The surname of WREN was derived from the Middle English word 'wrenne'. It was of the nickname group of surnames, probably given to the original bearer of the name, owing to his small size. The name is also spelt O'RINN, O'RINNE, RYNN and WRYNN. Early records of the name mention Alice Wrenn who was recorded in the year 1273 in County Cambridge. Wulfy Wrenne was documented in Norfolk in the year 1300. Adam Wrenne of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Wrenn and Agnis Mercye, were married at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in the year 1630. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child. A notable member of the name was Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723) the English architect, born in Wiltshire. He was the son of Dr. Christopher Wren, dean of Windsor. He was educated at Westminster and Oxford, and distinguished himself in mathematics and physics. In 1657 he became professor of astronomy at Gresham College in London. In 1663 he was engaged by the dean and chapter at St. Paul's to make a survey of the Cathedral with a view to repairs. The Great Fire of London (1666) opened a wide field for his genius. He drew designs for the whole city. In 1669 he was appointed surveyor-general and was chosen architect for St. Paul's (1675-1710) and for more than 50 churches in place of those destroyed by fire. In 1648 he was appointed controller of the works at Windsor Castle, and in 1698 surveyor-general of Westminster Abbey. There were many other works by him including Hampton Court, Buckingham House, and the Greenwich Observatory. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory.
Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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