As far as anyone can tell, tradition has it that there has been a religious institution on this spot since somewhere around the year 600. 1,400 years of history have seen the cathedral develop from a convent to a monastery, an Augustinian priory and finally the cathedral of today founded in 1905.
Notable events include the heresy trials in the last half of the 16th century, the burial of Edmund Shakespeare, brother of the more famous William, in 1607 and the baptism of the founder of Harvard College, John Harvard, the same year. A side chapel is dedicated and funded by Harvard alumni resident in the UK.
Over the years, the cathedral has been repaired and rebuilt on many occasions. Particularly major works took place in the 19th century. The entrance to the building is now in a relatively modern annex opened in 2001 by Nelson Mandela.