Wren 300, a city full of people

Henry Doogood of St Martin Ludgate

Henry Doogood




St Martin Ludgate

Researched by Simon Wartnaby

Henry Doogood was baptised on 2 February 1636 at All Hallows the Less. He married Elizabeth Holding at St Mary, Newington, in 1658 and died and was buried in 1707 at St Andrew Hubbard.

One of Henry’s first recorded projects was the plasterwork for the Chapel of Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1663 which was designed by Wren for his uncle Matthew, Bishop of Ely.

Henry Doogood was the principal plastering contractor on the City Churches, working on 41 of the 51 that were constructed after the Fire. In partnership with John Grove Junior, of the Office of Works, they collaborated on 26 churches from 1670 to 1687, including St Martin within Ludgate where they worked together on the ceiling in 1680.

Henry worked separately on 15 churches as contractor between 1677 and 1707, including St Vedast alias Foster where he finished the ceiling in 1698. He finished plastering the choir, aisles and vestry at St Paul’s Cathedral in 1696.

Plasterer by John Cranch, 1807 - Yale Centre British Art

The chapel of King Charles the Martyr in the newly fashionable spa town of Tunbridge Wells was built in 1684 and was also used as an assembly room. Henry doubled the size of the chapel in 1690 with an extension and an ornate fived-domed plaster ceiling showcasing his virtuosity and technical accomplishments as a plasterer.

Henry completed the ceiling of the Painted Hall at the Royal Naval College Greenwich in 1705 upon which Sir James Thornhill painted what is thought to be the most magnificent baroque painting by an English artist.


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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