Simply put, a cathedral is a church containing a Bishop's official seat (cathedra). The Bishop may have numerous parishes in his diocese over which he presides, but his 'see' is where the cathedral is located. In medieval England there were only 17 cathedrals but, after the Dissolution of the Monasteries a further 6 new 'sees' were created. In the last 200 years, a further five churches have been raised to cathedral status. As well as the medieval cathedrals, a few of which are now sadly in ruins, most major cities in the country have a modern cathedral.

The typical Benedictine abbey church built in England after the Norman Conquest was arranged on a cruciform plan. Despite centuries of alterations, additions, embellishments and even complete reconstruction in some instances, most of the cathedrals seen today follow a similar format. Magnificent architecture, sculptures, wood carvings, and colourful stained glass windows are just some of the wonders of these immense churches.

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Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire
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Southwell Minster
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