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Ely Cathedral

History

Blessed Sacrament windowIn 673 Etheldreda, Queen of Northumbria, founded a monastery on the Fenland Isle of Ely and was Abbess there until her death in 679.

Today, worship and music still play a central role in Cathedral life and visitors continue to come from all parts of the world, just as they have done for centuries.

 

Architecture

Work began on the present building in 1081, under the guidance of Abbot Simeon, and was completed by 1189. The Cathedral is a fine example of Romanesque architecture and is set within the walls of the Benedictine Monastery. A walk around the Cathedral precincts reveals that Ely has the largest collection of medieval domestic buildings still in use in England.

Attractions

In addition to a look around the Cathedral (during which time you may like to join a guided tour, or simply to explore the building in your own time) there is the opportunity to visit the Shop, Refectory and Almonry Restaurant, do a brass rubbing, take a tour of the Octagon Tower* or ascent the West Tower* or tour the College buildings and Prior Crauden’s Chapel which remains a symbol of the Cathedral’s monastic past. (* Separate charge)

Local Interest

Other attractions in Ely include Oliver Cromwell's House (also home of the Ely Tourist Information Centre), the Ely Museum and the waterside area, including an extensive antiques market.