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Saturday, 22 October 2011

Ely Cathedral – The Ship of The Fens


The Lantern Tower


Just one of the beautiful stained glass windows in the Cathedral.

I have wanted to visit Ely Cathedral for a very long time, and was thrilled when my husband took me up there in July. We left home early one morning and arrived in Ely about 11.30. The Cathedral appears across the Fens as you drive towards the city, looking exactly like a ship which is the reason for its nickname.


The front of the Cathedral.

A lovely place for a picnic on a sunny day.


The main door into the building.


We drove into the first car park we came too because the navigator (me) missed the turning to the Park and Ride….imagine our surprise to find that, not only is Ely a tiny little city but the car parking is free, which made a good start to our day. We could see the Cathedral over the rooftops so we walked into the City Centre. Ely (Island of the Eels) has a very peaceful atmosphere, and because of its size bears no resemblance to any other city that I know.


The sight that greets you as you enter the Cathedral.


A side Chapel with wonderful flags many of them very old.


I am standing under the Lantern Tower here looking back to the entrance.


One of the side aisles – the roof was brightly painted at one stage.

A cup of coffee was the most important thing on the agenda, we found a lovely little cafe, which backed onto the Cathedral Green, so we could feast our eyes while satisfying our thirst!!



You can just see the remains of the ceiling painting in this photo.


Just breath taking!


Wonderful ceiling decoration.

The Cathedral is a wonderful building with two towers, the Octagon Tower and the  West Tower. Originally there was a Norman Central Tower which fell down in 1322 and was replaced by The Octagon Tower, which is an unique structure, and is awe inspiring to see.


The modern cross at the West end of the Cathedral, showing the irregular path that each of us takes through life.


Looking up, the South West transept, wonderful architecture.



An amazing Norman archway.

We spent some time wandering around the Cathedral and booked the tour round the Octagon Tower for later in the day. The tours round the West Tower were going to be too late for us, so sadly we did not get to see that tower, but we were assured that the Octagon Tower was the best one to go round.


Looking through The Choir to the main Altar.


The Altar.


Looking back to the entrance from the Altar. You can just see where the Octagon Tower is at the top of this photo, more about that in the next blog.


The pulpit.


Looking down the South Choir Aisle towards the entrance.

As usual with my blogs I am going to let my photos so the talking, but I have decided to do two blogs on this amazing building, the next blog will show you the inside (and outside) of the Lantern Tower, as we go on a tour.


The Lady Chapel, the largest Lady Chapel I have seen, and it is the largest one attached to any British cathedral.


The doorway from the Lady Chapel, looking along the Processional Way which leads back into the main part of the Cathedral.


beautifully enclosed spiral staicase.


The organ in the Choir.


By the Altar.


The carving above The Prior’s Door


And one of the two figures guarding the doorway.


  1. extremely ornate and rather intimidating! :)

  2. Poppy, all I can say is wow, what a fantastic and ornate building. I would have a field day in there, and on the outside of the building.

  3. WOW !!!How beautiful is Ely Cathedral !! I really don't like the modern cross though - I can appreciate its meaning, but it's just not my cup of tea. Loved the enclosed spiral staircase, the windows & everything else. Good tour, thank you, Ma'am !! :o))

  4. We went to Ely Cathedral a few years ago and found it such a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing these and helping me to relive my memories.

  5. What a beautiful cathedral, we are so lucky in Britain with the wealth of architecture we have, and surprisingly lots still intact through all the various wars. Stunning. look forward to seeing the next lot.

  6. So fantastic!!! I love the ceilings :-)

  7. What a beautiful place! Love that stained glass!

  8. Wow that is truly amazing I think I would have been quite over whelmed by it all Poppy. Great shots really lovely look forward to seeing the rest of your shots . Hugs Sheila :) xx

  9. I've just returned home to North Carolina, USA, after visiting my family in Ely, and attending a christening in the Lady Chapel at Ely Cathedral. I stumbled across your blog while looking for pictures... Thank you for such a magnificent "tour" of such a stunning and inspiring place.
    Greensboro, NC

    1. Glad you enjoyed your time in Ely Judy, I think it is a beautiful place, and the Cathedral just took my breath away :) Thank you for your kind comments, I hope you found the other blog on the Cathedral too, showing the inside and outside of the Octagonal Tower. Sending best wishes to NC :)