Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Pratt, Roger

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PRATT, Sir ROGER (1620–1684), architect, baptised at Marsworth, Buckinghamshire, on 2 Nov. 1620, was son of Gregory Pratt of London, and afterwards of West Ryston, Norfolk, by Theodosia, daughter of Sir Edward Tyrell of Thornton, Buckinghamshire, and widow of Edmund West of Marsworth. He was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, matriculating there on 12 May 1637, and was entered as a student of the Inner Temple in 1640. He travelled in Italy, and at Rome made acquaintance with John Evelyn [q. v.] the diarist, whose friendship he renewed in England. Pratt took to architecture, and achieved a high reputation in the profession. In August 1666 Evelyn records that he, Dr. (afterwards Sir Christopher) Wren, Pratt, May (the architect), and others, went to survey the fabric of St. Paul's Cathedral, then in a dangerous condition, and that Pratt's views as to the preservation of the steeple were opposed to those of Evelyn and Wren. A few days later the cathedral perished in the great fire. After the fire Pratt took a considerable part in the preparation of designs and the actual rebuilding of the portion of London then destroyed. For these services he was knighted at Whitehall by Charles II on 18 July 1668. He built a magnificent house at Horseheath in Cambridgeshire for Lord Alington, and also the vast but short-lived palace known as Clarendon House, in Piccadilly, for Edward Hyde, first earl of Clarendon. Pratt eventually succeeded to the estate of West Ryston in Norfolk, where he died on 20 Feb. 1684, and was buried. His portrait, painted by Sir Peter Lely, belonged in 1866 to the Rev. Jermyn Pratt. He married Anne, daughter and coheiress of Sir Edmond Monins, bart., of Waldershare, Kent, who married, secondly, Sigismond Trafford of Dunton Hall, Tydd St. Mary's, Lincolnshire; she died in 1706, and was buried at West Ryston.

[Blomefield and Parkin's Hist. of Norfolk, vii. 395; Le Neve's Pedigrees of Knights (Harl. Soc. Publ.); Evelyn's Diary, ed. Wheatley, vol. ii.; Wheatley and Cunningham's London Past and Present; Foster's Alumni Oxon.]

L. C.