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Home » Find us » History
Sir Christopher Wren (1632–1723) was a hugely successful architect renowned for his work on St Paul’s Cathedral, the Royal Observatory and over 50 churches. Wren’s father was Dean of Windsor from 1635 to 1658, so the young Christopher grew up in the town.
In Windsor, Sir Christopher Wren is said to have completed the building of the Guildhall after the death of the original architect, Sir Thomas Fitz, in 1689.
According to historical records, what is now the Main House of the Sir Christopher Wren Hotel was owned by the Cheshire family in the 18th century and was the centre of a lively social scene. The family’s eldest daughter married Lord Fauconberg, who died from a fit of apoplexy, and in 1788 the house passed to the Jervoise family who had a son at Eton College.
It later belonged to Mr More, a local barge master and coal merchant to the King. More opened a gateway to a wharf by the river and erected stables for his many horses needed to tow the barges. The family kept the house’s suite of rooms beautifully maintained.
In the late 19th century it was purchased by Baroness de Vaux. Her son was amused by an alleged ghost in the room known as ‘Sir Christopher Wren’s bedroom’ and the Baroness refused to sleep there. Around 1918, the house fell empty for some years and was known as The Haunted House.
In the 1920s two sisters, the Misses Outlaw, ran the House as the Riverholme Restaurant and Guest House. Mr Ian Black, an Old Etonian, then bought the House and built the present restaurant. He also extended the building by one floor of bedrooms at the rear of the hotel.
From 1946 to 1950, the Potters owned the hotel, followed by James Miers who restored its reputation as a centre of social events and built a second floor of bedrooms at the rear. A new wing of bedrooms was added, looking directly over the Thames and Eton Bridge.
In 1950, Wren’s House – as it was then known – was registered as a Grade II listed building of historic and architectural interest.
The Mogford family took over from 1982 to 1985, and the hotel was then purchased and refurbished by Greenstar Hotels plc. Goran Strok acquired it in December 1995 and named his new hotel company, Wren’s Group, after it.
Sarova Hotels purchased the building in 2011 and we immediately undertook an extensive refurbishment programme. We took great care to preserve the building’s historic features while making it suitable for today’s travellers.
The Main House is now joined by several other accommodation buildings, a modern Business and Conference Centre and the Wren’s Club.