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Ely Cathedral









Ely's pre-Henry VIII shrine was dedicated to Saint Etheldreda (c630 - 679 (49)) - Queen of Northumbria  and later founder Abbess of the double monastery / convent at Ely.  Over the centuries the shrine became a major regional pilgrimage centre, but in the end was destroyed in 1538 by officers from Henry VIII's Commission for the Destruction of Shrines. 


The present Abbey / Cathedral (from 1109) was begun in 1082, but most of today's buildings are 100 years or (much) more younger.  The crossing tower collapsed in 1322, and was replaced by an unusual octagonal window structure through which light pours down into the crossing.  The lop sided appearance of the west front is down to the fact that the north side of the west transept collapsed in the late 1400s and was not rebuilt.  Much of the statuary and medieval stained glass ("the poor man's bible") was smashed on the orders of a 1500s Bishop.  The remaining monastic buildings were definitively flattened and disappeared by Ollie Cromwell's men in the mid 1600s.


Despite all these woes (which were not unique to Ely), the inside of the cathedral is a beautiful space to experience, and if it's romanesque that you're after, there is still quite a bit around - as you can see from this web page.

The Old English Cathedrals





Link to Ely Cathedral Website



The area where the cloisters and monastic buildings would have been is now a featureless sealed surface car park, the one remaining monastic / Romanesque gem being the Prior's doorway into the south side of the nave (right).

Ely has a lerge number of misericords froim the 1500s, but team Paradox were having an indiferent (not on a roll) day and missed them .... a pity because there is a particularly good banishment from Eden scene and others like men playing dice which are also fun - luckily you can see them all here!




Sadly we missed  Prior Cruden's Chapel - the floor tiles c1324 include this mosaic of Eve.  The photo comes from the excellent little book below.







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