There has been Christian worship in this location since Osric, an Anglo-Saxon prince founded a religious house in 678-9 A.D. It is believed a Benedictine order was founded here in the 11th C. At the time of the Norman Conquest, the monastery was not flourishing but in 1072, William the Conqueror appointed a monk from Mont St. Michel in Normandy named Serlo who energetically raised enough money to build the splendid church we see today starting in 1089.
Gloucester Abbey had extensive landholdings in Gloucestershire and South Wales and many royal connections. In 1216, King Henry III was crowned in the church. In 1327, King Edward II died under suspicious circumstances in Berkeley Castle. He was buried in the Abbey with an elaborate shrine. Popular devotion to King Edward II led to royal patronage and funds, allowing the Cathedral to be extensively remodeled. There was to be further remodeling in the 15th C.
King Henry VIII began the Dissolution of the Monasteries in January 1540. The Abbey became Gloucester Cathedral and was no longer a community of monks. In 1555, Bishop Hooper was burned at the stake here. Under Oliver Cromwell, the Cathedral came under consideration for demolition but the Mayor and burgesses of the City of Gloucester intervened and saved the building. After the restoration of the Monarchy, the building has been conserved and renovated through the centuries.