Ely Cathedral Facts

Ely Cathedral Facts
Ely Cathedral's history began in Cambridgeshire city of England in 673 AD. as a monastery. It became a cathedral in the 12th century. Its full name is ‘The Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Ely'. The monastery was founded by Saint Etheldreda, and when she died there was a shrine built in her honor. In the 9th century it was destroyed by Danish invasions. A new monastery was built in 970. It was rebuilt as a cathedral in the 10th century and that building still stands today.
Interesting Ely Cathedral Facts:
The only surviving structure of the earlier monastery is ‘Ovin's stone', the base of an 8th century cross.
Saint Etheldreda had married one prince, who died. She then married a second prince, but ended that marriage to become a nun. It's thought that the land she built the first monastery at Ely was given to her by her second husband.
The Ely Cathedral is 573 feet long. The nave (the central part of the church where people sit) is 250 feet long. This is the longest nave in Britain.
Ely Cathedral was built in the shape of a cross. It was constructed of stone and marble.
The cathedral is also known as the ‘Ship of Fens'. It got this nickname because of its prominent shape as well as the fact that the landscape surrounding the cathedral is flat and watery.
In February 1322 a part of the building collapsed. When it was redesigned for the rebuilding of the damaged part, it included an octagon shaped tower.
There are various styles in the cathedral including ancient Romanesque/Norman, early English and Gothic as well as Victorian.
The shrine to honor Saint Etheldreda was destroyed in 1539. Henry the 8th disbanded several types of religious houses of worship in what was called Dissolution of the Monasteries. The cathedral was refounded in 1541, and had suffered only minor damage.
Ely Cathedral is the only building in the UK to have been included as one of Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. It is a favorite site for visitors from all over the world every year.
The ‘Great Restoration' of Ely Cathedral began in 1986. It was completed in 2000 at a cost of 12 million pounds.
Ely Cathedral continues to have resident choristers, which is not a common practice anymore and only a few cathedrals still do. It is a boys' choir that consists of 22 choristers. They can be heard on Sundays, feast days and at Choral Evensong most evenings.
Pink Floyd featured Ely Cathedral on the cover of their album ‘The Division Bell'.
It has also been featured in several choral albums by John Rutter. Many of his recordings were completed in the Lady Chapel in Ely Cathedral.
Marcus Sedgwick wrote a book called Foodland and used the cathedral as part of the setting. He won a best first children's novel for the book award that year.
Another children's book Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce refers to Ely Cathedral. It was released as a movie in 1999.
Ely Cathedral is also popular in movies. The movie ‘Elizabeth: The Golden Age', and ‘The Other Boleyn Girl' were both filmed there.
It was used during the filming of the movie ‘The King's Speech', substituting for Westminster Abbey.

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