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ALTERNATIVE NAME:  Abbey of St Augustine, Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, Cathedral Church of St Augustine

Bristol Cathedral originated as an Augustinian abbey and was founded in 1140 by Robert Fitzharding. Henry II granted a charter to Bristol in 1155 and his name appears alongside Fitzharding as joint founder on the later abbey gatehouse. Due to the fact that Henry II only came to the throne in 1154 it is unlikely that he had any direct involvement in its foundation.

The medieval elements of the cathedral were constructed using Dundry and Felton pale yellow limestone ashlar, although the Elder Lady Chapel is made of rubble with ashlar dressings; some other early buildings use red Brandon Hill Grit. Later additions were built using Bath Stone.

Surviving from the 12th century is the Chapter House, although most of the extant cathedral dates to later periods. The Elder Lady Chapel dates to approximately 1220, built under Abbot David. In 1298 Abbot Knowle began innovative work, adding an aisled choir and the eastern Lady Chapel, as well as the Berkeley Chapel and its antechapel, south of the choir aisle. The north transept has Norman lower walls but was not completed until the late 15th century, the south transept was remodelled in the early 14th, century and the east walk of the cloister dates to the late 15th century.

During the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 the nave was demolished, houses were built over the site, and in 1542 the remaining portions of the building became the cathedral. It was not until 1866 that Canon J. P. Norris launched a campaign to raise funds for an ambitious new nave - supposedly prompted by the discovery earlier in the 19th century of the original 15th century nave foundations. The nave was eventually finished in 1877, with the west tower completed some ten years later.

On 12 March 1994, the first 32 female priests in the Church of England were ordained in Bristol Cathedral. Their 10th anniversary was also celebrated in the cathedral in 2004.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.