Many visitors would be astonished to find such a grand statement of Gothic Revival architecture in the relatively small city of Fredericton. The building is the result of one man's vision: John Medley, the first Bishop of the Diocese. Medley, who arrived in Fredericton from Exeter, England, in 1845, was devoted to the Medieval Gothic style, and brought with him the English architect Frank Wills, who modeled the new cathedral after the 14th Century St. Mary's Church at Snettisham in Norfolk.
The cornerstone was laid on October 15, 1845, and final construction was completed in 1853, with the service of consecration held on August 11.
The tower of the Cathedral was the last major part to be constructed. The original plans called for a twin tower design, but soaring construction costs led to the choice of a single tower. At one point construction ground to a halt as a result of a lack of funds. Three women from England took it upon themselves to start a fundraising to assist with the construction. They each donated the significant sum (for the time) of $ 500. This lead to significant funds being raised to complete the church. the three women are commemorated on a pillar near the Sanctuary.
The original design was published in the Illustrated London News in 1849.
On July 3, 1911, lightning struck the Cathedral and the resulting fire gutted the spire and destroyed the choir when the bells melted and fell to earth. It took over a year and $100,000 to rebuild the Cathedral. On August 12, 1912, Bishop Richardson led a re-dedication of for the restored building. The newly constructed spire rises to 198 feet.
Entering the West Door of the Cathedral, visitors are at once transformed by the reverant elegance of a magnificant house of worship in Revived Gothic style. Excited voices instinctively drop to hushed whispers. A spacious nave of carved stone and stained glass extends towards the decorated High Altar. Here, the early morning sun strikes the great East Window, setting it ablaze in glowing color. From its gleaming panes, the crucified Lord and six apostles oversee the sanctuary.