The Wren family of Billy Hall and Binchester, County Durham, appear to have arrived from Denmark sometime around the 14th century [DNB]. As ancestors of Sir Christopher Wren, their history has been extensively explored by various researchers over the years. The family spread to Cambridgeshire from Durham with the migration of Sir Christopher's forebears and thence throughout the region north of London. One branch of the Cambridgeshire descendant line spread to Ireland. A provisional outline of the tree for the descendants of William Wren of Billy Hall in County Durham is attached, although several areas of this (generally noted with a [?]) remain uncertain or even speculative, and are the subject of ongoing research.

Two of the principal publications on the family are :

Several references to the family also appear in the 'History and Characteristics of Bishop Auckland' by Matthew Richley (1872), and there is related Wren material published in 'The Genealogist's Magazine', published by the Society of Genealogists, London: vol 3, no.3 (Sep 1927);  vol 3 no.4 (Dec 1927); &  vol 4 no.1 (Mar 1928). The 'Genealogist' (1884 i 262-268, 1890 vi 168-171) also contains a pedigree of Sir Christopher's family back to Geoffrey Wren of Sherburn House, Durham (d. 5 Apr 1527).

Malcolm Wren has reviewed, cross-checked and synythesised much of the published material, also drawing on other subsidiary sources, and produced an extensive unpublished summary work on the family.

Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723)

Bill Burgoyne's website on the family of Sir Christopher Wren includes an outline family tree of his ancestors and descendants.
James Campbell's PhD work on Sir Christopher Wren includes some good background on his life and work, and a page of related links.

Matthew Wren, Bishop of Ely

Matthew Wren (1585-1667) was Sir Christopher Wren's uncle. He became Bishop of Ely in 1638, and a brief outline of his life is included on the diocesan website.


Descendant line Name of researcher Location Notes

If you are researching this branch of the Wrens and would like to have your name or contact details listed here, please contact Ian Hall.


This page was last updated 16 May 2007 Return to main page >>>