Ely Cathedral :: Shared Description
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is believed to originate from an old church which was restored by Etheldreda, queen, foundress and abbess of Ely. She was the daughter of Anna, king of East Anglia and can often be found depicted on East Anglian rood screens. In 673 she founded a monastery in Ely, the site of which was where Ely cathedral now stands. The monastery flourished but was eventually destroyed by the Danes and refounded as a Benedictine community in 970. Etheldreda died around 680 and was buried in Ely where her shrine was the focus for a vast number of medieval pilgrims. Work on the cathedral as it stands today began in the 11th century under the leadership of Abbot Simeon, and the monastic church became a cathedral in 1109. The oldest parts of the cathedral still standing are the south and north transepts which date from around 1090. Both have C15 hammerbeam roofs adorned with carved angels. The west tower was extended in the 14th century and the octagonal lantern above the crossing was built by Alan of Walsingham after the Norman central tower had collapsed in 1322. The monastery at Ely was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539 and St Etheldreda's shrine was destroyed. The first major restoration took place in the 18th century and a second restoration project began in 1839 under the then Dean George Peacock and architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. A third major restoration project - the most expensive to date - was begun in 1986 and completed in the year 2000. The cathedral is 161 metres long and nave and aisles are 24 metres wide. The Octagon lantern tower is situated 43 metres above the floor. The total area of the cathedral covers 4273 square metres. The cathedral's stained glass windows date from the Victorian restoration.
A Stained Glass Museum is situated in the south triforium gallery. It is the only museum in England dedicated to stained glass.
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Created: Sat, 20 Nov 2010, Updated: Sun, 21 Nov 2010
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