I happened to walk into the cathedral just as an Octagon Tower tour was beginning and I jumped at the chance to join along. The tour is led by a guide and the groups are usually small...we had about 7 people in our group. Douglas, our guide, gave us all a great amount of information that I am going to try and remember for you all :)
Since I took so many pictures, I am going to share just the interior of the cathedral with you today....with a little history of course!
The history of the cathedral begins in 673 with Queen Etheldreda. She was born near Newmarket circa 633. After two arranged marriages, Etheldreda decided to become a nun...go figure! She and her aunt Ebbe founded a monastery in a restored church, which eventually became the current site of Ely Cathedral.
Etheldreda's monastery flourished for 200 years until it was destroyed by the Danes. It was refounded as a Benedictine community in 970.
The present day Cathedral began construction in the 11th century by Abbott Simeon. The church was named a cathedral in 1109. That's over 900 years old, if you're counting.
In 1322, after some unfortunate planning in building the Lady Chapel, the main tower collapsed. Luckily, no one was injured and the tower was rebuilt by 1340. Some of the damage remains however.
In 1539, Henry VII dissolved the Cathedral and destroyed many of the Cathedral's statues and carvings.of time between 1536 and 1541 was known as the Dissolution of the Monostaries. However, the Cathedral was restored in 1541. Silly Henry VII!!
Luckily, this guy is still here and he is fabulous!
There have been many renovations since then with the last one completed in 2000.
Ely Cathedral is truly the gem of the city. I am still in awe of the structure every time I pass it. If I was Kate, I would have chosen this Cathedral over Westminster Abbey any day :)
It truly is a special place to visit. The architecture is stunning and is such a joy for any photographer. Join me for the next post on the exterior and the tower tour...coming soon :)