founded was, alas! sold by Act of Parliament,
        1861, and the proceeds ordered to be applied to middle-class
        education, which was hardly what the donor intended.

  [174] Denys Papin, born at Blois, was an M.D. of Paris; came to
        England, and in 1680 was elected a Fellow of the Royal
        Society. He died in 1710.

  [175] _Diary_, April 12, 1684.

  [176] _The New Digester, or Engine for the Softening of Bones_, 4to.
        A modification of Papin's 'digester kettle' still exists, and
        goes by his name, though used far less than it deserves.

  [177] Born in Paris, 1643. The son of a Protestant jeweller, he went
        to Persia in search of diamonds, amassing a considerable
        fortune. He married in England in 1681, and died there in
        1735. He was buried at Chiswick, but his monument is in
        Westminster Abbey. 'Sir John Chardin. _Nomen sibi fecit
        eundo._'--_Life of Sir C. Wren_, p. 419. Elmes.

  [178] _Diary_, August 30, 1680.

  [179] The friendship and connection with Sir Christopher is curious,
        for in 1857 Mr. Chandos Wren Hoskyns married Theodosia Anne
        Martha Wren, only surviving child of Christopher Roberts Wren,
        of Wroxall Abbey in Warwickshire, who was himself the
        great-great-grandson of Sir C. Wren, Mr. Chandos Hoskyns being
        the direct descendant of Sir J. Hoskyns mentioned above. To
        their only child, now the wife of the Rev. C. F. C. Pigott,
        Rector of Edgmond, Salop, and Prebendary of Lichfield, I am
        indebted for the use of many valuable family papers.

  [180] _Biog. Hist._, vol. iii. p. 371, vol. iv. p. 314. Grainger.

  [181] James Gibbs, a Scotch architect who built S. Mary-le-Strand,
        S. Martin's-in-the-Fields, &c.; born 1674, died 1754.

  [182] _Life of Bishop Ken,_ by a layman, ed. 1854, p. 186.

                               CHAPTER X.



     If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had
     been churches, and poor men's cottages princes' palaces.--_Merchant
     of Venice_, act i. scene ii.

Charles II.'s gift of Chelsea College to the Royal Society had proved a
gift of greater magnitude than they had been able to deal with, and the
building had remained unused since 1669. Nor did their funds allow them
to make use of Mr. Howard's donation of a piece of land, though the
ever-ready Sir Christopher produced a design for it of some size, on the
principle 'that a fair building may be easier carried on by contribution
with time, than a sordid one.' At last, in 1681, he proposed the sale of
Chelsea College back again to King Charles, and Wren and Evelyn
undertook to manage what must have been rather a delicate transaction.
During the negotiation Sir Stephen Fox came to Evelyn and proposed that
the King should buy it, and build there a hospital for soldiers. The
proposal came well from Sir Stephen, who, originally a chorister of
Salisbury Cathedral, by the favour and help of Bishop Duppa first, and
then by that of the King, and most of all by his own honesty and
dexterity, became paymaster to the whole army and acquired an honest and
unenvied fortune. The King agreed to the plan, and the matter was
arranged by Wren, Evelyn, and Fox, who was a liberal benefactor to the
college. The three men went across to Lambeth to their old friend
Sancroft and acquainted him with the plan, and received his approval.

Wren set instantly to work, and in August 1682 the foundations were
being laid; the whole building was not completed until William and
Mary's reign; but during all that time Wren's energy and care never
flagged, but were extended even to the minutiæ of the regulations, all
of which he drew up, for the health, comfort, and economy of the
building. As architecture the building has been severely criticised; but
when the worst is said, it still remains picturesque, cheerful and
spacious, and a beautiful object as seen from the Thames.

The Royal Society continued its meetings at Gresham College, which it
did not quit until, in 1710, the members purchased a house in Crane
Court, which has only very lately been pulled down. The next year saw
many of Wren's churches finished.

All Hallows the Great, in Thames Street, a plain brick and stone edifice
with a strong square tower, was then completed: it, like by far the
greater number of the City churches, had been repaired and beautified
under the vigorous rule of Laud while Bishop of London. Thomas White,
who came into the living a few months only before the Fire, was
afterwards as Bishop of Peterborough one of the famous 'Seven Bishops.'
At the time when Wren rebuilt the church the living was held by the
learned church historian, Dr. William Cave.[183]

S. Mildred's, Bread Street, is another church belonging to this date.
It is so hidden by the tall warehouses that have sprung up round it that
it is but little known; but its red brick tower, tall spire, and, above
all, its most light and graceful dome, are all after Wren's best manner.
The destruction of this beautiful little church has actually been
threatened, but it has been ably defended, and it is to be hoped it will
not add another name to the black list of desecrated City churches.

[Sidenote: _S. JAMES'S, WESTMINSTER._]

A third church belonging to this year is S. James's, Westminster, then
called 'in the fields,' from the large parish of S. Martin's, out of
which it was taken. It was built principally at the expense of Henry
Jermyn, Earl of S. Albans, Wren's Paris friend, who gave his name to
Jermyn Street, where the church stands.

The proportions of S. James's and the technical skill displayed in
building it, especially the construction of the roof, have been always
admired. Wren, who was allowed but a moderate sum to expend upon it, was
proud of having combined beauty with 'the cheapest of any form I could
invent.'[184] When the church was newly done, with its bricks red
instead of darkly grimed with smoke, with the handsome pillared entrance
to the south aisle, a flight of steps leading up to it, which have
vanished, leaving only as a mark the closed iron gates in the railings,
without the strange excrescence that now does duty as a porch--its
exterior must have been far more attractive than it is now; the little
pinched steeple[185] is said, as indeed one would imagine, to be no
building of Wren's. Within, Evelyn[186] gives us his description of the

     'I went to see the new church at S. James's elegantly built; the
     altar was especially adorned, the white marble inclosure curiously
     and richly carved, the flowers and garlands about the walls by Mr.
     Gibbons in wood; a pelican with her young at her breast, just over
     the altar in the carved compartment and border, invironing the
     purple velvet fringed with I.H.S. richly embroidered, and most
     noble plate were given by Sir R. Geere to the value (as was said)
     of 200_l._ There was no altar anywhere in England nor has there
     been abroad more handsomely adorned.'

The font, now well placed in a baptistery beneath the tower, is one of
Gibbons' few works in marble. It represents Adam and Eve, two detached
statuettes standing on either side of the Tree of Knowledge, the
branches of which support a bowl whereon are finely cut in low relief
the Ark of Noah, and the baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch. With all this,
and without the high, stiff indevout pews which now disfigure the
church--pews that Sir Christopher did not put there, and to the presence
of which in any of his churches he always strongly objected, it must
have been a decidedly handsome edifice. The organ, built by Renatus
Harris, was made for James II.'s timber chapel at the camp on Hounslow
Heath; after the King's flight Wren obtained the organ from Queen Mary
for S. James's Church.

[Sidenote: _S. BENNET, PAUL'S WHARF._]

Dr. Tenison, who then held S. James's jointly with S. Martin's, obtained
the timbers of the chapel and used them in erecting the chapel of the
Holy Trinity in Conduit Street,[187] which was also included in the
enormous parish of S. Martin. S. Bennet, Paul's Wharf,[188] was finished
in this year; picturesque and characteristic in its red brick, stone
carving, well suited to its situation, then less cramped and
overshadowed than it is now.

Its rector, Mr. Peter Lane, had experienced all the greater perils that
had lately befallen the City; presented to the living in 1662, he
steadily ministered there through the terrible time of the plague, and
was then burnt out by the Great Fire. He lived, however, to return and
to minister for five years in the new church built by Sir Christopher.
In this church Inigo Jones was buried, in the darkest days of the

The handsome Church of S. James's, Garlickhithe, with its curious
columnated steeple, and its projecting clock surmounted by a figure, is
also of this date.

It was well that Sir Christopher had been able to get even this much of
his numerous works finished, for the winter of 1683-4 was of exceptional
severity. On December 23 the Thames was frozen over; on January 9,
Evelyn[189] 'went crosse the Thames on the ice, now become so thick as
to beare not only streetes of booths in which they roasted meate and had
divers shops of wares, quite acrosse in a towne, but coaches, carts, and
horses passed over.' Evelyn himself drove across it to Lambeth to dine
with Archbishop Sancroft, who had succeeded Sheldon in 1677.
'London,'--says Evelyn a few days later in words which, alas, still
describe but too vividly a genuine 'London fog,'--

     'by reason of the excessive coldnesse hindering the ascent of the
     smoke, was so filled with the fuliginous steame of the sea-coale
     that hardly could one see crosse the streetes, and this filling the
     lungs with its grosse particles exceedingly obstructed the breath
     so as one could scarcely breathe. Here was no water to be had from
     the pipes and engines, nor could the brewers and other tradesmen
     worke, and every moment was full of disastrous accidents.'

In addition to this dismal state of things 'the small pox was very

For eight weeks no foreign posts reached the city, for 'the very sea was
so locked up with ice that no vessell could stir out or come in.' It was
not until April was advanced that there was any sign of spring. It was
certainly no building weather, and must have sharply tried the rising
Choir of S. Paul's. Sir Christopher made a journey to Chichester on the
invitation of the old Bishop, Guy Carleton, to examine the spire of the
Cathedral. The whole building had suffered terribly under the wanton
sack of Sir William Waller and his men, and required extensive repair.

Sir Christopher

   'for about two hours viewed the tower at the north west angle both
   without and within, and above and below, and observed the great
   want of repairs especially in the great western tower; made his
   report; proposing to clear away the ruin of the fallen tower; to
   pull down the south western tower; to shorten the nave by one arch,
   and to substitute a fair built west end of his own.'[190]


He next examined the beautiful spire, well known as a landmark to
sailors in the channel, sister spire to that most perfect one at
Salisbury which he has preserved to this day. He adopted a different
plan with the Chichester spire to that which he had formerly pursued,
for he took down the top of the spire, and fastened to the finial within
an immense pendulum of yellow fir wood, which in great gales preserved
exactly the balance of the spire. This lasted till 1813, when the
pendulum was repaired by Mr. Elmes, and so remained until, after a great
gale in 1861, the spire fell in; it has since been rebuilt, and is now
rather higher than it was formerly. The other part of Wren's scheme was
not acted upon. At this time he built Fawley Court in Oxfordshire: the
place had lain in ruins since the civil war, when it suffered, though
the property of Sir Bulstrode Whitelock, even more from Cromwell's
troops than from those of Prince Rupert. Sir Bulstrode's descendants
sold the property to Mr. William Freeman, who pulled the ruins down and
got Sir Christopher to build the present Court, with its four fronts,
handsome hall, and characteristic festoons of flowers in the ceiling.

In this same year Wren was made Controller of the Works, for which he
received a salary of 9_l._ 2_s._ 6_d._ a year; not a very magnificent
sum considering that a good deal of petty work and cares went with the
office. It was necessary to see that this person had not incroached on
the castle stables, or that person on the castle ditch; to measure and
plan, and settle little quarrels and disputes in a way infinitely
tormenting, one would think, to a man who had already such enormous
works to consider. But Wren's genius was a patient one, and had a great
grasp of details; he dealt with point after point as it arose, and no
one seems ever to have complained of his breaking an engagement or
neglecting to settle their difficulties.

While this work was going on all London was startled by the tidings of
Charles II.'s sudden illness and death, when all the luxury of the Court
was at its height. With all his grave faults, the King's death caused
considerable grief throughout England; to both Wren and Evelyn he had
been always kind and friendly, and both looked with great anxiety to the
reign of his successor.

The Royal Society certainly lost a steady friend in Charles II. and was
soon to see its court favour fade away. It was, however, much occupied
with a discussion between Newton and Robert Hooke concerning the
planetary motions. The question was one which deeply interested Wren,
and which hitherto he had not been able to answer. As he and Hooke were
walking together--Wren, whom one can never imagine but with all the
courtesy and refinement of a finished gentleman, and Hooke half a miser,
utterly slovenly, and jealous of any rising fame--they were met by Dr.
Halley, an astronomer of some note even then, who was struggling with
this problem and confessed that he had hitherto failed.

Wren promised a book worth forty shillings to whoever should solve the
problem, whereupon Hooke declared he understood it from Kepler's 'Law of
Periods and Distances,' and would show his solution some day to Wren;
this he never did, and very soon Newton published his 'Principia,'[191]
in which he solved this problem, acknowledging freely that Wren and
Halley had independently deduced the law of gravity from Kepler's second
law. He had a great quarrel with Hooke, the less to be wondered at, as,
excepting Sir Christopher, Hooke quarrelled with everybody and was a
philosopher of the sourest type. In 1685 Sir Christopher was returned to
Parliament for the borough of Plympton S. Maurice, in Devonshire, a
Parliament in which his cousin Charles also sat. The elections in
Devonshire are supposed to have been specially influenced by the Court.

The 'Parentalia' gives no hint even of what his politics were, whether
he spoke often or how he voted. And yet it was a stormy time. The
Parliament had not sat a month before Monmouth's brief rebellion began,
to be bloodily quenched; public feeling was in a state of irritation and
suspense, no one feeling sure what King James might not do. He did
continue Wren unmolested in the S. Paul's commission, and the progress
of the building was steady, though probably its architect thought with
no light anxiety that it might be used for services other than those for
which it was designed.

The same doubt may have clouded his satisfaction in the many churches
which were finished in this and the immediately following years. S.
Martin's on Ludgate Hill, closely wedged in by the neighbouring houses,
with its little tapering spire, of which that of S. James's,
Westminster, appears a caricature, should have had its place among the
churches of the previous year. It harmonizes beautifully with the great
dome of S. Paul's. Sir Christopher bestowed on the inside much of the
ornament, the festoons and the carving, which its situation did not
allow him to bestow on the outside; in those days it had daily services
and may well have stood open, offering 'a shadow from the heat' to the
incessant passers-by.

S. Alban's, Wood Street, is in the pointed style of architecture in
which Wren's genius generally felt fettered, though, as in the case of
S. Michael's, Cornhill, he sometimes dealt very successfully with it.

[Sidenote: '_AN ALTAR-PIECE._']

S. Mary Magdalene's, Fish Street,[192] is more after Wren's usual
manner, with its good proportions, its highly ornamented round-headed
windows, its stone balustrade and solid square stone tower, with the
little steeple rising from it on seven steps. Within, carving in 'right
oak' was bestowed with no sparing hand, especially in the altar-piece.
And here one may say that, while defects in church arrangement, such as
galleries, pews, and the like, are invariably laid on Sir Christopher
and said to be the inevitable concomitants of his style, it should be
borne in mind that in many and many an instance the churchwardens during
the eighteenth century repewed and 'beautified' the churches which Wren
had left as completed; in what style, and on what principle one can
readily guess. It should be remembered also that an 'altar-piece,' as
the old books call it, was an invariable part of his design. If there
was rich carving, if there was black and white marble, he placed it
there; the altar was the principal part of the church in his eyes, even
though he did not often avail himself of the dignity given by a flight
of steps. The close altar rails which are now not admired, were, it must
be remembered, ordered by Archbishop Laud to protect the Holy Table from
profanation, and were always so placed by Wren.

S. Mary Magdalene's included the parish of S. Gregory, the little church
which nestled by old S. Paul's, so that Fuller described the Cathedral
as 'the mother church, having a babe in her arms.'[194]

S. Bennet's, Gracechurch Street, or Grasschurch Street, as it was really
named, from a herb market formerly held hard by, is, or rather was, of
the same date. It was well placed at the corner of two streets, and
stood boldly out with a tall tower crowned with a cupola and slender
spire; the interior was full of carving and ornament. S. Bennet's is,
however, a thing of the past; the building is gone, the site desecrated,
and the memory of such an edifice alone survives in the names of the
streets which formerly led to and now usurp its place.

The little plain Church of S. Matthew, Friday Street, close pressed by
neighbouring houses, is the last completed in this year. Obscure as the
street where it stands may have been, it was full of associations for
Wren. In Friday Street was the house where his aunt Anna lived, and
where his uncle Matthew 'lay,' when summoned to that memorable
conference with Bishop Andrewes. Hard by in the parish of S. Peter's,
Eastcheap, now incorporated with that of S. Matthew, Christopher's
merchant grandfather had lived and died, and there his own father had
been born. S. Peter's churchyard was preserved, and its single
plane-tree is carefully protected.


S. Matthew's has a less pleasant association: the living was for a time
held by the notorious Henry Burton,[195] the friend and ally of Prynne.
Burton was at first designed to accompany the Prince of Wales to Spain,
but doubts of his principles arising, he was rejected and dismissed from
his attendance as the Prince's chaplain. This formed one strong motive
for the bitter spite he bore to the church of his ordination. It is
likely also that he stirred Prynne's malice against Bishop Wren, who
appears to have been Burton's successor in the vacant chaplaincy.

The lesser details of the Surveyor-General's work must this year have
been a burden. There were complaints from Winchester, where the sudden
stoppage of the buildings and plans for the palace caused great
inconvenience; a complaint from Catherine Barton, the beautiful niece of
Sir Isaac Newton, widow of Colonel Barton, who sold her farm to Charles
II., and by the trickery of the agent never received her money; and a
complaint of the same kind from Sir Richard Tichbourne's son. Sir
Christopher examined both these cases carefully, and compelled the agent
to submit, and to satisfy the parties. Then there were troubles with the
Duke of Buckingham and the 'chaos' he had made in Spring Gardens, that
chaos so vividly described in 'Peveril of the Peak.' Nobody but Wren
could give the estimates for the new stables at S. James's Palace, or
order the new planting at Hampton Court and in Greenwich Park, or
secure the proper tithes for the Rector of S. Thomas's, Winchester.

Again, there was Verrio the painter's account for work done at Whitehall
and Windsor to be examined. For the chapel at Whitehall Verrio demanded
1,250_l._, and, says Wren, 'I suppose when the rest of the ceiling and
walls are finished, as they ought to be, it may fully deserve it.' The
whole bill was 2,050_l._, of which Verrio had received already more than
1,400_l._, so that he may be reckoned as fortunate.

It is not wonderful that in 1686, Wren attended no meeting of the
Society. Two churches were finished this year: S. Clement's, East Cheap,
and S. Mary's, Abchurch, in Cannon Street.

S. Clement's, with its square tower and balustrade, has within a great
deal of fine oak carving, and its ceiling adorned with one great circle
with an outer line of curious fretwork. Bishop Pearson was rector before
the Fire, and the famous treatise on the Nicene Creed is dedicated to
his parishioners there.

S. Mary's, with its quaint little round windows and flat-topped roof, is
not externally beautiful, but within it is one of the gems which Wren
bestowed on out-of-the-way nooks: its cupola[196] is gracefully
supported on eight arches and pendentives, the east end is rich with
Gibbons' carving of festoons of fruit, palm leaves and a pelican in her
piety. Much handsome work has also been bestowed on the inside


Wren's promise to Evelyn to employ Gibbons was certainly redeemed; for,
besides the works which have been glanced at, Gibbons was busied on the
stalls of S. Paul's choir, where, darkened but uninjured by time, his
work stands out in all the peculiar grace and tenderness which his
chisel could give to wood. The angels which cluster beneath the great
organ seem themselves to be taking part in the music which flows from
it, and are as unlike as possible to the lumps of marble or wood with
which other hands too often deform a church, and which the old
guide-books term 'Cupids'!

Still, it is a physical impossibility that all the work which bears
Gibbons' name is by him and him only.


The fame of the Cathedral, its architect, and its carvings, was widely
spread, and brought many from the country to seek for work on the new
building. Of one of these a curious account remains.[197] A young man,
named Philip Wood, of Sudbury, Suffolk, who had great skill in carving,
came up to London to make, if he could, sufficient fortune to enable him
to marry the daughter of his patron, a retired London merchant named
Haybittle. After long waiting in London, without work, till his money
was all but spent, he, remembering the rich wood work which abounded in
the churches of his native Suffolk, bethought himself that in the
Cathedral, whose progress he daily watched, 'they would surelie put
carvings.' The foreman to whom he spoke repulsed him, saying 'We want no
carpenters here.' Undiscouraged, the young man came again day after day
for a week, till at length Sir Christopher noticed him, and learning
from the foreman that he was 'a country fellow who troubled them to give
him some of the carving to do,' beckoned to Wood to come and speak to
him. As the young man approached full of hope, he said, 'Friend, you
want carving work--what have you been used to carve?' At this critical,
long-desired moment the poor youth lost his presence of mind, and
instead of mentioning the 'sundry figures of lions and elephants' that
he had carved for Mr. Haybittle's house, stammered out, 'Please your
worship, I have been used to carve troughs.' 'Troughs!' said Sir
Christopher; 'then carve me as a specimen of your skill, a sow and pigs
(it will be something in your line), and bring it to me this day week. I
shall be here.' So he went away, with a smile at the presumption which
could aspire to step straight from such work to that of adorning S.

Distracted at his own folly and the loud laughter of the workpeople,
Wood rushed back to his lodging, and but for the kind advice of his
Quaker landlady, would have given up all for lost. She wisely told him
to take Wren at his word and carve the best sow and pigs that he could

He obeyed her exactly, spent his last guinea on a block of pear-wood,
and wrought with all his might to get it ready by the appointed day. Sir
Christopher was showing the building to a party of friends, but as soon
as he saw Wood with his carving hidden in an apron, he beckoned him
forward. Wood produced his carving; Wren looked at it a moment in
silence, and then said, 'I engage you, young man; attend at my office
to-morrow forenoon.' Shortly afterwards he came to Wood again and said,
'Mr. Addison[198] wishes to keep your carving, and requests me to give
you ten guineas for it;' then with his gentle courtesy, he added, 'Young
man, I fear I did you some injustice, but a great national work is
entrusted to me, and it is my solemn duty to mind that no part of the
work falls into inefficient hands. Mind and attend me to-morrow.' Wood
was employed for seven years in the Cathedral, and received considerable
sums of money; and it is pleasant to know that he did marry Hannah

Thus some of his work is in S. Paul's, and to him London streets were
indeed paved with gold. Yet one cannot but think sadly, for one who thus
succeeded, what numbers then and now come full of hope, to the great
city, and without help or friends lose their all, and are left without
even the means of returning. To the number of these the House of
Charity, which occupies one corner of Wren's once handsome Soho Square,
can bear but too true a testimony.


  [183] He wrote _Primitive Christianity, Lives of the Fathers_, &c.;
        was a Canon of Windsor, where he died in 1713.

  [184] _Vide infra_, p. 310

  [185] Newcourt says, 'A lofty spire was at first built, but the
        tower not proving strong enough, it was taken down, and
        another sort of spire built.' It is said to be by Willcox, a

  [186] _Diary_, December 7, 1684.

  [187] It was private property and never consecrated, and has within
        the last few years been pulled down and the site used as a

  [188] _Repertorium_, p. 367. Newcourt. Now used by the Welsh

  [189] _Diary_, January 9, 1684.

  [190] _Memorials of the See of Chichester_, p. 306.

  [191] The title of Newton's book is _Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia
        Mathematica_. The MS. is in the possession of the Royal

  [192] Matthew Griffiths, the favourite and the pupil of Dean Donne,
        held this living through the Rebellion, and being a hearty
        Episcopalian was sequestered, plundered, and twice imprisoned;
        he returned to London and read the Prayers of the Church in
        the obscure church of S. Nicholas Olave's,[193] hard by his
        own church, to the poor Cavaliers; for this he suffered seven
        violent assaults and five imprisonments; the last for
        preaching before General Monk a strong Royalist sermon before
        Monk had declared himself. Mr. Griffiths was speedily released
        and restored to his benefice.

  [193] S. Nicholas Olave was burnt to the ground and the parish
        incorporated with that of S. Nicholas Coleabbey.--Newcourt's
        _Rep._, p. 305.

  [194] It would seem from the S. Gregory's vestry books that Sir C.
        Wren put up at the request of the parishioners 'a wooden
        tabernacle' for the use of both parishes. It was set up in S.
        Paul's Churchyard, and taken down after a time as interfering
        with the building of the Cathedral.

  [195] _Repertorium_, p. 475. Newcourt.

  [196] _Walks in London._ A. Hare, vol. i. p. 331.

  [197] For this anecdote (taken from MS. in the British Museum) I am
        indebted to a number of the _British Workman_ for 1877. It is,
        I think, the foundation of Mr. J. Saunders' graceful story of
        _Jasper Deane_.

  [198] Probably the father of the great writer.

                               CHAPTER XI.



                            Be it enacted then
          By the fair laws of thy firm-pointed pen,
          God's services no longer shall put on
          A sluttishness for pure religion;
          No longer shall our churches' frighted stones
          Lie scattered like the burnt and martyr'd bones
          Of dead devotion.

                _On a treatise on Charity._ RICHARD CRASHAW.

Wren's parliamentary career was soon interrupted, for King James
dissolved, in 1687, an assembly which had done so little to forward his

Church building went on apace. S. Andrew's, Holborn, which, though the
fire had not reached it, was in a ruinous state, was rebuilt and made a
large handsome stone church, with an interior very like that of S.
James's, Westminster. The tower was merely repaired and not rebuilt.

Christ Church, Newgate, on the site of the old Franciscan Monastery of
Grey Friars, had formerly been a magnificent edifice: the choir only was
rebuilt by Wren, and sufficed to make a large parish church, which was
filled with handsome carving; a graceful pillared steeple was added in

S. Margaret Pattens,[199] in Rood Lane, was finished in 1687: built of
brick and stone with a tall tower and graceful spire, and much enriched
by carving within. Its existence has been threatened, but it stands out
an honourable, though fortunately not at all a solitary example, of a
well-worked, and therefore well-filled, City church, and it is to be
hoped may defy its threatened destroyers.

Early in the following year came the trial of those Seven Bishops who
refused to publish in church the King's declaration of liberty of

It was perhaps the most unwise thing that James II. ever did, and as the
Bishops passed to the barge that was to take them to the Tower, rank
upon rank of kneeling people besought their blessing. It was an event to
move Wren greatly: he could remember when a child hearing of Archbishop
Laud's imprisonment, and the long years of Bishop Wren's captivity were
frequently cheered by his nephew's visits to the Tower. Most of those
who now passed to that ill-omened abode were his friends or
acquaintance. Bishop Turner of Ely was on the S. Paul's Commission;
Bishop Lloyd of S. Asaph while rector of S. Martin's had baptized Wren's
daughter and youngest son; Bishop White he had known in the days when he
was rector. Bishop Ken at Winchester, and Archbishop Sancroft had been
for years his steady friends. If he failed in dignity at one crisis,
there is abundant material in Sancroft's letters, and in the rest of his
life, to show he must have been a charming companion and capable of
inspiring sincere affection.


They remained in the Tower about a week, and on June 29 were
triumphantly acquitted. The story of their acquittal has been told once
for all by Lord Macaulay and need not be re-told here. London was full
of illuminations, the favourite device being seven candles--the tallest
central one representing the arch-bishop--and all the newly-hung bells
of the city were set ringing. Wren had private sorrows to hinder him
from entering into the public rejoicing: his only surviving sister,
Susan, died just at this time, and Wren must have been watching by her
on the very day of the Bishops' acquittal. A little later, he, and her
husband, Dr. William Holder, brought her body to the crypt of S. Paul's
and laid her there. The epitaph, on a marble monument, is written with
all the diffuseness of style common to those of that time, but is
touching from its real affection.

The crypt of S. Paul's was of course the part of the building first
finished. Long ago Wren had spoken of 'the quantity of work to be done
in the dark,' and it certainly proved enormous. The crypt of S. Paul's
is one of the largest and most intricate that exists, extending under
the entire church, not the choir only, as is the case in S. Peter's at
Rome. The dimness of a London atmosphere renders it hard to get much
effect of light and shade, but on a clear day the curious twilight
effect is striking. There are all the tombs which were preserved from
the old cathedral, there are now the remains of some of our greatest
dead, and there is the Church of S. Faith, the floor of which is now
being slowly covered with a beautiful mosaic.[201]

When, however, Sir Christopher laid his sister there, all was empty and
not fully complete; the cluster of pillars and arches that sustain the
great dome with their massive strength must have been but newly

Only one church was completed by Sir Christopher in this troubled year,
that of S. Michael, Crooked Lane; a handsome stone church with a stately
tower and spire. It contained the tomb of a famous city worthy, Sir
William Walworth:

          Who with courage stout and manly might
          Slew Wat Tyler in King Richard's sight.[202]

This association had no value in the eyes of the Corporation of London,
with whom it might have weighed: they were as indifferent to this lesser
reason as to the infinitely higher claim of consecrated ground, and in
1830 the church was swept away for the new London Bridge.

All through the year the relations between King James and his people
were growing more and more strained. Messages were passed and repassed
between many of the high officials and the Prince of Orange, and in
their dread of the Church of Rome, the people forgot what they had
suffered under the tyranny of the Puritan sects. Hurry and confusion
were everywhere; as the year advanced the Prince of Orange's landing was
hourly reported on all parts of the coast. Too late King James took some
of the measures which, taken earlier, might have saved all; and on
November 5, 1688, the Prince landed at Brixham in Torbay.


For some time all was confusion and all private business was suspended.
Early in the next year a convention was called of the Lords and Commons,
and the crown offered to William and Mary. The Queen's behaviour, the
absence of even the show of feeling for her father, were much remarked
on at the time and are a great stain on her memory. A Parliament was
called on the 13th of February, to which Sir C. Wren was returned for
the borough of New Windsor. His election was set aside for a technical
error in the manner of his return, but he was instantly re-elected. It
is evident from this that he took the new oath of allegiance, probably
holding, with Evelyn and other honourable men, that King James had
abdicated and that therefore the throne was vacant. The S. Paul's
commission was renewed, and amid all the changes the work there went on;
making in its steady, undeviating progress, its unity of design, a fair
type of the growth of the spiritual church, despite the sharp contrast
apparently existing between the peaceful, regular growth of the material
edifice, and the hindrances and trials that beset the spiritual one.
Those were the days when some of the best and most learned churchmen,
unable to reconcile the contradiction of the two oaths, lost high
office, honours, and all prospects of worldly success by becoming
'non-jurors.' It should be borne in mind that it was on no doctrinal
ground that they left the Communion of the Church in England, but simply
because, considering James II. still as King, they could not honestly
take an oath of allegiance to William as his successor, or attend
services where an usurper was prayed for as the rightful sovereign.

It was a most grievous blow to the Church, by no means recovered from
the struggle with Puritanism or from the semi-Puritan clergy she had
been constrained to accept. Yet, in the midst of all these misfortunes,
thus much at least was gained; men were forced to understand the true
grounds of their position and to learn, as the Church in Scotland learnt
by a sharper lesson, that State aid, and State protection, are not among
the essentials of the Church. The misfortune of so many friends, and
especially that of good Archbishop Sancroft, must greatly have moved
Wren, and it is provoking that his grandson has given no intimation of
his ancestor's views, not even saying on which side he voted in the
Convention Parliament, which offered the crown to William and Mary.

Wren certainly knew how to manage his Windsor constituents. He had
erected from time to time several buildings there, among which was the
Town Hall, built upon arches, with a wide vaulted space below, which is
now used as the Corn Exchange.

When all was finished, the mayor and corporation came in state to
inspect the new building, and to stamp with their approval another of
the great architect's works. Much seems to have been approved of, but
one member of the municipality declared in alarm that the room above the
vaulted space was inadequately supported and would one day fall in.


In vain Wren, who had built vault after vault and knew to a nicety what
weight each of his arches would bear, explained the perfect security of
the upper room; the anxious man could not be pacified and the architect
promised to put two columns below. He did so, and the alderman was
calmed, little knowing that Sir Christopher's columns when complete had
about half an inch of space between themselves and the ceiling they were
supposed to support! Wren must many a time have laughed to himself when
he passed that way.

Two other buildings of his, one of which is called 'the Bank House,'
stand in Windsor not far from what are known as 'The Hundred Steps.'
There is another house there of his design, now used by the freemasons
and the volunteers. Wren sent his eldest son to Eton, where the boy was
at this time, and afterwards to Pembroke College, where his name alone
was a recommendation.

In 1689 Wren finished building the College of Physicians in Warwick
Lane; as far as the confined space would admit, the front was handsome,
but the dome and its ornament provoked the satire of Garth in the
opening lines of his 'Dispensary':[203]

            Not far from that most celebrated place,[204]
            Where angry justice shows her awful face,
            Where little villains must submit to fate
            That great ones may enjoy the world in state;
            There stands a dome majestic to the sight,
            And sumptuous arches bear its oval height;
            A golden globe, placed high with artful skill
            Seems, to the distant sight, a gilded pill.

Whatever its exterior defects may have been, the theatre within was
arranged with masterly skill so as to enable all the students to see and
hear during the lectures and demonstration. The difficult science of
acoustics was one to which Wren gave much attention, and his churches
are, in this respect, very successful. The Physicians retained the
college Wren built for them until very recent times, when they moved
into the present building which does not adorn Trafalgar Square.

Not all the Halls belonging to the City Companies perished by the fire,
though many suffered severely. Wren, and Jarman, the City Architect,
rebuilt and repaired some seventy-nine of them.[205]

Of these, a large number have been altered or pulled down, but a few may
be mentioned.

The Mercers' Hall in Cheapside; the Grocers', a portion of which was
long used by the Bank of England; the Haberdashers', where the rich
ceiling was its great ornament; the Tallow Chandlers', with its interior
colonnade and its fountain; the Apothecaries', one of the largest in the
City; the Stationers'; and, last but not least, the Alderman's Court
adjoining Guildhall, rebuilt almost immediately after the fire; a very
handsome room, rich in carving, and finely proportioned.

S. Edmund the King, in Lombard Street, was finished this year. The
necessities of the site caused Wren to build it north and south, the
altar being at the north end. The front to Lombard Street, the only part
of the outside visible, is of stone and very picturesque with its belfry
and little domed spire. The interior has been lately re-arranged with a
wise treatment of the old work and carving. The 'marble font possesses,
like that of S. Mary Abchurch, a very beautiful canopied cover; it is in
two stages, the lower being domed, and above are four seated figures of
the Cardinal Virtues; it is railed in and is on the west side of the

S. Margaret's, Lothbury, belongs to the same date, and was rebuilt of
stone. Some years later Wren bestowed much rich wood carving on the
interior. He chose the Corinthian style for this building and handled it
with considerable skill.


Queen Mary, who had the Stuart love for genius, was invariably gracious
and even friendly to Wren, with whom she held many a conversation on
matters of art and science. He considered her to be very well versed in
all these subjects and enjoyed discussing them freely with her. Queen
Mary was much charmed with the situation of Cardinal Wolsey's old palace
of Hampton Court, and engaged Wren to make alterations there. The old
buildings were accordingly in part pulled down and two sets of royal
apartments built; Queen Mary, though she amused herself with planning
the gardens and making suggestions, had yet the wisdom to defer to
Wren's better taste and knowledge. Her husband, with characteristic
obstinacy, insisted on his own ideas, thereby dwarfing the cloisters and
marring much of the architecture. It is, however, fair to say that King
William always owned that the defects[207] were his, the merits, Wren's;
and these merits are very great, as anyone who knows the fine old palace
with its rich red brick, its arcades, and the quaint formal gardens will
readily allow. He built, at about the same time, the Pavilion and
Ranger's House in Bushey Park.

Kensington Palace was also under Wren's hands. It had been the property
of Lord Chancellor Finch, and was sold by his son to William III. Wren
added another story to the old house, which forms the north front of the
palace, and also built the south front. The defect of the building as
seen at the end of the long avenue of Kensington Gardens is its want of
height, but on a nearer approach this fault is much diminished. King
William was in the midst of his Irish campaign while the work went on,
but found time to send back repeated inquiries as to its progress, and
complaints when that did not answer his expectations. There, five years
later, Queen Mary died, to the regret of all her subjects, and even of
her cold-hearted husband.


Nor were these the only palaces which Wren contrived for Queen Mary.
That of Greenwich had been begun by Inigo Jones for Henrietta Maria, and
a wing had been built for Charles II., but it had been left unfinished.
Wren, who knew Greenwich well from his visits to the Observatory, and
who took a great interest in sailors, observing the entire lack of any
refuge for them in illness, proposed to Queen Mary the magnificent plan
of making the palace into a seaman's hospital. The Queen willingly
entered into the idea, and proposed to add to the Queen's House, as it
was called, so as to make it a dwelling for herself, at the same time.
Evelyn, Sir Stephen Fox and others, came readily into the scheme and
contributed liberally. Wren's contribution, though not in money, was a
liberal one also; for he gave his time, labour, skill and
superintendence, despite his innumerable other works.

The plans were prepared and money collected, but nothing was actually
done until some years later.

Wren's eldest son had in the meantime finished his Eton and Cambridge
career and had obtained, by his father's interest, the post, which must
surely have been a sinecure! of Assistant Deputy Engrosser. He does not
seem to have inherited any of the brilliant genius of his father, though
apparently of very fair abilities and with much taste for antiquities.
Far more like Sir Christopher was his daughter Jane, who shared his
tastes and studies and took a vivid interest in his work. She added to
her other accomplishments that of being a very skilful musician. She was
never married, but remained all her life her father's affectionate

Wren's old friend, Dr. Bathurst of Trinity College, Oxford, appealed to
him, in the spring of 1692, for help in the buildings which were still
going on there.

   'Worthy Sir,--When I sent Mr. Phips (the surveyor of the buildings)
   to wait on you with a scheme of our new building, he told me how
   kindly you was pleased to express your remembrance of me, and that
   you would send me your thoughts concerning our design; and
   particularly of the pinnacles, the which as they were superadded to
   our first draught, so I must confess I would be well content to
   have omitted with your approbation. The season for our falling to
   work again will now speedily come on; which makes me the more
   hasten to entreat from you the trouble of two or three lines in
   relation to the promises whereby you will farther oblige,

   'Sir, your old friend, and ever faithful servant,

                                                    'R. BATHURST.'

Wren's answer comes promptly, and shows his generous readiness to help
the schemes of others, no matter how pressing his own work was.


   'Sir,--I am extremely glad to hear of your good health, and, what
   is more, that you are vigorous and active, and employed in
   building. I considered the design you sent me of your Chapel which
   in the main is very well, and I believe your work is too far
   advanced to admit of any advice: however, I have sent my thoughts,
   which will be of use to the mason to form his mouldings.

   'He will find two sorts of cornice; he may use either. I did not
   well comprehend how the tower would have good bearing upon that
   side where the stairs rise. I have ventured a change of the stairs,
   to leave the wall next the porch of sufficient scantling to bear
   that part which rises above the roofs adjoining.

   'There is no necessity for pinnacles, and those expressed in the
   printed design are much too slender.

   'I have given another way to the rail and baluster, which will
   admit of a vase that will stand properly upon the pilaster.[208]

   'Sir, I wish you success and health and long life, with all the
   affection that is due from,

   'Your obliged, faithful friend, and humble servant,

                                             'CHRISTOPHER WREN.

   'P.S. A little deal box, with a drawing in it, is sent by Thomas
   Moore, Oxford carrier.'

In the same year the Church of S. Andrew by the Wardrobe[209] was
finished; recent alterations in the city have benefited this building;
it now stands well above a flight of steps, with its square tower, and
the red brick which contrives to be red and not black, and stone

Two years later Wren rebuilt All Hallows, Lombard Street, on an ancient
foundation: outside it is one of his plainest and most solid churches,
inside he spent upon it much rich work and curious carving both in stone
and wood.

S. Michael Royal, College Hill, belongs to this same date, and was built
under Wren's directions by Edward Strong, his master-mason. It is a
well-lit, handsome church with a tower at one corner, and contains an
altar-piece of singular beauty, carved by Grinling Gibbons in 'right
wainscot oak.' The old church was founded and made a collegiate church
of S. Spiritus and S. Mary by no less a person than Sir Richard
Whittington, three times Lord Mayor of London (1397, 1406, 1419), whose
fame, with that of his cat, survives in the well-known story. He founded
also another college, known as the Whittington College, and endowed it
with a divinity lecture 'for ever.' Edward VI., however, suppressed both
the colleges and the lecture, though the Whittington College was allowed
partially to survive as almshouses for poor men. Whittington[210] was
buried in this church, but his monument perished in the Fire.

In the following year Wren added a well-proportioned, peculiar steeple,
the gift of the parishioners, to the little stone Church of S.
Vedast[211] in Foster Lane, a church to which a painful interest now
attaches from the recent persecution and imprisonment of its rector, the
Rev. T. P. Dale.

The church was decorated, as was Wren's custom, with fret-work, carving,
and stucco, but is not otherwise remarkable.

S. Mary's, Somerset, or Somers'hithe, was likewise finished in this
year: a stone church with two aisles surmounted by a handsome cornice
and balustrade; its great feature was the beautiful pinnacled tower,
which, though the church is gone, still stands a perpetual memorial of
that reckless disregard of God's honour, which has counted any common
want, any farthing of money, of more importance than the claims of His
service, or than gifts solemnly offered to Him.[212]



The Cathedral meanwhile grew slowly, though many a hindrance annoyed its
architect. The Parliament took part of the fabric money and applied it
to the expenses of King William's wars, so that, as Sir Christopher
complained, his wings were clipt and the Church was deprived of its
ornaments.[213] The organ was another annoyance. Sir Christopher's wish
and intention was to place the organ where it now is, on either side of
the choir, in order to leave the vista clear from the west door to the
altar, which in his design stood grandly raised under a handsome canopy.
This was overruled, and the organ was to be placed in a gallery cutting
right across the entrance of the choir. With his wonted philosophy, Wren
bent his mind to reducing as much as possible the injury to the
architectural effect, by keeping the pipes as low as he could. But in
the builder of the organ, Bernard Smith, or 'Father' Smith, as he is
called, Wren had a difficult person to deal with. Far from lowering the
pipes, Smith made them higher than in his estimate, so that the case and
ornaments had to be enlarged, and Sir Christopher complained bitterly
that the Cathedral 'was spoilt by that box of whistles.' The rival organ
builder, Renatus Harris, if indeed he was the author of an anonymous
paper, called 'Queries about the S. Paul's Organ,[214] was not sparing
in his criticisms. One query asks

   'Whether Sir C. Wren wou'd not have been well pleas'd to have
   receiv'd such a proposal from the organ builder of S. Paul's, as
   shou'd have erected an organ, so as to have separated twenty foot
   in the middle, as low as the gallery, and thereby a full and airy
   prospect of the whole length of the church, and six fronts with
   towers as high as requisite?'

This question is easy enough to answer, and fortunately Wren's wishes
have been at last fulfilled by that division of the organ, which now
leaves the desired clear view from the great western doors to the altar.
Harris, in 1712, proposed to erect a great organ over the west doors of
the Cathedral,

   'study'd to be in all respects made the most artful, costly and
   magnificent piece of organ-work that ever has hitherto been
   invented. The use of it will be for the reception of the Queen, on
   all publick occasions of thanksgivings for the good effect of peace
   or war, upon all state days, S. Cecilia's Day, the entertainment of
   foreigners of quality, and artists, and on all times of greatest
   concourse etc., and by the advice and assistance of Sir C. Wren,
   the external figure and ornaments may be contrived so
   proportionable to the order of the building, as to be a decoration
   to that part of the edifice and no obstruction to any of the
   rest.... Sir Christopher Wren approves it.'

Alas! at that time Wren's approval was enough to determine the majority
of the commission to reject any plan thus sanctioned, and Renatus
Harris's grand design survives on paper alone.


  [199] The name is often supposed to originate in the patten-makers
        who are said to have lived near, but its origin is more
        probably 'S. Margaret _with the Paten_.'

  [200] 'Not,' says Evelyn (_Diary_, May 18, 1688), 'that they were
        averse to the publisheing of it for want of due tendernesse
        towards Dissenters ... but that the Declaration being founded
        on such a dispensing power as might at pleasure set aside all
        laws ecclesiastical, it appeared to them illegal and ... a
        point of such consequence that they could not so far make
        themselves parties to it as the reading of it in church during
        the time of Divine Service would have done.' They were sent to
        the Tower June 8, for refusing to give bail for their
        appearance. They refused on the ground that to do so would
        have prejudiced their peerage. The bishops were Francis Turner
        of Ely, William Lloyd of S. Asaph, Thomas Ken of Bath and
        Wells, John Lake of Chichester, Sir Jonathan Trelawney of
        Bristol, Thomas White of Peterborough, and William Sancroft,
        Archbishop of Canterbury.

  [201] The mechanical part is done by the women convicts of Woking

  [202] _New View of London_, vol. ii. p. 423.

  [203] Canto i. Samuel Garth, a physician of some fame, who provided
        for Dryden's funeral in Westminster Abbey. Died 1718.

  [204] Newgate.

  [205] See Appendix ii.

  [206] R. I. B. A. Sessional Papers, 1876-7, p. 162.

  [207] Horace Walpole says that Wren's descendant assured him that
        Sir C. Wren had prepared a far better design for Hampton Court
        which Queen Mary preferred, but it was overruled by William
        III. This may only mean the cloisters, as Walpole is not
        accurate.--_Anec._, vol. iii.

  [208] This plan was adopted. Dr. Bathurst died in May 1704 at the
        age of 86.

  [209] So called from being in the street where formerly was a strong
        tower where several kings, and Queen Philippa, Edward the
        Third's wife, lodged, also called the Queen's Wardrobe, as the
        building near S. Andrew's was the King's Wardrobe.--_New
        View_, vol. ii. p. 427.

  [210] 'The said Sir R. Whittington, as he was three times Lord
        Mayor, was as often buried in this church; first, by his
        executors under a fine monument; second, by the avaricious
        parson for the riches he hoped to find; and a third time by
        his friends, to interr him in lead under his monument as at
        first.'--_New View_, p. 428.

  [211] 'S. Vedast was Bishop of Arras, A.D. 484, a man of great
        holiness and charity. Once he met with a cruel bear prowling
        in the ruins of an old Christian church; at his command the
        bear departed into the wilderness and never returned there
        again. S. Vedast is usually pictured with a
        bear.'--_Repertorium_, Newcourt, vol. i. p. 563.

  [212] Fourteen churches (eleven of which were built by Wren) have
        been destroyed since 1781; during which time the increase of
        the City population has been by hundreds of thousands. The
        only attempt at an apology for this destruction has been based
        on the fact that on _Sundays_ the City is empty. On so poor a
        plea as this the churches have been closely shut throughout
        the other days of the week, their incumbents have lived far
        away, leaving their parishioners uncared for; and then, when a
        grudgingly given Sunday service has been poorly attended, have
        hastened first to close and then to help in destroying the
        buildings which reproached them; and have called it 'thinning
        the City churches.'--See on this subject, _Sessional Papers_,
        1876-7, R. I. B. A.

  [213] _Three Cathedrals_, Longman, p. 151.

  [214] _Documents illustrating the History of S. Paul's_, p. 165-72.

                               CHAPTER XII.


                Home-keeping youth have ever homely wit.
                                      _Two Gentlemen of Verona._

One serious trouble and hindrance in all public works was the state of
the coinage. The money had been so clipped and defaced, that no coin was
worth its professed value, and for some time the expedients used by the
Government failed to lighten the pressure. In paying such an army of
workmen as those employed about S. Paul's, the inconvenience must have
amounted to positive distress. Scattered here and there through Evelyn's
diary are many references to the 'great confusion and distraction' it

A sudden subsidence of a large part of the ground at Portland, close to
the quarries set apart for Wren's use, caused an inconvenient delay in
bringing the stone to London, but yet the work progressed, and on
December 2nd, 1697, the choir was opened for service.

It was the occasion of the thanksgiving for the peace of Ryswick, which,
though it brought little glory to England, was yet heartily welcomed as
the close of a long and exhausting war.

King William went to Whitehall, and heard Bishop Burnet's flattering
sermon, while Bishop Compton preached for the first time in the new S.
Paul's. No report of his sermon has come down to us. The choir was not
yet enriched with the carvings of Gibbons; but the pulpit appears to
have been very remarkable in its way: Sir Christopher had placed it _on
wheels_, perhaps with a design of using it afterwards, for services
under the dome, not unlike those we are now familiar with.

A pulpit on wheels was a novelty, which gave rise, we can well believe,
to many squibs, one of which has been preserved.

     _A faithful copy of the Verses, lately fastened upon the pulpit of
     S. Paul's Choir._


          This little Structure (Excellent Sir Kit)
          _Holds forth to us_ that You bestowed more Wit
          In Building it than on all Paul's beside;
          _This_ shows the _Principles_, that but the _Pride_
          Of its _Inhabitants_; True Sons of _Saul_,
          For he (Good Man) _became All things to All,
          That by all Sorts of Means he might gain some_.
          _They_ too for _Gain_ would follow him to _Rome_,
          This _Passively Obedient_ thing will go as
          They'd have it, or to _Mecca_, _Rome_, or _Troas_;
          All one to it, if forward Hawl'd or back,
          'Twill run a Holy Stage for _Will_ or _Jack_;
          And truckle to and fro' 'twixt Cause and Cause,
          Just as Strongest Pull of _Interest_ draws.
          But if the Pulpit be a Vital Part
          O' th' _Church_, or as the Doctors say her Heart,
          Why don't you fix _that_ also on a Rock
          And let the Steeple Roost the _Weather-Cock_?
          Where if a Puff of Strong Temptations blow,
          It might remind the Staggering Saints and _Crow_.
          _Improve the Thought, Dear Sir, and let_ St. Paul's
          _Wise Fane be this new_ Going Cart _for Souls_.[215]

It hardly needs the hint that these lines were affixed to 'the _Dean's_
side of the pulpit,' to read in them a bitter satire on Dean Sherlock,
whose sudden change of front relative to the non-jurors, and acceptance
of the Deanery of S. Paul's, laid him open to the grave suspicion of
having acted from interested motives, and stirred up much vehement
animosity. A spirited, if not an impartial, account of this controversy,
is given by Lord Macaulay.[216]

Sir Christopher's remarkable invention appears to have survived the
laughter against it, and to have remained in the Cathedral until 1803.

The vaults of S. Paul's were opened shortly after this thanksgiving to
receive the body of Dr. White, the non-juring Bishop of Peterborough,
whose funeral was attended by Bishop Turner, Bishop Lloyd and forty
nonjuring clergymen.


At the beginning of the following year, as soon as travelling was
possible, Wren sent his son Christopher to Paris; not indeed with the
intention of his making that grand tour which a few years later was
supposed to finish a young gentleman's education, but that he might
acquire a little experience and knowledge of the world. The young man,
evidently, had other ideas, spent a good deal of his money, and then
wrote home to his family a letter complaining in true English fashion,
of the climate and the cookery of France, and asking leave to continue
his journey to Italy. Sir Christopher's reply has been preserved; and in
its folio sheet and brown ink exists in the 'Parentalia.' It is, I
think, so charming as to double one's regret that so very few of his
letters have been preserved.


                                           [217]'Whitehall, March 7.

   'My dear Son,--I hope by this time you are pretty well satisfied of
   the condition of the climate you are in; if not, I believe you will
   ere Lent be over; and will learne to dine upon sallad; and morue
   with egges will scarce be allowed: if you thinke you can dine
   better cheape in Italy you can trie, but I think the passing of the
   Alpes and other dangers of disbanded armies and abominable Lodgings
   will ballance that advantage; but the seeing of fine buildings I
   perceive temptes you, and your companion, Mr. Strong, whose
   inclination and interest leades him, by neither of which can I find
   you are mov'd; but how doth it concerne you? You would have it to
   say hereafter that you have seen Rome, Naples and a hundred other
   fine places; a hundred others can say as much and more; calculate
   whither this be worth the expence and hazard as to any advantage at
   youre returne. I sent you to France at a time of businesse and when
   you might make your observations and find acquaintance who might
   hereafter be usefull to you in the future concernes of your life:
   if this be your ayme I willingly let you proceed, provided you will
   soon returne, for these reasons, the little I have to leave you is
   unfortunately involved in trouble, and your presence would be a
   comfort to me, to assist me, not only for my sake, but your own
   that you might understand your affaires, before it shall please
   God to take me from you, which if suddenly will leave you in
   perplexity and losse. I doe not say all this out of parsimony, for
   what you spend will be out of what will in short time, be your
   owne, but I would have you be a man of businesse as early as you
   can bring your thoughts to it. I hope, by your next you will give
   me account of the reception of our ambassador;[218] of the
   intrigues at this time between the two nations, of the
   establishment of the commerce, and of anything that may be
   innocently talked of without danger, and reflection, that I may
   perceive whither you look about you or noe and penetrate into what
   occurres, or whither the world passes like a pleasant dream, or the
   amusement of fine scenes in a play without considering the plot. If
   you have in ten weeks spent half your bill of exchange besides your
   gold, I confesse your money will not hold out, either abroad for
   yourself or for us at home to supply you, especially if you goe for
   Italy, which voyage forward and backward will take up more than
   twenty weekes: thinke well of it, and let me hear more from you,
   for though I would advise you, I will not discontent you. Mr.
   Strong hath profered credit by the same merchant he uses for his
   son, and I will thinke of it, but before I change, you must make up
   your account with your merchant, and send it to me. My hearty
   service to young Mr. Strong and tell him I am obliged to him for
   your sake. I blesse God for your health, and pray for the
   continuance of it through all adventures till it pleases him to
   restore you to your Sister and friends who wish the same as doth

                      'Your most affectionate Father,
                                                 'CHR. WREN.

   'P.S. Poor Billy continues in his indisposition, and I fear is lost
   to me and the world, to my great discomfort and your future

What answer the younger Christopher sent does not appear; but his father
did not 'discontent' him; the young man did make the journey to Italy,
then such a formidable undertaking, and was ever after reckoned a very
accomplished and travelled gentleman. 'Young Mr. Strong' must have been
the son of Sir Christopher's faithful master-mason, Edward Strong, one
of a great family of builders and stone-cutters; I suppose the 'poor
Billy' of the postscript to have been the writer's youngest son, then
nearly nineteen, who however recovered and outlived his father by about
fifteen years.

The Royal Society had sustained a severe loss by Charles II.'s death,
and if King James took little interest in their discussions, William
III. was utterly indifferent. Still it had won a certain position of its
own, and was able to keep its steady course. Wren remained one of the
members who attended most regularly and contributed to discussions on a
variety of subjects, though not perhaps on the 'jessamine-scented
gloves,' which figure so often in Pepys' diary, the secret of whose
perfumery Wren once undertook to find out. He was again chosen Grand
Master of the Freemasons, and continued in that office until 1702.


His friend and fellow-member in the Royal Society, Robert Boyle, had
written a book called 'A Free Discourse against Swearing,' which was
published after his death. Wren followed this up by an order which he
had affixed in many parts of S. Paul's, while the building went on:--

   'Whereas, among labourers, &c. that ungodly custom of swearing is
   too frequently heard, to the dishonour of God and contempt of
   authority; and to the end, therefore, that such impiety may be
   utterly banished from these works, intended for the service of God
   and the honour of religion--it is ordered that customary swearing
   shall be a sufficient crime to dismiss any labourer that comes to
   the call, and the clerk of the works, upon sufficient proof, shall
   dismiss them accordingly, and if any master, working by task, shall
   not, upon admonition, reform this profanation among his
   apprentices, servants and labourers, it shall be construed his
   fault; and he shall be liable to be censured by the Commissioners.'

Such was Sir Christopher's care for his grand work: it was intended for
the service of God, and therefore was to have no blemish which Wren's
diligence could avoid. He was constantly there and shrank neither from
fatigue nor from risk. The famous Duchess of Marlborough, in her
quarrels with Vanbrugh over the building of Blenheim, complained
bitterly that he asked 300_l._ a year for himself and a salary for his
clerk, 'when it is well-known that Sir Christopher Wren was content to
be dragged up in a basket three or four times a week to the top of S.
Paul's, and at great hazard, for 200_l._ a year.' Probably it was
because her Grace considered his charges so moderate that, after her
last quarrel with Vanbrugh, she engaged Sir Christopher to build
Marlborough House, at the corner of Pall Mall. The site presented great
difficulties, but the building in red brick and stone was a handsome
one, and lately has been much enlarged. Vanbrugh's first start in life
was his being engaged by Wren to act as clerk of the works to the
buildings at Greenwich. Gibbs and Hawksmoor were also pupils of Wren's,
and worked under him at some of the innumerable works on which he was
engaged. The building of Greenwich was vigorously continued, and in
1705,[219] 'they began to take in wounded and worn-out seamen, who are
exceedingly well provided for.'

At the beginning of 1698, Peter the Great made his extraordinary voyage
to England and took possession of Evelyn's house, Sayes Court, at
Deptford, in order to be near the dockyard and inspect the
ship-building. He was anything but a desirable tenant. 'There is a house
full of people and right nasty,' wrote Evelyn's servant.

   'The Czar lies next your library, and dines in the parlour next
   your study. He dines at ten o'clock and six at night, is very
   seldom at home a whole day, very often in the King's yard, or by
   water, dressed in several dresses. The King is expected here this
   day, the best parlour is pretty clean for him to be entertained.
   The King pays for all he has.'[220]

The Czar's three months' occupancy of Sayes Court left it a wreck, and
Evelyn got Sir Christopher, and the Royal gardener, Mr. Loudon, to go
down and estimate the repairs which would be necessary. They allowed
150_l._ in their report to the Treasury, but could not by any money
replace the beautiful holly hedge through which Peter the Great had been
trundled in a wheel-barrow, or repair the garden he had laid waste.


In 1699, Wren finished the last of those City churches which the Fire
had injured or destroyed. S. Dunstan's in the East had suffered severely
by the Fire: the walls of the church had not fallen, but the interior
had been much damaged and the monument to the famous sailor and
discoverer, Sir John Hawkins, who was buried there, perished. The old
church had a lofty wooden spire cased with lead, which of course fell
and was consumed. When Sir Christopher had repaired the body of the
building the parishioners were anxious to have back the spire also, and
Dame Dionis Williamson, a Norfolk lady, who had been a great
benefactress to S. Mary's, Bow, gave 400_l._ towards this object. It is
one of the most curious of all Wren's spires, as it rests on four arches
springing from the angles of the tower. Three more such spires exist,
two in Scotland and one at Newcastle. Tradition says that the steeple
of S. Dunstan's was the design or the suggestion of Wren's daughter
Jane. Perhaps, like the leaning tower of Pisa, it is more wonderful than
satisfactory to the eye, but Sir Christopher was certainly proud of it
and confident in its stability. Great crowds assembled to see the
supports taken away, and Wren watched with a telescope, says the story,
on London Bridge for the rocket which announced that all was safely
done, but it is hardly probable that he was anxious about the result.

Four years later, when the tempest known as the 'great storm' raged in
England, destroying twelve ships in the Royal navy, many merchant
vessels, and a great number of buildings, some one came with a long face
to tell Sir Christopher, that '_all_ the steeples in London had
suffered;' he replied at once, 'Not S. Dunstan's, I am sure.' He was
perfectly right, and the account given of the others was an

On February 1, 1699, the Morning Prayer Chapel of S. Paul's was opened
for service. Later in the same month, a fire broke out at the west end
of the choir, where 'Father Smith' was still at work. It caused
considerable alarm, and was got under with some damage, especially to
two of the pillars, and to a decorated arch. The gilding also lost some
of its brightness. A nameless poem[221] fixes the date of this fire,
which has been much disputed. It may have been in consequence of this
alarm that Sir Christopher covered all the woodwork of the upper parts
of the Cathedral with 'a fibrous concrete' said to resist fire so well
that faggots might be kindled below it with impunity.


While S. Paul's was thus advancing towards its full beauty, the care of
Westminster Abbey was assigned to Wren. Little or no attention seems to
have been spent on it between the time of Charles I.'s reign and that in
which it was handed over to Wren.

With the energy which his sixty-seven years had not checked, he examined
the grand building where he had worshipped as a schoolboy, and instantly
ordered some of the most needful repairs.

In 1713 he sent in a statement to Dr. Atterbury, who was both Bishop of
Rochester and Dean of Westminster, having in that year succeeded to
Wren's old friend, Bishop Sprat: from this paper, though it is
anticipating the date, some extracts are here given.

   'When I had the Honour to attend your Lordship, to congratulate
   your Episcopal Dignity, and pay that Respect which particularly
   concerned myself as employed in the chief Direction of the Works
   and Repairs of the Collegiate-Church of S. Peter in Westminster,
   you was pleased to give me this seasonable admonition, that I
   should consider my advanced Age; and as I had already made fair
   steps in the Reparation of that ancient and ruinous Structure, you
   thought it very requisite for the publick Service, I should leave a
   Memorial of what I had done, and what my Thoughts were for carrying
   on the Works for the future.' Then follows the history of the
   building of the abbey up to the reign of Henry III., who rebuilt
   it 'according to the Mode which came into Fashion after the Holy

   'This we now call the _Gothick_ manner of Architecture (so the
   Italians called what was not after the _Roman_ style), tho' the
   _Goths_ were rather Destroyers than Builders; I think it should
   with more Reason be called the _Saracen_ Style; for those People
   wanted neither Arts nor Learning, and after we in the West had lost
   both, we borrowed again from them, out of their Arabick Books, what
   they with great Diligence had translated from the _Greeks_.... They
   built their Mosques round, disliking the _Christian_ form of a
   Cross: the old quarries whence the Ancients took their large blocks
   of marble for whole Columns and Architraves were neglected, for
   they thought both impertinent. Their carriage was by camels,
   therefore their Buildings were fitted for small stones, and Columns
   of their own fancy consisting of many pieces, and their Arches were
   pointed without key-stones which they thought too heavy. The
   Reasons were the same in our Northern Climates abounding in free
   stone, but wanting marble.... The Saracen mode of building seen in
   the East, soon spread over Europe and particularly in _France_, the
   Fashions of which nation we affected to imitate in all ages, even
   when we were at enmity with it.'...

Wren laments over the mixture of oak with the less-enduring chestnut
wood in the roof of the Abbey, and the use of Rygate stone which
absorbed water, and in a frost scaled off. He says he cut all the ragged
ashlar work of Rygate stone out of the east window, replacing it with
durable Burford stone, and secured all the buttresses on the south side.
The north side of the Abbey is so choked up by buildings, and so shaken
in parts by vaults rashly dug close to its buttresses, that he can do

   'I have yet said nothing of King Henry VIIth's Chapel, a nice
   embroidered Work and performed with tender Caen stone, and though
   lately built in comparison, is so eaten up by our Weather, that it
   begs for some compassion, which I hope the Sovereign Power will
   take as it is the Regal Sepulture.'


The most necessary outward repairs of stone-work, he says, are one-third
part done; the north front, and the great Rose Window there are very
ruinous; he has prepared a proper design for them. Having summed up the
repairs still essential for the security of the building, he proceeds to
state what are, in his judgment, the parts of the original design for
the Abbey still unfinished.

   'The original intention was plainly to have had a Steeple, the
   Beginnings of which appear on the corners of the Cross, but left
   off before it rose so high as the Ridge of the Roof, and the Vault
   of the Quire under it, is only Lath and Plaister, now rotten and
   must be taken care of.

          *       *       *       *       *

   I have made a Design, which will not be very expensive but light,
   but still in the _Gothick_ Form, and of a Style with the rest of
   the structure, which I would strictly adhere to, throughout the
   whole intention: to deviate from the old Form would be to run into
   a disagreeable mixture which no Person of a good Taste could
   relish. I have varied a little from the usual Form, in giving
   twelve sides to the Spire instead of eight, for Reasons, to be
   discerned upon the Model.

   'The Angles of Pyramids in the Gothick Architecture were usually
   enriched with the Flower the Botanists call the Calceolus, which is
   a proper form to help workmen to ascend on the outside to amend any
   defects, without raising large scaffolds upon every slight
   occasion; I have done the same, being of so good Use, as well as
   agreeable Ornament.... It is evident, as observed before, the two
   West Towers were left imperfect, and have continued so since the
   Dissolution of the Monastery, one much higher than the other,
   though still too low for Bells, which are stifled by the Height of
   the Roof above them; they ought certainly to be carried to an equal
   Height, one story above the ridge of the Roof, still continuing the
   Gothick manner, in the stone-work, and tracery.... It will be most
   necessary to rebuild the great North Window with Portland stone, to
   answer the South Rose Window which was well rebuilt about forty
   years since; the stair-cases at the corners and Pyramids set upon
   them conformable to the old style to make the whole of a piece....
   For all these new Additions I have prepared perfect Draughts and
   Models, such as I conceive may agree with the original scheme of
   the old architect, without any modern mixtures to show my own
   Inventions: in like manner as I have among the Parochial Churches
   of _London_ given some few Examples (where I was obliged to deviate
   from a better style), which appear not ungraceful, but ornamental
   to the East part of the city; and it is to be hoped, by the publick
   care, the West part also, in good time will be as well adorned: and
   surely by nothing more properly than a lofty Spire and Western
   Towers to Westminster Abbey.'

With this, still unfulfilled hope, Wren's interesting paper closes. Nine
years afterwards he did, however, finish the north front, commonly known
as Solomon's Porch.


Wren is so commonly spoken of as having built--and spoilt--the western
towers, that it is well here to mention that his share in them is very
small; he only restored with a careful hand the lower portion of the
towers then standing.[222] They were continued by Hawksmoor after Wren's
death, and by two other architects in succession after the death of
Hawksmoor in 1736. No one of these had, as Wren had, the high-minded
desire to do justice to 'the original architect without any modern
mixtures of my own.'


  [215] Given in _Documents illustrating the History of S. Paul's_,
        p. 157.

  [216] _History of England_, vol. iv. p. 44-51. Sherlock was born
        1641, died 1707.

  [217] The year is not given in the MS. original, but it must be

  [218] William, Earl of Portland, whose embassy was of extraordinary
        splendour. Of intrigues there must have been plenty, for at
        the very moment that Louis XIV. was for the first time
        recognising the Prince of Orange as King of England, King
        James II. was residing at S. Germains, surrounded by his own

  [219] Evelyn's _Diary_, June, no date of day.

  [220] Evelyn's _Diary_, Jan. 30, 1698.

  [221] _Documents illustrating_, etc., p. 158.

  [222] _Three Cathedrals_, Longman, p. 86-88.

                               CHAPTER XIII.



     'The old knight turning about his head twice or thrice to take a
     survey of this great metropolis, bid me observe how thick the City
     was set with churches, and that there was scarce a single steeple
     on this side Temple Bar. "A most heathenish sight!" says Sir Roger;
     "there is no religion at this end of the town. The fifty new
     churches will very much mend the prospect, but church work is slow,
     church work is slow."'--_The Spectator_, No. 383.

In 1700 Wren was returned by the boroughs of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis
to a somewhat stormy Parliament.

He was finishing several of the City churches by the addition of towers
to some, where, as at S. Magnus, London Bridge, and S. Andrew's,
Holborn, the main parts had been previously built.

He gave a design for All Saints' Church, Isleworth; it was, however,
reckoned too costly, and nothing was done until, in 1705, Sir Orlando
Gee left a legacy of 500_l._ towards the rebuilding of the church, when
Wren's design was partially adopted, and the work done by his faithful
master-mason, Edward Strong.[223]

With all this work, Wren yet found time to write a treatise on 'The
rising of the sap in trees.' It is a short treatise, evidently copied by
a copyist, though a little indian-ink drawing at the side is probably
Wren's own. The question in dispute seems to have been whether this
natural rising of the sap contradicted the newly discovered law of

   'It is wonderful,' he says, 'to see the rising of the sap in Trees.
   All will bleed more or less when they are tapped by boring a hole
   through the Bark, some very considerably, as Birch, which will
   afford as much liquor every day almost as the milke of a cow; in a
   Vine when a bough is cut off it will if not stopped bleed to death.
   Now by what mechanisme is water raised to such a height, as in
   Palmitos to 120 foot high? A skillfull Engineer cannot effect this
   without great force and a complicated engine, which Nature doth
   without sensible motion; it steals up as freely as the water
   descends: the reason of this is obscure as yett to naturalists.'

After some discussion of various theories, he proceeds to show by the
help of the little drawing, 'that the onely Vicissitudes of heat and
cold in ye aire is sufficient to raise the sap to the height of the
loftiest trees.' Then follows the proof of this by mechanics refuting
the notion of

   'a secret motion in nature contrary to that of the gravity, by
   which plants aspire upwards.

   'But though I have shown how the sap may be mechanically raised
   from the Root to the top of the loftiest trees, yett how it comes
   to be varyed according to the particular nature of the Tree by a
   Fermentation in the Root; how the Raine water entering the Root
   acquires a spirit that keeps it from freezing, but also gives it
   such distinguishing tastes and qualities is beyond mechanical
   Philosophy to describe and may require a great collection of
   Phenomena with a large history of plants to shew how they expand
   the leaves and produce the Seed and Fruit from the same Raine water
   so wonderfully diversified and continued since the first Creation.'

Another paper of the same date was written 'On the surface of the
terrestrial Globe,' but this does not appear to have been preserved.
Many of Sir Christopher's writing's and many also of his inventions were
lost by Mr. Oldenburg, the Royal Society's secretary, of whom Wren
frequently complained that he not only neglected to enter them on the
Society's Register, but conveyed them to France and Germany, where they
appeared, attributed as inventions to those who had stolen them.

One cannot but admire the versatility of mind which enabled Wren, in the
midst of great architectural works, and endless business details, to
write papers such as these, and to digest and decide upon Flamsteed's
long letters on the Earth's motion, his quarrels with Mr. Halley, and
his measurement of the height of the Welsh hills.


The progress of Greenwich and Chelsea Hospitals, the growth of his
beautiful S. Paul's, the repairs of the Abbey, were now the absorbing
interests of Wren's life. From the house in Whitehall which he occupied
with his daughter he could easily reach the two former by water, or the
latter on foot. Two most interesting pictures by Canaletto,[224] giving
a general view of the city and of Westminster, enable us to realise what
the whole effect must have been in an atmosphere far clearer than at
present, before the river was cut by iron bridges, or the city robbed of
steeple or tower. The death of King William and the accession of Queen
Anne in the spring of 1702 made little difference to Wren, except to
his advantage. He appears to have been on very good terms with her, and
with her Danish husband. He is said to have built S. Anne's, Soho,[225]
and to have made it externally to resemble a Danish church as much as he
could, out of compliment to Prince George. He also gave to the Town Hall
of Windsor, a statue of Prince George, to correspond with that of Queen
Anne. The Prince is dressed in a Roman costume, and the pedestal has the
following inscription:

                         SERENISSIMO PRINCIPI
                       GEORGII PRINCIPI DANIAE
                      CHRISTOPHORUS WREN, ARM:
                            POSUIT MDCCXIII.

One marvels how 'Est-il possible' came to merit such an inscription as


In 1702 Sir Christopher suffered a grievous loss by the death of his
only daughter, Jane, on the 29th of December. She was laid in the vault
of S. Paul's close to the graves of Dr. and Mrs. Holder,[226] and her
father wrote the short Latin inscription which records her virtues, her
skill in music, and implies how loving and how congenial a companion he
had lost in her. She was but twenty-six when she died. The sculptor,
Bird,[227] of whose power Wren had a good opinion, carved a monument in
low relief, representing Jane Wren playing on an organ; a harp and a
spinnet are beside her, and a group of angels in the clouds above, one
of whom holds the music. It is but an ordinary piece of monumental
sculpture, now much obscured by dust. Jane Wren's death must have left a
great blank in the life of the father whose interests and pursuits she
had shared, and one wishes she could have lived long enough to see the
top stone laid on the dome of S. Paul's. The Duke of Marlborough's
brilliant victory at Blenheim, on Aug. 13, 1704, brought Queen Anne and
all her court in their utmost splendour to a thanksgiving at S. Paul's
on the 7th of September.

   'The streets were scaffolded from Temple Bar, where the Lord Mayor
   presented her Majesty with the Sword, which she returned. Every
   Company was ranged under its banners, the Citty Militia without the
   rails, which were all hung with cloth suitable to the colour of the
   banner. The Lord Mayor, Sheriffs and Aldermen were in their scarlet
   robes, with caparisoned horses; the Knight Marshall on horseback,
   the Foot Guards; the Queen in a rich coach with eight horses, none
   with her but the Duchess of Marlborough in a very plain garment,
   the Queene full of jewells. Music and trumpets at every Citty
   Company. The great Officers of the Crown, Nobility and Bishops, all
   in coaches with six horses, besides innumerable servants, went to
   S. Paul's where the Deane preached. After this the Queen went back
   in the same order to S. James's. The Citty Companies feasted all
   the nobility and Bishops, and illuminated at night. Music for the
   Church and anthems by the best masters. The day before wet and
   stormy, but this was one of the most serene and calm days that had
   been all the year.'[228]

No doubt it was a splendid pageant, the grandest that had been seen
since those which celebrated the Restoration, and S. Paul's, despite the
scaffolding still round the dome, must have looked magnificent. In 1705,
Sir Christopher's eldest son went abroad again, travelling this time to
Holland, where in the excitement of Marlborough's brilliant campaign he
very nearly joined the army as a volunteer.


A letter[229] to him from Sir Christopher is extant; the handwriting is
not quite so steady as in the former letter, but still clear.

                                        'Whitehall, Oct. 11, 1705.

   'Dear Son,--I received at once three of y^r le^{trs}: one from
   Harlem, Sep. 26, another from Amsterdam of Sep. 28, O.S., a third
   of Oct. 13, N.S., by all which I rejoyced in your good Health &
   your recovery from your cold. I am very well satisfied you have
   layd aside your designe for the Army; which I think had not been
   safe or pertinent, at least not soe much as Bookes & Conversation
   with ye learned. Your Traffic for good Bookes I cannot disapprove.
   You tell me Gronovius[230] is 25 volumes, I am told they are 26,
   and that the last is the best & comonly sold by its selfe, you
   will have a care [a word seems to be omitted] being imposed upon.
   Mr. Bateman in his (?) will give you advice how you may get them
   into the Secretary's packets. You remember how much trouble Mr.
   Strong was put to at Dover by the impertinence of the Customer
   there. I hope this may bee prevented. Wee have not yet rejoyced for
   Barcelona[231] though you have; though wee doe not doubt it and
   wagers are layd 6 to one: last night the seales were given to Mr.
   Cowper & changes are made of Lord Lieutenants. Give my Service to
   Mr. Roman & thanks for his Civilities to you. I am importuned to
   take a little journy to my cosin Munson's to christen her 8^{th}
   son. Wee are told here that my L^d D. of Marlborough goeth
   certainly to Vienna, & you resolve well to wait on him before he
   goes, & then I thinke you have little else to doe but to take the
   best opportunity to returne, which I am told may happen if you come
   with my L^d Woodstock[232] who will have convoy. Wee are all in
   good health at both Houses and wish you happinesse w^{ch} wee also
   contrive for you.

   'I am, dear Son, your affectionate Father,

                                                  'CHR. WREN.'

I suppose the mention of 'both houses,' and the hint of happiness being
contrived, refer to young Christopher's marriage, which took place in
the following year. He married Mary,[233] daughter of Mr. Philip
Musard, jeweller to Queen Anne, by whom he had a son, a fourth
Christopher Wren.

Wren lost a faithful and valued friend in Mr. Evelyn, who died in the
February of 1706, at the age of eighty-five. If Evelyn's diary, of which
such frequent use has been made in these pages, is not the same entire
revelation of the man himself as is the diary of his friend Pepys, it
yet possesses a singular charm in its refinement of thought, and, when
the veil is raised, shows us a gentleman and a Christian to be respected
as well as loved. He had kept up a steady friendship with Sir
Christopher since the day when they first met at Oxford, and had the
highest opinion of his powers: 'an excellent genius had this
incomparable person,' is his remark after a conversation with Wren.
Evelyn was on the S. Paul's Commission from the first, and Wren was
destined, a few years later, sorely to miss the support of this constant

The needful sum for covering in the dome of S. Paul's was voted by
Parliament in 1708. The question of using copper or lead was greatly
discussed; lead was finally chosen; it does not clearly appear which way
Sir Christopher's judgment inclined. Probably to the lead, as he
considered it susceptible of much ornament, and the lead covering of S.
Paul's dome is peculiarly beautiful. Bird in this year finished the
statue of Queen Anne, which is in the fore court of the Cathedral, and
is not without merit. He also carved the relief of the Conversion of S.
Paul above the western portico: the height is too great for it to be
possible to judge of the goodness of the sculpture.


The Act known as 'Queen Anne's Act for building Fifty New Churches' was
passed in this year, and Wren was of course one of the commissioners. At
the age of seventy-six he could not undertake the designing of these new
churches. They were principally built by Gibbs, Hawksmoor, Vanbrugh and
others. S. George's, Hanover Square, S. Anne's, Limehouse, S. George's,
Bloomsbury, S. Leonard's, Shoreditch, are some of those built under this
Act. Perhaps the best specimen is the beautiful S. Mary-le-Strand, built
by Gibbs, on an old site stolen from the Church by the Duke of Somerset
in the reign of Henry VIII. Recent careful painting and gilding and the
removal of pews have made S. Mary's a charming example of the amount of
decoration which can be advantageously bestowed on a Paladian church.

Wren wrote on this occasion a letter to a friend on the Church-building
Commission in which he gives the result of his great experience in
building town churches. The letter is given with a few omissions. I fear
that few of the Queen Anne churches were built strictly on the
principles he here lays down; certainly the hint as to pews was
disregarded, and grievous indeed have been the results of such
disregard. It has been a common fallacy that all Wren's churches were
built for pews, and that anything but high pews would ruin the
architectural effect. What was Wren's own opinion is manifest from the
letter; the actual effect can be seen, for instance, in a print of S.
Stephen's, Walbrook, where this gem of all his churches is represented,
just after its completion, with the area clear; or in S. Mary's, Bow,
where the pews have lately been diminished into just such 'benches' as
the great architect desired.

   'Since Providence,' he writes, 'in great mercy has protracted my
   age, to the finishing the Cathedral Church of S. Paul, and the
   parochial churches of London, in lieu of those demolished by the
   fire, (all which were executed during the fatigues of my employment
   in the service of the Crown from that time to the present happy
   reign); and being now constituted one of the Commissioners for
   building, pursuant to the late Act, fifty more Churches in London
   and Westminster; I shall presume to communicate briefly my
   sentiments, after long experience, and without further ceremony
   exhibit to better judgement, what at present occurs to me, in a
   transient view of this whole affair; not doubting but that the
   debates of the worthy Commissioners may hereafter give me occasion
   to change, or add to these speculations.

   '1. I conceive the Churches should be built, not where vacant
   ground may be cheapest purchased in the extremities of the suburbs,
   but among the thicker inhabitants, for the convenience of the
   better sort, although the site of them should cost more; the better
   inhabitants contributing most to the future repairs, and the
   ministers and officers of the church, and charges of the parish.


   '2. I could wish that all burials in churches might be disallowed,
   which is not only unwholesome, but the pavements can never be kept
   even, nor pews upright; and if the churchyard be close about the
   church, this also is inconvenient, because the ground being
   continually raised by the graves, occasions, in time, a descent by
   steps in the church, which renders it damp, and the walls green, as
   appears evidently in all old churches.

   '3. It will be enquired, where then shall be the burials? I answer,
   in cemeteries seated in the outskirts of the town....

   'A piece of ground of two acres in the fields will be purchased for
   much less than two roods among the buildings; this being enclosed
   with a strong brick wall, and having a walk round, and two cross
   walks decently planted with yew trees, the four quarters may serve
   four parishes, where the dead need not be disturbed at the pleasure
   of the sexton or piled four or five upon one another, or bones
   thrown out to gain room.... It may be considered further, that if
   the cemeteries be thus thrown into the fields, they will bound the
   excessive growth of the city with a graceful border, which is now
   encircled with scavengers' dung-stalls.

   '4. As to the situation of the churches, I should propose they be
   brought as forward as possible into the larger and more open
   streets; not in obscure lanes, nor where coaches will be much
   obstructed in the passage: nor are we, I think, too nicely to
   observe east or west in the position, unless it falls out
   properly; such fronts as shall happen to lie most open to view
   should be adorned with porticoes, both for beauty and convenience;
   which together with handsome spires or lanterns, rising in good
   proportion above the neighbouring houses (of which I have given
   several examples in the City of different forms), may be of
   sufficient ornament to the town, without a great expense for
   enriching the outward walls of the Churches, in which plainness and
   duration ought principally, if not wholly, to be studied....


   '5. I shall mention something of the materials for public fabrics.
   It is true, the mighty demand for the hasty works of thousands of
   houses at once after the Fire of London, and the frauds of those
   who built by the great,(?) have so debased the value of materials,
   that good bricks are not to be now had without greater prices than
   formerly, and indeed, if rightly made, will deserve them; but
   brickmakers spoil the earth in the mixing and hasty burning, till
   the bricks will hardly bear weight; though the earth about London,
   rightly managed, will yield as good bricks as were the Roman bricks
   (which I have often found in the old ruins of the City), and will
   endure, in our air, beyond any stone our island affords; which,
   unless the quarries lie near the sea, are too dear for general use.
   The best is Portland or Roch-Abbey stone; but these are not without
   their faults. The next material is the lime: chalk-lime is the
   constant practice, which, well mixed with good sand, is not amiss,
   though much worse than hard stone-lime. The vaulting of S. Paul's
   is a rendering as hard as stone: it is composed of cockle-shell
   lime well beaten with sand: the more labour in the beating, the
   better and stronger the mortar. I shall say nothing of marble
   (though England, Scotland, and Ireland afford good, and of
   beautiful colours); but this will prove too costly for our purpose,
   unless for Altar-pieces. In windows and doors Portland stone may be
   used, with good bricks and stone quoins. As to roofs, good oak is
   certainly the best, because it will bear some negligence. The
   churchwardens' care may be defective in speedy mending drips; they
   usually whitewash the church, and set up their names, but neglect
   to preserve the roof over their heads. It must be allowed, that the
   roof being more out of sight, is still more unminded. Next to oak,
   is good yellow deal, which is a timber of length, and light, and
   makes excellent work at first; but, if neglected, will speedily
   perish; especially if gutters (which is a general fault in
   builders) be made to run upon the principal rafters, the ruin may
   be sudden. Our sea-service for oak, and the wars in the North Sea,
   make timber at present of excessive price. I suppose, ere long, we
   must have recourse to the West Indies, where most excellent timber
   may be had for cutting and fetching. Our tiles are ill made, and
   our slates not good: lead is certainly the best and lightest
   covering, and being of our own growth and manufacture, and lasting,
   if properly laid, for many hundred years, is, without question, the
   most preferable; though I will not deny but an excellent tile may
   be made to be very durable: our artisans are not yet instructed in
   it, and it is not soon done to inform them.... Now, if the churches
   could hold each 2,000, it would yet be very short of the necessary
   supply. The churches, therefore, must be large; but still, in our
   reformed religion it should seem vain to make a parish church
   larger than that all who are present can both hear and see. The
   Romanists, indeed, may build larger churches; it is enough if they
   hear the murmur of the Mass, and see the elevation of the Host; but
   ours are to be fitted for auditories. I can hardly think it
   practicable to make a single room so capacious, with pews and
   galleries, as to hold above 2,000 persons, and all to hear the
   service, and both to hear distinctly, and see the preacher. I
   endeavoured to effect this in building the parish Church of S.
   James, Westminster, which, I presume, is the most capacious, with
   these qualifications, that hath yet been built; and yet, at a
   solemn time, when the church was much crowded, I could not discern
   from a gallery that 2,000 were present. In this church I mention,
   though very broad, and the middle nave arched up, yet as there are
   no walls of a second order, nor lanterns, nor buttresses, but the
   whole roof rests upon the pillars, as do also the galleries, I
   think it may be found beautiful and convenient, and, as such, the
   cheapest of any form I could invent.

   '7. Concerning the placing of the pulpit, I shall observe a
   moderate voice may be heard fifty feet distant before the preacher,
   thirty feet on each side, and twenty behind the pulpit; and not
   this unless the pronunciation be distinct and equal, without losing
   the voice at the last word of the sentence, which is commonly
   emphatical, and, if obscured, spoils the whole sense. A Frenchman
   is heard further than an English preacher, because he raises his
   voice, and sinks not his last words: I mention this as an
   insufferable fault in the pronunciation of some of our otherwise
   excellent preachers, which schoolmasters might correct in the young
   as a vicious pronunciation, and not as the Roman orators spoke: for
   the principal verb is, in Latin, usually the last word; and if that
   be lost, what becomes of the sentence?

   '8. By what I have said, it may be thought reasonable, that the new
   church should be at least sixty feet broad, and ninety feet long,
   besides a chancel at one end, and the belfry and portico at the

[Sidenote: '_NO PEWS, BUT BENCHES._']

   'These proportions may be varied; but to build more than that every
   person may conveniently hear and see is to create noise and
   confusion. A church should not be so filled with pews, but that the
   poor may have room enough to stand and sit in the alleys; for to
   them equally is the Gospel preached. It were to be wished there
   were to be no pews, but benches; but there is no stemming the tide
   of profit, and the advantage of pew-keepers; especially since by
   pews, in the chapel of ease, the minister is chiefly supported. It
   is evident these fifty churches are enough for the present
   inhabitants, and the town will continually grow: but it is to be
   hoped, that hereafter more may be added, as the wisdom of the
   Government shall think fit; and, therefore, the parishes should be
   so divided as to leave room for subdivisions, or at least for
   chapels of ease.


   'I cannot pass over mentioning the difficulties that may be found
   in obtaining the ground proper for the sites of the churches among
   the buildings, and the cemeteries in the borders without the town;
   and, therefore, I shall recite the method that was taken for
   purchasing in ground at the north side of S. Paul's Cathedral,
   where, in some places, houses were but eleven feet distant from the
   fabric, exposing it to the continual dangers of fires. The houses
   were seventeen, and contiguous, all in leasehold of the Bishop, or
   Dean alone, or the Dean and Chapter, or the petty-Canons, with
   divers under-tenants. The first we recompensed in kind, with rents
   of like value for them and their successors; but the tenants in
   possession for a valuable consideration; which to find what it
   amounted to, we learned by diligent inquiry, what the inheritance
   of houses in that quarter were usually held at; this we found was
   fifteen years' purchase at the most, and, proportionably to this,
   the value of each lease was easily determined in a scheme,
   referring to a map. These rates, which we resolved not to stir
   from, were offered to each; and, to cut off much debate, which it
   may be imagined everyone would abound in, they were assured that we
   went by one uniform method, which could not be receded. We found
   two or three reasonable men, who agreed to these terms; immediately
   we paid them, and took down their houses; others, who stood out at
   first, finding themselves in dust and rubbish, and that ready money
   was better, as the case stood, than to continue paying rent,
   repairs, and parish duties, easily came in. The whole ground at
   last was cleared, and all concerned were satisfied, and their
   writings given in.... This was happily finished without a
   judicatory or jury; although, in our present case, we may find it
   perhaps, sometimes necessary to have recourse to Parliament.'


  [223] _Environs of London_, vol. iv. p. 450. Lysons.

  [224] In the possession of H.M. the Queen.

  [225] I can find no proof of this, and it is not mentioned in any
        list of his buildings that I have seen.

  [226] Dr. Holder died 1694.

  [227] Francis Bird, born in London 1667. His masterpiece was the
        monument to Dr. Busby. He died in London 1731. A stonecutter
        of the same name at Oxford is mentioned by Plot in connection
        with an invention for staining marbles and cutting them like a
        cameo, who I am inclined to think was a relation.

  [228] Evelyn's _Diary_, September 7, 1704.

  [229] Hitherto unpublished.

  [230] G. F. Gronovius, 1613-1672. He was the author of many works,
        chiefly annotations of the classics, and succeeded Heinsius in
        the Greek chair at Leyden.

  [231] Barcelona was taken by Lord Peterborough and Sir Cloudesley
        Shovel, October 4, 1705, in the war of the Spanish Succession.

  [232] The eldest son of the Earl of Portland, afterwards created
        Duke of Portland.

  [233] A portrait of this lady in full profile, with a pale face and
        black hair, painted somewhat in the style of Sir Peter Lely,
        is in the possession of Mrs. Pigott.

                               CHAPTER XIV.



               Heroick souls a nobler lustre find,
               E'en from those griefs which break a vulgar mind.
               That frost which cracks the brittle, common glass,
               Makes Crystal into stronger brightness pass.
                               Bp. Thos. Sprat, quoted in _Parentalia_.

The year 1709 passed in steady work, and has little but finishing
touches to the churches to be recorded, unless some of the various
private houses built by Wren belong to this period. A house for Lord
Oxford, and one for the Duchess of Buckingham, both in S. James's Court;
two built near the Thames for Lord Sunderland and Lord Allaston; one for
Lord Newcastle in Queen's Square, Bloomsbury; and a house, so large and
magnificent that it has been divided in late years into four, in Great
Russell Street. This house was afterwards occupied by Wren's eldest son,
and in turn by his second son Stephen.

Sir Christopher himself, while keeping the house in Whitehall from which
his letters are dated, had received from Queen Anne the fifty years'
lease of a house at Hampton Green at a nominal rent of 10_l._ a
year;[234] he must have found great refreshment in going there
occasionally by the then undefiled Thames, to country rest and quiet.
Queen Anne was uniformly gracious and friendly to her Surveyor, and
presented him with a buhl cabinet inlaid with red tortoiseshell of
remarkably handsome work and design.[235]

The following year saw the crown put to the labour of thirty-five years.
Mr. Christopher Wren, who had been a year old when the first stone was
laid, now laid the last stone of the lantern above the Dome of S. Paul's
in the presence of his father, Mr. Strong the master-builder, his son,
and other free and accepted masons, most of whom had worked at the
building. The scene could hardly be better painted than in the words of
Dean Milman:[236]

   'All London had poured forth for the spectacle, which had been
   publicly announced, and were looking up in wonder to the old man
   ... who was on that wondrous height setting the seal, as it were,
   to his august labours. If in that wide circle which his eye might
   embrace there were various objects for regret and disappointment;
   if, instead of beholding the various streets of the city, each
   converging to its centre, London had sprung up and spread in
   irregular labyrinths of close, dark, intricate lanes; if even his
   own Cathedral was crowded upon and jostled by mean and unworthy
   buildings; yet, on the other hand, he might survey, not the
   Cathedral only, but a number of stately churches which had risen at
   his command and taken form and dignity from his genius and skill.
   On one side the picturesque steeple of S. Mary-le-Bow; on the other
   the exquisite tower of S. Bride's, with all its graceful, gradually
   diminishing circles, not yet shorn of its full and
   finely-proportioned height. Beyond, and on all sides, if more
   dimly seen, yet discernible by his partial eyesight (he might even
   penetrate to the inimitable interior of S. Stephen's, Walbrook),
   church after church, as far as S. Dunstan's-in-the-East, perhaps
   Greenwich, may have been vaguely made out in the remote distance;
   and all this one man had been permitted to conceive and execute;--a
   man not originally destined or educated for an architect, but
   compelled as it were by the public necessities to assume the
   office, and so to fulfil it, as to stand on a level with the most
   consummate masters of the art in Europe, and to take his stand on
   an eminence which his English successors almost despair of


There then the Cathedral stood, complete externally in its stately
beauty, the work of one man, who, it has been truly said, 'had the
conception of a painter as well as an architect.' View the Cathedral
when and where we will, with every disadvantage of smoky atmosphere and
lack of space, it yet fascinates the eye by the perfection of its lines
and the majesty of the whole effect, so as to leave no power of
criticising petty defects. Such was the triumphant success achieved by
Wren's patient genius, but

               Envy will merit as its shade pursue;

and a series of troubles fell upon him.

There will always be a number of people who imagine that anything can be
procured by money, and that for the sake of money anything and
everything will be done. People of this mind considered that Sir
Christopher Wren prolonged the process of building S. Paul's in order to
prolong his own enjoyment of the 200_l._ a year which was the salary he
had himself chosen, though it was considered utterly inadequate by the
Commissioners when first the work began.

Accordingly in 1696-7, a clause was inserted in the Act 'for the
completing and adorning S. Paul's' 'to suspend a moiety of the
Surveyor's salary until the said Church should be finished; thereby the
better to encourage him to finish the same work with the utmost
diligence and expedition.'[237]

No doubt they considered that the Cathedral could be finished off
regardless of details, and so left like the shell of an ordinary house
to be adorned by any chance person; and to this end they offered their
grim 'encouragement'!

It was an insult to a man like Wren, who had again and again--as in the
case of Greenwich--given his skill for nothing, and it was doubly unjust
because, what delays there were, sprang from the conceit and ignorance
of the S. Paul's Commission. Wren protested, but took no active step
until he had seen the Dome of his beloved Cathedral completed.

Then he sent in a petition to Queen Anne as follows:--

   'The most humble petition of Sir Christopher Wren


   'That there being a Clause in an Act of Parliament which suspends a
   moiety of your Petitioner's salary at S. Paul's, till the building
   be finished, and being obstructed in his measures for completing
   the same, by the arbitrary proceedings of some of the Commissioners
   for that fabric,--

   'Your Petitioner most humbly beseeches your Majesty graciously to
   interpose your Royal Authority so as that he may be suffered to
   finish the said building in such manner and after such designs as
   shall be approved by your Majesty or such persons as your Majesty
   shall think fit to appoint for that purpose; and your Petitioner,

                                             'CHRISTOPHER WREN.'


This petition was sent to the Commissioners, whose reply was, that when
Sir Christopher had acted without their approbation his performances had
proved very faulty;(!) they then digressed into remarks on their own
devotion to the Queen's service, and into a series of petty charges
against some of the workmen employed in the Cathedral, especially the
bell-founder, Richard Phelp, and Richard Jennings the master-carpenter,
whom they charged with a variety of frauds and abuses, and begged should
be at once dismissed; they also venture to assert that 'Sir Christopher,
or some employed by him, may be supposed to have found their advantage
in this delay.' There is little attempt at proof in this reply of the
Commissioners, but much supposition and conjecture. A pamphlet, 'Frauds
and Abuses at S. Paul's,' published anonymously at this time, sets out
all their suspicions in detail. Sir Christopher replied in a pamphlet
entitled 'An Answer to Frauds and Abuses in S. Paul's,' and laid a
petition before the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London,
in which he sets out his grievances, how little power had been really
given to him and how far he had 'been limited and restrained.'

   'However,' he says, 'it has pleased God so far to bless my sincere
   endeavours, as that I have brought the building to a conclusion so
   far as is in my power, and I think nothing can be said now to
   remain unperfected, but the iron fence round the Church, and
   painting the Cupola, the directing whereof is taken out of my
   hands, and therefore I hope I am not answerable for them, nor that
   the said suspending clause can, or ought, to affect me any further
   on that account. As for painting the Cupola, your Lordships know
   that it has been long under consideration; that I have no power
   left me concerning it; and that it is not yet resolved in what
   manner to do it, or whether at all. And as for the iron fence, it
   is so remarkable and so fresh in memory, by whose influence and
   importunity it was wrested from me, and the doing of it carried in
   a way which I venture to say will ever be condemned. I have just
   this to observe further, that your Lordships had no hand in it; and
   consequently ought not share in the blame that may attend it.'

He then asks them for their warrant for the payment of the arrears,
amounting to more than 1,300_l._, which were due to him, and says he
will ever be ready in the future, to give his advice and assistance in
anything about the said Cathedral. Archbishop Tenison and Bishop
Compton laid Wren's petition before the Attorney-General, Sir Edward
Northey, who pronounced 'that Sir Christopher Wren's case was very hard,
but that the terms of the Act were so positive that it could not be
overridden, but the Commissioners ought in justice to find some remedy.'

Wren then addressed the House of Commons in a petition in which he
repeats that his 'measures for completing the Cathedral are wholly
over-ruled and frustrated.'


The House considered the matter, and cut the knot by declaring the
Cathedral to be finished, and directing the payment of all the arrears
of the architect's salary.

Their prompt decision gratified Sir Christopher, who contrasts it with
the conduct of the Commission, 'which was such as gave him reason enough
to think that they intended him none of the suspended salary if it had
been left in their power to defeat him of it.'

The attacks on Jennings, whom Wren firmly defended, fell to the ground:
they probably had as little foundation as the 'Screw Plot,' by which at
a Thanksgiving, by one man's moving a few of the bolts and screws, the
whole dome was to fall in.[238] The bell-founder Phelps, who had removed
the faulty bell put up by Wightman under the direction of the
Commissioners, also triumphed: he offered to give a bond to the Dean and
Chapter to recast the bell at his own expense if, after a year's trial,
they were dissatisfied with it: as this offer was never claimed, Wren
justly says that they were either content with the bell or else showed
great neglect. Until the last few years it was the only bell possessed
by the Cathedral.

To perfect S. Paul's some things had still to be done, and, rather than
these should suffer, Wren was willing still to undergo the slights and
annoyances of the other S. Paul's Commissioners, amongst whose names one
wishes that of Sir Isaac Newton did _not_ appear, without clear evidence
that he stood by his early patron and friend. One hopes it may have been
so, certainly he was not a frequent attendant at the meetings.


Within the Cathedral there was some important work to do. Gibbons'
carving had to be completed, and the beautiful iron-work gates on either
side of the choir had yet to be set up. For this work Wren employed a M.
Tijou, at that time a famous worker in iron, though no account of him is
to be obtained at the present day. Possibly he was one of the French
refugees. Wren saw both the carving and the gates successfully finished.
But for the east end of the Cathedral he had a magnificent design which
is unfulfilled to this day. He intended to inlay the columns of the apse
with rich marble, to use a considerable amount of colour and gilding,
and to place over the Altar a hemispherical canopy supported on four
writhed pillars of the richest Greek marbles, with proper decorations of
architecture and sculpture: he had prepared his model and the needful
drawings, Bishop Compton had even received some specimens of marble from
a Levant merchant in Holland, but unluckily the colours and the class of
marble were not what Wren desired, and the plan waited for a better
opportunity, which, in Wren's lifetime, never came. Thus, of all this
grand design, the only trace is the painting of the apsidal pillars, in
imitation of lapis lazuli, which was meant as a temporary experiment,
and the model of the canopy in the possession of the Dean and Chapter.
Hardly anything could be done which would more enhance the interior
beauty of S. Paul's than the erection of this canopy.

Besides the adornment of the east end of the Cathedral there was also
that of the dome to be accomplished. The decoration of S. Paul's is so
vexed a question that one almost fears to touch upon it, but the
statement in the 'Parentalia' is explicit.

   'The judgement of the Surveyor was originally, instead of painting
   in the manner it is now performed, to have beautified the inside of
   the Cupola with the more durable ornament of mosaic work, as it is
   nobly executed in the Cupola of S. Peter's in Rome, which strikes
   the eye of the beholder with a most magnificent and splendid
   appearance; and which, without the least decay of colour, is as
   lasting as marble, or the building itself. For this purpose he had
   projected to have procured from Italy four of the most eminent
   artists in that profession; but as this art was a great novelty in
   England, and not generally apprehended, it did not receive the
   encouragement it deserved; it was imagined also that the expense
   would prove too great, and the time very long in execution; but
   though these, and all objections were fully answered, yet this
   excellent design was no further pursued.'

In weighing the value of this evidence as to Sir Christopher's views, it
is important to remember that the 'Parentalia' was, though edited by
Stephen the grandson, actually written by Christopher, the son who was
constantly with his father and shared in his interests, and had himself
seen, and no doubt described to Sir Christopher that very cupola of S.
Peter's, of which he speaks.

The question of the iron fence round the Cathedral, of which Wren made
mention in his petition, was much in his thoughts; he wished it to be
low, and made of hammered iron, the Commissioners were determined that
it should be high, and made of cast iron.

Wren, who doubtless intended to employ Tijou, and have a low, graceful
railing which would throw up the height and solid grandeur of the
Cathedral, repeatedly expressed his opinion; but the majority overruled
him, and the Cathedral was imprisoned by a high, heavy, clumsy fence,
the gates of which were sedulously closed, and were but too apt an
emblem of the manner in which the Cathedral was soon shut off from its
true uses. A century later, and Bishop Blomfield could say, 'I never
pass S. Paul's without thinking how little it has done for
Christianity.' Now the iron fence has departed,[239] and with it all
possibility of such a reproach.

During all this time Wren was engaged on the Abbey repairs and the
affairs of Chelsea College. The Duke of Ormonde sends him a summons in
November, 1713, the more pressing, as several Commissioners are out of
town, to meet him 'at twelve of the clock at his Grace's house at the
Cockpitt, in order to give directions for the cloathing of the Invalide
Companys who are in a perishing condition for want thereof, not having
been cloathed for near these three years past.' The death of Evelyn and
that of Sir Stephen Fox had lost to Chelsea Hospital its two best
friends, but doubtless the Duke and Sir Christopher were able to provide
for this emergency.

We hear of Wren at this time busied as of old for the Royal Society,
going, with his son and Sir Isaac Newton, to inspect a house in Crane
Court,[240] and finally buying it as a residence for the Society.

Again he appears with Newton, and the son who seems to have been his
constant companion, going down to Greenwich as visitors of the Royal
Observatory there and making their report upon it. As Flamsteed hated
Newton, and greatly resented any formal visitation, the expedition must
have taxed even Wren's peace-making powers, but Flamsteed never seems to
have quarrelled with him.


In the summer of the following year 'good Queen Anne' died, and with her
all real chance of the return of the Stuart family, despite the gallant
and devoted attempts made for 'Prince Charlie' in 'the '15' and 'the
'45.' The sixth and last English reign which Wren was destined to see
began in 1714 with the accession of George I.

The S. Paul's Commission was renewed, with, of course, Wren's name upon
it, but the annoyances of his position increased.

In his design, S. Paul's stood complete with a plinth over the
entablature, and with statues on the four pediments only. The
Commissioners took it into their heads that a balustrade with vases was
greatly needed, and that it should be put up, unless Wren could 'set
forth in writing, under his hand, that it is contrary to the principles
of architecture and give his opinion in a fortnight's time.' This looks
very like a device for tormenting the old man of eighty-five, and
revenging themselves for their previous defeat. Exactly within the
fortnight Wren sent an answer which certainly shows no trace of failing

   'I take leave, first, to declare that I never designed a
   balustrade. Persons of little skill in architecture did expect, I
   believe, to see something they had been used to in Gothick
   structures; and ladies think nothing well without an edging. I
   should gladly have complied with the vulgar taste but I suspended
   for the reasons following.'

The technical reasons are given, and he adds:

   'that as no provision was originally made in my plan for a
   balustrade, the setting up one in such a confused manner over the
   plinth must apparently break into the harmony of the whole machine,
   and, in this particular case, be _contrary to the principles of

Nothing daunted, either by Wren's reasons or his sarcasm, and regardless
of their implied promise, the wise Commissioners of the Cathedral set to
work on their balustrade.


This transaction belongs to the autumn of 1717. In the April of the
ensuing year, George I., who cared nothing about art or architecture,
and who only wished to gratify his German favourites, was easily
prevailed upon to dismiss Sir Christopher Wren from that post of
Surveyor-General which he had held for forty-eight years, and to bestow
it upon William Benson, a favourite's favourite, as ignorant and
incapable as he was grasping and unscrupulous. There was probably but
little outcry, for, as Steele[241] had truly said,

   'Nestor,' under which name he described Wren, 'was not only in his
   profession the greatest man of that age, but had given more proofs
   of it than any man ever did; yet for want of that natural freedom
   and audacity which is necessary in commerce with men, his personal
   modesty overthrew all his public actions.'

The person least disposed to make a complaint was Wren himself. Finding
his patent superseded, he quietly retired to his house at Hampton Court,
saying, 'Nunc me jubet Fortuna expeditius philosophari.[242] One other
comment he made, as a note to the date (April 26, 1718) of this
dismissal: '[Greek: Hoti anestê Basileus hetepos hos ouk êdei ton
Iôsêph: kai ouden toutôn tô Galliôni emelen.][Maltese Cross]'[243]

It is some satisfaction to know that Benson so disgraced himself as in
five years' time to be dismissed, and narrowly escaped a prosecution by
the House of Lords. Pope held him up to deserved scorn in the 'Dunciad,'
where he also says:

          While Wren with sorrow to the grave descends,

but this, one is glad to think, tells rather what might have been Sir
Christopher's state of mind than what it really was.

Wren had had the interest of watching his eldest son's career in
Parliament as member for that borough of Windsor which he had himself

This son's wife had died, and in 1715 he married again. His second wife
was Constance, daughter of Sir Thomas Middleton, and widow of Sir Roger
Burgoyne; by this marriage he had another son, named Stephen. On this
occasion Sir Christopher bought the estate of Wroxhall Abbey[244] in
Warwickshire, which had belonged to the Burgoynes and was heavily
encumbered. Sir Christopher is said to have stayed at the Abbey
occasionally, and to have designed the kitchen garden wall which is
built in semicircles. It was probably when he thus became a Warwickshire
Squire that he gave the designs for S. Mary's Church at Warwick, designs
entirely different from those adopted in the present building, which is
said to have been designed and built by one Francis Smith, a mason in
the town.


But the greater part of Wren's declining years was spent at Hampton
Court, from which he went up to London to watch the progress of the
works at Westminster Abbey, the surveyorship of which he still kept. A
report was spread that the ceiling of the Sheldonian Theatre, in which,
as a piece of mechanical construction, Sir Christopher took great pride,
was giving way. Careful examination proved this to be a perfectly
groundless rumour, and no further annoyance arose to disturb the calm
evening of the old man's life. To be 'beneficus humano generi,' as he
said, had ever been his aim and wish. He now employed his leisure in
looking over old papers on astronomy and mathematics and the method of
finding out the longitude at sea. It had been long considered by the
general world as impossible to find out as was the secret of perpetual
motion, and the attempt at either discovery was treated with equal
ridicule. The merchants, and captains of merchant ships were, however,
from bitter experience of vessels and crews wrecked or lost, aware of
the immense importance of the discovery of the longitude, if it could
be made. They presented, in 1714, a petition to Parliament, begging that
a reward might be offered 'for such as shall discover the same.' This,
after due consideration, was done by a Bill, passed rapidly through both
Houses, offering a reward of 20,000_l._. for the discovery.[245]

The subject was one which greatly occupied Wren, who all his life had
been interested in sailors and sea matters. He amused himself by
throwing his latest thoughts on the longitude into the form of three




A copy, signed by Halley as a true one, of this cipher was sent to the
Royal Society in 1714 by Wren's son. Probably Sir Christopher had not
perfected his instruments sufficiently to proclaim his discovery, and
did not wish either to lose his idea, or, when later on he disclosed it,
to appear as a plagiarist in case a similar method had suggested itself
to anyone else. Old age had weakened Wren's limbs, but had had little
effect on his clear understanding; his scientific pursuits interested
him still, and were among the employments of those few leisure years
which closed a life of incessant work. He gave, however, the greater
part of his time and care to the diligent study of the Holy Scriptures,
which all his life he had loved; and thus, serene and gentle as ever,
waited for his summons.


Once a year it was his habit to be driven to London, and to sit for a
while under the dome of his own Cathedral. On one of these journeys he
caught a cold, and soon afterwards, on February 25, 1723, his servant,
thinking Sir Christopher slept longer after dinner than was his wont,
came into the room and found his master dead in his chair, with an
expression of perfect peace on the calm features.

They buried him near his daughter in the south-east crypt of S. Paul's,
by one of the windows, under a plain marble slab with this inscription:
'Here lieth Sir Christopher Wren, the builder of this Cathedral Church
of S. Paul, &c., who died in the year of our Lord MDCCXXIII., and of his
age XCI.'

The spite of those who had hampered his genius in life showed itself
again after his death. The famous inscription, written by his
son:--'Subtus conditur hujus Ecclesiae et Urbis Conditor Christophorus
Wren, qui vixit annos ultra nonaginta, non sibi, sed bono publico.
Lector, si Monumentum requiris circumspice.'[247]--was placed in the
crypt, and in the Cathedral itself there was nothing to preserve the
memory of its architect.

This has in later years been remedied and the inscription is now in gold
letters over the door of the north transept. Some of Sir Christopher's
plans have, as has been shown, been executed; and further, the Cathedral
has been set in green turf, and all around it is cared for instead of
neglected, the once empty campanile is filled by twelve bells, whose
music floats down over the roar of London, as if out of the sky itself,
and the Dome is filled by vast congregations in the way which Sir
Christopher almost foresaw.

In the Cathedral his memory is cherished; but in the city of London,
which he rebuilt from its ashes, no statue has been erected to him, no
great street has been honoured by taking as its own the name of
Christopher Wren, though a name

          On fame's eternall beadroll worthie to be fyled.


  [234] This lease was renewed to his eldest son in 1737 for 28-1/2
        years, running on from 1758.

  [235] Now in the possession of Mrs. Pigott.

  [236] _Annals of S. Paul's_, p. 432.

  [237] It must be to this that Wren refers in his letter to his son,
        p. 282.

  [238] _Documents illustrating, &c._, p. 62.

  [239] The Dean and Chapter of S. Paul's removed the fence in 1874,
        and substituted the present open, low one, thus removing a
        blemish from the exterior of the Cathedral.

  [240] The Royal Society occupied this house, till 1847, when it was
        pulled down to make room for the new Record Office.--_Hist. R.
        S._, p. 399. Weld.

  [241] _The Tatler_, No. 52, 1709. Both the paper and its note
        contain eloquent tributes to Wren. It is remarkable that
        Steele wrote this at the very time Wren's salary was first

  [242] 'Now Fortune commands me to apply myself more closely to

  [243] 'Then another king arose which knew not Joseph.'--_Acts_ vii.
        18. 'And Gallio cared for none of these things.'--_Acts_
        xviii. 17.

  [244] Now spelt Wroxall. This property remained in the hands of Sir
        Christopher's direct lineal descendants (five Christophers
        held it in succession) until 1861. Wren's son and heir died in
        1747, and is buried in Wroxhall Abbey; his son Christopher
        displeasing him, he left away much of the estate to his
        stepson, Sir Roger Burgoyne. At the death of the elder
        Christopher many of the great architect's plans and drawings
        were bought by Mr. Justice Blackburn, who presented them to
        All Souls' College. The _Parentalia_ was principally written
        at Wroxhall by Sir Christopher's son Christopher, and was
        published by his second son Stephen Wren, M.D., in 1750. See
        _Worthies of Warwickshire_, p. 852, and _Biog. Hist. of
        England_, vol. iii. p. 329. Noble.

  [245] The reward was adjudged in two portions of 10,000_l._, to Mr.
        J. Harrison in 1726 and 1775, for making two chronometers,
        which gave the longitude within 10' 45" of the truth. Rewards
        were offered for further discoveries. The Board of Longitude
        was abolished in 1828.--_Life of Sir Isaac Newton_, vol. ii.
        p. 258-267. Sir David Brewster.

  [246] These cryptographs were first published by Sir David Brewster
        in his _Life of Sir Isaac Newton_, vol. ii. p. 263, ed. 1855.
        No key was found until Mr. Francis Williams, of Grange Court,
        Chigwell, sent the following:

           Wach     magnetic   balance  wound  in vacuo.
                                              (One letter a misprint).

        Omitted letters make CHR. WREN, MDCCXIV.

           Fix head  hippes   handes   poise   tube  on eye.
                                              (One letter a misprint).

        Omitted letters make CHR. WREN, MDCCXIIII.

           Pipe  screwe   moving   wheels   from  beake.

        Omitted letters make CHR. WREN, MDCCXIV.

        The three last omitted Z,s occurring in the first part of each
        cipher to show that that part must be taken _last_.--_Report
        of the British Association for 1859._

  [247] 'Beneath is laid the builder of this church and city,
        Christopher Wren, who lived more than ninety years, not for
        himself, but for the good of the State. Reader, if thou ask
        for a monument, look around thee.'


                                APPENDIX I.

     CALEND. NOVEM. ANNO 1645_, p. 73.

               Si licet, et cessent rerum (Pater alme) tuarum
                 Pondera, devotae respice prolis opus.
               Hic ego sidereos tentavi pingere motus,
                 Coelicaque in modulos conciliare breves.
               Quo (prolapsa diù) renoventur tempora gyro,
                 Seculaque, et menses, et imparilesque dies.
               Quomodo Sol abeat, redeatque, et temperet annum,
                 Et (raptum contra) grande perennet iter;
               Cur nascens gracili, pleno orbe refulget adulta,
                 Cur gerat extinctas menstrua luna faces.
               His ego numinibus dum cito, atque ardua mundi,
                 Scrutor, et arcanas conor inire vias,
               Adsis, O! faveasque, pater, succurre volanti
                 Suspensum implumis dirige prolis iter,
               Ne male, praecipiti, nimium prae viribus audax
                 (Sorte sub Icarea) lapsus ab axe ruam:
               Te duce, fert animus, studiis sublimibus hisce
                 Pasci, dum superas detur adire domos.

                               APPENDIX II.



  S. Alban, Wood Street.            |  S. Lawrence, Jewry.
  * All Hallows, Bread Street.      |  S. Magnus, London Bridge.
       "         Lombard Street.    |  S. Margaret Lothbury, Pattens,
       "         Upper Thames St.   |      Rood Lane.
  All Saints, Isleworth.            |  S. Martin, Ludgate Hill.
  S. Andrew, Holborn.               |  S. Mary, Abchurch.
       "     by the Wardrobe.       |      "    Aldermanbury.
  SS. Anne & Agnes.                 |      "    Aldermary.
  S. Anne, Soho (?).                |      "    at Hill.
  * S. Antholin, Watling St.        |      "    le Bow.
  S. Augustine.                     |  *   "    Somerset.
  * S. Bartholomew, Bartholomew     |      "    Woolnoth.
       Lane.                        |  S. Mary Magdalen, Old Fish St.
  * S. Benedict, Gracechurch Street.|  S. Matthew, Friday Street.
  *    "         Fink, Threadneedle |  S. Michael, Bassishaw.
       Street.                      |       "      Cheapside.
  S. Benedict, Paul's Wharf.        |       "      Cornhill.
  S. Bride, Fleet Street.           |  *    "      Crooked Lane.
  Chichester Cathedral.             |  *    "      Queenhithe.
  Christ Church, Newgate.           |       "      Royal, College Hill.
  * S. Christopher, Threadneedle    |  S. Mildred, Bread Street.
      Street.                       |  *    "      Poultry.
  S. Clement Danes, Strand.         |  S. Nicholas, Cole Abbey.
       "            Eastcheap.      |  S. Olave, Jewry.
  Dartmouth Chapel, Blackheath.     |  S. Paul's Cathedral.
  * S. Dionysius, Back Church.      |  S. Peter's Abbey, Westminster.
  S. Dunstan in the East.           |        "           Cornhill.
  S. Edmund the King, Lombard       |  Salisbury Cathedral.
      Street.                       |  S. Stephen, Coleman Street.
  S. Faith (Crypt of S. Paul's).    |        "     Walbrook.
  S. George, Botolph Lane.          |  S. Swithin, Cannon Street.
  S. James, Garlickhithe.           |  S. Vedast, Foster Lane.
        "   Westminster.

  * Signifies that the church has been destroyed.


     Mercers               Company. |  Saddlers               Company
     * Grocers                "     |  Cordwainers               "
     Drapers                  "     |  Paper Stainers            "
     * Fishmongers            "     |  Curriers                  "
     * Goldsmiths             "     |  Masons                    "
     Skinners                 "     |  * Plumbers                "
     Merchant Taylors         "     |  Innholders                "
     Haberdashers             "     |  Founders                  "
     * Salters                "     |  Coopers                   "
     Ironmongers              "     |  Tilers and Bricklayers    "
     Vintners                 "     |  Joiners                   "
     * Dyers                  "     |  Weavers                   "
     Brewers                  "     |  Plasterers                "
     * Leathersellers         "     |  Stationers                "
     Cutlers                  "     |  Apothecaries              "
     Bakers                   "     |  Pinmakers                 "
     Tallow Chandlers         "     |  Coachmakers               "
     Girdlers                 "     |

Many of these buildings have been considerably altered since Wren's
time, and many are now let as warehouses, or turned to other uses.


     Christ Church, Oxford.     |  Pembroke, Cambridge.
     Emmanuel, Cambridge.       |  * Physicians, Warwick Lane,
     Holy Trinity   "                   London.
          "       Oxford.       |  Queen's (?) Oxford.
     Morden, Blackheath.        |  Sion, London.


     Hampton Court.  Kensington.    * Newmarket.    Winchester.

                        _Other Public Buildings._

     Alderman's Court, Guildhall.     | Middle Temple, front of.
     Archbishop Tenison's Library.    | Monument, the.
     Ashmolean Museum.                | Monument { to Edward V. &
     Bohun's Almshouses, Lee.         |          { Richard, Duke of York
     Bushey Park, { Pavilion.         |
                  { Ranger's house at.| Observatory, Greenwich.
     Chapter House, S. Paul's.        | * Royal Exchange, London.
     * Custom House, Port of London.  | Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford.
     Deanery, St. Paul's, London.     | Temple Bar.
     Hospitals, { Chelsea College.    | Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
                { Greenwich.          | Theatre in Salisbury Court.
     London, City of.                 | Tower of London.
     Merchant Taylors' Almhouses,     | Windsor, Town Hall.

                           _Private Houses._

     Allaston's, Lord, London.      | Fawley Court, Oxon.
     Bloomsbury, two in.            | Marlborough's, Duchess of, London.
     Buckingham's, Duchess of,      | Oxford's, Earl of, London.
        London.                     | Sunderland's, Lord, London.
     Chichester, two at.            | Windsor, two at.
     Cooper's, Madam, London.

This list, which is, I fear, imperfect, only professes to give such
buildings as were actually built or repaired; there are, besides, a
large number of unexecuted designs.

  * Signifies that the building has been destroyed.

                           APPENDIX III.

Sir Christopher Wren left the rough drafts of four tracts on
architecture, which are printed in the 'Parentalia,' and a few notes on
Roman and Greek buildings, some of which Mr. Elmes transcribed in his
'Life;' they are for the most part very technical and are incomplete.
The copy of the 'Parentalia' now in my hands contains the autograph
draft of a Discourse on Architecture, which, as I think, has never been
printed; it appears to me to be of great interest. It is therefore given
entire, though I regret I cannot give the quaint prints of Noah's Ark,
the Tower of Babel, Babylon, &c., with which the original is
illustrated. The two former prints tally so exactly with the
descriptions in the 'Discourse'--the print of the ark containing a small
section, an elevation, and a vignette of a man feeding one of the
creatures, besides a large drawing of the floating Ark--that I incline
to think they were engraved, either by Wren himself, or from his
drawings. Engraving was an art he well understood. He divides with
Prince Rupert the honour of the invention of mezzo-tint. The prints are
numbered Pl. IV. and V. respectively, and have no signature.

                       _Discourse on Architecture._

Whatever a man's sentiments are upon mature deliberation, it will be
still necessary for him in a conspicuous Work to preserve his
Undertaking from general censure, and so for him to accomodate his
Designs to the gust of the Age he lives in, thô it appears to him less
rational. I have found no little difficulty to bring Persons, of
otherwise a good genius, to think anything in Architecture would be
better then what they had heard commended by others, and what they had
view'd themselves. Many good Gothick forms of Cathedrals were to be seen
in our Country, and many had been seen abroad, which they liked the
better for being not much differing from ours in England: this humour
with many is not yet eradicated, and therefore I judge it not improper
to endeavour to reform the Generality to a truer taste in Architecture
by giving a larger Idea of the whole Art, beginning with the reasons and
progress of it from the most remote Antiquity; and that in short
touching chiefly on some things, which have not been remarked by others.

The Project of Building is as natural to Mankind as to Birds, and was
practised before the Floud. By Josephus we learn that Cain built the
first City, _Enos_, and enclosed it with Wall and Rampires; and that the
Sons of Seth, the other son of Adam, erected two Columns of Brick and
Stone to preserve their Mathematical Science to Posterity, so well built
that thô ye one of Brick was destroy'd by the Deluge, ye other of Stone
was standing in ye time of Josephus. The first Peece of Naval
Architecture we read of in Sacred History was the _Arke_ of _Noah_, a
work very exactly fitted and built for the Purpose intended.

It was by measure just 6 times as Long as Broad, and the Heighth was 3/5
of the Breadth. This was the Proportion of the Triremes afterwards. The
Dimensions, and that It was 3 Stories high, and that It had a Window of
a Cubit Square is only mention'd; but many things sure were of necessity
to be contrived for Use in this Model of the Whole Earth.

First, One small Window was not sufficient to emit the Breath of all the
Animals; It had certainly many other Windows as well for Light as Air.
It must have Scupper-Holes and a large Sink and an Engin to Pump It; for
It drew, as I compute, with all its Cargo and Ballast, at least 12 foot
Water. There must be places for Insects the only Food of some Birds and
Animals. Great Cisterns for Fresh Water not only for Land Animals, but
for some Water fowl and Insects. Some Greens to grow in Tubs, the only
food of Tortoises and some Birds and Insects; since we certainly have
learnt that nothing is produced by Spontaneous Generation, and we firmly
believe there was no new Creation. I need not mention stairs to the
several Stories, with many other things absolutely necessary for a
year's Voyage for Men and Animals, thô not mention'd in the Story, and
Providence was the Pilot of this Little World, the Embrio of the next.

Most certainly Noah was divinly qualified not only as a Preacher of
Righteousness but the greatest Philosopher in the 'Historia Animalium'
that ever was; and it was Work enough for his whole Family to feed them,
and take care of the young Brood; for in a year's time there must be a
great increase in the Ark, w^{ch} was food for the Family, and the
Beasts of Prey.

The first Peece of Civil Architecture we meet with in Holy Writ is the
Tower of Babel. Providence scatter'd the first Builders, so the Work was
left off, but the Successors of Belus the son of Nimrod probably
finished It and made it His Sepulchre, upon his Deification.

It was built of Burnt Brick Cemented with Bitumen.

Herodotus gives us a surprizing Relation of it w^{ch} being set down by
measure is not beside our subject to observe. It consisted of Eight
several Stories; the First was one Stade, or 625 foot square, and of the
same measure in Height upon which were rais'd seven more, w^{ch} if they
were all equal with the First would amount to 2,500 foot, which is not
credible: the Form must be therefore Pyramidal and being adorn'd on the
outside with Rows of Galleries in divers stories diminished in Height in
Geometrical Proportion; so the whole Mass would have the Aspect of Half
an Octaedron, which is that of all the Egyptian Pyramids.

These Corridors being Brick wasted in more than 1600 years: and it was
these which Alexander actually began to Repair, not the whole Bulk, as I

How Herodotus had his measures I question, for He flourish'd but 100
years before Alexander's Conquests of Babylon, so it was then 1500 years

I proceed next to those mighty Works of Antiquity the Wonderful
_Pyramids_ of Egypt yet remaining without considerable decay after
almost 4000 years: for 2000 years agoe, they were reckon'd by Historians
of Uncertain Original.

I cannot think any Monarch however Despotick could effect such things
meerly for Glory; I guess there were reasons of State for it.

Egypt was certainly very early Populous, because so Productive of Corn
by the help of Nile, in a manner without labour. They deriv'd the River
when it rose, all over the Flat of the Delta; and as the People
increas'd, over a great deal of Land that lay higher. The Nile did not
always Flow high enough for a great Part of the then inhabited Country,
and without the Nile, They must either Starve or prey upon those who had
Corn; This must needs create Mutiny and Bloodshed, to prevent which it
was the Wisdom of their ancient Kings and Priests to Exact a certain
Proportion of Corn, and lay it up for those who wanted the benefit of
the Rivers when it disappointed their sowing.

Thus Joseph lay'd up for seven years, and sur'ly He was not first: this
Provision being ever so essentially necessary to support the Popularity
and consequently the Grandure of the Kingdom; and continued so in all
Ages, till the Turks neglected all the upper Canales except one which
still suppli'd Alexandria. Now what was the consequence? It was not for
the Health of the Common People nor Policy of the Government for them to
be fed in Idleness: great Multitudes were therefore imploy'd in that
which requir'd no great Skill, the Sawing of Stone Square to a few
different scantlings, nor was there any need of Scaffolding or Engines,
for hands only would raise them from step to step: a little teaching
serv'd to make them set Line: and thus these great Works in which some
Thousands of hands might be imploy'd at once, rose with Expedition: the
difficulty was in mustering the men to move in order under proper
Officers, and probably with Musick, as Amphion is said much about the
same Age to have built the walls of Thebes with his Harp; that is Musick
made the Workmen move exactly together without which no great weight can
be moved, as Seamen know, for the Sheet Anchor will by no means be moved
without a fiddle to make men exert their United force in equal time:
otherwise they pull one against another and lose great part of their

The next observable Monument of great Antiquity which yet remain is the
Pillar of Absolom.

By the description given of it, and what I have learnt from Travellers
who have seen it, we must allow it to be very Remarkable though not

It is compos'd of seven Pillars six about in a Hexagon, and one in the
middle and the Tholus solid, a large Architrave, Frize and Cornice lie
upon the Pillars which are larger in proportion to their height then
what we now allow to the Tuscan order, so likewise is the Entablature

This whole composition though at least 30 foot high, is all of the one
Stone, both Basis, Pillars and Tholus cut as it stood out of the
adjacent Cliff of white Marble.

I could wish some skilful Artist would give us the exact dimensions to
inches, by which we might have an idea of the Antient Tyrian manner;
for it was probable Solomon by his correspondence with King Hiram
employ'd the Tyrian Artists, in his Temple; and from the Phoenicians I
derive as well the Arts as the Letters, of the Graecians, thô it may be,
the Tyrians were Imitators of the Babylonians, and they of the
Egyptians. Great Monarchs are ambitious to leave great Monuments behind
them, and this occasions great Inventions and Mechanick Arts.

What the Architecture was that Solomon used we know little of, though
Holy Writ hath given us the general dimensions of the Temple, by which
we may in some manner collect the Plan but not of all the Courts.

Villapandus hath made a fine Romantick Piece after the Corinthian Order,
which in that age was not used by any Nation: for the First Ages used
grosser Pillars then Dorick. In after Times they began to refine from
the Dorick, as in the Temple of Ephesus (the United Work of all Asia)
and afterwards improved into a Slenderer Pillar, and Leavy Capital of
various inventions which they called Corinthian. So that if we run back
to the Age of Solomon, we may with reason believe they used the Tyrian
manner, as gross at least as the Dorick, and that the Corinthian manner
of Villapandus is meer fancy: Nay when long after Herod built the
_Atrium Gentium_, he that carefully considers the description in
Josephus will find it to be a Tripple Portico, and thick Pillars of the
grosser Proportions which being whole stones of an incredible Bulk--our
Saviour's Disciples admired them: _Master_, said they, _see what stones
are here_! Titus would have sav'd this noble structure, but a soldier
throwing a torch upon the Roof which was Cedar planks covered with
Bitumen, it easily took Fire and consumed the whole Building. All the
City was thus covered flat with Bitumen (easily gathered from the Lake
of Sodom) and upon the flat roofs the Jews celebrated under Palm-boughs
the Feast of Tabernacles.

The Body of the First Temple was gilt upon Bitumen, which is good Size
for gilding and will preserve the timber. The Roof and Cedar Wainscot
within being carved with Knotts was gilded all over with a thick Leaf,
so I understand the word _Overlay'd_; for if it was cover'd with plate
apply'd over the knots and Imbossments the gold nails to fix it on would
have increased the Weight of the plate, whereas the quantity of the
Nails is reckoned but small in Proportion. The Doors might be plated
over and nail'd, and the Hinges and Bars, called Chains, might be solid;
for these were afterwards stripp'd when the Egyptians pillaged the
Temple in the Reign of Rehoboam.

That Herod did more than the Upper Portico doth not appear, for the
substruction under the Portico was certainly Solomon's Work. The whole
Hill Moriah was wall'd upright by him from the bottom of the Valley
which render'd a broad Area above for all the Buildings of the Courts.
This is the work in which were us'd stone of 10 and 12 Cubits, call'd as
well they might _Costly Stones_.

Now it may well be inquired how in an uneven craggy Country, as it is
about Jerusalem, such mighty Loads of Stone could be brought. I shall
give my thoughts.

Solomon had an Army of Labourers in his Works; now suppose 12 Cubits
long and 2 broad, and 1 thick, this would amount to 648 of our solid
feet, which in marble would be 64 Tuns and more. Eight men can draw a
Tun, but the ground being hilly, we will allow 10 men to a Tun which
would be 640 men. Now how all these men can be brought to draw together
I show as follows. First, 10 men draw in a Rope (as bargemen with us) at
the end of this Rope is a Spring-tree (as our Coachmen use for ye two
fore Horses) to each end of which is a rope so 20 men can draw in the
second rank; each rope hath again its Spring-tree, and so on to a sixth
rank each rank doubling the number and supposing 10 men to govern the
rest (possibly with Musick) makes the number 640 men; and this will be
found readier than capsterns, and by this means much vaster stones may
be mov'd and even by Barbarous People without Engins. I cannot otherwise
see what need Solomon had of such great multitudes of Labourers as
_Threescore and ten Thousand Bearers of Burdens_, and _Fourscore
Thousand Hewers of stone in the Mountains_, &c. Probably too they were
employ'd by Months, and the rest were by turns to till the ground and
bring food for the Labourers that the Country Work might proceed.

The Walls of Babylon were most stupendious Works, built with Brick and
Cement with Bitumen; the Height of them, according to Herodotus, was Two
Hundred Royal Cubits, and the Breadth Fifty; which in our measure
(reckoning every Royal Cubit with Herodotus 1 foot 9 inches which is 3
inches above the common cubit measure) makes the Height 375 foot and the
Breadth 93 ft. 9 in.

In these Walls were one hundred gates of Brass with Ornaments in
Architecture of the same metal. Besides the first Wall, (which was
encompassed with a wide and deep Foss always supply'd with water the
sides of which were Lin'd with Brick) was an inner Wall built of near
the same strength, thô not altogether of the same Breadth.

The extent of the City must add to the Surprise which being a Square
contained a Front on every Side of one hundred and Twenty Stadia, that
is Fifteen of our miles, and makes up in the whole Threescore miles.

Another stupendious Fabrick of I think also Tyrian architecture, was the
monument of Porsenna, King of Etruria. This Sepulchre we have describ'd
by Pliny, with the particular Dimensions in Feet which I have
accordingly Delineated.

First, a Basis of squar'd stone fifty foot high rais'd the Pile above
any vulgar contiguous Buildings which being solid only in those Parts
that bore weight was so contriv'd within-side as to form a very
intricate Labyrinth, into which whoever enter'd without a clew of thread
would not be able to find the way out. Upon this Basis stood five
Pyramids of 150 foot high; Four in the Angles, and one in the Centre;
Bodies call'd Pyramids thô it is manifest they must have been so cut off
as to have a large space on the Top to carry a Second Story of Four more
lofty Pyramids of 100 foot high; and over them a third Order of Five
more. Now how these could be borne is worth the consideration of an
architect. I conceive it might be thus perform'd securely.

Set half Hemispherical Arches, such as we make the heads of Niches, but
lay'd back to back, so that each of these have its Bearing upon three
Pyramids of the Lower Order, that is two angular ones and the middle
Pyramids; and these cutting one another upon the Diagonals will have a
firm bearing for all the Works above.

Pliny mentions a Brass Circle and Cupola, lay'd upon the Five Lower
Pyramids, not I suppose to bear anything, but chiefly for Ornament, and
to cover the stone work of the Arches upon the strong Spandrells of
which if another Platform were rais'd upon that might the upper
structure be built and the whole have a stupendious effect, and
seemingly very open. Pliny took his Description of this extraordinary
Pile from the Measures set down by Varro, a diligent and therefore
credible author, who probably might have taken his Dimensions when it
was standing before the absolute conquest of Etruria by the Romans; the
summary then of this prodigious Edifice (erected to show the Vanity of
the Eastern Monarchy could be exceeded by the Italians) may be thus

The Basis of the whole was 300 ft. square, and 50 ft. high; upon which
stood Five Pyramids each of 75 ft. square at 150 ft. high; upon which
rested the Brazen Circle and Cupola, stil'd by Pliny _Petasus_, (which I
take to be a Brass Covering securing the Arches) from which hung little
Bells by Chains, which sounded as they mov'd by the Winds.

The Four Pyramids of the Second Order of 100 ft. high standing upon the
Circle or Brim of the _Petasus_ as upon an Entablature, were evidently
the Four First Angular Pyramids continu'd to an Apex, or near to a
Point, so each will be in all from the Basis 450 ft. high, and rise as
high as the _Petasus_; above which was again a Platform containing the
Third Order of Five more Pyramids, of which the four angular Pyramids
rested firmly upon the keys of the Diagonal Sections of the half
Hemispherical Vaultings, which were called by the Ancients _Conchae_
resembling the heads of Niches joyn'd back to back. This Platform I take
to have been round as being the Horizontal Section of the _Petasus_; and
the Bases of the Five Upper Pyramids would be contiguous, and thus
would be of the same shape and as high as the same below, as Varro
asserts with some suspicion, fearing how they would stand, but I with
confidence, the Proportions persuading, which indeed are very fine.

The Heighth to the Breadth of the Basis is 6 to 1. The Heighth of the
Pyramids to the Brass _Petasus_ is 2 to 1, but taking in their whole
heighth it would have 4 to 1, but allowing the Point of the Pyramid to
be taken off (as it ought) and allowing for the Brasen Brim and Bells it
will be 250 foot, above which was the Floor that bore the Five upper
Pyramids of 4 to 1, so the Heighth is 550 foot as 6 to 11.

I have ventured to put some Ornaments, at ye Top belonging to the Tuscan
superstition, (They then us'd not Statues) They are Golden Thunderbolts,
so the whole will be 600 foot high, that is double to the Basis and the
Heighth to the Brass circle will appear half the Face, or like the
Façade of a Tuscan Temple, to which the Breadth of the Brim of the
_Petasus_ and the Bells supply the Place of an Entablature:

I have been the longer in this Description because the Fabrick was in
the Age of Pythagoras and his School, when the World began to be fond of
Geometry and Arithmetick.

N.B. In all the Editions of Pliny for _Tricenum_ read Tricentinûm as the
sense requires.

  At the end of the Discourse on Architecture is an elevation, drawn
  in pen and sepia, of the tomb of Mausolus, as Sir Christopher
  supposed from Pliny's account that it must have been constructed.
  It is drawn to a scale, with indications of statues, of which he
  supposed there to have been forty-eight. It is remarkable how
  closely Sir Christopher's conjectural elevation tallies with what
  recent excavations have brought to light.


     Abbot, Bishop of London, 11, 14;
       Archbishop of Canterbury, 24

     Académie Royale des Sciences, 148

     Addison, 74, 179

     All Hallows, Bread Street, rebuilt by Wren, 232;
       destruction of, 232, 234

     -- -- Lombard Street, rebuilt by Wren, 271, 272

     -- -- Thames Street, 240

     All Saints, Isleworth, 298

     Andrewes, Lancelot, Dean of Westminster, Bishop of Chichester,
            of Ely, of Winchester, kindness of, to Matthew Wren, 6, 7;
       his prophecy, 10, 13;
       his death, 14;
       funeral of, at St. Saviour's, Southwark, 15;
       care of, in giving church preferment, 31;
       chaplain sent to the New Forest by, 40;
       appointment of Mr. Bois by, 46;
       quoted by Bishop Wren, 62;
       church views of, 120;
       legacy of, to Pembroke College library, 134

     'Annals of England,' 20, 58, 77, 122

     Anne, Queen, 300, 301, 305, 317, 320, 327

     'Annual Register,' the (1765), 174

     Arches Court, The, origin of the name, 184

     Architecture, 119, 148, 150, 171, 184, 197, 240, 268, 290, 329;
       Discourse on, by Sir C. Wren. _See_ Appendix III., 340

     Artillery Company, the, 185

     Ashburnham, Mr., 75

     Ashmole, Mr. Elias, founder of the Ashmolean Museum, 217

     Atterbury, Dean of Westminster, and Bishop of Rochester, 203, 209

     Aubrey, the Wiltshire Antiquary, 91

     Ayliffe's 'Oxford,' 125, 141

     Bancroft, Archbishop, 14

     Barrow, Dr. Isaac, eulogy of, on Christopher Wren, 128, 129

     Barwick, Dr., Dean of Durham, of S. Paul's, 'Life of,' 72, 76, 85,
            110, 112, 115, 120, 140

     Bathurst, Dr., 144, 145, 270, 271

     'Beauties of England and Wales,' 16

     Bedloe, witness in the Popish plot, 227

     Benson, William, appointed by George I. to supersede Wren, 329, 330

     Bernini, Giov., 145, 149

     Billing, A., 'Restoration of the Church of S. Sepulchre,' 183

     Bird, Francis, sculptor, 300, 304

     'Black Book of the Garter,' the, 4, 68

     Blenheim Palace, building of, by Vanbrugh, 286

     Blenheim, victory of (1704), 301

     'Blue Book of the Garter,' the, 68

     Blunt, 'Key to the Holy Bible,' 46

     Bois, Mr. John, 46

     Bow Church. _See_ S. Mary-le-Bow

     Boyle, Robert, 283

     Brewster, Sir David, 'Life of Newton,' 330

     British Association, the, report of, for 1859, 333

     Brouncker, Lord, 124, 126, 143

     Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury, 279

     Burton, Henry, 251

     Busby, Dr., head-master of Westminster, 41, 300

     Bushnell, John, 179

     Butler, Bishop of Bristol, 65

     Butler, Samuel, 130

     Cambridge, 6, 15, 45, 216

     Canova, Antonio, 192

     Catechism, the, clergy compelled to use, 22, 50

     Cave, Dr. William, 240

     Cemeteries, Wren's plan for placing outside London, 307

     Chardin, Sir John, 230, 231

     Charles I., his journey to Spain as Prince of Wales, 7-9;
       his coronation in Scotland, 16;
       sets up his standard at Nottingham (1642), 60;
       sends a pardon to Laud, 70;
       his flight from Oxford, 75;
       his death, 86;
       his bust by Bernini, 149;
       proposed monument to, 209, 210

     Charles II., escape of, after the battle of Worcester, 91;
       letter of, to Monk from Breda, 112;
       entry of, into London, 117;
       encouragement given by, to the founding of the Royal Society,
            124, 130;
       spirited behaviour of, at the Fire of London, 156;
       first stone of the Royal Exchange laid by, 178;
       portion of the tax on coal given to building of S. Paul's by,
       palace at Newmarket built for, 225;
       death of, 246

     Chelsea College, building of the hospital at, 239, 240, 300, 326,

     Chichester, sack of, by the Parliamentary troops, 79, 123

     -- cathedral of, spire repaired by Wren, 243

     Christ Church, Newgate, repaired by Wren, 260

     Christ Church, Oxford, gateway at, built by Wren, 232

     'Church Quarterly Review,' the, 65, 123

     Cibber, Caius, 207

     City churches, the. _See_ Names of Churches.
       For complete list of, see Appendix II., 338

     City Church and Churchyard Protection Society, 191;
       Report of, 205

     City companies' halls rebuilt by Wren, 266.
       For list of, see Appendix II., 339

     Clarendon, Lord, 19, 20, 23, 47, 110, 121, 160

     Claypole, Richard, 99

     Coal, portion of tax on, granted for the rebuilding of S. Paul's,

     Coghill, Faith, 91, 176, 177

     Collier, 'Ecclesiastical History,' 20

     Common Prayer. _See_ Prayer Book

     Compton, Bishop of London, 220, 279, 323, 324

     Convocation, meeting of, in S. Paul's (1661), 119, 120

     Corbet, Bishop of Norwich, of Oxford, 22, 24, 27, 215

     Cosin, Dean of Peterborough, Bishop of Durham, 153

     Coverdale, Bishop Miles, 219

     Cowley, Abraham, 124, 147

     Cromwell, Oliver, 9, 91, 99, 102

     Cromwell, Richard, 103

     Custom-house, the, rebuilt by Wren, 176

     Dale, Rev. T. P., rector of S. Vedast's, Foster Lane, imprisonment
            of, 273

     Davenport, 'Oxfordshire Annals,' 25

     'Decoy Duck,' the, a pamphlet against Archbishop Williams, 59

     Denham, Sir John, 127, 139

     De Ros, Lord, 'The Tower of London,' 211

     Dore, Abbey of, 19

     Doyley, 'Life of Sancroft,' 165, 166

     Dunton, John, leader of the expedition against the Sallee
            pirates, 20

     Duppa, Dr. Brian, Bishop of Salisbury, appointed executor of
            Archbishop Laud's will, 71;
       Archbishop Tenison secretly ordained by, 123

     East Knoyle, living of, held by Dr. Wren, 31, 32, 33

     Elmes, 'Life of Sir C. Wren,' 90, 97, 200, 230

     Ely, 44, 45

     Ely House, 118, 119

     Ely, Bishop of. _See_ Wren; Turner

     Emmanuel College, Chapel of, built by Wren, 215, 216

     Evelyn, John, 'Diary' of, 15, 49, 50, 51, 89, 93, 94, 95, 99, 114,
            117, 118, 127, 145, 146, 154, 155, 181, 206, 209, 215, 217,
            226, 228, 229, 230, 242, 244, 260, 286, 287, 302

     -- -- death of, 304

     Exchange. _See_ Royal Exchange

     Fawley Court built by Wren, 245

     Fell, Bishop of Oxford, 220

     Fergusson 'Hist. of Architecture,' 15, 184, 192

     -- 'Illustrated Handbook of Architecture,' 139

     Fifty new churches, Act for building the, 305

     Fire of London, the, 155, 159, 175, 184, 185, 187, 191, 192, 204,
            219, 243, 288

     Flamsteed, Astronomer Royal, 216, 299, 327

     Fogg, Captain, pillage of S. George's Chapel by, 67

     Fox, Sir Stephen, 239, 269, 327

     'Fragmentary Illustrations of the History of the Book of Common
            Prayer,' 120

     Freemasons, the Order of, 147, 200, 285

     Frogley, Richard, Wren's carpenter, 142

     Fuller, Dr. Thomas, 6, 10

     Garter, the Order of the, 4, 5, 16, 34-36, 67, 68, 80, 81, 123, 217

     Garth, Samuel, physician and poet, 265

     George I., 329

     George, Prince, 235, 300

     Gibbons, Grinling, 194, 195, 242, 252, 253, 324

     Gibbs, James, pupil of Wren's builder of S. Mary-le-Strand and
            S. Martin's-in-the-Fields, 233, 286, 305

     Goddard, Dr., Warden of Merton College, 77, 78, 103, 104, 105, 124,

     Godwin, 'De Præsulibus Angliae Commentarius,' 57, 94

     Grainger, 'Biographical History of England,' 59, 149, 231

     Great Haseley, detection of a murder at, 38

     Greenwich Hospital, 269, 299

     -- Observatory, 216, 327

     -- Palace, 127

     Gresham College, London, 98, 103, 105, 123, 240

     Gresham Professors. _See_ Ward's 'Lives of'

     Grey, 'Examination of Neale's Hist. of the Puritans,' 62, 86, 122

     Griffiths, Matthew, Rector of S. Mary Magdalene's, Fish St. 248

     Gustavus Adolphus, his George and Garter, 37, 67

     Hackett, Dr., 18

     Hall, Bishop of Norwich, 58

     Halley, Dr., 247, 299, 333

     Hampton Court Palace, Wren's alterations at, 267, 268.

     Hare, A. C., 'Walks in London,' 119, 252

     Harris, Renatus, builder of the organ at S. James', Westminster,
       at S. Paul's, 274, 275

     Hatton, E. 'New View of London,' 219, 262, 271, 272

     Hawkins, Sir John, monument of, at S. Dunstan's-in-the-East, 287.

     Hawksmore, Nicholas, a pupil of Wren's, 206, 286, 293, 305

     Henchman, Bishop of London, 154, 222

     Henley-on-Thames, 38, 75, 159

     Henry VI., 4

     Hewet, Dr., 99

     Heylin, 'Cyprianus Anglicus,' 15, 22, 44

     Hoare, Sir R., 'History of Wiltshire,' 33

     Holder, Dr. 42, 177, 222, 223, 261, 300

     Holder, Mrs., 42, 176, 223, 224, 225, 261, 300

     Hooke, Robert, 159, 246, 247

     Hope, Right Honourable, A. J. B. B. 'Worship in the Church of
            England,' 65

     Hoskyns, C. Wren, 3, 231

     Hoskyns, Sir John, 231

     Hudson, Dr., chaplain to Charles I., 75

     Hume, 'History of England,' 102

     Hyde, Mr., 110, 111, 112, 113, 115.
       _See_ Clarendon.

     Inigo Jones, 42, 93, 127, 166, 243, 269

     Ipswich, Disturbances at, stirred up by Prynne, 44, 45;
       Tower church at, 65.

     James I., visit of, to Cambridge, 6;
       plans the Spanish match, 7;
       his opinion of Bishop King, 222

     James II., Inscription on Monument effaced by, 208;
       continues Wren on S. Paul's commission, 248;
       Declaration by, of liberty of conscience, 260;
       Abdication of, 263;
       Residence of, at S. Germain's, 283

     Jarman, the city architect, 266

     Jeffreys, Judge, his letter to Pepys, 161, 162

     Jennings, Richard, Wren's master carpenter, 159, 200, 321, 323

     Juxon, Bishop of London, 17, 49, 86, 109;
       Archbishop of Canterbury, 118

     Ken, Prebendary of Winchester, Bishop of Bath and Wells, 220, 234,

     Kennet, Bishop, 122

     Kensington Palace, additions to, made by Wren, 268

     King, Bishop of London, his gravestone, 222

     Knolles, 'Historie of the Turks,' 19

     Lake, Bishop of Chichester, 260

     Lalanne, L., 'Dictionnaire Historique de la France,' 149

     Lambeth Palace, 41, 47, 48, 239

     Lane, Mr. Peter, Rector of S. Bennet's, Paul's wharf, 243

     Lathbury, 'History of Book of Common Prayer,' 123

     Laud, Bishop of S. David's, of London, Archbishop of Canterbury,
            advice of, respecting chaplains for the Prince of Wales, 7;
       form of penance, and reconciliation for a renegado prepared with
            Bishop Wren by, 20;
       measures taken by, against the lecturers, 22;
       his treatment of the foreign congregations, 23, 24;
       works at S. Paul's carried on by order of, 41, 42;
       yearly report of, to the King, 45;
       impeachment and imprisonment of, in the Tower, 48, 50;
       his refusal to escape, 61;
       Trial of, 69, 70;
       his execution on Tower Hill, 70;
       order of, respecting altar-rails, 249

     Lecturers, measures taken against, 22, 27

     Lenthall, William, Speaker of the House of Commons, 38, 79

     Le Soeur, Hubert, his statue of King Charles, 195

     Littleton, Lord Keeper, 57

     Lloyd, Bishop of S. Asaph, 217, 226, 260, 281

     Longitude, the, attempts to discover accurately, 215, 331, 332

     London, city of, 25, 41, 98, 142, 154, 155, 179, 186, 188, 335.
       _See_ Fire; Plague; Tower.

     London Bridge, 204, 262, 288

     -- Stone, 219

     Long Parliament, the, 56, 68, 103

     Longman, 'Three Cathedrals dedicated to S. Paul's in London,' 198,
            222, 273, 293

     Louvre, the, 148, 149

     Lysons, 'Environs of London,' 298

     Macaulay, 'History of England,' 261, 281

     Marah, 'Life of Archbishop Juxon,' 18

     Marlborough, Duchess of, 285, 286

     -- Duke of, 301, 302

     Mary, Princess, her marriage, 49

     -- Queen, her arrival in England, 263;
       employs Wren to rebuild Hampton Court, 267;
       her death, 268

     Maw, Bishop of Bath and Wells, 7

     'Memorials of the See of Chichester,' 79, 123, 245

     Merchant Taylors' School, 6

     Milford, Rev. R.N., 33

     Milman, 'Annals of S. Paul's Cathedral,' 197, 203, 318

     Milton, 122, 232

     Monk, George, afterwards General, 71, 72, 103, 112, 114

     Monument, the, built by Wren, 207;
       inscriptions on, 207, 208

     Morley, Bishop of Winchester, 220

     Morton, Bishop of Durham, 112

     Motley 'Life of Barnevelde,' 61

     Neale, 'History of the Puritans,' 58

     Neile, Bishop of Rochester, of Lichfield, of Lincoln, of Durham,
            of Winchester, and Archbishop of York, 10, 11, 13, 57, 70

     Newcourt, 'Repertorium,' 118, 183, 218, 222, 241, 243, 249, 250,

     Newmarket, hunting palace built for Charles II. at, 225

     Newport, Lord, 218

     Newton, Sir Isaac, 154, 193, 232, 246, 247, 324, 327

     Noble, 'Biographical History of England,' 225, 330

     Non-jurors, the, 264, 281

     Norris, Lord, 38, 39

     Norwich, diocese of, overrun with lecturers, 22;
       weavers at, Bishop Wren's treatment of, 23, 25

     Notes and queries, 90

     Oates, Titus, 226

     Oldenburg, Mr., Secretary of the Royal Society, 299

     Oughtred, the Rev. W., 78;
       his death from joy at the Restoration, 79

     Oxford, 25, 31, 74, 75, 90, 93, 140, 144, 192, 217, 232

     Papin, Denys, inventor of Papin's Digestor, 229, 230

     Parentalia, the, 26, 32, 34, 66, 74, 82, 87, 90, 98, 153, 154, 155,
            177, 200, 201, 203, 223, 235, 247, 281, 325, 326, 330

     Pascal, 101, 102, 148

     Pearson, Dr., His sermon at Bishop Wren's funeral, 160

     Peck, 'Desiderata Curiosa,' 46, 75, 160

     Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, 6, 134;
       Consecration of chapel of, 162;
       Bishop Wren buried at, 160;
       Matthew Wren buried at, 161;
       Sir C. Wren's son educated at, 265

     Pepys' Diary, 118, 142, 143, 144, 156, 158, 161, 175, 178, 182, 228

     Perier, Madame, 'Vie de Pascal,' 102

     Peter the Great at Sayes Court, 286, 287

     Peterhouse, Cambridge, 15, 17, 45, 88, 153, 160

     Petty, Dr., afterwards Sir William, 89, 124, 125

     Phelp, Richard, bell-founder, 321, 323

     Philosophical Society, the, 126

     Philosophy Act, the, kept at Cambridge, 6;
       at Oxford, 93

     Physicians, College of, built by Wren, 265

     Pierce, Edward, sculptor under Wren, 207

     Pigott, Mrs., only surviving descendant of Sir C. Wren, 231, 304,

     Plague, the (in 1636), 25; (in 1665), 142, 143, 144, 154, 243

     Plot, Dr., 142, 300

     Pope, 'Moral Essays,' 208

     -- 'Dunciad,' 330

     Popish Plot, the, 227

     Portland, Earl of, 282, 303

     Portland quarries, the, 221, 279

     Prayer Book, the, 65, 69, 118

     -- of Edward VI., the first, 121

     Prynne, William, 44, 45, 50, 70

     'Quench Coal,' pamphlet by Prynne, 44

     'Querela Cantabrigiensis,' 76

     Raikes, Captain, 'History of the Honourable Artillery Company,' 185

     Randolph, Thomas, 90

     Red Book of the Garter, the, 68

     Renegado, form of penance and reconciliation for, 19, 20

     Restoration, the, 79

     Rooke, Laurence, Astronomy Professor at Gresham College, 125, 128

     Rowe, Sir Thomas, 34, 35

     Royal Exchange, the, rebuilt by C. Wren, 178

     Royal Society, the, 95, 124, 129, 141, 145, 154, 159, 193, 194,
            203, 208, 222, 223, 228, 230, 231, 239, 240, 246, 284, 299,
            327, 333;
       'History of,' by Sprat, 95

     -- 'History of,' by Weld, 124, 327

     Ryswick, peace of (1697), 271

     Ryves, Dr., Bruno, Dean of Chichester, and of Windsor, and
            Registrar of the Garter, 123

     S. Alban's, Lord, 146, 148, 241

     -- Alban's, Wood St., rebuilt by Wren, 248

     -- Andrew's, Holborn, rebuilt by Wren, 259, 297

     -- Andrew's-by-the-Wardrobe, rebuilt by Wren, 271

     SS. Anne and Agnes' Church, rebuilt by Wren, 218

     S. Anne's, Soho, 300

     -- Antholin's, Watling St., rebuilt by Wren, 233;
       destruction of, 234

     -- Augustine's Church, 234

     -- Bartholomew's, Bartholomew Lane, rebuilt by Wren, 218;
       destroyed to give site for the Sun Fire-office, 219

     -- Bartholomew's Day (1662), 122

     -- Bennet's, Gracechurch St., rebuilt by Wren, 250;
       destruction of, 250

     -- Bennet's, Paul's Wharf, rebuilt by Wren, 243

     -- Bennet Fink, rebuilt by Wren, 194;
       destruction of, 194

     S. Bride's, Fleet St., rebuilt by Wren, 219, 220

     -- Christopher-le-Stocks, repaired by Wren, 185

     -- Clement Danes, rebuilt by Wren, 233

     -- -- Eastcheap, rebuilt by Wren, 252

     -- Dionysius or S. Dionis, Back Church, rebuilt by Wren, 194;
       destruction of, 194

     -- Dunstan's in the East, repaired by Wren, 287, 288

     -- Edmund the King, rebuilt by Wren, 267

     -- Faith (crypt of S. Paul's), built by Wren, 262

     -- George's, Botolph Lane, rebuilt by Wren, 194

     -- George's Chapel, Windsor, 4, 5, 67, 68, 209

     -- Gregory's Church, 41, 99, 250

     -- James's, Garlickhithe, rebuilt by Wren, 243

     -- -- Westminster, built by Wren, 241, 242, 310

     -- John's College, 31, 71

     -- Lawrence, Jewry, rebuilt by Wren, 206

     -- Magnus, London Bridge, 5;
       rebuilt by Wren, 204, 297

     -- Margaret's, Fish St., 5

     -- -- Lothbury, rebuilt by Wren, 267

     -- -- Pattens, rebuilt by Wren, 259

     -- Martin's-in-the-Fields, 191;
       rebuilt by Gibbs, 233

     -- Martin's, Ludgate Hill, rebuilt by Wren, 248

     -- Mary's, Abchurch, rebuilt by Wren, 252

     -- -- Aldermanbury, rebuilt by Wren, 207

     -- -- -at-Hill, 191

     -- -- -le-Bow, rebuilt by Wren, 183

     S. Mary-le-Strand, built by Gibbs, 233, 305

     -- -- Somerset, rebuilt by Wren, 273

     -- -- Woolnoth, repaired by Wren, rebuilt by Hawksmore, 206

     -- -- Magdalene, Fish St., rebuilt by Wren, 248

     -- Matthew's, Friday St., rebuilt by Wren, 250

     -- Michael's, Bassishaw, rebuilt by Wren, 219

     -- -- Cornhill, rebuilt by Wren, 191

     -- -- Crooked Lane, rebuilt by Wren, 262;
       destruction of (1830), 262

     -- -- Queenhithe, repaired by Wren, 207

     -- Mary's, Royal College Hill, rebuilt by Strong, Wren's
            master-mason, 272

     -- Mildred's, Bread St., rebuilt by Wren, 240

     -- -- Poultry, rebuilt by Wren, 205;
       destruction of, in 1872, 205

     -- Nicholas, Cole Abbey, rebuilt by Wren, 206

     -- Olave's, Jewry, rebuilt by Wren, 194

     -- Paul's Cathedral, old, repairs of, 41, 42;
       attacked by the Puritan mob (1640), 46-47;
       meeting of the Convocation of Canterbury at (1661), 119;
       Wren's proposed repairs of, 139, 140, 154;
       burning of, in the Great Fire (1666), 156, 158;
       removing the ruins of, 165;
       Sancroft's letters to Wren respecting, 166, 168;
       Wren's account of the effect of the fire upon, 169, 170, 171;
       sale of the ruins of, for the rebuilding of parochial churches,
            186, 187;
       ruins of, blown up with gunpowder, 187, 188;
       New or present building, different designs for, and Wren's model
            of, 196, 197;
       first stone of, laid by Wren, 200;
       Wren's care in laying the foundations of, 201;
       Bishop Compton's address to obtain contributions for, 220;
       quarries of Portland stone set apart for, 221;
       the crypt of, finished, 261, 262;
       part of the money for, taken by Parliament for the expenses of
            King William's wars, 273;
       placing of the organ in, 273, 274, 275;
       opening of the choir of, 279;
       Wren's order against swearing among the workmen in, 285;
       morning-prayer chapel of, opened, 288;
       burial of Jane Wren in, 300;
       thanksgiving for the victory of Blenheim at, 301;
       covering of the dome of, with lead, 303;
       last stone of, laid by Wren's son, 318, 319;
       the iron gates set up in, 324;
       Wren's design for east end of, 324, 325;
       iron fence round, 326;
       design of the commissioners to put up a balustrade, in, 328;
       late improvements in, 334

     S. Peter's, Cornhill, rebuilt by Wren, 233;
       charitable legacies belonging to, 233

     -- Sepulchre's Church, 182, 183

     -- Stephen's, Coleman St., rebuilt by Wren, 205

     -- -- Walbrook, rebuilt by Wren, 192, 225, 226

     -- Swithin's, Cannon St., rebuilt by Wren, 219

     -- Vedast's, Foster Lane, steeple of, added by Wren, 273

     Salisbury Cathedral, Wren's work at, 17

     Sancroft, Dr., Dean of S. Paul's and Archbishop of Canterbury,
            appointed a S. Paul's commissioner, 154;
       sermon of, after the Fire, 1, 5;
       letters of, to Sir C. Wren, 166-168;
       contributions of, to the building of S. Paul's, 220;
       imprisonment of, in the Tower, 260, 261;
       refuses to take the oath of allegiance to William III., 264

     Savoy conference, the, 120

     Sayes Court occupied by Peter the Great, 286, 287

     Scarborough, Sir Charles, 78, 224

     Scudamore, Lord, 19

     'Sessional Papers, R. I. B. A.,' 267, 268

     Seven Bishops, the, trial of, 235, 260

     Seward, 'Anecdotes of Distinguished Persons,' 222

     Sheldon, Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury, 140, 146

     Sheldonian Theatre, the, built by Wren, 140, 331

     Sherlock, Dean of S. Paul's, 281

     Simpson, Dr. Sparrow, 'Documents illustrating the History of
            S. Paul's,' 27, 274, 280, 288, 323

     Smith, Bernard, or Father, builder of organ at S. Paul's, 275, 288

     South, Dr., 69, 141

     Spain, expedition of the Prince of Wales to, 7, 9

     'Spectator, the,' 179

     Sprat, Dr., Dean of Westminster and Bishop of Rochester,
           his account of the meetings of the Royal Society, 95;
       'History of Royal Society,' 95;
       letters of, to Christopher Wren, 105, 132, 133;
       his sermon before the Commons, 209;
       is succeeded by Atterbury, 289

     Steele, Sir R., 'The Tatler,' 239

     Strafford, Lord, 48, 49, 50

     Strong, Edward, Wren's master-mason, 272, 284, 297, 303

     -- Thomas, brother of Edward, 200

     Tangiers, fortifications of, 132

     Tenison, Thomas, Bishop of Lincoln and Archbishop of Canterbury,
           his secret ordination by Bishop Duppa, 123;
       founding of a library at S. Martin's by, 226;
       building of the Chapel of the Holy Trinity, Conduit St., by, 243

     Temple Bar, built by Wren, 179

     Tijou, M., worker in iron, maker of the gates in S. Paul's, 324,

     Tilbury Fort, 216

     Torricelli, his invention of the barometer, 100, 101

     Tower of London, the, 44, 58, 59, 69, 71, 87, 114, 115, 187, 210,
            211, 260, 261

     Tradescant, John, collector of the objects of natural history in
            the Oxford Museum, 217

     Trelawney, Bishop of Winchester, 235

     Trinity College, Oxford, 144, 145, 146

     Trinity College, Cambridge, 146

     Turner, Bishop of Ely, 260

     Vanbrugh, Sir John, 286, 305

     Van Vianen, Christian, 37

     Ven, Colonel, 68

     Verrio, painter, his work at Whitehall and Windsor, 252

     Wadham College, Oxford, 73, 77, 79, 93, 95, 105

     Waller, Edmund, 9, 196

     Waller, Sir William, sack of the city of Chichester by, 79, 123

     Wallis, Dr., 77, 78, 112, 141, 222, 223

     Walpole, 'Anecdotes of Painting,' 37, 268

     Walworth, Sir William, his tomb, 262

     Ward, 'Lives of the Gresham Professors,' 79, 89, 128, 226

     Ward, Dr. Seth., Bishop of Exeter, of Salisbury, 90, 124, 125, 171,

     'Warwickshire Worthies,' 3, 330

     Weather-clock, the invention of, by Wren, 89

     Weavers, the, at Norwich, 23

     Weld, 'History of the Royal Society,' 124, 193, 327

     Westminster Abbey, 57, 230, 289, 293, 320, 331

     -- School, 41, 57, 69, 90, 231

     White, Bishop of Peterborough, 260, 281

     Whitehall, 144, 149, 252, 299, 317

     Whittington, Sir Richard, 272

     Wilkins, Dr. John, Bishop of Chester, 74, 77, 93, 94, 95, 124, 206

     William, Prince of Orange, 49

     William III., 208, 263, 268, 299

     Williams, Bishop of Lincoln, and Archbishop of York, 57, 59

     Wilson, Bishop of Sodor and Man, 220

     Winchester, Wren's scheme for palace at, 234, 235

     -- House, conference at, 10, 11

     Windsor, 4, 16, 37, 40, 68, 263, 264, 265, 300

     Wiseman, attack of the mob on Westminster Abbey, led by, 57

     Wood, 'Athenæ Oxonienses,' 153

     -- 'Fasti,' 223

     Wood, Philip, carvings of, 253-255

     Woodward, Dr., 202, 203

     Worcester, battle of (1651), 91, 93

     'Workman, the British,' 253

     Wren, Capt, 161, 162

     -- Charles, son of Bishop Wren, 161

     Wren, Christopher, Dr., birth of, 5;
       education of, 31;
       given the living of Fonthill Bishops, 31;
       of East Knoyle, 31;
       made Dean of Windsor and Registrar of the Garter, 34;
       made rector of Great Haseley, 38;
       building at Windsor for Charles I. designed by, 40;
       his care for the treasures of the Order of the Garter, 67;
       letter of, to the Knights of the Garter, 80, 81;
       death of, 96

     Wren, Sir Christopher, birth of, 32;
       sent to school at Westminster, 41;
       his Latin letter to his father, 42, 43;
       goes to Oxford, 73, 74;
       his life there, 77, 78;
       his translation of the 'Clavis Aurea,' 78, 79;
       his early Inventions, 88, 89, 90;
       friendship of, with Evelyn, 93, 94;
       made Gresham professor of astronomy, 97;
       his first lecture, 97, 98;
       discovery of the barometer by, 101;
       origin of the Royal Society in meetings in his rooms, 124;
       is made Savilian professor, 125;
       and doctor of civil laws at Oxford and Cambridge, 126;
       his letter to Lord Brouncker on Experiments, 126, 127;
       writes the preamble to the Charter of the Royal Society, 129;
       declines the commission to direct the fortifications of
            Tangiers, 132;
       his designs for the chapel at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, 134;
       his letter to Dr. Bathurst, 144;
       his journey abroad, 146;
       his journal, 149-152;
       his return to London and inspection of S. Paul's, 154;
       his plan for rebuilding the city after the fire, 157, 158, 172,
       Sancroft's letters to him as to the patching of S. Paul's,
       his work at Salisbury Cathedral, 171;
       letter of, to Faith Coghill, 177;
       his marriage, 178;
       rebuilding of the Exchange by, 178;
       building of Temple Bar by, 178;
       petition of, to Charles II., 180-182;
       rebuilding of Bow Church by, 183-184;
       of S. Christopher-le-Stocks, 184;
       is made a member of the Honourable Artillery Company, 185;
       resigns the Savilian astronomy professorship, 186;
       appointed architect of S. Paul's, 187;
       clears away the ruins of old S. Paul's, 187;
       his experiment in blowing up the tower with gunpowder, 188;
       his use of a battering ram, 188;
       birth of his eldest son, 191;
       repair of S. Mary-at-Hill by, 191;
       building of S. Stephen's, Walbrook, by, 192, 225;
       knighted by Charles II., 194;
       rebuilding of Drury Lane by, 196;
       salary as architect of S. Paul's, 196;
       his model for S. Paul's, 196-198;
       lays the first stone of S. Paul's, 200;
       death of his wife, 203;
       his second marriage, 203;
       rebuilding of eight city churches by, 204-207;
       building of the Monument by, 207;
       his designs for a monument to Charles I., 209;
       building of the chapel at Emmanuel College by, 216;
       of the Observatory at Greenwich, 216;
       birth of his daughter Jane, 217;
       rebuilding of five more city churches by, 218, 219;
       the marking out of the dome of S. Paul's by, 222;
       death of his second wife, 226;
       elected President of the Royal Society, 228;
       Christ Church gateway built by, 232;
       All Hallows, Bread Street, rebuilt by, 232;
       S. Peter's, Cornhill, and S. Clement Danes rebuilt by, 233;
       his design for a palace at Winchester, 234, 235;
       Chelsea Hospital built by, 240;
       S. James's, Westminster, built by, 241;
       Chichester Cathedral repaired by, 245;
       Fawley Court built by, 245;
       made Controller of the Works, 246;
       elected member for Plympton, 247;
       eight more city churches built by, 248-252;
       death of his sister Susan, 261;
       buildings by, erected at Windsor, 264, 265;
       College of Physicians built by, 265;
       halls of city companies rebuilt by, 266;
       Hampton Court palace rebuilt by, 257, 268;
       scheme of, for Greenwich Palace, 269;
       his difficulties in placing the organ of S. Paul's, 273;
       invention by, of a pulpit on wheels, 280;
       letter of, to his son in Paris, 282, 283;
       chosen Grand Master of the Freemasons, 285;
       Marlborough House built by, 286;
       S. Dunstan's-in-the-East repaired by, 287, 288;
       statement of, as to repairs of Westminster Abbey, 289-293;
       elected member for Weymouth, 298;
       death of his daughter Jane, 300;
       second letter of, to his son, 302, 303;
       letter of, on church building, 305-313;
       private houses built by, 317;
       last stone of S. Paul's laid by his son, 318;
       attack on, by S. Paul's Commissioners, 320;
       his petition to Queen Anne, 320, 322;
       his unfulfilled design for east end of S. Paul's, 324, 325;
       dismissal of, by George I., from the post of surveyor-general,
       purchase of Wroxhall Abbey by, 330;
       his studies and papers in cipher respecting the longitude at sea,
            331, 332;
       his death 333;
       his burial and monument, 334

     Wren Christopher, son of Sir C. Wren, 200, 265, 269, 281, 282, 283,
            302, 303, 304, 318, 330

     Wren, Francis, 5

     -- Geoffrey, 4, 5

     -- Jane, daughter of Sir C. Wren, 217, 269, 288, 300, 301

     -- Matthew, birth and education of, 6;
       sent with the Prince to Spain, 7, 8;
       return and statement of, to three Bishops respecting the Prince
            of Wales, 10-13;
       elected Master of Peterhouse, 15;
       made Dean of Windsor, 16;
       his marriage, 16;
       made Bishop of Hereford, 17;
       Clerk of the Closet, 17;
       service composed by, for the Reconciliation of Renegados, 19, 20;
       made Bishop of Norwich, 23;
       translated to Ely, 44;
       his care for his diocese, 45, 46;
       Sir Harbottle Grimston's and Hampden's attack upon him, 48, 49;
       officiates at the marriage of Princess Mary, 49;
       resigns the Deanery of the Chapels Royal, 51;
       articles of accusation drawn up against him in the Commons, 55;
       his imprisonment, 58;
       his defence, 61-66;
       death of his wife, 85;
       his life in the Tower, 86;
       refuses freedom on Cromwell's terms, 100;
       his conferences with Dr. Barwick, 110-113;
       released from prison, 115, 116;
       revision of the Prayer Book by, 120;
       consecration and dedication of Pembroke Chapel by, 152;
       second visitation, 153;
       death and funeral of, 159, 160, 161

     Wren, Matthew, son of Bishop

     Wren, 60, 78, 85, 88, 92, 103, 112, 124, 160, 161, 194

     -- Stephen, grandson of Sir C. Wren, 224

     -- Susan, daughter of Dean Wren, 34, 41.
       _See_ Holder.

     -- Thomas, son of Bishop Wren, 161, 162, 224

     -- William, 4, 5

     -- Sir William, son of Bishop Wren, 161, 162

     Wrenne, ancient form of spelling Wren, 4

     Wrenne, John, 4

     Wroxhall Abbey, purchase of, by Sir C. Wren, 330

     York, Duke of, 160, 185, 228, 234.
       _See_ James II.

                            LONDON: PRINTED BY
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          *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Separate characters 'oe' are used for the 'oe' ligature.

Each chapter begins with a separate chapter page and summary, followed
by a separate epigraph page, and an additional chapter heading. The
redundant chapter headings have been removed.

Quoted matter was printed with a reverse, or hanging indentation, with
the first line of each quotation on the normal margin and the remaining
lines indented. This indentation was repeated on each new page. These
quotations are rendered here by simply indenting all the quoted matter.

The reference made in Archbishop Laud's diary, quoted on p. 48,
would seem to be to Isaiah 50 (i e., 'l').

Words found only when hyphenated across lines were handled according to
modern usage. A number of words are found both with and without hyphens
in mid-line, and are left as printed.

Irregularities in the punctuation of the Index have been corrected. The
entry for Nicholas Hawksmore was incorrectly placed, and has been moved
to its proper position. An incorrect page reference for the Tower of
London (pp. 211, 212) was changed to pp. 210, 211 where the White Tower
is discussed.

The following corrections, most of them sins of omission, presumably by
the printer, are corrected, except as noted. There is a discrepancy in
the quotation marks on p. 64 which is not readily resolved, and has been
left as printed.


  p. 32          _March_ 1631[.] (O.S.)                         Removed.

  p. 43          foveasque sinu.[']                             Removed.

  p. 64          of Popish recusants.['] ... not to say          _sic?_.

  p. 76          propriety of our goods[.]                      Removed.

  p. 89 n. 56    an interesting [a]ccount                         Added.

  p. 127         made as bi[g] as a tennis-ball                   Added.

  p. 149 n.102   in the fire[ ]at Whitehall                 Space added.

  p. 153 n. 105  repeated at [t]he consecration                   Added.

  p. 167         [']Sir,--Yesterday my Lords of Canterbury        Added.

  p. 245 n. 190  _Memorials of the See of Chichester_,
                    p. 306[.]                                     Added.

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