Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ely Cathedral

Ely Cathedral exterior. There were so many
interesting aspects of this cathedral, I'll spare
you the usual views of rose windows, organs,
screens, etc.The cathedral was begun in the
late 11th century. Ely is northeast of
Interior; it is a large cathedral. The ceiling is
painted, scenes from the life and background
of Jesus, covering the nave.

There is a maze at the west entrance.

Note the entwined arches, seen throughout the building;

kind of a Celtic allusion?
The abbey was founded by Saint Etheldreda, a 7th century
Anglo-Saxon queen. It became such a popular pilgrimage
site, that the bishop, in the 13th century, decided to add on
a "lady hall" to accommodate the pilgrims. But building the
lady hall undermined the foundation of the crossing, and
the huge tower, right at the center of the building, collapsed.
(Ely is in the Fens, high water table, marshy, even today in
places.) The crossing tower was rebuilt as an octagon, the
only of its kind.

Looking up at octagonal crossing from nave
Looking up into octagon, many stories above
Looking up into octagon, many stories above
One pretty good window
The lady hall, eventually built in the 14th century,
adjoined the north transept.
Fan vaulting in the Lady Hall
Interior of the lady hall.
The contemporary statue of the Virgin,
unveiled in 2000 (the Prince of Wales was
present), was derived from the Shreck
movies, we think.
Ely Cathedral also houses the national stained glass museum, which we toured...many informative exhibits on history, techniques, interpretation.

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