Thursday, 14 May 2009

Ely Cathedral

Yesterday Mom and I headed out in East England. We had plans to start out and Denny Abbey, then head to a Stained Glass museum in Ely, then head over to Framlingham Castle. The Abbey was closed when we got there, so we headed over to Ely.

We got to Ely Cathedral and just expected to walk around the Stained Glass Museum for a few minutes and head on to Framlingham. Wrong. The Cathedral was amazing! We had so much fun walking around. When we walked up to the front of it, there were tons of baby ducks walking around. They were so tame, they came right up to us and let us pet them.

The Cathedral

Ely Cathedral was founded as a monastery in 673 By St. Etheldreda. It was destroyed by the Danes in 870 and then re-founded as a Benedictine Community in 970. It became a Cathedral in 1109 and Henry VIII closed the Monastery in 1539 during the reformation, during which time, he ordered parts of the church to be destroyed. His people removed the paintings from the walls and smashed and destroyed some of the sculptures and windows.

The Front Door from the inside

One of the Stained Glass windows and some of the old flags

Up on the 2nd level. That center Octagon in the middle of the church is where a tower used to stand. In 1322 the center tower fell and crumbled to the floor leaving a gaping hole in the ceiling. So, the Octagonal Lantern was built in its place.

Close up of the window

The View from outside

The inside of the Octagon in the middle of the church. Its a feat of engineering, especially for Medieval times. Its made completely of timber and its all braced against itself. To erect it, they had to build it on the ground, take it apart and haul each individual piece up onto the scaffolding, which held it up until the 16 large pieces of timber were put in place. The trees that they used for the main braces they think are over 1000 years old now, since they were upwards of 70 feet tall when they cut them down to use them as the main support. It took 18 years to finish and is over 60 feet high.

Looking into the Octagon

The Roof of the Octagon

Looking down from 60 feet

Mom on the other side of the Octagon

Looking down again

Outside on the roof

The view from the roof

Mom...trying not to freak out on the roof (we were 70 feet off the ground)

Looking through part of the roof

The TINY sprialing staircase (we had to go up something like 150 steps like this)

Mom coming out of the little door... I swear, the Monks must have been TINY when they built this place

The Lady Chapel

The Altar. The Statue of the Virgin Mary is a new statue that was comissioned for the Millenium by David Wynne.

Here in the Lady chapel, you can see the damage done by Henry VIII and the Reformation

The Window at the Altar

The altar in the Cathedral

One of the tombs...I like how this guy's hanging out like

Mom, shocked at how high up we were!

The outside. We were up where the arrow is pointing


  1. I'm soo enjoying your tour of Europe,pictures and comments alike. Maybe you could become a "travel writer". I'm so glad your Mom could join you. I had an incredible chance to tour Northern Europe last summer (Copenhagen,Berlin,St Petersburg,Oslo,Stockholm) on a cruise and my favorite parts were all of the wonderful cathedrals. We think we have history at 300 years.I can't wait for Kellea and Aaron to see it all. (Kellea's Grandma)

  2. Thank you Linda!!! I cant wait for Kellea and Aaron to come out and visit too! I miss her!