Because of the extensive refurbishment carried out both inside and outside the church during the nineteenth century, many people can be forgiven for thinking that, from appearances at least, Manchester Cathedral is a relatively modern church.
In fact evidence of an early Saxon church in Manchester comes from the Angel Stone (right), which was discovered embedded in the wall of the original South Porch of the Cathedral in the 19th century, and which has been dated to around 700.
It was around the year 1075 that King William the Conqueror gave all the land between the River Ribble and the River Mersey to Roger de Poitou, son of the Earl of Shrewsbury.
He in turn gave the Manor of Manchester to the Greslet or Gresley family.
In 1086 Manchester was recorded in William the Conqueror’s Domesday Book, which mentioned that the place had a Parish Church and it is believed that this church was located at the corner of St Mary’s Gate and Exchange Street.
However, this site was deserted when in 1215 Robert Greslet, Lord of the Manor and 5th Baron of Manchester decided to build the current church adjacent to his manor house (now Chetham’s Library). This became the Parish Church of Manchester.