The first record of a Cathedral on this site is from 604 when King Ethelbert donated a plot of land for its building and Justus was appointed the first Bishop. In 1082, following the Norman conquest, a priory was added by Gundulf, the first Norman Bishop of Rochester and the following year he began work on a new Cathedral. This was completed and consecrated in 1130 and its importance is testified by the presence of King Henry I at the consecration service. However, this building was badly damaged by fire only 7 years later. In 1180 a rebuilding was started, transforming the existing building into the gothic style.
The Cathedral was plundered and desecrated by rebel troops in 1215 after the city has held out in favour of King John. Despite these setbacks, the building continued to grow and in the following 40 years the two transepts were added.
The Cathedral was again damaged by military action in 1642, this time at the hands of the Parliamentarian forces. The Cathedral as we see it today underwent a major restoration project in the late 19th century.