The Wren Window

Explore the Wren Window of St Lawrence Jewry

By City of London Corporation

St Lawrence Jewry was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren, one of the most highly-acclaimed English architects, and was one of his most expensive City Churches.

On the night of the 29 December 1940, St Lawrence Jewry was almost destroyed by enemy action when a fire bomb hit the church. All that remained of the building was the outside walls and the tower. The rebuilding of the church commenced in 1954 and was completed in 1957. The architect was Cecil Brown, who used Wren’s original plans to rebuild the interior.

The Wren Window was designed by Christopher Webb, Master Glass Painter and an artist of great integrity. Webb was a master of design, colour and had a sensitivity to the places in which he worked. He used the same techniques as 15th century glassmakers.

The window has a wide border of scrolling lilies and white bellflowers, extending down to the heads of Grinling Gibbons and Edward Strong.

The fire roundel: a reminder that the church of St Lawrence Jewry was destroyed twice by fire, once during the Great Fire of 1666, and once in 1940, during the Second World War. The green foliage surrounding the flames symbolises hope.

Sir Christopher Wren PRS FRS was an English astronomer, geometer and mathematician-physicist, as well as one of the most famous English architects. He was responsible for rebuilding 52 churches in the City of London after the Great Fire in 1666, including his masterpiece, St Paul's Cathedral, completed in 1710. St Lawrence Jewry was rebuilt by Wren between 1670-1687. Wren is holding a pair of compasses and the plans to the church.

Christopher Wren's intertwined initials border his portrait.

A pair of compasses, a brush and a pen are intertwined to form a symbol.

Dutch-British sculptor and woodcarver Grinling Gibbons was well known known for his wood carving. He holds a carving of a winged cherubs' head. Gibbons worked with Wren on numerous projects including on the construction of St Paul’s Cathedral. His work was popular with various members of the Royal Family.

Master Stone mason Edward Strong worked on many of the Church restorations in the City of London with Wren, including St Paul's Cathedral.

Edward Strong's occupation as a stone mason is signified with his stance on a stone pillar.

The cherub within the blue medallion adds a religious element to the window. It holds a set square, reflecting the work of the men depicted in the window. As with the cherub opposite, it is gazing towards Christopher Wren.

A second cherub within a blue medallion adds a religious element to the window. This cherub, gazing towards Christopher Wren, holds a t-square, reflecting the work of the men depicted in the window.

A tribute to those with whom Christopher Webb worked with or encountered during the rebuilding of the church surrounds a biblical verse on rebuilding and repairing (Isaiah 58:12). The scene depicts labourers, carpenters, plasterers, stonemasons and two of his own stained-glass craftsmen.

Cecil Brown, the architect who rebuilt the church after it was bombed during WW2 to Wren’s original design, is seen looking at plans with Revd Frank Trimingham, who was the Vicar at the time of the rebuilding.

Delicate etchings of the various churches and towers that Wren built and a depiction of Wren's first design (and his favourite) for St Paul's can be seen on the top right corner of the etchings.

More delicate etchings of the various churches and towers that Wren built and another view of St Paul's can be seen on the top left corner of the etchings.

The window is dedicated to Athro Charles Knight J.P., F.S.A., C.C. by his widow Violet. He was a City solicitor and local historian who served as Under-Sheriff of the City of London. Violets can be seen to the left of the dedication, along with the initials of his widow and further family members etched into the leaves. A.C.Knight was proud of his Huguenot ancestors, the goldsmiths Edward and Magdalen Feline. His coat of arms is to the right of the dedication.

The Wren Window (1957) by Christopher Rahere WebbCity of London Corporation

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