Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire

Full dedication: Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity and St. Etheldreda
Became a Cathedral in 1109.

The oft-called "Ship of the Fens", Ely Cathedral dominates the flat landscape of northern Cambridgeshire.  Its design is quite unique in English Cathedral architecture.

A monastery was formed here in 673 by Etheldreda, a 33-year old Saxon princess.  Four hundred years later Hereward the Wake made his famed last stand against the Norman invaders here at which time Ely was still an island in the swampy Fen landscape. The building of the Cathedral commenced in 1083 and was mostly completed by 1189.

The original Norman tower collapsed in 1322 and was replaced by the distinctive Lantern Tower, a feature unique to Ely.

As Cromwell's "local Cathedral" Ely suffered badly during the Commonwealth and many repairs were necessary afterwards, particularly to the interior fixtures and fittings.

Today Ely allows access to the South Gallery where there is a superb exhibition of stained glass and unusual perspectives down to the Nave.  All in all Ely is one of the most rewarding English Cathedrals to visit.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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