Larry and I have just had a few wonderful days away in Ely, Cambridgeshire – enjoying the Spring weather and visiting the gorgeous cathedral there.
‘The Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Ely is the principal church of the diocese of Ely and is the seat of the Anglican Bishop of Ely. Highly visible from every direction across the surrounding flat fenland, it has been called ‘Ship of the Fens’ for centuries, although there was a time in the 17th Century during the English Civil War that it was also dubbed ‘Cromwell’s Castle’.
Construction of the Cathedral began in 1081 when the monks of Ely finally submitted to the Norman Conquest after five years of resistance led by Hereward the Wake. Though dedicated to God, it was a symbol of Norman authority and remains today a remarkable example of Norman architecture, from the original Romanesque features to early English pointed windows and emerging Gothic style.’
‘The Church achieved Cathedral status at the beginning of the 12th Century and there have been additions, changes and restorations throughout the centuries since then, in the 13th Century, the Galilee porch of limestone and Purbeck marble was added to the west front entrance and the Cathedral’s east end was extended using the same type of materials.’
Ely has always been a special place to me because when I was 27 years old, I came to live here for two years. It was a very happy time in my life and felt like being on holiday. At the time I was living in Ely, we had two little boys already – one of four and the other of 7 months and apart from my immediate family, I knew no-one else. I used to visit the Cathedral regularly; in the summertime to keep cool and in the winter-time to get warmed up because the weather in Ely can be very extreme.
The surrounding countryside is very flat, which gives rise to some vicious winds not least of which is the Fen Blow, which whips up the black alluvial soil into dark clouds which scud across the landscape looking like a witch’s cape.
‘Disaster struck n the 14th Century when the original central Norman tower collapsed. It was replaced with the Octagon that we see today, see picture no. 2 above, a structure unique in European cathedral architecture. Made of stone, it is topped with a wooden lantern rising from its centre.’
The next picture shows a view of Ely from the south aspect, from the park leading down to the river. It’s very picturesque in all its stately splendour isn’t it?
Now that the weather is getting better, Larry and I are looking forward to spending some more days away and of course I will come back on here and share them with you.
Enjoy your Sunday
‘…’ from The Ely Map