This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is one of a large group of early English surnames created from nicknames, often from the names of birds and animals, after some supposed resemblance to their best-known characteristics, such as Lark, Nightingale, Jay, Hart, Lamb and so on. The nickname "Wren", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "wrenna" or "wraenna", in Middle English "wrenne", was probably used of a small, busy and quick-moving person. The modern surname has two forms, Wren and Wrenn, the latter being the most usual spelling until the end of the 17th Century.Church recordings include one Rychard Wren who married Agnis Dalton on September 12th 1561 at St. Mary Abchurch, London, and Thomas Wren was christened on December 30th 1578 at St. John's, Hackney. The most notable namebearer is probably Sir Christopher Wren (1632 - 1723), the brilliant English architect who designed St. Paul's Cathedral and over fifty other London churches after the Great Fire of 1666, as well as many secular buildings. A Coat of Arms granted to a Wren family of County Durham depicts, on a white shield, on a black chevron between three lion's heads erased purple as many wrens of the field, on a chief, red, three crosses crosslet, gold. The Crest is a lion's head erased silver collared and pierced through the neck with a broken spear, red headed gold, vulned proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Wrenne, which was dated 1275, in the "Hundred Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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