WREN, Sir William (1638-89), of Wilburton, Cambs. and Lincoln's Inn.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 9 Mar. 1638, 4th s. of Matthew Wren, bp. of Ely. unm. suc. bro. Matthew Wren in Ely property 1672, bro. Thomas, archdeacon of Ely, at Wilburton 1673; kntd. 20 Feb. 1685.1

Offices Held

J.p. Ely 1661-?d., Cambs. 1682-?d.; commr. for complaints, Bedford level 1663, assessment, Ely 1673-80, 1689-d.; freeman, Cambridge 1679; chief bailiff, Ely by 1684; constable, Wisbech Castle by 1684; dep. lt. Cambs. 1685-?d.2


Wren inherited from his brothers several leaseholds in the Isle of Ely. He stood unsuccessfully for the county in 1674 and 1679; but sometime before 1680 he acquired the chambers of his brother-in-law Robert Wright, and took up residence in Lincoln’s Inn. He was returned for Cambridge as a Tory in 1685, no doubt with the assistance of Wright, who was recorder. A moderately active Member of James II’s Parliament, he was appointed to the committee of elections and privileges, and to those to estimate the yield of a tax on new buildings and to provide for the relief of London orphans. No answers of his are recorded to the questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, but he may have been closeted, as he was listed as ‘right’ for continuation on the commission of the peace. He is unlikely to have stood in 1689, and it is not known whether he accepted the Revolution. He died intestate and was buried in the Temple Church on 1 Jan. 1690, the last of this branch of the family. Letters of administration were granted on 31 Mar. to his principal creditor, his sisters having renounced.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: E. R. Edwards / Eveline Cruickshanks / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. C. Wren, Parentalia, 133; PCC 1 Pye; The Gen. n.s. vi. 171.
  • 2. C. H. Cooper, Annals of Cambridge, iii. 582; Add. 47181, f. 2.
  • 3. PCC 1 Pye; The Gen. n.s. vi. 171; Diary of Samuel Newton (Camb. Antiq. Soc. Pubs. xxiii), 71; Case of Many Protestant Freeholders (1680); L.I. Black Bks. iii. 129; Cal. I.T. Recs. iii. 455.