3d pan white

Willen ceiling

St Mary Magdalene church at Willen, Buckinghamshire was designed by Robert Hooke (1635 - 1703) for Dr Richard Busby, who had been his tutor at Westminster School.


Willen was the only church designed by Hooke, though it does not conform to his original plans, which included a tower cupola. The apse at the east end of the church was added in 1862.


Hook was a brilliant scholar and scientist who served as curator of The Royal Society from 1662. Following the Great Fire of 1666 Hooke was appointed as the official surveyor for London. His achievements were largely over shadowed by the work of Sir Christopher Wren, though he collaborated on the design of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, and his ideas were used for the construction of the dome at St Pauls Cathedral. There are some claims that Hooke provided the design for The Monument, which is usually credited as Wrens work.


In the two hundred years following his death Hookes reputation suffered from severe criticism, mostly caused by his alleged personality defects. Much of this appears to have derived from clashes with his contemporaries, notably Sir Isaac Newton. The publication of Hookes diaries, in 1935, revealed a more generous character, and subsequently produced a more positive assessment of his personality, and renewed acknowledgement of his considerable achievements.


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Taken on December 30, 2008