Bristol Cathedral is a foremost and rare example of a 'hall church'. Around 1140 Robert FitzHarding founded the abbey of Augustinian Canons (Abbey of St. Augustine) on the site that was later to become Bristol's cathedral church. Today the Chapter House and two gateways survive as part of the original Norman buildings. Part of the site is now occupied by Bristol Cathedral School.
In 1220 Abbot David added the Elder Lady Chapel, which houses the tomb of the 9th Lord Berkeley and his mother and the Choir was rebuilt between 1298 and 1363 so developing the 'hall church' style of architecture that would influence church architechture across Europe. The transepts were rebuilt sometime after 1463 and the central tower constructed at around the same time. The unfinished nave was demolished in 1539 and in 1542 the building became the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity. Work on the Chapter stated in 1150. Emminent architect, George Edmund Street, located the original pillar bases of the nave and construction began to complete the nave to its original medieval specifications in around 1868 by Abbot Knowle. Two towers were added to the West End by J.L. Pearson, London architect and were completed in 1888. Further interior work was undertaken by Pearson including the restoration of the High Alter and design of the Choir Screen. The North Nave windows wer completed in 1951 and an abtract design of the Holy Spirit was adopted for the South Choir Aisle Window by Keith New in 1962.
A rare Saxon stone called the 'Harrowing of Hell' was found beneath the Chapter House floor after a fire in 1831.