Like the castle, the cathedral was built by Gundulph, Bishop of Rochester, in the 11th century (in 1080 to be precise). There has been a church on the site since King Ethelbert build a small cathedral for Bishop Justus in 604.
Although the cathedral isn't huge, it is very impressive and certainly warrants a visit.
The graveyard outside is mentioned in several of Dickens' novels, and is also the final resting place of several of the Dorrit family, presumably the inspiration behind Little Dorrit.
Inside the Cathedral
The pulpitum screen separates the quire from the rest of the cathedral. Eight Saints and Bishops with connections to Rochester are depicted on it.
To the left of the door to the quire are (from left to right):
- St Andrew
- Ethelbert - Saint Ethelbert, King of Kent. Founded St Andrew's Abbey and the Cathedral in 604. Died in 616.
- Justus - St Justus of Canterbury. First bishop of Rochester from 604-624AD, when he was promoted to Archbishop of Canterbury. He consecrated St Paulinus (below). Died 627.
- Paulinus - St Paulinus of York. Bishop of Kent from 625 to 633, then Bishop of Rochester from 633 to his death in 644.
The right half of the screen depicts the following (from left to right):
- Gundulf - St Gundulf, first Norman Bishop of Rochester from 1077-1108. Responsible for (re)building Rochester's Cathedral, Castle and St Bart's Hospital.
- William of Hoo - Sacrist of Bury St Edmunds, 1280-94.
- Walter de Merton - Walter of Merton, Bishop of Rochester (1274-1277) and founder of Merton College, Oxford. Died after falling from his horse whilst fording the River Medway.
- John Fisher - St John Fisher. Bishop of Rochester 1504-1535. Beheaded on Tower Hill in 1535. This would have been where the Merchant Navy War Memorial is now, not in the grounds of the Tower of London - having your head chopped off there was generally reserved for royalty!