And so, famous architect Christopher Wren was engaged to re-build St. Paul's, the largest, tallest and most important landmark in London. Wren was born in October 1632 and died in February 1723. The rebuilding of St. Paul's took place right away. By a week or two after the fire, plans were in the works. Wren lost no time. Actually he worked out a plan to rebuild the city as a whole, but his plans were rejected, until a rebuilding act was passed in 1667 put him on the job when the King's Surveyor of Works died. By 1670 the pace of building was well under way. Wren was 48, and did not see the opening of the cathedral until he was 65.
Still, there was no dome yet complete. It would be 1710 when the it was finally topped off, but it was Wren's son, Christopher, that was at the ceremony. He was trained as an architect by his father, and saw the completion of the great work! Finally, in 1711 the elder Wren was paid the half of his salary that would come with the completion of the project, a 36-year labor of love.
Upon his death, Christopher Wren Sr. was buried in St. Paul's, with a great epitaph. Written in Latin:
SUBTUS CONDITUR HUIUS ECCLESIÆ ET VRBIS CONDITOR CHRISTOPHORUS WREN, QUI VIXIT ANNOS ULTRA NONAGINTA, NON SIBI SED BONO PUBLICO. LECTOR SI MONUMENTUM REQUIRIS CIRCUMSPICE Obijt XXV Feb: An°: MDCCXXIII Æt: XCI.
and translated here:
Here in its foundations lies the architect of this church and city, Christopher Wren, who lived beyond ninety years, not for his own profit but for the public good. Reader, if you seek his monument – look around you. Died 25 Feb. 1723, age 91.