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Ely Cathedral   from their website:

Highly regarded by historians and architects from all over the world for its beauty and size, Ely Cathedral is the only UK building to be listed as one of the “Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages”.   Visible for miles around, the Cathedral is often referred to as “The Ship of the Fens”.

The city of Ely may be small in comparison to other cities but its Cathedral is a magnificent structure with a history dating back over 1300 years. Despite its remoteness, Ely has an association with well known Kings & Saints who have shaped our history:  King Canute, William the Conqueror, Hereward the Wake, Henry III, Edward III, Queen Phillipa and Oliver Cromwell.

The near-legendary founder of this Cathedral was Etheldreda, the wife of a Northumbrian king who established a monastery on the spot in 673 A.D. Etheldreda's monastery flourished for 200 years until it was destroyed by the Danes. It was re-founded as a Benedictine community in 970.

The present structure dates from 1081 and is a remarkable example of both Romanesque and Norman architecture. It was during the early part of the 12th Century the existing monastic church achieved Cathedral status and since that time there have been various additions, changes and restorations throughout the centuries.

In 1986 the “Great Restoration” began, costing over £12 million and it was completed triumphantly in 2000. The Cathedral therefore began the 21st century with confidence and beautifully restored, to the delight and astonishment of numerous visitors it welcomes every year from all over the world.

The Cathedral's role today is not so far removed from its days as a Benedictine monastery. Living up to its mission statement of “Worship, Welcome & Cares”, Ely offers regular daily worship with a special emphasis on choral music. The Cathedral still maintains a resident choir of 22 choristers and 6 lay clerks and so continues the tradition of choral evensong every day of the week during term time.

As well as being a key visitor attraction, Ely serves as a cultural focal point for East Anglia by providing a unique venue for the arts & music, for exhibitions, concerts and theatre. Most recently Ely has become a prominent film location for some epic films including Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Other Boleyn Girl and The King's Speech.

We visited with The Arts Society of St. Albans in a luxurious new coach from Barnett's Coaches called Miss Jessica

gps map of the photographs

We arrived in dull weather and had a welcoming coffee in The Almonry

Distorted wide angle view

Ely Cathedral

The Almonry was beautifully lit.   We enjoyed tea or coffee and biscuits

Ely Cathedral from near the Almonry


Meridiana by Helaine Blumenfeld
Inside the Cathedral

High ISOs, shallow depth of field and camera shake so pictures not up to much

Meridiana (bronze)

The ceiling

Bishop James Russell Woodford

A small dragon at his feet

La Gioia

Tree of Life

Tree of Life


Chair patterns



The Lady Chapel was full of light;  neither of these pictures give the correct radiant effect


Exodus II   (Bronze)

Destiny II   (Wood)


RAF Standards 112 Squadron- one has an Egyptian cat in the centre "A cat sejant"

St. Ethelreda


St Etheldreda (Æthelthryth, Ediltrudis, Audrey) (d.679), queen and abbess of Ely.   She was the daughter of Anna, king of East Anglia.  At an early age she was married to Tondberht, ealdorman of the South Gyrwas, but remained a virgin.   On his death she retired to the Isle of Ely, her dowry.  In 660, for political reasons, she was married to Egfrith, the young king of Northumbria who was then only 15 years old and several years younger than her.   He agreed that she should remain a virgin but 12 years later he wished their marital relationship to be normal.   Etheldreda refused and left him and became a nun and founded a monastery at Ely in 673.   Etheldreda restored an old church at Ely and built her monastery on the site of what is now Ely Cathedral.   After its restoration in 970 by Ethelwold it became the richest abbey in England except for Glastonbury due to pilgrims visiting her shrine as her body had been found uncorrupted and she was Sanctified.   Etheldreda's monastery flourished for 200 years until it was destroyed by the Danes.   It was refounded as a Benedictine community in 970.

Side chapel

Guliemus Selwyn

Robert Steward

Sir Mark Steward

Under the tower

Stick people - the area hosted a violin concert

Meridiana (bronze)

Lovely house on the green

Weather improved slightly

Some handsome bikes

In shop windows

We had a good lunch here

Pity about the car

A gantry for putting boats in and out of the water

Ely Eel Day is an annual celebration to celebrate the city's namesake — the eel. The celebrations start with a parade which begins from Cross Green outside the cathedral and proceeds through the city to the Jubilee Gardens, passing the Market Square and along the River Great Ouse at Ely's Waterside.

Celebrations following the parade include an eel throwing competition. The competition does not use real eels. Originally competitors were given socks rolled into some tights with rice in the end to weight it down, but now the competition uses specially made toy eels. Other events on Eel Day include an annual competition for Town Criers.

Eel Day is traditionally held on the Saturday, of the May Bank Holiday weekend.

Bulgy building

Animal lawnmower


Pity about the cars

Boots, boots...


Fine gargoyle

Oliver Cromwell's House

Better view

Old Palace - Six Form Centre


Spiders'' webs

Modern cross

We looked around the Stained Glass Exhibition staged in the cathedral
Stained Glass


Peasant Figure

c. 1340-9

Lady Chapel, Ely Cathedral

Bird quarry

De Vere Badge

The two Marys

King David by William de Morgan

Fox and goose


The priest and the Levite from the parable of the Good Samaritan

Fathers of the church by Reuben Bennett

The Duke of Clarence as St George

Suffer the little children by Henry Holiday

Ministering to the sick by Henry Holiday

Tristan and Isolde

Hammer and Tongs

Typography Panel by Moira Forsyth

Commerce 1923 by Leonard Walker

The Assumption of the Virgin Mary by John Hungerford Pollen

Monkey Vice Panels from Tenier's paintings

Virgin and Christ Child

Siren by Pauline Boty

Fragment by Geoffrey Clarke

Inner Space by Paul San Casciani

The Temptation of St Anthony by Patrick Reyntiens

Five Victorian Studios

Sure Enough the Duck


Lovely dogs

We had a tea and coffee in the Minster Tavern and then returned to the bus for an uncomplicated journey home.