In England, by the end of the fifteenth century, the great cathedral building frenzy of the Middle Ages was over, although the construction of chantry chapels such as Henry VII’s superb edifice at Westminster Abbey continued. With the Dissolution of the Monasteries, a number of the great Benedictine Abbeys, such as Durham, Worcester and Peterborough were converted to cathedrals for the new bishoprics that the Reformation produced.

In Scotland before the Reformation, there were fewer cathedrals – a reflection of a smaller, and poorer, population. The two most important were the Cathedral of St Mungo (or St Kentigern), in Glasgow, and the Cathedral of St Andrew, in Fife. Following the Reformation, the main reformed Church of Scotland largely rejected the notion of Bishops, and therefore, cathedrals, in the strict sense of being the seat of a Bishop, no longer existed. Some of the former cathedrals continued as churches, but many fell into disrepair.