Bristol Cathedral viewed across College Green. The Cathedral was formerly the Abbey of St Augustine, founded
in 1140 by Robert Fitzharding, a wealthy merchant who became the first Lord Berkeley. The Chapter House was
built in 1165 and remains one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in the country. In 1298 Abbot Knowle
initiated the rebuilding of the Abbey, creating a new aisled choir, an Eastern Lady Chapel and the Berkeley Chapel.
Sir Nikolaus Pevsner described this 14th century work as "superior to anything else built in England and indeed
Europe at the same time". The choir aisles are the same height as the choir itself, making Bristol the only 'hall
church' in England, while the 50ft high columns support the tallest single arches in the country. It is said that the
design of the choir was so original that it became the model of the hall church in Europe. In 1539 the Abbey was
dissolved and the incomplete nave demolished. In 1542 Bristol became one of six new dioceses created by
King Henry VIII and the surviving eastern end of the Abbey became Bristol Cathedral.