A new way of designing churches that was Anglican, rather than Catholic or Presbyterian, also began to develop out of this compromise. Christopher Wren's rebuilding of St Paul's after the Great Fire of London is a good example of this new flexibility.
'The Baroque style of the architecture looked back to classical Greece and Rome ...'
Wren initially proposed several radical plans that got rid of the nave and placed both congregation and clergy in the choir. This was too radical for the Dean and Chapter, who felt the plan was too much like a Presbyterian meeting house and ‘not enough of a cathedral fashion’. So, Wren came up with the present design.
The Baroque style of the architecture looked back to classical Greece and Rome, not to the Catholic Middle Ages. While the cruciform ground plan is similar to a traditional Gothic cathedral, there is a huge Italian-influenced dome over the central crossing.
Despite a screen between nave and choir, the dome improved the acoustics so that people standing in the nave could hear the services in the choir. Thus the new St Paul’s made the building suitable for English-language Anglican worship, while still preserving the grandeur of a traditional cathedral.
'... cathedrals after the Restoration were mainly about civic pride and state events ...'
Despite Wren’s new ideas, cathedrals after the Restoration were mainly about civic pride and state events, not congregational worship. Services were infrequent, and it was difficult to secure a seat, as the choir pews were mostly reserved for the cathedral staff and their families.
Hereford was unusual in having seats in its nave for a time, and also adding a gallery to the choir so that more people could come to choir services. In the early years of the 18th century, Hereford - along with Gloucester and Tewkesbury - also began one of the first lay choir festivals, the Three Choirs festival. This gathering, where both men and women participated, anticipated the way in which cathedrals have become cultural centres, especially for music, as well as places of worship.