Exeter Cathedral was founded in 1050 when the Bishop of Devon and Cornwall moved from nearby Crediton because of the fear of sea raids. A Saxon minster already existed in the town and this was used as the seat of the Diocese.
The lack of a suitable church, leading to services performed outside, saw a new cathedral built in Norman style and consecrated in 1133. It was this building that was extended into what we see today.
From 1258 the building was remodelled in Gothic style based on Salisbury but much of the cathedral including the Quire and Lady Chapel retain their Norman styling.
The scale of the cathedral is such that it has the largest length of medieval vaulting in the entire world - 91.44 metres. Giving these structural support are a record breaking 16 shafts.
The cathedral was completed in 1400, except for the outbuildings which were built in a late perpendicular style and finished in 1530.
The cathedral suffered in the Reformation but not badly as it didn't have an attached monastery. The English Civil War was not as kind and it was badly damaged by Cromwell's Roundheads. The worst damage was done in World War 2 when the heavy German bombing blew out all of the stained glass and severely damaged the western end. After the war this was rebuilt.
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