Friday, November 6, 2015

ELY CATHEDRAL, Interior, Anglophile Friday

Nave, Ely Cathedral

Some weeks ago, my Anglophile Friday post contained photos of the exterior of Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire, England. Today we're finally inside, working our way from the nave to the altar. I'm hoping that the photos here are in the correct order. These are just a few of the photos, but we can't stay in Ely Cathedral forever (although it is tempting).


'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, Elly has an association with well known kings and 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.'

Ely Cathedral Crossing
Lantern and Ceiling of Quire

"When the dust had settled from the collapse of Ely’s Romanesque crossing tower in 1322, there was just a large open space where the crossing tower on its four great piers had been. Rather than replace the tower as it was, they decided to build an enormous octagonal lantern built over this open space. Now known as the Ely Octagon, it is one of the most spectacular spaces ever built in an English church.

"The lantern is supported on eight large stone piers formed out of the first pairs of piers of the nave, transepts, and rebuilt choir. Above this, the superstructure is made of timber, although it was carved and painted to look like stone. The timber–work was done by William Hurley, the king’s own carpenter. The wooden vaults joining the lantern to the piers are largely decorative and conceal the real supporting framework."

Ceiling in SW Transept

Rood Screen

Entrance to the Quire

From ElyCathedral.Org

"Etheldreda (Æthelthryth, Ediltrudis, Audrey) (d.679), queen, foundress and abbess of Ely. She was the daughter of Anna, king of East Anglia, and was born, probably, at Exning, near Newmarket in Suffolk. At an early age she was married (c.652) to Tondberht, ealdorman of the South Gyrwas, but she remained a virgin. On his death, c.655, 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, as in her previous marriage, but 12 years later he wished their marital relationship to be normal. Etheldreda, advised and aided by Wilfred, bishop of Northumbria, refused. Egfrith offered bribes in vain. Etheldreda left him and became a nun at Coldingham under her aunt Ebbe (672) and founded a double monastery at Ely in 673. (from FARMER, David: The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, 3rd ed. OUP, 1992.)" 

Admittedly, this is extremely a bit odd. Nevertheless, it's amazing to me that Ely Cathedral was founded in 673, back when buffalo were roaming the plains of what we now call the United States (and the British seem to want to call 'America.') :-)

I would be happy to spend a lot more time in Ely Cathedral. It was beautiful and awe inspiring.

Oddly, you don't hear of many people naming their daughter Etheldreda these days, do you.

 In the Quire

 Quire Floor

 Etheldreda Stone (r)

Ah, the missing year: A.D. 673

My favorite, again


This post is linked to
InSPIREd Sunday 


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Have a great weekend, everyone!



podso said...

That's history, AD 673. We don't know what old is on our country! You have done some beautiful work here with your photos. I love seeing the floor and the ceiling shots. What incredible work! Thank you! And have a nice weekend.

Liz@ HomeandGardeningWithLiz said...

Wow- what a beautiful Cathedral. It's hard to wrap your head around the idea that something built so long ago is still standing and in such beautiful condition. I enjoyed seeing all these pictures- thank you for sharing!

Linda Kay said...

My first question is whether it has become a museum as such or is still actively used for worship. So many of these historic structures are not just for the beauty, and they would be so much more beautiful if they were filled with the singing of believers.

Cranberry Morning said...

Oh my goodness, yes, Ely Cathedral, as well as all the other cathedrals we visited are alive and well and centers of worship and praise. And yes, it is sad that some smaller churches have become even restaurants, as some here have become day care centers. But Ely Cathedral is definitely in the business of worship.

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

We love Ely, CM. And your shots show it off a treat - as you do. You've crammed some good history in there too; England was going through a wave of Egg and Ethel kings at the time...followed by a wave of Danes - you know how it goes.

Tired Teacher said...

Wow! My jaw is gaping at the amazing images of this gorgeous building.

The floor tile work would make a lovely quilt.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Oh Judy, thank you for showing this cathedral---just magnificent! You must have been there with no visitors--great photos of open spaces inside!! I especially like the floor around the inscription --quilt work--very interesting. Thank you for the history behind Ely. Another reason to go back to England!!! ♥

Terri D said...

That name, Etheldreda, is indeed quite a mouthful!! I would love to be able to look through a crystal ball and visit the construction sites of these wonderful buildings from the 800-1000s, just to see how they could manage building such beautiful structures without the modern machinery of today. It blows my mind. And even more mind-boggling is that the buildings are still sound structures, while many buildings in 'America' are falling into ruin after a mere 100 years. Architecture fascinates me.

Heide at ApronHistory said...

Amazing! Love the history, quite the story.
Have you seen the show Restoration Home? (I watch it on youtube) The last one I saw had stained glass windows "borrowed" from a church at some point in it's history. Very interesting.

Lowcarb team member said...

Such an amazing History, and isn't Etheldreda a lovely and most unusual name!

Your photo's are lovely to look at - the stain glass windows beautiful.

Enjoy your weekend

All the best Jan

Maggie said...

Recently discovered your blog via Preppy Empty Nester. Thanks for today's post. Warmed my Episcopalian heart!

Susie said...

Judy, Thank you for all these lovely photos. I am always just in awe of the grandeur of cathedrals with such long history. Made by craftsmen for sure. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

carrie@northwoods scrapbook said...

LOve love love!! I'm so fascinated by the history when I can look right at the direct photos for better understanding (thanks to my dear friend Judy). Just the romance of it all - kings, cathedrals, the names...all of it is so awesome!! That lantern area i absolutely breathtaking. How did they ever make things like that back then??

Thanks for sharing and have a blessed weekend! xo

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

Absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures.

Debbie said...

Such a pretty place, you photographed it beautifully!!

eileeninmd said...

Good morning, it is a gorgeous cathedral. Your photos are lovely. Enjoy your weekend!

Vee said...

John and I have been most impressed with William Hurley's work. Just incredible.

Denise said...


Changes in the wind said...

Absolutely beautiful................

sweetbriardreams said...

This is a beautiful cathedral and we went there a couple of years ago (only in the next county for us), so your photos reminded me of the amazing structure of this place. Have a wonderful weekend xx

Lady Linda said...

I have never been to any place like this or been blessed to visit cathedrals, so thank you so very much for ALL you lovely pictures and the history lesson. It must be amazing to stand there and just soak in the glory of God. WOW.

Barbara said...

Amazing post and photography. My neck is almost tired from looking up to the ceiling of this stunningly beautiful cathedral. Thank you for taking us to this place I will probably never see with my own eyes.

As for people not naming their daughters Etheldreda, among other things, it is a mouthful to pronounce! (smile)

Pamela Gordon said...

Judy, this cathedral is so so beautiful. The 'lantern' is amazing to see. I've never heard that term before. Thanks for the visit inside this stunning building. Yes, how do you pronounce Etheldreda? I guess Ethel must be a shortened version of this name? And I imagine someone will find this name as 'something different' and name their girl that. And call her Ethel for short. :)

Debra Howard said...

Such beauty and I bet that music sounds amazing there too...sigh.

Carla from The River said...

Hi Judy,
I think you did an amazing job with your photos. A Coffee Table Book on the way. :-))

Are you able to attend worship at the cathedral weekly or only for special occasion?

Cranberry Morning said...

Daily services, Carla, including a beautiful Evensong service about 5PM

Ruth Kelly said...

The cathedrals in England are so gigantic. I only saw the one in York and ruins of others but wow!

Tom said...

What a gorgeous cathedral.

TexWisGirl said...

older than our dirt. ;) love the sweeping high walls and ceiling.

Elizabeth Edwards said...

gorgeous pipes, the ceilings, the stain glass ... what is not to love. it is all so gorgeous!! ( :

RedPat said...

Wow - I have stayed near there in Norfolk but never been to the cathedral and the next time over there I will make a point of seeing it! Great shots!

Billy Blue Eyes said...

Wow that place is stunning. I have seen the cathedral from afar while driving across the fens but really would like the chance to visit Never heard Choir spelt Quire before. We also call the area after the rood screen the Chancel. Great tour thanks for taking the time to show us

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

Stunning pictures!

Jaśmin said...

You showed magnificent Duomo.
These murals are phenomenal.

Bethany Carson said...

Etheldreda had an interesting (and quite strange) story for sure. The Cathedral is breathtaking. I almost don't think I'd mind "staying there forever," except forever is a very long time. In any case it would take a while to absorb all this beauty. Definitely a place I'd love to visit, but seeing your photos is the next best thing. Thank you so much for sharing!

genie said...

This is a gorgeous cathedral. The stone is SO white. Your series of pictures are totally captivating. Beautiful.


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