Wren 300, a city full of people

Dr Nicholas Barbon of St Bride

Dr Nicholas Barbon


Property Developer


St Bride

Researched by Simon Wartnaby

Nicholas Barbon was the son of the famous politician Praisegod Barebone (c.1598- 79/80). Nicholas’s career in speculative London development began with the rebuilding of his father’s property in Fleet Street which had been destroyed in 1666.

Nicholas quickly acquired other property in the area to develop including Crane Court. He bought a lease for it in 1669 from the Goldsmith’s Company and the following year built number seven for himself and his wife Margaret whom he married on 27 January 1670 at St Andrew’s, Holborn.

Read more about the Building Boom after the Great Fire of London.

Their first child, John, was christened at St Bride’s on 26 November and buried there on 1 December 1670. Nicholas purchased the freehold of number seven in 1674 and sold it in 1688 before moving to Osterley Park in Hounslow which he had bought in 1684.

Nicholas Barbon

The Royal Society purchased Nicholas’ Crane Court house in 1710 and a new repository, designed by Wren, was built with the assistance of the carpenter Richard Jennings. The Royal Society left the building in 1782 and it was later destroyed by fire in 1877.

Nicholas carried out numerous speculative developments across London, such as at New Square, Lincoln’s Inn, some of which are mentioned in his will dated 16 May 1698. The will also refers to Osterley Park where he died. He and his wife were buried at nearby St Leonard’s, Heston.

Find out more about Dr. Barbon’s speculative property career and housing developments – not always to the highest standards – at the Garden’s Trust’s blog, as well as his creation of the very first fire insurance company, called the ‘Fire Office’


Local churches were the focal point of sixteenth-century City life. Weekly worship and all the milestones of parishioners’ lives took place here: christenings, marriages and funerals. Many churches were lost in the Great Fire.

Read the stories of four that either survived or succumbed to the flames, and how they reemerged from the ruins.

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