There has been a parish church on or near the site of the Cathedral since the late Anglo Saxon or early Norman period.
It was in 1421 that the parish church of the little known village that was to become Manchester was raised to the status of a Collegiate Church (a church served by resident canons). It was elevated to Cathedral status in 1847 and dedicated to St Mary, St Denys and St George.
An extremely large number of marriages were performed at the Cathedral, mainly due to the fact that if a couple from the parish of Manchester opted to get married elsewhere, then they would have to pay 2 sets of fees!
Manchester was a very large parish with an influx of inhabitants in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The Potato famine in Ireland and the Industrial Revolution were major causes of this population explosion.
There are accounts of couples waiting to get married in the Cathedral and getting involved in drunken arguments and fights – not only with each other but with other couples.
The building sustained a direct hit during the Manchester blitz of December 1940 and it took nearly twenty years to repair all of the damage. The Cathedral became a Grade 1 listed building in 1952.