Inside a medieval lantern – Ely Cathedral

On my last visit down south I was fortunate enough to visit Ely Cathedral, near Cambridge, which had been on my ‘to-do-list’ for quite some time. And what a magnificent building it is.

Ely1Work on the present cathedral began in the 11th but there had been a monastery since the Anglo-Saxon times founded by Etheldreda, daughter of Anna, king of East Anglia. In 1109 the monastic church became a cathedral and the Diocese of Ely was created.

Ely2Ely Cathedral is probably most famous for its Octagon and medieval lantern. In February 1322 the Norman central crossing tower collapsed. Instead of replacing it, it was enlarged to an octagonal tower with a large glazed timber lantern. You can take a tour up there which I wholeheartedly recommend.

Ely25The Lady Chapel and the cathedral itself have been used as filming locations (Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Other Boleyn Girl, The King’s Speech for example) so some pictures might look slightly familiar.

I’m going to stop boring you with more facts now, let’s just take a look around. Why don’t we start inside?

Ely ceiling

The paintings on the ceiling are actually Victorian

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The Prior’s Door. This twelfth-century carved door way connected the Cathedral to the medieval cloister.

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Looking right up into the lantern on top of the octagonal tower

Time to climb some steps and take a closer look at this marvel of medieval architecture.

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The timber beams holding everything in place. How did they manage to get them up here in one piece?

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Looking down into the cathedral

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This is where we are actually.

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Even up here the love and craftsmanship that has gone into the paintings and windows is astonishing.

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The outside of the lantern.

The Lady Chapel is quite a contrast to the interior of the cathedral as it is very light and airy.

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Sorry, my camera was struggling a bit. Just imagine more white and light…

Ely16 Ely17 Ely18 Ely19After a nice cuppa in the tearoom it was back out into the cold again and have a walk around the cathedral and Ely itself.

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The West Tower which is higher than the Octagon. You can take guided tours up there, too.

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The cathedral on the left with the Lady Chapel on the right.

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4 thoughts on “Inside a medieval lantern – Ely Cathedral

  1. Wow..this is epic. I’m on a crazy tear right now trying to visit everyone who visited me during the last 2 months. Be flattered when I say this is the type of post I linger over. Your intelligence and curiosity shines through AND you take me someplace I’ve never been. I’d be more interested in things specifically Welsh too. Consider it a request from America. I love blogs of place. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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