Chapel, Pembroke College, Cambridge University

Christopher Wren

This chapel was the gift of the Bishop of Ely, Matthew Wren, a Fellow of Pembroke College and uncle to Christopher Wren. It is the first completed building by Christopher Wren, who was Professor of Astronomy at Oxford at the time of the commission. His Sheldonian Theatre there is contemporary with this chapel. This was the first college chapel at either Oxford or Cambridge devoid of medieval features.

Views of the nave wall with the stone addition of one bay


The cupola and one of the windows in the nave

The plan is a simple rectangle with four bays, each with a round-headed window with a projecting lintel and a foliate keystone and brackets. The wooden cupola is hexagonal.

Pedimented niche in the added bay

In 1880 George Gilbert Scott restored the chapel and extended it an additional bay to the east. At the same time, he exposed the underlying red brickwork on the nave walls of the Wren section.

View from Trumpington Street

Each end of the gabled roof becomes a pediment, embellished with a cartouche and garlands. The roof line is emphasized with large urns. Four Corinthian pilasters support a wide entablature.

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© 2003 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

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