England is very lucky to have so many splendid ancient cathedrals; some in unlikely places, such as the above.
This cathedral, in its current form, was established in 970; the same date as its accompanying school.
It is built with stone imported from Barnack in Northamptonshire. The quarry was owned by Peterborough Abbey, to whom the builders paid 8,000 Eels per annum. (Ely was named after its waterways filled with Eels; now mostly fished to extinction)
It's a very large cathedral, and its octagonal Lantern Tower (lit in blue) is a miracle of medieval building. As spectacular from the exterior as the interior, its illogical method of construction is still something of a mystery to today's architects.
It's the one building that has influenced my life more than any other. I look at the above image in awe.
If you're passing nearby, pop in; it's well worth a visit.
What a wonderful building and even by English standards 970 AD is quite old.ReplyDelete
It certainly is. I was at the school I mentioned, which is one of the oldest in the world.Delete
Interesting idea that one building "has influenced my life more than any other". Pray tell.ReplyDelete
I went there daily for about four years. I loved it. Even seeing pictures of it makes me 'tingle'.Delete
Fabulous, isn't it. I really should have credited the photographer (but I don't know who that is).Delete
I've now found him. The photographer's name is James Billings, and apparently the Lantern Tower was illuminated in blue to show gratitude to all the NHS workers.Delete
What a wonderful old cathedral. Wish I could visit and sit inside for a whileReplyDelete
It has a wonderful atmosphere, and it's usually empty; other than a few choristers.Delete
It has taken over as my favourite cathedral, knocked Norwich off the top spot, since my extended visit in December last year. I can feel what you are saying.ReplyDelete
It's an odd feeling, but every time I see a photo of it I feel elated.Delete
What a wonderful photograph ....... Cambridge and Ely aren’t far from me so have visited often. Our son was a chorister and has sung there and at many cathedrals in the UK. XXXXReplyDelete
They have a girl's choir there now, which is very good. The school was boys only for its first 1,000 years.Delete
I see these magnificent buildings and never cease to be amazed as to how they built them so long ago? The scale and precision would be extremely difficult even with todays equipment and methods.ReplyDelete
These days it's more a question of money; to build them would be exorbitantly expensive. The Hindu Temple in Brent is a great example, but all the carving was done in India; even so the accuracy involved for assembling it all in London was amazing.Delete
Agree that 1,000 years ago money was not perhaps so important, neither was time, some of them must have taken decades to complete. What amazes me is how they did it? Some of the stone pieces at the pinnacles must weigh tons, how did they get them up there?Delete
In the Cathedrals programme on BBC a few years ago it was illustrated that the building of Ely Cathedral was not without major calamities during and after construction.Delete
One part of the West front fell down; you can see the gaping hole in the photo.Delete
I have visited Ely Cathedral. The town stands like an island in The Fens. As you suggest the church is partly testament to the wealth that was accrued from eels in the middle ages. England's accessible waterways must have been teeming with eels in those days. I guess it would have been the same in France.ReplyDelete
I like Jellied Eels, but most people seem to think they're ghastly. Eel was a very popular fish in ancient times; probably because they were so readily available and so numerous, rather like Oysters.Delete
I am one of those people who think eels are "ghastly", Cro. It's not the eels' fault. It's just that their body shape reminds me of snakes. And we all know about snakes and paradise. Which hasn't stopped my life long love affair with apples.Delete
Anyway, and to feed into YP's recent mentioning of Freud: Once upon a time, I and my youngest sister stayed with my grandfather (an avid angler in his spare time). I was twelve or something, my sister barely out of her nappies. The two of us shared a bed. Next to which was a basin where my beloved grandfather kept fish alive and well till it was time for the kill. One morning I woke (my sister doesn't know about this since she mercifully was asleep and unperturbed) to find two eels between the two of us. Yes, alive. Probably as startled as I was. I didn't scream. I went into big sister mode and put the buggers back where they belonged. But by golly … As accidental as it was, Freud would have loved a picture of two virgins with a couple of eels wriggling.
That's a hell of a story Ursula! Thanks for sharing it. And remember how the old war song went..."Eel meat again/ Don't know where don't know when/ But I know eel meet again some sunny day!"Delete
I'm surprised you didn't run, and were never seen again. I'm not keen on Snakes.... if I found one of them in my bed!!!Delete
A close friend's father was the Rector of Warboys and a Canon of Ely. When I stayed there (Warboys) it was quite an eye opener after an upbringing in Liverpool. However they do both have magnificent cathedrals although, to be honest, I can recall little of my tour of Ely over half a century ago.ReplyDelete
If you'd visited in the early 60's, you might well have been given a tour by me! I wasn't an official guide, but used to show visitors interesting things that they might otherwise have missed.Delete
The Cathedral is magnificent and the photographer did a beautiful job in showing it.ReplyDelete
It's a wonderful photo; the same photographer has done several others.Delete
Beautiful! I love the blue color they chose for the lights in the tower....ReplyDelete
Yes, it looks stunning.Delete
It’s a very impressive cathedral as I recall. The cathedrals of Ely and St David’s Pembrokeshire are the two that have impressed me the most. Thanks for your comment about the cat. I’ve left a reply there for you.ReplyDelete
I've never visited St David's. I've seen pictures, of course, but never actually been there. A major fault on my behalf.Delete