The beautiful chancel ceiling was added c.1500 by William Orchard. It is very similar to Orchard's elaborate stone carved lierne vaulted ceiling at the Divinity School in the Bodleian Library.
Christ Church Cathedral is the smallest cathedral in England and the seat of the Bishop of Oxford. It is unique in serving not only as a cathedral but as the chapel of Christ Church College.
What is today Christ Church Cathedral began as a Saxon monastic church founded in the 8th century by Frideswide, the patron saint of Oxford. Frideswide was a Saxon princess who committed herself to chastity and became a nun, fleeing the marital advances of King Algar of Mercia. Nothing remains of her original church, but a Saxon cemetery was recently discovered beneath the cloister.