|Bishop of Ely|
|Church||Church of England|
|Diocese||Diocese of Ely|
|Other post(s)||Bishop of Hereford (1634–35)|
Bishop of Norwich (1635–38)
|Born||3 December 1585|
Parish of St Peter, Westcheap, London
|Died||24 April 1667 (aged 81)|
Ely House, Holborn, London
|Buried||Pembroke College, Cambridge|
|Education||Merchant Taylors' School|
|Alma mater||Pembroke College, Cambridge|
Matthew Wren (3 December 1585 – 24 April 1667) was an influential English clergyman, bishop and scholar.
He was the eldest son of Francis Wren (born 18 January 1552 at Newbold Revell), citizen and mercer of London, only son of Cuthbert Wren (d.1558), of Monk's-Kirby, in the county of Warwick, and his wife Mary, daughter of William Jenkinson. His grandfather Cuthbert Wren was the second son of William Wren, of Sherborne-House and of Billy-Hall in the bishopric of Durham. He was descended from an ancient family which came originally from Denmark. Matthew Wren's mother was Susan, daughter of William Wiffinson. His parents lived in the parish of St Peter, Westcheap in the City of London, and had three children: a daughter Anna, and two sons; Matthew, born 1585, and Christopher, born 1589.
He was the brother of Christopher Wren, who also took holy orders, and the uncle of the prominent architect Sir Christopher Wren.
He attended Merchant Taylors' School, London, and proceeded in 1601 to Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he was a protégé of Lancelot Andrewes. He became a Fellow in 1605 and later President. He was Master of Peterhouse from 1625 to 1634. He accompanied Charles I to Holyrood Palace for his Scottish coronation in 1633, and was appointed chaplain and Clerk of the Closet. He became Bishop of Hereford in 1634, Norwich in 1635, and Ely in 1638.
However, his strong support of William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, and his toughness on Puritans, led to his being imprisoned in the Tower of London by the Parliamentarian faction from 1642 to 1660. Unlike Laud, he survived, and was allowed the freedom to write notes on improvements to the Book of Common Prayer, on which he later had some influence. He was deprived of his See by Parliament on 9 October 1646, as episcopacy was abolished for the duration of the Commonwealth and the Protectorate. Upon the Restoration, he was released on 15 March 1660.
While in the Tower, he vowed to devote a sum of money to "some holy and pious employment" should he be released. To fulfill this vow, he chose to pay for a new Chapel for Pembroke College, and had it built by his nephew Christopher Wren – one of his first buildings, consecrated in 1665. Matthew Wren also led the movement to rebuild St Paul's Cathedral after it had been damaged by the Puritans, and again his nephew accomplished the task.
He married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Cutler of Ipswich and Sproughton, Suffolk. Matthew Wren’s diary records the event as that he was ‘joined together in happy matrimony.’ Elizabeth was baptised at Ringshall, Suffolk on 17 October. 1604. She was married on 27 February 1621 at Sproughton, Suffolk, to Robert Brownrigg of Ipswich, and had by him two daughters; Elizabeth, baptised 13 January 1623 at Sproughton, died on 31 May 1662 of fen fever, who married Joseph Beaumont, D.D. Master of Peterhouse, and Ann, baptised 19 April 1625 at Sproughton. She married secondly Matthew Wren on 17 August 1628, also at Sproughton.
Of the twelve children whose birth Matthew Wren records in his diary, six died while very young.
He died at Ely House, Holborn, on 24 April 1667. His body was brought from London to Cambridge on 9 May and placed in the Schools, and two days later he was buried in the chapel he had built at Pembroke College, Cambridge.
Wren was well acquainted with the Dutch Arminian literature. He was himself firmly attached to the Arminian views.
Anne Ball of London, widow, 13 March 1653, proved 9 October 1654. My body to be buried in the parish church of St. Dunstans in the East, in London, near to the body of my late husband.
Richard Ball, 1617. Also, his wife, 1654; with divers of his children and grandchildren
On an altar-tomb: Here lies interred the body of Mrs. Alice Ball, who departed this life 17 Nov. 1724, aged 52 years. Near lies interred the body of John Ball, Esq. husband of the said Alice, who departed this life the 5th day of January 1732. Arms: A chevron inter three fleurs de lis, on a chief three lozenges.
1712 1 Aug [Regnal_Year] 11 Anna Maria Watts of Hmapton Court, Middx, spinster, eldest daughter and one of the coheirs of Edward Batts of Tewin, Herts, esq; Thmas Dunster of Hertford, Herts, esq, & Dorothy his wife, one other of the daughters and coheirs of said ____ Watts v. John Ball, sr, esq; John Ball, jr; George Ball; and Francis Ball, sons of said John Ball; George Monson; Giles Dunster; Joseph Cramner; Walter Wellinger, esqs; and George Watts gent C78/1790, no. 2 
There are also floor slabs [...] to Mrs. Anna Maria Watts, 1744; Mrs. Dorothy Dunster, 1771;