The date of foundation in 689AD by Aethelred King of Mercia may be revised to as early as the 3rd or 4th century as further scholarship reveals new information. It was enlarged by Aethelfleda, the daughter of King Alfred the Great and her husband Aethelred in 907. King Edgar came here in 973 to receive the homage of the sub-kings of England, Scotland and Wales, and in 1075 Bishop Peter de Leya the first Norman Bishop came from Lichfield, pulled down the Saxon Minster and began building a new cathedral, which took hundreds of years. King Richard II enhanced the cathedral church in memory of his late father, the Black Prince. Henry VIII and Edward VI despoiled it, and King Charles I was shot at by a sniper from the roof of the West Tower as he stood on the tower of the new cathedral to watch the battle of Rowton Moor.
The Great West Tower collapsed in 1881 and together with the ruins at the east end is now part of the Scheduled Ancient Monument and Grade I listed building that is this church.