The oldest part of Southwell Minster dates back to 627 but the main Norman reconstruction work of an Anglo-Saxon church into a Minster began in 1108 and was complete by 1150. The octagonal chapter house, built in 1286 complete with vault in Decorated Gothic style and naturalistic carving of foliage (a masterpiece of 13th century stonecarving including several Green Men), completed the cathedral. The Minster was built partly as an attached church of the Archbishop of York's Palace (which stood next door and is now ruined). It served the Archbishop as a place of worship and was also a collegiate body of theological learning, hence its designation as a minster.
The Minster received extensive damage during the English Civil War and later on by fire, and intermitant restoration ensued throughout the Victorian period.
The Minster did not become a cathedral proper for Nottinghamshire until 1884.