Ely Cathedral

Jan Leeming

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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 20th December 2013

ELY CATHEDRAL My next stop was to see my sister in Berkshire and, as my route took me very close to Ely, I thought it a good idea to make a slight detour and pay a visit. I'm so glad I did. Knowing nothing about the Cathedral, I was totally taken aback by it's famous Lantern tower. Apparently, at one stage in it's history about 700 years ago, the monks decided they wished to build a large and beautiful chapel to the Virgin Mary. Ely is virtually an island surrounded by marshland and the monks didn't take account of the maxim that 'a vacuum has to be filled'. As they excavated the site for their building, water drained away from under the Cathedral and started to fill the building site. This, of course, led to instability for the rest of the building and the massive tower collapsed. They were left with a huge void of some 70 feet and no way could they rebuild a stone edifice to cover it. Instead they constructed a very clever Lantern tower made of wood - well to be accurate - massive oak beams. It would be well nigh impossible for me to try to explain the beauty of the tower and, until I return to the UK I can't put up any photos either. However I did undertake the 170 steps up to the tower to look at its construction and marvel at how well it has stood the test of time. The monks did eventually build their Lady Chapel and it is one of the largest in the land, badly desecrated by the Puritans in 1642, but still an impressive site. I was on a tight schedule so there wasn't time to visit Cromwell's home - maybe another time.


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