By Dr Anthony Geraghty
Last updated 2011-02-17
The 'Warrant' design was probably draughted in the winter of 1674-75. In this design Christopher Wren deliberately responded to the criticisms levelled against the 'Greek Cross' and 'Great Model' designs. The plan was now longitudinal, nave and choir flanked by lower aisles, and with the towers and spire evoking the silhouettes of medieval England. Crucially the architectural style, remained classical.
The 'Warrant' design was approved by Charles II, and work began in the summer of 1675. But Wren was able to realise some, if not all, of his artistic vision, as the king (Wren's son recounts) 'was pleas'd to allow the liberty in the Prosecution of his work, to make some variations, rather ornamental, than essential, as from Time to Time he should see proper'. Wren fully exploited this license to the full and the cathedral that began to rise in the summer of 1675 was, by the time of its completion, substantially different from the 'Warrant' design in almost every respect.