Skip to main content

Cambridge University Libraries are providing a blend of online and controlled in-person services. Please see our website for more details.

Wren : Hoi Anamerukismoi ton hagion graphon, tou anakechorekotos. Ruminations on Holy Scripture from a cell.

 Management Group
Reference Code: GBR/0273/WREN

Scope and Contents

As Beaumont's account (WREN 1) explains, part of the MS was published in the 'Increpatio [rebuke/chastisement] Bar Jesu' published by Matthew Wren's son, also Matthew, in 1660 (Londini, typis Jacobi Flesheri. Prostant apud Cornelium Bee, in vico Litle-Britain dicto). The full title is 'Increpatio Bar Jesu, sive, Polemicæ adsertiones locorum aliquot S. Scripturæ, ab imposturis perversionum in catechesi Racoviana collectæ hinc inde, per Matthæum Wren F ; ex opere prægrandi meditationum criticarum in S. Paginam, conscriptarum a Patre suo R.D.M. Episcopo Eliensi in Solitudino sua carcerariâ, de genuino sensu, atque exactâ nostrâ versione divinorum textuum ; consilium hujus editionis paret è praefamine.' It was reprinted in Pearson's 'Critici Sacri' also of 1660 and in 1669 (Amstelodami, Ex Officiana Johannis a Someren, Bibliopolæ). The Peterhouse copy (B.6.19) of the ‘Increpatio’records that other parts of these MSS were made use of by William Richardson (Master of Emmanuel) in his 'De praesulibus Angliae commentarius . . .' (Cambridge, 1743).
As to the MS itself (WREN 4): it is written in two columns, very close set, in Latin and English, with citations in Greek and Hebrew, and comprises 438 bifolia, paginated to p. 873 (which contains a single column), and 1331 sections. There are occasional slips pinned or pasted in. At section 555, which is where the material for the ‘Increpatio Bar Jesu’ starts, is a note that Wren has recently come by a copy of the Racovian catechism references to which are inserted after each section. ‘Facta est nuper mihi copia pellegendi Catechismum Racovianum [sic]; Ad cujus paginas referrunt Majusculae Literae, quas in paragraphis antecedentis sectionis reperirie est sparsim interjectis , sic: A. par. 1. pag. 91. B. par.3. pag. 52’. These references to the Catechism are inserted directly in the ‘Increpatio’ as they occur as ‘Catech. Racov (or Cat. Rac. or C.R.) p. 91’, etc., rather than at the end of sections as in the MS. These references are, as stated in the ‘Increpatio’, to the first Latin edition of 1609 printed at Racow (confirmed by the digital images of the copy in the Austrian National Library). (There were, in fact, two Latin editions in 1609, one without a given place of printing.) Wren’s attention may have been particularly drawn to the book by the vote in Parliament on 2 April 1652 that the edition printed in London (Wing C1651) should be publicly burnt at the London Exchange and Westminster Yard on 6 and 8 April following.
There is some indication that Matthew Wren junior was preparing the publication while his father was still working on the MS: from p. 619 there are occasional notes at the foot of a sheet; the first reading ‘Recept: 6 sequent: Sched. Julij 13 1655’, the last, on p. 863 ‘Haec Scheda recepta Sept. 16 1659’, showing that sections of the text were being passed over to him for editing handful by handful.
Matthew Wren junior (1629-1673) was born in Peterhouse. His studies were interrupted by the Civil War, from which he emerged as Secretary to the Earl of Clarendon and to the Duke of York and M.P. for Mitchell, Cornwall, from 1661 to 1672. He was an early, perhaps founding, fellow of the Royal Society and, apart from the ‘Increpatio’ author of ‘Considerations on Mr Harrington's...Oceana’.
He died, unmarried on 14 June 1672 and is buried in the chapel of Pembroke College, Cambridge.
For futher details see Stuart Handley, ‘Wren, Matthew (1629–1672)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008. [, accessed 29 Oct 2014])


  • 1641 - 1660

Biographical / Historical

Matthew Wren was born in St Peter Westcheap, London, on 23 December 1585, attended Merchant Taylors' School and was admitted as a Greek scholar at Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1601. He proceeded B.A. in 1605 and was elected a fellow on 5 November of that year, and proceeded M.A. on 2 July 1608 (incorporated ten days later at Oxford). Ordained deacon on 20 January and priest on 10 February 1611. In 1615 he proceeded B.D. and became a household chaplain of Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Ely who appointed him Rector of Teversham, Cambridgeshire. In 1616 he became president of Pembroke and started to raise funds for the college library. In 1621 he became a chaplain-in-ordinary to James VI and I. In 1625 he was made Master of Peterhouse, where again he paid attention to the college library and raised the funds for the college chapel, consecrated on 17 March 1632. On 24 July 1628 he was installed as Dean of Windsor and, accordingly, register of the Garter. Elected Bishop of Hereford on 5 December 1634 he resigned the mastership of Peterhouse on 22 January 1635. On 10 November of the same year he was elected Bishop of Norwich where he pursued a Laudian agenda that proved contentious. On 20 March 1638 he was elected Bishop of Ely where his vistation articles replicated those for Norwich. Censured by Parliament he was committed to the Tower with other bishops on 30 December 1641; released on 6 May he was, after the ransacking of his palace at Ely, re-comitted on 30 August. He remained in the Tower for nearly eighteen years, continuing to fulfil diocesan offices and composing the present manuscript. He was released on 15 March 1660 and, in due course, returned to the administration of his diocese, dying at Ely House, Holborn, on 24 April 1667. For a fuller account see Nicholas W. S. Cranfield, ‘Wren, Matthew (1585-1667)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2008 [, accessed 23 Oct 2014]


1 object(s) (1 small chest, 40 cm) : Paper

Language of Materials


Former / Other Reference

MS 962

Date information

DateText: The years are those of Wren's imprisonment..


Wren, Matthew

2014-10-23 15:29:06+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Peterhouse (Ward) Library Repository

Ward Library
Trumpington Street
Cambridge CB2 1RD United Kingdom
+441223 338218

The UK Archival Thesaurus has been integrated with our catalogue, thanks to Kings College London and the AIM25 project for their support with this.