The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

October 30, 2016

October 30, 1632

Christoper Wren (October 30, 1632 to March 8, 1723) rebuilt 52 London churches after the Great Fire of 1666. He was also respected as a physicist, and mathematician. Isaac Newton is said to have admired his work, probably contributions to the Royal Society. In his early years at Oxford, we read, Christopher Wren "invented a machine for writing in the dark."

Wren's family were devoted to the cause of the Stuart monarchy: "his father saved the records of the Order of the Garter and King Edward III’s sword when Windsor chapel was ransacked by Cromwell’s men in the Civil War."

His uncle, Matthew Wren, was the Bishop of Ely. This uncle had been imprisoned in the Tower of London for 18 years prior to the restoration of the monarchy (1660), his crime his anti Puritan activities in the preceding political turmoil. He gave his nephew a commission for the design of the chapel at Pembroke College, Cambridge.

During the civil war St. Paul's Cathedral suffered desecration. Some of Its masonry was removed to construct private residences. Still, after the Great Fire and its devastation, there was some hope the famous cathedral could be rebuilt. In the end though parliament decided to build a new cathedral as a replacement. This new St. Paul's would be Christopher Wren's most famous building.

Inigo Jones (1573 - 1652), who brought the architectural style of the Italian Renaissance to England, had worked on the old St. Paul's Cathedral. His work was an inspiration for Wren in designing the new cathedral. We have a photograph of part of a portal Inigo Jones designed, from the old cathedral, which is kept in the new, as a unifying dimension.

According to the author of, "This lion is a fragment of [an] Inigo Jones portal to St Paul’s which inspired Christopher Wren’s design for the new cathedral."

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