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Title: Bell's Cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of Ely - A History and Description of the Building with a Short Account of the Monastery and of the See
Author: Sweeting, W. D.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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      file which includes the msny original illustrations.

A History and Description
of the Building with a Short
Account of the Former
Monastery and of the See


Vicar of Holy Trinity, Rotherhithe
Author of "Peterborough"

With XLVII Illustrations

              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

[Illustration: The Arms of the See.]

London George Bell & Sons 1910
First Published June 1901.
Reprinted 1902, 1910.


It is hardly necessary to give a complete list of all the authorities
consulted in the preparation of this book. As specially valuable for Ely
may be named the "Liber Eliensis" and the "Inquisitio Eliensis"; the
histories of Bentham, Hewett, and Stewart; the "Memorials of Ely," and
the Handbook to the Cathedral edited and revised by the late Dean;
Professor Freeman's Introduction to Farren's "Cathedral Cities of Ely
and Norwich"; and the various reports of Sir G. G. Scott. But numerous
other sources of information have been examined, and have supplied facts
or theories; and in nearly every instance, particularly where the very
words are quoted, the authority is given in the text or in the notes.

My best thanks are due to the Dean of Ely for his ready courtesy in
allowing free access to every part of the cathedral and for his solution
of various difficulties which had presented themselves in comparing
different accounts of the fabric. I have also to thank the Rev. T.
Perkins and the Photochrom Company for the use of the photographs from
which the illustrations have been prepared. For many curious details,
and for the loan of some books that are out of print and difficult to
obtain, I acknowledge my obligation to Mr. C. Johnson, of Ely.

                                                   W. D. SWEETING.


I. THE HISTORY OF THE BUILDING                                  3

II. THE CATHEDRAL: EXTERIOR                                    41
  The West Front                                               43
  The Galilee Porch                                            44
  The West Tower                                               47
  The North Side of the Nave                                   49
  The Octagon                                                  50
  The North Transept                                           51
  The Lady-Chapel                                              52
  The East End                                                 55
  The Aisles                                                   56
  The Triforium Windows                                        57
  The South Transept                                           60
  The Monks' Door                                              60
  The Prior's Door                                             60
  The Cloister                                                 61

III. THE INTERIOR                                              63
  The Western Transept and S. Catharine's Chapel               64
  The Nave                                                     66
  The Ceiling                                                  67
  The Nave Aisles                                              69
  The Octagon                                                  71
  The Transepts                                                74
  The Choir and Presbytery                                     76
  The Lady-Chapel                                              84
  Monuments and Stained Glass                                  87
  The Chapel of Bishop Alcock                                  90
  The Chapel of Bishop West                                    93

IV. HISTORY OF THE MONASTERY                                   99

V. HISTORY OF THE SEE                                         113

VI. THE PRECINCTS                                             131
  The Infirmary                                               131
  Prior Crauden's Chapel                                      132
  Ely Porta                                                   133

INDEX                                                         135


Ely Cathedral from the South                      _Frontispiece._
The Arms of the See                                      _Title._
The North Side of the Cathedral                                 2
The Cathedral from the South                                    3
The Interior of the Galilee before Restoration                 18
The Shrine of S. Etheldreda (from Bentham)                     20
The Octagon about 1825                                         23
Ely Cathedral at the End of the Eighteenth Century             33
The Cathedral from the West                                    40
Entrance To The Cathedral From The Galilee                     41
Doorway of the Galilee                                         45
The West Tower from the South                                  48
The Choir and Lady-Chapel from the North-East                  53
Elevation of Original Bays of Bishop Northwold's Presbytery    55
The Lantern and South Transept                                 57
The Prior's Doorway                                            59
The Nave, looking West                                         62
S. Catharine's Chapel                                          63
The Nave, looking East                                         65
Panels in the Nave Ceiling                                     67
The North Aisle of the Nave                                    69
The South Aisle of the Nave                                    70
The South Transept                                             74
The North Transept                                             75
The Choir Screen                                               76
Elevation of the Bays of the Presbytery                        77
The Choir, looking West                                        79
The Triforium of the Choir and Presbytery                      80
The Choir Stalls: North Side                                   81
The Reredos                                                    84
The Lady-Chapel                                                85
Doorway of the Lady-Chapel                                     86
The North Choir Aisle, looking West                            89
The Presbytery and the supposed Shrine of S. Etheldreda        91
Bishop Alcock's Chapel                                         94
Bishop West's Chapel                                           95
The Choir, looking East                                        98
The Chapter Seal (from Bentham)                                99
Bishop Alcock's Chantry from the Retro-Choir                  112
The North Choir Aisle, looking East                           122
Bishop West's Chapel                                          123
The Brass of Bishop Goodrich                                  124
Bishop Woodford's Tomb                                        129
Prior Crauden's Chapel                                        131
Plan of the Infirmary (from Bentham)                          132
Ely Porta, The Great Gate Of The Monastery, 1817              133
Ground Plan Of Ely Cathedral                             _At end._

              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]




No mention has been found of Ely as a town before the time of the virgin
queen S. Etheldreda. The district known as the Isle of Ely--which now
includes the whole of the northern part of Cambridgeshire above the
River Ouse, together with a few parishes east of that river that are in
the county--is spoken of at the time of the marriage of the princess as
if it were a district well known and perhaps of some importance, as it
was assigned to her as a dowry. Some writers have held that the
expression the Isle of Ely applied only to the rising ground on which
the city now stands and to its immediate neighbourhood. If this were
ever the case, the name was soon used for a larger district. In the
"Liber Eliensis" the limits of the isle are given as seven miles in
length by four in breadth, while the extent of the two hundreds
belonging to Ely reaches from Tydd to Upware and from Bishop's Delf to
Peterborough. We have many examples of large inland districts where a
series of rivers has happened to isolate them being known as isles. The
Isles of Athelney, Axholme, Purbeck, Thanet, are familiar instances.
Perhaps the town is more likely to take its name from the district than
the district from the town. It will be seen that in none of the examples
just given is the name derived from a town. We have the authority of
Bede for the statement that Ely (_Elge_) was a region containing about
six hundred families, like an island (_in similitudinem insulæ_), and
surrounded by marshes or waters.

When told that Ely means the "Island of Eels," many persons suppose this
to be a fanciful etymology, and smile at the idea; but the best
authorities are agreed that this is the true derivation of the name.[1]
A suggestion that the willow-trees, so abundant in the region, gave the
name (Celtic, _Helyg_) has met with some support. A third suggestion,
that the word comes from the Greek for a "marsh," hardly deserves
mention. The Saxon word for "eel" was apparently pronounced exactly as
the modern word. Bede gives this etymology: "A copia anguillarum, quæ in
iisdem paludibus capiuntur, nomen accepit." William of Malmesbury, in
his "Gesta Pontificum," 1125, takes the same view. The "Liber Eliensis,"
of about the same date, also adopts it. Milton may not be regarded as a
great authority upon such a question; he writes, however, as considering
the matter settled. In his Latin poem on the death of Bishop Felton, of
Ely, who died in 1626, he says that Fame, with her hundred tongues, ever
a true messenger of evil and disaster, has spread the report of the
bishop's death:

  "Cessisse morti, et ferreis sororibus,
    Te, generis humani decus,
  Qui rex sacrorum fuisti in insulâ
    Quæ nomen Anguillæ tenet."

That Ely should mean "Isle of Eels," and that the expression Isle of
Ely is consequently redundant, is no argument against this view. The
Isle of Athelney, beyond all question, means the Isle of the Æthelings'
Isle. Compare also a remarkable instance of redundancy in the name of
the Isle of Axholme. This name, says Canon Taylor, "shows that it has
been an island during the time of the Celts, Saxons, Danes, and English.
The first syllable, _Ax_, is the Celtic word for the water by which it
was surrounded. The Anglo-Saxons added their word for island to the
Celtic name, and called it Axey. A neighbouring village still goes by
the name of Haxey. The Danes added _holm_--the Danish word for
island--to the Saxon name, and modern English influences have corrupted
Axeyholme into Axelholme, and contracted it into Axholme, and have
finally prefixed the English word _Isle_."[2]

The North Girvii and the South Girvii were two peoples that formed
districts of the East Anglian kingdom. In the early part of the seventh
century Anna was King of the East Angles; and Etheldreda, his daughter,
was born at Exning, near Newmarket,--a Suffolk parish, but detached from
the main county and entirely surrounded by Cambridgeshire,--about the
year 630. When quite young there were many suitors for her hand, but she
was altogether unwilling to accept any one of them. But the king, her
father, had so high an opinion of Tonbert--one of the noblemen of his
Court, who was alderman, or, as some render it, prince, of the South
Girvii--that he prevailed upon his daughter to be married to him, and
the marriage took place in 652, two years before Anna's death. From her
husband Etheldreda received the Isle of Ely--that is, the whole of the
region of the South Girvii--as a marriage settlement ("Insulam Elge ab
eodem sponso ejus accepit in dotem"). It is clear, therefore, that
Tonbert was something more than an officer of the king's if he had the
power of assigning such a district to his wife.

Tonbert only lived for three years after his marriage, and at his death
his widow came into possession of the Isle of Ely according to the
terms of her marriage settlement. She resided within it, and gave
herself up entirely to works of religion and devotion, entrusting the
civil government of her territory to Ovin. Her reputation for piety was
spread far and wide, and attracted the attention of Egfrid, son of Oswy,
King of Northumberland, who sought her hand in marriage. But no
attraction he could offer could persuade the princess to change her
state, until her Uncle Ethelwold, who was now King of East Anglia,
overcame her scruples. The disturbed state of his kingdom and the
importance of an alliance with so powerful a house as that of Oswy are
believed to have influenced Ethelwold to urge his niece to give her
consent to the proposed marriage; and the marriage took place at York.
It is constantly affirmed by all historians that in neither of these
marriages did the married couple live together as man and wife. At the
Northumbrian Court Etheldreda lived for twelve years, her husband
meanwhile, in 670, having become king. He had been for some years
previously associated with his father in the government. The queen,
however, became more and more wearied of the glories of her royal
position, and tired out her husband with persistent entreaties that she
might be permitted to withdraw herself altogether from his Court and
devote herself entirely to the religious life. At last she obtained his
reluctant consent, and betook herself to Coldingham, where Ebba, the
king's aunt, was abbess, and was there admitted into the order of nuns
at the hands of Wilfrid, Archbishop of York. This Ebba was afterwards
canonised, and her name is preserved in the name of the promontory on
the coast of Berwickshire known as S. Abb's Head.

After remaining about a year at Coldingham, the queen found it necessary
to move away. The king began to regret the permission he had given her,
and, following the advice of some of his courtiers, made his way to the
religious house where Etheldreda was settled, with the intention of
forcibly compelling her return to his Court. His intention having become
known to the abbess, she recommended the queen to escape at once to her
own territory, the Isle of Ely. The queen immediately followed this
advice. Egfrid arrived at Coldingham very soon after her departure, and
set off in pursuit. No reason for her leaving Coldingham is given by
Bede; but a lengthy account of the journey and its occasion is given in
the "Liber Eliensis." In the remarkable sculptures on the corbels in the
octagon are representations of two scenes that are unintelligible
without this account; it is necessary, therefore, to summarise it here.
Directly after setting out from Coldingham, which is some ten miles
north of the Tweed, not far from the sea, the queen, with two lady
companions, Sewenna and Sewara, reached a rocky eminence on the coast,
where the king in pursuit came up with them; but he was "prevented from
coming near them by a sudden and unusual inundation of water from the
sea, which surrounded the hill, and continued in that state several
days, without retiring into its former channel. Amazed at the
strangeness of this appearance, the king presently interpreted it as the
interposition of Heaven in her favour, and concluded that it was not the
will of God that he should have her again; and this occasioned his
retiring to _York_ again, leaving the queen quietly to pursue her
journey."[3] After the king had abandoned his intention of reclaiming
his wife, the three ladies proceeded southwards, and crossed the Humber,
and so through Winteringham and Alftham, where she stayed a few days,
and where she is said to have built a church. This can only mean that
she arranged for its building or undertook the cost. At West Halton, the
next village to Winteringham (as Bentham has observed), the church is
dedicated to S. Etheldreda; and this place may be identified with the
Alftham of the chronicler. The party had now assumed the dress of
pilgrims, and went by unfrequented roads, so as to escape observation.
At one point of their journey a second miraculous event is recorded. The
queen had lain down to sleep while her attendants kept watch, and had
stuck her pilgrim's staff in the ground. When she awoke, this staff was
found to have taken root and already to have brought forth leaves. It
was left standing, and grew into a flourishing tree; and the place, from
the circumstance, was named Etheldrede's-Stow.[4] A church was
afterwards built and dedicated to S. Etheldreda.

In course of time the three pilgrims arrived safely at their
destination. Wilfrid, the archbishop, soon joined them. He had lost
favour with King Egfrid, being supposed to have influenced the queen in
her decision to take the veil. The king, regarding his marriage with
Etheldreda as being _de facto_ dissolved, took another wife, who was for
various reasons much opposed to Wilfrid. The archbishop also greatly
resented the action of the king and Archbishop Theodore in dividing his
diocese without his consent into four different sees, and he was at one
time banished and at another imprisoned.

Etheldreda now set to work in earnest to establish a religious house.
Her buildings were begun in 673. This year is accordingly taken as the
date of the foundation of the monastery and of the town itself. King
Ethelbert is indeed said to have built a church a short distance from
the site of the present cathedral, at a place called Cratendune[5]; but
there is much uncertainty as to the fact, and some considerable
difficulties in reconciling the different references to it. It is stated
that this church had but a short existence, being destroyed by Penda,
King of Mercia. This Ethelbert was the Bretwalda, King of Kent, husband
of the Christian queen Bertha. After his conversion he was instrumental
in furthering the spread of Christianity among the East Saxons, and also
apparently in East Anglia, one of the East Anglian kings, Redwald,
having (but only for a time) given his adherence to the Christian
religion. As the building of this church near Ely is stated to have been
undertaken on the advice of Augustine, who died in 604, we have an
approximate date for it, since Augustine only arrived in England in 597.
Whether this church was so built by Ethelbert or not, it seems clear
there was some church in a state of partial decay standing in 673,
because it is recorded that at first Etheldreda designed to restore it
and to make it the centre of her religious work; but the present site
was judged to be more suitable, and there she began to build. The few
remaining inhabitants of Cratendune soon abandoned their dwellings, and
came to live near the rising buildings of the monastery.

Upon the death of King Anna, who fell in battle against Penda, King of
the Mercians, he was succeeded in turn by his brothers Adelbert and
Ethelwold, and the kingdom then went to Adulphus, Anna's son and
Etheldreda's brother. He greatly assisted his sister in raising the
buildings of her monastery, contributing considerably to the cost; but
the plans and arrangements are thought to have been designed by Wilfrid,
who is known to have spent much time at Ely. It was he who gave his
benediction when Etheldreda was formally instituted as abbess, and who
admitted the earliest members of the house. As was not unusual, the
society included monks as well as nuns. In later times the Benedictine
rule was adopted. In the very year of the foundation, possibly on
account of its royal foundress and the support of the king, her brother,
the special privilege of exemption from interference, either by king or
bishop, was assigned to it in a national assembly. This at least seems
to be the meaning of the decree, as given in "Liber Eliensis," that with
respect to the Isle of Ely, now dedicated to God's service, "Non de Rege
nec de Episcopo libertas loci diminueretur, vel in posterum

To endow and provide for her monastery, the foundress assigned her
entire principality of the isle. In this way the temporal power, which
was afterwards so peculiar a feature in the privileges of the bishops,
was acquired. In about five years Wilfrid went to Rome to obtain the
Papal confirmation of the grants and liberties of the new foundation;
but Etheldreda did not live to see his return. She died of some
contagious disease, June 23, 679, in the seventh year after she had
become abbess. She was buried, by her own directions, not in the church,
but in the nuns' graveyard. She was certainly not fifty years of age at
the time of her death. As will be seen hereafter, her body was removed
into the church in the time of her successor.

No description is extant of the buildings of the monastery first
erected. We know that the present cathedral is on the same site. Nor has
any record been preserved of any discoveries that may have been made in
later times, when extensive operations must have necessitated the laying
bare of some of the original foundations. From what is known of some
contemporary monasteries, we may conclude that the church at least was
of stone. Not a fragment of it is known to be in existence at the
present day. Whatever may have been its extent, it was wholly destroyed
by the Danes in 870. For four years the Danes had been ravaging the
eastern part of the country, burning monasteries and slaying their
inmates. In the immediate district, Crowland and Thorney, Medeshamstede
(Peterborough), and Ramsey had already felt the severity of their
attack; crumbling walls alone remained where their destructive violence
had been experienced. On their first attack on Ely they were repulsed.
The advantages of the situation among the fens had already suggested the
formation of something very similar to the famous Camp of Refuge in the
eleventh century; and the force thus collected was sufficient to drive
the Danes to their ships. But before long they returned with greater
numbers, headed by one of their kings, most likely Hubba, and altogether
overcame the resistance of the people of the isle. The conquerors then
marched "directly to the Monastery of _S. Etheldreda_, at _Ely_, broke
their way into it, and put all the Religious to the sword, as well the
Nuns as the Monks, and others belonging to it, without any respect to
age, sex, or condition; and after they had stript the Monastery of every
thing that was valuable, and plundered the town, they set fire to the
Church and all the buildings and houses; and went away loaded with the
spoils, not only of the Town and Monastery of Ely, but likewise the
chief effects and riches of the country round about, which the
inhabitants of those parts had brought with them, as to a place of

The destruction of Ely monastery in 870 and its resuscitation by King
Edgar in 970 are an almost exact repetition of what took place at
Peterborough. But there is a difference in the history of the interval.
In the case of Peterborough, as far as is known, the ruin was complete,
and not the smallest attempt was made for a hundred years either to
restore the buildings or to revive the society. But at Ely, though the
destruction was hardly less complete, we read that within a few years
eight of the inmates of the monastery who had escaped when the place was
burnt came back, and to a certain extent continued the establishment.
They effected a partial restoration of a small portion of the church,
and performed divine service. It is said that King Alfred, who succeeded
in expelling the Danes, acquiesced in these clerks thus taking
possession of the place, although the former King of Mercia, finding the
monasteries deserted, had annexed all their property. It does not appear
certain whether these clerks were actual monks of the old monastery or
clergy of the place; but the new society thus inaugurated was like a
college of secular clergy. They were so far recognised as a settled
establishment that new endowments were acquired from various

The latter part of the tenth century was a time of great activity in
founding monasteries and in restoring those that had fallen into decay.
Edgar, the king, Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Ethelwold,
Bishop of Winchester, were all enthusiastic in the work. The advancement
of the monastic system was the great object they all had at heart.
Application was made to the king by two nobles about his Court, both
foreigners, for a grant of the Isle of Ely, lately the possession of the
monastery. It does not appear what services either had rendered to
warrant the application. The sheriff of the county, however, interfered
to prevent any such grant being made. He represented to the king the
true state of affairs--in what way the Isle of Ely had become the
property of the monastery, how all had been lost after the Danish
invasion, and in what a lamentable condition the place was at the time,
although the remains of the sainted abbesses were still on the spot. The
king immediately saw here a new opportunity of furthering his religious
work. Committing the details to Bishop Ethelwold, he authorised him to
repair the church, provide fresh monks (but no nuns), make arrangements
for divine service, and supply new buildings for the new inmates. At the
same time the king undertook to provide lands and revenues for the
support of the monastery. When the bishop had discharged his commission
he obtained from the king a new grant of the whole of the Isle of Ely
for the restored monastery.

The charter of King Edgar is printed in the appendix to Bentham's
"History and Antiquities." The king describes himself as "Basileus
dilecte insule Albionis," and as desirous of shewing his gratitude for
the peace secured after conquering the Scots, Cambrians, and Britons by
restoring decayed monasteries and establishing them under the
Benedictine rule; and in particular he desires to honour the monastery
in the region of Ely (_Elig_), anciently dedicated to S. Peter, rendered
famous by the relics and miracles of the renowned virgin Etheldreda,
"who, with body uncorrupted, lasts even to this day in a white marble
mausoleum." He appoints Brithnoth first abbot, and assigns certain
lands and revenues, including ten thousand eels due to him as king, for
the maintenance of the monastery. To signify the public character of the
grant, it is stated in the attestation clause that it is made not in a
corner, but in the open: "Non clam in angulo sed sub divo palam
evidentissime." The charter is signed by the king, two archbishops,
twelve bishops, the queen, eleven abbots, nine dukes (_duces_), and
forty-one knights. This was in the year 970.

As has been said, the old establishment had given place to a company of
secular clergy. These were dispossessed by Bishop Ethelwold, unless any
chose to attach themselves to the new foundation upon the constitution
of the Benedictine house. But during the century that had elapsed since
the Danes evicted the monks, these clergy must have been careful
custodians of the church and buildings, most likely restoring by degrees
and erecting fresh accommodation as their means permitted, for there is
no account of any considerable rebuilding by Bishop Ethelwold. Repairs
and enlargement and decorations were necessary; but the bishop probably
found everything nearly ready to his hands, and he was not required to
undertake anything so extensive as had to be done under similar
circumstances at Peterborough. Everything was duly prepared for the new
monastery by the Feast of the Purification, 970; and on that day the
church and buildings, some partly restored and some newly erected, were
consecrated by Archbishop Dunstan.

During the time of Elsin, the second abbot (981-1016), some considerable
improvements were effected by Leofwin (of whom more will be told in a
later chapter) in the church. He rebuilt and enlarged the south aisle,
joining it to the rest of the building. In one of its porches, or
side-chapels (_in uno porticu_), he built an altar to the Virgin Mary,
erecting over it a stately image of gold and silver, adorned with
valuable jewels. It is probable that this chapel, and the one that
possibly replaced it when the present cathedral was built, may have been
colloquially known as the lady-chapel, for it is sometimes said that a
lady-chapel was in existence before the fourteenth century; but there
was nothing about it of the dignity and importance usually associated
with the name.

Although the Isle of Ely plays so important a part in the history of the
Norman Conquest, and was the scene of the last great stand made against
the Conqueror, neither the party of Hereward and the Camp of Refuge, nor
the forces of the king, did any material damage to the buildings of the
monastery. Its affairs were indeed brought to confusion, as the monks
had sided with Hereward, and the Conqueror gave orders for the plunder
of all the goods of the monastery. But the monks purchased from the king
his forgiveness, and the liberty of the place, and the restoration of
what property had been taken away, for the sum of a thousand marks. To
raise this amount they had to sell almost everything in the church of
gold and silver; and the "Liber Eliensis" enumerates among precious
objects thus alienated, crosses, altars, shrines, texts, chalices,
patens, basins, brackets, pipes (_fistulas_), cups, salvers, and the
image of the Virgin seated with her Son on a throne, which Abbot Elsin
had wrought of gold and silver. It is true that most, if not all, of
these were recovered in about ten years, for it is on record that the
Norman abbot, Theodwin, refused to accept the abbacy until the king
would restore what had been taken away. This seems to refer to the goods
sold to raise the money demanded as the price of his forgiveness.

When the building of the existing cathedral was commenced there was not
the same necessity as existed in many other cases. There was no ruin to
be rendered serviceable. A church was actually standing and in constant
use. It must therefore have been felt that the importance and wealth of
the foundation demanded a more magnificent minster. When Simeon, the
ninth abbot (1081-1093), was appointed, he found the property of the
abbey still in an unsatisfactory state. Lands really belonging to it
were in many instances held by powerful persons, who under various
pretences defied the rights of the religious house. So the abbot's first
work was to recover these. By help of the king's commission he was
entirely successful. But while inquiries were being instituted, and
proceedings for recovery were being taken, he conceived the design of
erecting a very noble church, and set about laying the foundations of
it. He could not, from his great age, have hoped to see much progress
made, but he did live to see a very considerable portion completed. He
devoted a great part of his private fortune, which was large, to the
work. He began with the transepts. This is in itself sufficient to shew
that there was a choir in use. The regular practice, when a wholly new
church was to be built, was to commence at the east end. The lower part
of both transepts is Simeon's work. It is of plain Early Norman
character, and represents all that is now in existence of what he
erected. From a slight increase in ornamentation in the capitals in the
north transept, we infer that the actual commencement was made in the
south transept. Of course these transepts were of four bays--not as at
present, of three only--the bay in each case nearest the central tower
having been destroyed when the tower fell. That tower was of Norman
date, and is sometimes spoken of as Simeon's Tower. But he cannot have
built the whole of it. If he raised it as high as the great supporting
arches, which is of course possible, there must have been also supports
in all the four adjacent portions of the church, reaching almost to the
summit of the arches, so that he would have had to build at least one
bay of the triforium and clerestory stages. If he did so, all such work
perished with the fall of the tower. It is more probable that he raised
the piers of the tower arches only a few feet higher than the main
arcade of the transepts.

Abbot Simeon's successor, Richard (1100-1107), proceeded with the
building. No abbot had been appointed by William II., and the works had
consequently been suspended for seven years. Notwithstanding many
troubles and distractions (he was actually deposed at a council at
Westminster in 1102, though restored by Papal bull in the next year),
Abbot Richard made great advance in the building of the church. He was
only abbot for seven years. By 1106 he had finished the east end, which
may have terminated in an apse as at Peterborough, and possibly the
tower. On October 17 in that year the remains of Saints Etheldreda,
Sexburga, Ermenilda, and Withburga were solemnly removed to the new
choir, and re-interred in front of the high altar. For some reason not
explained there was no such attendance of high ecclesiastical
dignitaries as was usual on such occasions. The Bishop of Norwich, four
abbots, and one archdeacon were all that could be found to attend the
translation. The account is noteworthy because it describes the orderly
processions from "the Old Church," and the taking the bodies thence one
at a time, "with singing and praise into the New Church." We are not to
conclude from this that the former church was on a different site. The
new buildings were apparently quite close to the former, and possibly
some part of the old church had already been pulled down as the new
choir was being built, and the completion of the aisles of the choir
would necessitate the pulling down of the remainder. But the remains of
the foundress and others must first be removed to their new
resting-place. Both Simeon and Richard, while urging on the church
building, were by no means regardless of the domestic buildings of the
monastery. These were being enlarged and improved at the same time. Two
bays of the nave next to the tower were also the work of Abbot Richard.

Two years after the death of Abbot Richard the bishopric was
constituted. The bishop henceforward was the abbot of the house, though
the superintendence of the domestic concerns of the monastery devolved
upon the prior. Until 1198 the bishops appointed the priors, but
afterwards they were elected by the monks. There was naturally some
difficulty in dividing fairly between the bishop and the monastery the
peculiar rights which were attached to the government of the Isle of
Ely; but all was amicably arranged. As part of the arrangement the
bishops were discharged from all obligation to repair or sustain the
fabric of the church. But numbers of the bishops did contribute largely
to its building and embellishments; and henceforward the works carried
on are assigned to the bishops holding office at the time.

By degrees, during the twelfth century, the building of the nave
advanced. For upwards of sixty years we find no record in the chronicles
of any specific work done at any particular time. When we come to Bishop
Riddell (1174-1189) we read that he "carried on the new work and Tower
at the West-end of the Church, almost to the top." How high this tower
was we cannot tell. It was probably surmounted by a pyramid. A later
bishop, Northwold (1229-1254), removed the original capping and built
the existing Early English stage; so we conclude from the words: "Ipse
construxit de novo turrim ligneam versus galileam ab opere cementario
usque ad summitatem."

The first three bishops ruled for a period of eighty years. This seems
too long a time to assign for the building of the nave, because there is
so little difference in detail as we examine the work from east to west;
and even when later work in a large building is purposely made to
assimilate to what had been built some years before, the experienced eye
can usually discover slight variations in mouldings or ornamentation
which indicate something of a new fashion in architecture. Here we
detect nothing of the sort. We can well understand how much reason there
was at Ely why building work should have been in the twelfth century
intermittent. The troublous times of Henry I. and Stephen were specially
unfavourable to this place. Bishop Hervey, moreover, would have had but
little time to devote to building. The complete constitution of the
bishopric, the regaining possession of property that had been alienated
in the time of Rufus, and the thorough establishment of his temporal
jurisdiction over the isle took up all his time and energies. He was
also constantly abroad in attendance on the king. In the next bishop's
time the disaffected barons assembled in the Isle of Ely, and the bishop
was of their party. The whole district was alternately in the hands of
the king and of the barons. The property of the monastery suffered
greatly by fines and exactions. The bishop himself was constantly moving
about from place to place, and was many times compelled to make a
hurried escape in fear of being apprehended by the king's party. When at
last his peace was made with the king, his submission cost him three
hundred marks. Neither his own resources nor those of the monastery were
sufficient to raise this sum. Some of the treasures of the church had
already been sold. Now the monks were persuaded to part with silver from
S. Etheldreda's shrine and other valuable ornaments, in order to lend
the bishop the sum he required. After the death of King Stephen there
occurred a time of tranquillity. The bishop was advanced in dignity and
became a Baron of the Exchequer. These various considerations make it at
least very probable that no additions to the church of any importance
were made until the reign of Henry II.; and, if so, we may come to the
conclusion that the whole of the nave was built in his reign. The
difference in the style of architecture between the Late Norman and the
Transition to Early English is very noticeable as we look at the
remaining portion of the west front, south of the galilee porch, the
lower stages shewing no trace of anything but pure Norman, while above
we see pointed arches, quatrefoils in circles, and other indications of
the approaching change of style.

Bishop Eustace (1198-1215) made large additions to the fabric at his own
expense. One sentence in the account of his work has given rise to much
controversy: "Ipse construxit a fundamento novam galileam ecclesiæ
Eliensis versus occidentem sumptibus suis." Was this the Early English
porch now known as the galilee? Some have thought that this name was
bestowed upon the whole of the western transept, not including the
porch. This is the view taken in recent years by Canon Stewart. He shews
it was the current local opinion at the beginning of the eighteenth
century. Dr. Tanner, who wrote the account of Ely in Browne Willis's
"Mitred Abbies," takes this view, and speaks of the south arm of the
transept as the "old Galilee" and the north arm as the "new Galilee." In
the plan in Willis's "Survey of Cathedrals," 1727, the south part is
described as the "South galilee, now the church workhouse," while on the
north side we read, "Ruined part of Galilee." No doubt the character of
the architecture is not inconsistent with the theory that the northern
part may have been built or finished by Bishop Eustace, soon after he
was appointed, in intentional imitation of the pronounced Norman work
adjacent. Canon Stewart also points out that Bishop Eustace is known to
have rebuilt S. Mary's Church, where the rough masonry and plain lancets
are wholly unlike the beautiful work in the west porch. And he adds: "It
is evident that Eustace had nothing to do with the erection of any part
of the present cathedral. The galilee which he built has totally
disappeared, and the porch which has gone under that name of late years
must be the work of some unknown benefactor, who had probably seen Hugh
de Northwold's presbytery, and determined to lengthen the church
westward as it had been extended in the opposite direction."[7] The more
generally received opinion, however, is that Bishop Eustace did really
build what is now called the galilee. This is accepted by Bentham,
Essex, and Miller, and more recently by Sir G. G. Scott.

[Illustration: The Interior Of The Galilee Before Restoration,
_c._ 1817. _From Stevenson's Supplement to Bentham_.]

No one can doubt that the entire west front, when standing, was much
improved by the addition of this great porch. The front indeed never had
the painfully flat appearance presented at some cathedrals, for its
extreme length was not very great, and the projecting turrets at each
end would greatly relieve the impression that it was the side, and not
the end, of a building. But it requires something more than a tower in
the centre of the front to give a true finish to a composition in which
there runs at the top a single horizontal line from north to south.
Richly traceried windows are not sufficient. Deeply recessed doorways
are better; but here there was only one, of the nature of which we have
no account. The great porch is exactly what was wanted.

In 1757 Essex recommended the removal of the galilee as being an
encumbrance. The roof was ruinous, the walls were in bad condition; it
was "neither ornamental nor useful"; it would cost a large sum to put it
into decent repair. Happily this advice was not followed. In the course
of the renovation then undertaken it was discovered that the remains of
an older porch had been incorporated with the present one.

Bishop Northwold (1229-1254) commenced the building of the present
presbytery.[8] There are now nine bays between the screen and the east
end. The apse, if such were the termination of the Norman church, was
situated between what are now on each side the fourth and fifth piers
from the screen. A line drawn from the west side of the fifth piers
north and south would just touch the eastern end of the apse. Bishop
Northwold pulled down the apse and one bay west of it, and extended the
presbytery four more bays to the east, building in all six bays, of
which two were included in the ritual choir, and four were to the east
of the high altar. All this was done between the years 1235 and 1251.
The bishop also erected a lofty timber spire on the west tower, which
remained until the present Decorated stage was built.

We have no account of the consecration of the Norman choir. But after
this extension of the building eastwards we read that the whole church
was solemnly dedicated on September 17, 1252, in honour of Saints Mary,
Peter, and Etheldreda. King Henry III. was present, as well as Prince
Edward, afterwards king. When the new portion of the church was ready,
the remains of the four saints were removed further east. In the Norman
church the high altar was in the chord of the apse, assuming one to have
been built; after Bishop Northwold's alterations it was placed at the
east end of the present sixth bay, where the apse terminated. The shrine
of the foundress was placed some feet further to the east, its eastern
face standing about twelve feet in front of the existing altar.

This work of Bishop Northwold completed the plan of the cathedral as it
now stands. The lady-chapel was indeed built afterwards, but that is to
all intents and purposes a separate building. Nor is there any later
thirteenth-century work in the church itself. The building operations of
the second half of the century were confined to the domestic part of the
monastery. As these were doubtless carried out by the convent from its
own resources, there is little notice to be found of them in the records
of the see. It is known that the rectory, now in the deanery grounds,
belonged to this period. It was finished in the time of Prior
Hemmingston (1274-1288).


The first half of the next century was a time of great and important
work at the church. In 1321 the first stone of the lady-chapel was laid
by Alan de Walsingham, the sub-prior, afterwards sacrist. It was
finished in 1349; and though John of Wisbech had the charge of the
erection, the sacrist having more important work to do at the church
itself, we can hardly doubt that the designs were by Walsingham. The
position of the lady-chapel, to the north-east of the north transept, is
unique. At Bristol it is to the north of the north choir aisle. At
Peterborough the lady-chapel (destroyed during the Commonwealth) was in
a nearly similar situation, projecting eastward from the north
transept. Whatever may have been the reason at Peterborough for this
unusual position (some say that a public road close to the apse
prevented an extension of the choir to the east), there is no necessity
to question the accuracy of the explanation generally given of the site
of the lady-chapel here--namely, that the place of honour, east of the
high altar, was already appropriated to the shrine of S. Etheldreda.

On the night of February 12, 1322, the eve of S. Ermenilda's day, the
central tower fell. Its insecurity had long been known. The monks had
just left their matin service in S. Catharine's Chapel. Some persons
conclude from this fact that the choir had already been disused as being
unsafe; but unless there is other evidence of this, the mere fact of the
monastic matins being held in the chapel nearest to the domestic
buildings seems hardly sufficient to justify the conclusion. The chapel
here named was not (according to Dean Stubbs) the one now dedicated to
S. Catharine at the west end of the cathedral, but one that adjoined the
chapter-house. The fall of the tower destroyed three bays of the choir.
Different opinions are held as to the character of the architecture of
the bays thus destroyed. Some hold that Bishop Northwold built the choir
and presbytery, from the central tower to the east end, in the Early
English style, and that three of his bays were thrown down by the fall
of the tower[9]; others think that the bays now ruined were part of the
Norman work.[10] It is most probable that Northwold, designing to
increase the length of the presbytery, only pulled down so much of the
Norman work as was necessary for his purpose, leaving the western arches
standing. This opinion is adopted in the account of his work given
above. If this is correct, there would have been _four_ Norman arches
left standing between the tower and the Early English work. Of these,
three on each side fell. When the new choir was constructed, the octagon
taking up the space of the first bay, the fourth bay--presumably left
uninjured--was removed, as being out of keeping between the Early
English and the new Decorated bays; and hence three new bays were built,
reaching to Bishop Northwold's work. All accounts agree that _three_
bays were destroyed. But if both choir and presbytery were of Early
English date, there must have been _four_ bays overthrown, because the
three Decorated bays now existing do not correspond in position to the
three destroyed, for the present third bay from the screen is where the
fourth bay was when the tower was standing.

No one could possibly have been found in the whole kingdom better
qualified to cope with the great disaster that took place at Ely in 1322
than the officer of the house who had the special custody of the fabric.
The originality and skill with which he designed and carried out the
noble work that takes the place of the central tower, which is without a
rival in the architecture of the whole world, are beyond all praise. The
exquisite work in the lady-chapel would in itself have been sufficient
to establish Walsingham's reputation as an architect of the very highest
order of merit; but it would have revealed nothing, if it stood alone,
of the consummate constructive genius which he displayed in the
conception of the octagon. Of the design itself we shall speak
hereafter. No time was lost in removing the mass of ruins; and we can
imagine, as the ground was cleared and the grandeur of the opportunity
gradually dawned upon Walsingham's mind, how he formed the design of
dispensing with the four central pillars, and thereby securing eight
instead of four for the support of his substitute for a central tower.
At the same time the weight which these supports would have to bear was
very much less than that of a massive tower of stone; so that there need
be little fear of the fall of the lantern. Fergusson has pointed out
that the roof of the octagon is the only Gothic dome in existence.
Beresford Hope[11] compares the octagonal lanterns of Milan and Antwerp
with that at Ely, which he calls unique in this country.

The building was begun as soon as the space was cleared. The stonework
was finished in 1328, little more than six years after the tower fell.
The woodwork of the vaulting and lantern took longer time; but this also
was quite complete in 1342. Walsingham had become prior in the previous
year. The weight of the lantern, it need hardly be said, is not borne,
though it looks like it from below, by the vaulting that we see. There
is a perfect forest of oak hidden from sight, the eight great angle
posts being no less than 3 feet 4 inches by 2 feet 8 inches in section.
There is also the leaden roof of the octagon (of that part which is
exclusive of the lantern), 18 feet above the vaulting, to be supported.
A glance at Plate 44 in Bentham's "History" gives some slight idea of
the method of construction.[12]

[Illustration: THE OCTAGON ABOUT 1825.
              _From Wilds' English Cathedrals._]

With such a man as Walsingham on the spot we cannot be wrong in
assigning to him the authorship of all the architectural designs that
were carried out in his lifetime. It is believed--for the date is not
exactly known--that he died in 1364. Besides the lady-chapel and
octagon, he must have designed the singularly beautiful bays of the
presbytery between the octagon and Northwold's work. The exquisite way
in which the main characteristics of the Early English work are adapted
to the Decorated style demands our highest admiration. The arrangement
of the three western bays on each side is exactly like Northwold's work,
while the additional grace and beauty of ornamentation mark the advance
in taste that distinguished the Decorated period. Bishop Hotham
undertook the whole expense of rebuilding this portion of the cathedral.
He did not live to see it completed, as he died in 1337, but he left
money for the purpose. The total expense of this rebuilding is given at
£2034 12_s._ 8¼_d._, while the cost of the octagon and lantern amounted
to not very much more--£2406 6_s._ 11_d._ Nearly all this latter cost
was defrayed by the monastery, little more than £200 having been
contributed from external sources. These amounts must be multiplied by
twenty, if not twenty-five, to represent the present value. The
rebuilding of these three bays in the presbytery involved the rebuilding
of the corresponding portions of the aisles.

The domestic buildings were also improved, and some new ones erected by
Walsingham. "The Sacrist's Office he almost new built, made several
additional apartments in it, and encompassed the whole with a strong
wall; in the North-west corner of which he built a square building of
stone, and covered it with lead; part of this he appropriated to the use
of Goldsmith's work, and for other purposes relative to his Office;
another Building taken notice of as built by him, was contiguous to the
Infirmary; it was of stone, covered with lead, and had convenient
offices under it, chiefly intended for the use of the _Custos_ of the
Infirmary. In his time also, Bells[13] were first put up in the great
Western Tower."[14] Of this period the following are enumerated as works
executed in the monastery[15]: Prior Crauden's chapel, the prior's new
hall above the old one, the guest hall, the fair hall, and the residence
of the sub-prior.

On the death of Bishop de Lisle in 1361, Walsingham was elected bishop
by the convent, but the election was set aside by the pope. This eminent
architect was buried in the cathedral, but the precise spot is not
known. The epitaph on his tomb has been preserved, and in it we find
that he was buried "ante Chorum" (in front of the choir). This would
mean the ritual choir as then existing, and would fix the place of his
interment approximately at the spot where there is now a large
monumental slab, from which the brass has been removed; and this has
always been traditionally said to be the actual stone placed over his
body. The brass represented an ecclesiastic with mitre and pastoral
staff. The objection to this having been Walsingham's memorial, that
these emblems could not have been correctly placed upon it, has been
thus met: "On the other hand it is contended that although Alan died a
Prior of the Convent, he had been elected Bishop by the Monks, though
his election was overruled by the Pope, and that seeing to his successor
Prior Powcher the Pope gave permission that he and all future Priors of
Ely should wear the mitre and carry the crozier, it is possible that the
Monks had anticipated somewhat the Pope's edict, and had represented
their beloved Prelate with episcopal mitre on his head and crozier in
his hand."[16] He well deserved the description in the epitaph, "Flos
operatorum" ("The Flower of Craftsmen"). The rich woodwork in the
choir--the stalls with their beautiful canopies--is also certainly
Walsingham's work.

Besides the great operations of this century there were various
alterations and additions made in the cathedral of which the date is not
recorded. The triforium in the presbytery was rearranged; the external
walls were raised, and the Early English windows of Northwold's work
were replaced by much larger ones with Decorated tracery. As the
clerestory windows were not altered, the lean-to roof of the triforium
was of course made much more flat than before. The graceful flying
buttresses, with their elegant pinnacles, are of this same date. The
character of Northwold's triforium windows and the corbel table below
the parapet may be still seen in two bays on the south side. The aisle
windows of the presbytery were also enlarged in the Decorated period;
but they are not of the same design as the triforium windows, and they
were probably not inserted at the same time. Judging by ordinary methods
of discriminating dates by character and style, we should suppose the
aisle windows to be earlier than those above; possibly some of this was
done by Bishop Barnet (1366-1373). The whole designing is so unlike any
of Walsingham's known work that we can hardly suppose that he was the

After the extensive changes of the fourteenth century were completed,
the fabric of the cathedral was left practically as we see it now.
Rearrangements of the interior have taken place on many occasions since,
and the numerous side-chapels have been despoiled of their altars; but
there has been no material structural change.

From the death of Bishop Barnet in 1373 to the suppression of the
monasteries no Bishop of Ely is credited with having done anything
towards the fabric of the cathedral except Bishop Gray (1454-1478). Some
of them were at variance with the prior and convent, and would be little
inclined to spend money on the church. Those that had a taste for
architecture displayed it in beautifying their palaces or manor-houses,
or upon buildings connected with the universities or other places in
which they had private interest. Some were men of great political
influence, and found their time and energies fully occupied in matters
of national importance. One at least spent immense sums upon the
drainage of the fens. Some did indeed erect chapels or shrines in the
cathedral, or left provision that they should be erected after their
deaths, but these were as memorials of themselves. The monastery carried
out whatever was done in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as long
as the monastery existed. The first such work was begun early in the
fifteenth century by Prior Powcher: this was the erection of the upper
portion of the western tower. At the top of the tower, before this
addition, there was a wooden spire covered with lead. The upper story
now is octagonal, and there are also octagonal turrets at the corners,
detached, except at top and bottom, from the main body. These were
clearly built so as to harmonise with the large projecting
turrets--massive enough themselves to be called towers--at the ends of
the west front. This octagon was also itself--but probably at a much
later date--surmounted with some sort of spire. An engraving dated 1786
shows this spire: it was no improvement to the tower. It was happily
removed early in the nineteenth century. This additional story was built
without due preparation. The extra weight was too much for the support
which had been sufficient for the smaller tower; accordingly casing was
added round the four great piers to increase the support. This was in
Bishop Gray's time, and he contributed largely towards the cost. "The
Prior and Convent were at great charges in repairing the lower part of
the Western Tower; the Arches and Pillars of which, being found
insufficient for its support, were therefore obliged to be strengthened,
by wholly new-casing them with Stone, in the most substantial manner, as
we now see them."[17] It has been reasonably conjectured that this extra
weight was the cause of the ruin of the northern part of the west
transept, or that it was then damaged beyond repair. To Bishop Gray is
also assigned in particular the insertion of two windows in the north
aisle of the presbytery, near the place where he was afterwards buried.
The undoubted Decorated character of the upper stage of the west tower
marks it as belonging to the very earliest years of the century. There
is not the least tendency towards any features of the Perpendicular
style. Without reckoning tombs and chapels, there is no structural work
of distinct Perpendicular character to be seen at Ely Cathedral, except
some remains of the cloisters, and the windows in the nave aisles and
clerestory, and those in the upper parts of the great transept, and the
large supporting arches which have been inserted beneath the Norman
arches of the west tower. The triforium walls in the nave were raised in
the fifteenth century, as those in the presbytery had been raised in
the fourteenth. The style of the tracery shews that this alteration was
carried out quite late in the century, perhaps about 1480. In the south
transept there is also a large Perpendicular window. The very late east
window of the south presbytery aisle was inserted as part of Bishop
West's Chapel, who died in 1533.

In 1539 the monastery was surrendered to the king. Such of the domestic
buildings as were not required for the use of the dean and canons were
as usual sold. The Constitution of Henry VIII. provided for the
customary officers of a cathedral establishment. The prior became the
first dean, and remained in office till his death, eighteen years later.
Though the minster had become a cathedral when the bishopric was
instituted, yet the prior and convent were always custodians of the
fabric, and apparently supreme therein; and there was nothing strictly
corresponding to a capitular body. A memory of the fact that the bishop
was in place of the abbot remains to this day in the position of the
bishop's seat in the choir. There is no throne, properly so called. The
bishop occupies what is in most cathedrals the dean's seat--on the south
of the entrance at the screen. The north side is in consequence the
Decani side, and the Cantoris side is on the south. This position of the
dean's stall on the north, though very unusual, is not unique. It occurs
also at Durham and Carlisle; but at those cathedrals there is a throne
for the bishop, and the bishop's seat in a stall in the south,
corresponding to the dean's in the north, is not met with elsewhere. "At
Ely alone, of all cathedrals in Christendom, owing to its first bishop
having been an abbot who was himself the banished bishop of another see,
the diocesan has continued to occupy the abbot's stall, while the head
of the corporation (before the Reformation a prior, and since then a
dean) has occupied the opposite stall, usually assigned to a sub-prior
or sub-dean."[18] There were three Benedictine abbeys which retained
their monastic establishment after a bishop had been made and the
minster became a cathedral--Canterbury, Durham, and Ely.

It is always taken for granted that the destruction of the beautiful
work in the lady-chapel, as well as of the shrines and statuary in the
cathedral, was effected very soon after the dissolution of the
monastery; but precise authority for this seems not to be forthcoming.
It is known that Bishop Goodrich was an ardent supporter of the
Reformation movement, and that he issued an injunction in 1541 which
would have authorised such destruction. There was no other material
damage done to the cathedral at this time. In 1566 a parish church,
dedicated to S. Cross, which was situated at the north side of the nave,
was found to be so dilapidated that no attempt was made to render it fit
for service, and the dean and chapter gave to the parishioners the
lady-chapel for a parish church, and it has so remained to this day.

It is probable that the wealth of the monastery had kept the fabric
itself in such a state of complete repair that there was no occasion for
much sustentation work for a long time after the Reformation--at least,
we read nothing of any work being undertaken or of any portions of the
building falling into decay. In the Commonwealth period the cathedral
suffered less than in many places. The stained glass was indeed
destroyed, and the cloisters and some parts of the domestic buildings
pulled down, by order of commissioners. As Oliver Cromwell was Governor
of the Isle of Ely, and often in the city, he was not likely to let the
cathedral services alone. In January, 1644, he interfered during
service, and stopped it, ejecting the congregation, and is said to have
professed that this was an act of kindness, in order to prevent damage
to the building. According to Carlyle,[19] he had written to the
officiating minister, requiring him "to forbear altogether the choir
service, so unedifying and offensive, lest the soldiers should in any
tumultuary or disorderly way attempt the reformation of the cathedral
church." If the people of Ely had heard about the "reformation" of the
cathedral church at Peterborough, as carried out by the soldiers of the
Parliament in July of the preceding year, they were certainly well
advised in taking this hint. Bishop Wren--an eager opponent of the
Puritans--was at the time in prison, where he remained until the

The only account we have met with of disrepair in the seventeenth
century says: "A little part of the end of the North Part fell down
_March_ 28, _Anno_ 1699, but it was soon neatly rebuilt again at the
Charge of the Church, with some Assistance from a Brief."[20] This was
the north-west[21] corner of the north transept. The rebuilding was
carried out under the direction of Sir Christopher Wren, nephew of the

There is an account of the impression produced upon a visitor to Ely in
the reign of William and Mary, the quaintness of which may perhaps
justify the length of the quotation: "The Bishop does not care to stay
long in this place, not being good for his health; he is Lord of all the
island, has the command and ye jurisdiction.... There is a good palace
for the Bishop built, but it was unfurnished. There are two Churches.
Ely Minster is a curious pile of building all of stone, the outside full
of Carvings and great arches, and fine pillars in the front, and the
inside has the greatest variety and neatness in the works. There are two
Chappels, most exactly carv'd in stone, all sorts of figures, Cherubims
Gilt, and painted in some parts. Ye Roofe of one Chappell was One Entire
stone most delicately Carv'd and hung down in great poynts all about ye
Church. The pillars are Carv'd and painted with ye history of the bible,
especially the new testament and description of Christ's miracles. The
Lanthorn in ye quire are vastly high and delicately painted, and fine
Carv'd work all of wood. In it ye bells used to be hung (five); the
demention of ye biggest was so much that when they rung them it shooke
ye quire so, and ye Carv'd worke, that it was thought unsafe; therefore
they were taken down. There is one Chappel for Confession, with a Roome
and Chaire of State for ye priest to set to hear ye people on their
knees Confess into his Eare through a hole in ye wall. This Church has
ye most popish remaines of any I have seen. There still remains a Cross
over the alter; the Candlesticks are 3 quarters of a yard high, massy
silver gilt, very heavy. The ffont is One Entire piece of White Marble,
stemm and foote; the Cover was Carv'd Wood, with ye image of Christ's
being baptised by John, and the holy Dove descending on him, all finely
Carv'd white wood, without any paint or varnish."[22]

In the eighteenth century some extensive repairs became necessary, and
some alterations in the arrangements of the choir were carried out. The
former chiefly affected the roofs of the octagon and presbytery. Other
parts of the cathedral seem to have needed some repair, but not to a
considerable extent. The latter consisted in the moving of the ritual
choir to the extreme east end of the church, the returned stalls at its
western limit being at the sixth piers from the east end. This
alteration was effected in 1770.

The position of the high altar has been perhaps more often moved in this
cathedral than in any other. In the Norman choir the altar was situated
in the centre of the fourth bay east of the present octagon. When Bishop
Northwold enlarged the presbytery it was moved one bay further east.
After the rebuilding of the three bays west of Northwold's work, it
seems to have been moved again westward, as far as the first piers east
of the octagon. Again in 1770, at the time of which we are now speaking,
it was moved to the extreme east end, and was placed just against the
east wall. Now it stands between the second piers from the east.

It is not a little singular to notice the enthusiasm with which this
eighteenth-century change was greeted. Bentham says[23] it was "an
alteration which had long been wished for, by all persons of true
taste." And again: "It is allowed by the best judges to be one of the
most useful and ornamental Improvements that could have been effected";
and he gives a long disquisition highly praising the alteration. The
eastern portion, formerly "an useless encumbrance," was now brought into
use. The organ and voices could be better heard, the view of the octagon
was greatly improved, and the nave and transepts "have acquired their
due Dimensions." Compare this with Hewett's observations less than
eighty years later: "Never was there a more ill-judged step than the
removal of the Choir hither, towards the latter portion of the last
century. To give it such stinted proportions, and for this purpose to
displace some of the fine old monuments, and to hide others, to obscure
the pillars, and, above all, to erect the miserable organ gallery which
we now behold, may surely be pronounced most tasteless performances"[24]
When he wrote, the proposal was to replace Walsingham's stalls in the
octagon, and to make Bishop Hotham's three Decorated bays into a
sacrarium, and so presumably re-erect the high altar on the very spot
where it stood in Norman times.

Bishop Mawson contributed £1000 towards the removal of the choir to the
east end. He had also been at the expense of paving the choir with black
and white marble, and of inserting stained glass at the east end. The
work done at this time was under the superintendence of the architect
Essex. An organ-gallery was placed at the entrance of the choir: judging
by the plan given by Bentham, this occupied the whole of the eastern bay
of Hotham's work. Screens of some sort are marked as crossing both
aisles, as a continuation of the western face of this organ-gallery: or
perhaps these were only metal gates. The design of the whole seems to
have been very poor: "the miserable organ gallery" is what Hewett calls
it. The original stone screen that formed the entrance to the choir
before the tower fell, situated in the bay of the nave next to the
octagon, was still standing. It had served as the organ-loft until the
alteration. Browne Willis, who wrote before Bishop Mawson came to Ely,
records that the choir had been paved with black and white marble at the
charge of Bishop Gunning, and that he had proposed to move the choir to
the east end nearly a hundred years before it was actually done, "which
if he had done ... it would have added vastly to the Beauty of the

Still later in the century, in 1796, Wyatt "the destructive" was
directed to make a report on the state of the fabric, and to supply
estimates for a restoration. Among other things he recommended the
selling of the lead on the roof, the removal of the rood-loft, and the
reducing of the number of bells from five to one.

The nineteenth century began with works of destruction. In 1801[26] the
spire on the tower was taken down. Soon afterwards, in accordance with
Wyatt's recommendation, the ancient rood-loft in the nave was removed.
As it had ceased to be the entrance to the choir, it was probably deemed
useless. The roof of the galilee was also removed, and the lancets at
the west of the cathedral blocked up. Mr. Bernasconi's contract, in
1801, for the repair of part of the west end, amounting to £232 14_s._
6_d._,[27] probably covered the whole of this. A note on the receipt
speaks of a picture at the east end in 1800, a pulpit in 1806, and a new
window in 1808; but whether all these were new or merely repaired does
not appear. From Goodwin's "Ely Gossip" we learn that the upper part of
the doorway of the galilee porch was "renewed in plaster." In a pamphlet
published in 1827 it is said that "so much has been done to this
cathedral of late as to afford a reasonable ground of hope, that ere
long the beautiful Purbeck shafts will be cleared of the yellow ochre
which coats and defiles them, and that the earth will be cleared away
from the walls on the north side, where at present it is injuring both
walls and pavement."[28] What had then been recently done, and thus
mentioned, apparently with approval, did not long satisfy the public
taste, although a large outlay testified to the good intentions, if not
the judgment, of the authorities. Walsingham's stalls were painted; and
the nave, octagon, lantern, and transepts were colour-washed. Within
about twenty-five years what had been introduced as embellishments were
removed as disfigurements, and the removal cost possibly as much as the

              _From Stevenson's Supplement to Bentham._]

Soon after Dean Peacock came to Ely he commenced the restoration and
decoration of the fabric which have gone on continuously to the present
time, and are not yet complete. Besides many munificent gifts, of which
the cost is not known, upwards of £70,000 has been expended upon the
works at the cathedral since 1843. The first great work included in this
sum was the entire re-leading of the roof. In 1842 there had been a fire
discovered in the roof near the west tower, but no great damage was
done. Most likely it was the prospect of having to spend large sums upon
the cathedral itself that induced the dean and chapter to sanction the
demolition of the sextry-barn, "on the ground that the repairs it
required were too expensive." This barn was situated to the north of the
lady-chapel. It was an object of the greatest architectural interest,
and its destruction is much to be lamented. It was of Early English
date, and is said to have been a "noble and almost unrivalled" building.
It seems to have been of the same character as the abbey tithe-barn at
Peterborough, which was perfect a very few years ago, and of which the
whole of the wooden posts and beams are still to be seen _in situ_. The
Peterborough barn was also of thirteenth century date; it had aisles and
nave all formed by the oak beams and supports. The Ely barn was much

In July, 1845, the restoration had been well begun, and was being
carried on with energy. The works in Bishop Alcock's chapel had been
commenced. The south end of the west transept, hitherto used as a kind
of storehouse or lumber-room, was repaired and thrown open to the
church. A poor deal roof was added as a temporary protection. The choir
roof was scraped and cleaned. In the lady-chapel the colour-wash that
had obscured the remains of the beautiful carvings was removed. The west
tower was ceiled. Up to this time there appears to have been no properly
qualified architect in charge of the work. In 1847 Mr. Scott (afterwards
Sir G. G. Scott) was appointed architect to the cathedral. He soon made
an extensive examination of the whole building, and issued a report upon
the state of the fabric and the amount of restoration needful.

Dean Peacock, who so thoroughly identified himself with the restoration,
died in 1858. His successor, Dean Goodwin, entered with enthusiasm upon
the work, and was instrumental in raising large sums of money for the
carrying out of the architect's designs. After he had been dean seven
years he published a paper upon the progress that had been made, which
commences with these words: "The time seems to be now come, when the
completion of the great work of restoration, commenced under Dean
Peacock, and guided for many years by his care and judgment, may be
looked upon as within reach."[29] In this paper he enumerated these
works as already accomplished:

1. The choir restored and rearranged.

2. Central lantern restored (Peacock Memorial).

3. South-east transept restored.

4. South-west transept restored.

5. Roof of north transept restored and painted.

6. Nave ceiled and painted.

7. Nave roof repaired and re-leaded.

8. S. Catherine's chapel rebuilt.

9. Bishop Alcock's chapel restored.

10. Galilee porch re-paved.

11. Western tower opened, ceiled, re-roofed, strengthened, etc.

12. About seventy windows filled with stained glass.

Of the painting the north transept roof the expense was borne by the
tradesmen employed upon the cathedral. The restoration of Bishop
Alcock's chapel was undertaken, out of respect to the memory of their
founder, by Jesus College, Cambridge. The painting of the nave ceiling
was the work of Mr. le Strange and Mr. Gambier Parry, the former of whom
also painted the ceiling of the west tower. Exclusive of special
donations for specific works included in the above list, the dean
reckoned that up to the time of his report £27,185 had been spent, of
which the dean and chapter had contributed no less than £15,200. Several
individual members of the chapter had, besides money gifts, presented
windows or other decorations, or had been responsible for various
structural repairs. At a rough estimate the total sum expended had
amounted to £40,000. The works still to be executed were these:

1. Paving the nave, octagon, and transepts.

2. Completion of pinnacles and parapet of octagon.

3. Internal decoration of lantern.

4. Repair of galilee.

There would also be much to be done in the matter of properly warming
and lighting the cathedral; but those expenses were more strictly within
the ordinary obligations of the dean and chapter.

The only one of the above works that calls for special notice is the
restoration of the octagon and lantern. In a statement circulated by the
dean and chapter in 1853 it was declared that "of all works which remain
to be undertaken, the most considerable and the most important is the
restoration of the lantern, including the decoration of the vault, the
substitution of windows of an appropriate character for those which now
disfigure it so seriously, and the addition of the outer corona of
turrets and pinnacles as originally designed by Alan de Walsingham." But
nothing was done towards this during Dean Peacock's lifetime. In the
summer before his death he had described more particularly the
disfigurements and the mutilations which the lantern had undergone; and
he further pointed out the unsafe condition of the exterior. The upper
windows of the octagon were of the "meanest description of carpenter's
Gothic"; they had been reduced from four to three lights each; they had
been shortened more than three feet (probably by Essex in the eighteenth
century); the upper timbers were in a ruinous state, and incapable of
being used again. The original design provided for eight lofty turrets
at the angles of the greater octagon and four pinnacles in the middle of
its longer sides. At the first meeting of the chapter after Dean
Peacock's death it was resolved that no memorial of him would be so
appropriate as the restoration of the lantern, and Mr. Scott was
instructed to prepare designs at once. A tentative sketch of his design
was published in October, 1859; and the opinion of experts was invited.
Mr. Scott's report, dated June 10, 1859, gave the result of his careful
examination. He concluded that the wooden lantern was originally "to a
certain extent an imitation of the general form of the _stone octagon_
below it. Each had large windows of four lights below, with circular
panels in the spandrils; each had a distinct story over these windows,
lighted by smaller windows consisting of several detached lights, and
each had considerable turrets, probably surmounted by pinnacles at the
angles, and, in all probability, open parapets between them."[30] He
embodied the results of the evidence he had got together in the design
he submitted. Further examination, in the following year, satisfied the
architect that no spire had ever been erected on the lantern, and that
even if Walsingham had ever intended to have one, he had yet finished
his work without any preparation for such an addition. A design for such
a spire was, however, prepared and submitted to the dean and chapter,
but it was never adopted.

As was to be expected, many opinions were expressed upon the design.
Some wanted the whole to be surmounted by a pyramidal capping. It was
objected that the design was a stone construction for what must of
necessity be erected of wood. It was pointed out that Walsingham used
his upper story as a bell-chamber, and argued that a true restoration
should aim at reproducing this feature. In the end Scott's design was
carried out exactly as proposed, except that the eight small square
turrets of the wooden lantern have no pinnacles.

The enumeration of works completed in 1866, as given by Dean Goodwin
above, did not include several important and costly gifts. The chief of
these were: the carved panels above the stalls, supplied by individual
donors; a pinnacle at the south-east corner of the choir (Mr. Beresford
Hope); the reredos (Mr. J. Dunn Gardner); the font (Canon Selwyn); the
gates of aisles of presbytery (Mr. Lowndes and Dean Peacock); the brass
eagle lectern (Canon E. B. Sparke); and the monumental effigies of Bishop
Allen and Dr. Mill. Canon E. B. Sparke had also contributed to the
restoration of the south transept; Mr. H. R. Evans, sen., and Mr. H. R.
Evans, jun., had helped with the works in the west tower; the Rev. G.
Millers, minor canon, had bequeathed £100, and his residuary legatees
gave another £300, which was applied to the ceiling of the nave; Miss
Allen, daughter of the bishop, also bequeathed £500, appropriated to a
new pulpit; and Bishop Turton left the same amount for re-paving the

The only other work of importance done before Dean Goodwin left for
Carlisle was the reconstruction of the organ. Canon Dickson, in his
admirable historical account of the organ, is confident that the
instrument in use in 1831 was the original pre-Reformation organ,
gradually enlarged from time to time with "all the improvements
suggested by the progress of musical and mechanical art." Its
preservation during the Commonwealth period is possibly due to the
personal influence of Oliver Cromwell. About that date (1831) the organ
was rebuilt by Elliott and Hill. It was fitted into the old cases, of
Renaissance design. From the similarity of these cases to some which are
known to have inclosed organs built by Renatus Harris, the old organ has
sometimes been attributed to him; but there is "no record whatever of
the employment of Harris by the Dean and Chapter."

The progress made in the time of Dean Merivale (1869-1894) was steady
and substantial, but calls for no detailed account. The foundations of
many parts of the building were made more secure; much of the pavement
was renewed; the tower at the west was strengthened with iron bands;
several stained glass windows were inserted. Perhaps the most
noteworthy undertaking of this period was the decoration of the
interior, and the completion of the series of pinnacles of the exterior,
of the octagon and lantern. In a summary of the amount spent between
1843 and 1898 the total, exclusive of special gifts, is given at £69,543
1_s._ 0_d._[31]


   [1] The origin of the name Ely has been discussed in "Fenland
       Notes and Queries," ii., pp. 316, 371.

   [2] "Words and Places," 2nd ed., 1865, p. 355.

   [3] Quoted in Bentham, p. 52.

   [4] This place has not been positively identified; but the
       general opinion is that Stow, about ten miles north-west of
       Lincoln, is the place. The existing church there is, however,
       dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It has been said that, besides Ely
       Cathedral, six ancient churches in England are dedicated to S.
       Etheldreda. In this number the ancient episcopal chapel in Ely
       Place and the destroyed church at Histon, Cambridgeshire, are
       probably not included. Other churches with this dedication occur
       at Guilsborough, Northamptonshire, West Halton, Lincolnshire,
       Bishop's Hatfield, Hertfordshire, Norwich, and S. Audrie's, in
       Somerset. The writer has not been able to discover the sixth. At
       Swaffham Prior, ten miles south of Ely, are the ruins of a small
       chapel with this dedication.

   [5] A mile south is a field still known as Cratendon Field.

   [6] Bentham, p. 68.

   [7] "Architectural History of Ely Cathedral," 1868, p. 53.

   [8] The presbytery, as the term is used at Ely, signifies the six
       eastern bays of the central portion of the church east of the
       transepts. The choir, or portion devoted to the daily choral
       service, varied in position from time to time.

   [9] See Murray's "Handbook," p. 198.

  [10] See Hewett's "Brief History," p. 10.

  [11] "The English Cathedral of the Nineteenth Century," 1861, p. 195.

  [12] See also Dean Stubbs' "Historical Memorials of Ely Cathedral,"
       pp. 151, 152.

  [13] The largest of these bells, weighing 6,280 pounds, was
       called by Walsingham's name.

  [14] Bentham, pp. 221, 222.

  [15] "Handbook," ed. Stubbs, 20th ed., p. 29.

  [16] Ibid., p. 83. The full epitaph is given on p. 84.

  [17] Bentham, pp. 177, 178.

  [18] Hope's "The English Cathedral of the Nineteenth Century," p. 178.

  [19] Quoted in Murray's "Handbook," p. 258.

  [20] Browne Willis's "Survey," vol. iii., p. 334.

  [21] Hewett ("Brief History," p. 24) says the north-eastern angle,
       and gives the date 1669; but the account in the text is

  [22] "Through England On a Side-Saddle in the time of William and
       Mary, being the Diary of Celia Fiennes." Published 1888. Quoted
       in "Fenland Notes and Queries," vol. i., pp. 291-293.

  [23] Page 214.

  [24] Page 17.

  [25] Page 334.

  [26] Date so given in "Handbook," 20th ed.

  [27] Gibbons' "Ely Episcopal Records," p. 112.

  [28] "Notes on the Cambridgeshire Churches," p. 4.

  [29] "Ecclesiologist," xxvii., p. 71.

  [30] "Ecclesiologist," xxi., p. 26.

  [31] "Handbook," 20th ed., App. II.





Few persons would dispute the statement that for external grandeur of
effect the cathedral at Ely is surpassed only, if at all, in England by
Durham and Lincoln. With the natural advantages of position enjoyed by
those cathedrals Ely cannot compete. In both these cases, also, there
are grand mediæval buildings of great size near at hand, that group
well with the cathedrals and materially improve the effect. But,
compared with the adjacent country, Ely does stand on an eminence, and
consequently can be seen from a great distance in all directions. At
Durham the distant view is limited by the hilly nature of the district;
Lincoln, except on the north side, can probably be seen more than thirty
miles off, from the ground.[1] Ely can be seen quite well from the
tower of Peterborough--about thirty-five miles as the crow flies. Ely is
nearly, but not quite, the highest spot in the Fenland. One place in Ely
is 109 feet above mean sea-level. The highest elevation in the Fenland
is near Haddenham, some five miles to the south-west of Ely, where a few
bench-marks give 121 and 122 feet above sea-level.

It is not only its magnificence that makes the view of Ely Cathedral so
remarkable, there is also the feeling that it has so many striking
features, to which we can find nothing to compare. "The first glimpse of
Ely overwhelms us, not only by its stateliness and variety of its
outline, but by its utter strangeness, its unlikeness to anything else."
So says Professor Freeman[2] and again: "Ely, ... with its vast single
western tower, with its central octagon unlike anything else in the
whole world, has an outline altogether peculiar to itself."

Although Ely, with the single exception of Wells,[3] is the smallest of
the ancient episcopal cities[4] of England, the area of the cathedral
is exceeded only by four others--York, S. Paul's, Lincoln, and
Winchester. The church certainly gives the impression of being out of
all proportion to the town.[5] There has been nothing to occasion any
considerable increase in the number of the inhabitants. Sixty years ago
there were within about four hundred as many as now. The town, as has
been pointed out above, grew out of the foundation of the monastery.
"The history of Ely is the history of Wells, Lichfield, Peterborough,
Bury Saint Edmunds, and a crowd of others, where the church came first
and the town grew up at the gate of the bishop or abbot." The great
wealth of the monastery accounts for the original magnificence of the
church; and even when the resources both of the see and the cathedral
body were reduced, they were still amply sufficient to maintain the
fabric without the loss of any material portion of it. We have no
knowledge of the occasion of the ruin of the northern part of the west
transept, but there is no suggestion that it was allowed to fall through
want of means to keep it up.

#The West Front.#--The visitor will naturally commence his
investigation of the cathedral with studying the view of the tower from
the west; and here he should endeavour to picture to himself the
appearance of the west front as it originally stood. It has, indeed,
been questioned whether the northern limb of the western transept had
ever been really completed. The prevailing opinion is that it was
completed, and the weather-mould against the north wall of the tower is
held by many to be almost conclusive evidence of the fact. From what we
see remaining, it is clear that it was (if ever built) similar to the
southern limb; and it was doubtless terminated in the same way by two
massive octangular towers. Imagine, therefore, a west front, having to
the left of the tower (as we look at it from the west) a limb
corresponding to that on the right; imagine also a line of roof,
extending over both western transepts, situated in a line with the foot
of the three lancet windows just below the clock; imagine also, further,
a roof of similar pitch over the galilee porch,[6] and, instead of the
present Decorated stage at the summit, a pyramidal spire of timber,
leaded. "The front, with its tower thus terminated, with leaded spires
also on the four terminal towers of the transept, and with the high
roofs of the transept and western porch, must have presented a _tout
ensemble_ of the most imposing and majestic character."[7]

When we examine the details of the architecture we can express nothing
but the greatest admiration. The whole of the south wing of the front
belongs to the last quarter of the twelfth century. The lowest stage of
all (for there are six stages, divided by horizontal strings) is blank;
the next three are late Norman. These have in the lowest stage in each
of the two divisions an arcade of seven tall lancets; in the next above
are four broader arches, each containing two small lancets beneath; in
the upper one is a large window, under a round arch of four receding
orders, with a blank lancet on each side. In the north wing, it should
be noted, the late Norman work was carried up one stage higher than on
the south. The upper stages are Transitional in character, but they
carry on the idea of the Norman design below. Here we see first an
arcade of four trefoiled lancets, of greater depth than those
underneath; while the uppermost stage has a large pointed window, with a
lancet on each side, and above each lancet a quatrefoil in a circle. The
arches of the window and lancets are highly enriched with carving. Below
the parapet is a good corbel table. The fourth and sixth stages are
further covered with admirable diaper panel-work. The octagonal towers
at the end of the southern transept, of which that to the west is larger
than the other, have three more stages, the central one having small,
deeply sunk trefoiled lancets; the other two, large plain ones; the
uppermost tier of lancets being open. A singular effect is produced in
the third stage from the top by the lancets being divided in the centre
by the main shaft that rises from the ground at the angles of the tower.
On the south and east these shafts are not perfect.

#The Galilee Porch# is of excellent Early English work, with details
of great beauty. Certainly nowhere in England, possibly nowhere in the
world, is there to be seen so fine a porch. "Perhaps the most gorgeous
porch of this style in existence is the Galilee at the west end of Ely
Cathedral: this magnificent specimen of the Early English style must be
seen to be duly appreciated; it combines the most elegant general forms
with the richest detail; a very happy effect is produced by the double
arcade on each side, one in front of the other with detached shafts, not
opposite but alternate."[8] Each side, externally, is covered with
lancet arcading in four tiers. In the upper tier the lancets are
trefoiled, with dogtooth in the moulding; in the next lower tier the
lancets are cinquefoiled, with two sets of dogtooth. The lancets in the
west face are all cinquefoiled, and the three lower tiers here have
trefoils in the spandrels. Nearly all are highly enriched with
dogtooth; while the mouldings of the west door have conventional foliage
as well. The lancets here are deeper than on the sides of the porch, and
were probably designed to hold figures. Of the three large lancets in
the west window the central one is slightly more lofty than the others.


The interior of the porch is even more beautiful; the profusion of
ornamentation on the inner doorway and the exceeding gracefulness of the
double arcades in the sides are quite unsurpassed. Both doorways are
divided by a shaft, and both have open tracery of exceptional beauty

Bishop Eustace, to whom this porch is attributed, died in 1215. It is
not surprising to learn that many careful students of English
architecture have found a difficulty in believing that work of such
consummate grace and perfection of detail can belong to so early a date.
Many dated examples belonging to later years in the century, which seem
to indicate a steady growth from the simplest pointed lancets to the
elaborately cusped arches which were themselves the prelude to the
Geometric period, are adduced as evidence of the improbability of the
Early English style having, so to say, grown suddenly to perfection at
Ely. Numerous instances may, however, be found in other great minsters,
where a similar difficulty has been encountered. The probable
explanation is that the best artists and the most original designers
belonged to the monastic or cathedral bodies. They maintained what would
be described in modern language as schools of architects; and the very
best talents and energies of such bodies would naturally be brought to
bear upon any great work connected with their own church. We cannot
suppose that a new conception in architectural design sprang into
existence simultaneously in several different centres. There must have
been a beginning in some one place. The idea would spread in the
neighbourhood and in buildings where the particular abbey or cathedral
had property or influence, and would by degrees be carried to other
religious houses, and so become generally adopted, and mark a distinct
change in style. But this would take time. Sometimes we can trace how
new methods were carried about. Those who were brought over from
Normandy by the Norman kings of England to be abbots in English
monasteries, brought with them their characteristic style of building;
and at the end of the twelfth century this had entirely superseded the
old English style. One monastery passed on the new fashion to another,
as Simeon, at Ely, came fresh from the great work being carried on at
Winchester under his brother Walkelin.

It is not claimed for Bishop Eustace that his work here is the earliest
known specimen of the style finished in so perfect a form. At Lincoln
the choir was erected in the time of Bishop Hugh, who died in 1200. Some
features there have been pointed out that shew that the style was a new
departure, and that the architect was feeling his way. It is admitted
that there is not to be found an earlier dated example of the finest
Early English work than the choir at Lincoln. Second only to this the
galilee porch at Ely may take rank. Other erections of very nearly the
same date have admirable work, such as the lady-chapel at Winchester and
the east end of Chichester; but there is nothing in either of those
examples to compare with the elaborate richness of detail at Ely.

#The West Tower# has six stages of Early English date above the
porch. Three of these have each three separate lancet windows, the two
lower having banded shafts. In the projecting corner turrets are lancets
of similar design in the two upper stages, but not so broad and not
pierced for windows; while in the lowest stage in the turrets above the
porch are several tall, thin, trefoiled lancets, having more the
character of Transition Norman work. Between the window ranges are
arcades of short, deep, trefoiled lancets; at the top below the parapet
and corbel table are five quatrefoils in circles, one not pierced. On
the north and south sides are but two ranges of windows. The tower must,
of course, have been built before the porch, and may consequently be
assigned to the last years of the twelfth century; and it is a noble
specimen for such an early date. The upper Decorated stage consists of
an octagon having a fine window of three lights in each face, the part
below the transom not glazed, and an open parapet above. At the corners
are octagonal turrets, with open lights above the level of the central
portion, and plain parapets. The turrets are detached from the centre,
except at the top and bottom. The latest calculations give the height of
these turrets as 215 feet. This would be nearly the same as the central
tower at Durham.

The Early English tower must have had some erection above it, probably
of wood, of a low pyramidal form. But before long it was replaced by
something of a better style. Bishop Northwold (1229-1254) "construxit de
novo turrim ligneam versus galileam ab opere cementario usque ad
summitatem." This was in turn removed when the present octagonal stage
was erected, about the year 1400. This addition was soon found to be a
source of danger, and it threatened the destruction of the whole tower.
For several years, in the middle of the fifteenth century, the tower was
undergoing repairs. Before this the upper part had been braced together
with frames of timber. In the interior, as will be seen hereafter, inner
arches of great strength were inserted under the original Norman arches
of the tower. A light and thin wooden spire was unwisely placed at the
top, and this was in 1757 reported to be in bad condition, and injurious
to the tower. It was not finally restored till about 1801, when the
whole of the upper portion, including the corner turrets, was materially


On the west face of the buttress, built against the tower in the north,
can be seen some panels of Perpendicular date. These have suggested the
idea that it was in contemplation to rebuild what had fallen in a later

Notwithstanding the ruins, the view of the cathedral from the north-west
is very striking, and in some respects more remarkable than any other
(see p. 2). We have here the only external view of the whole length of
the #North Side Of The Nave#. With the exception of the clerestory
range, and, of course, the north transept, the first impression is not
that of a Norman building. The single broad light of the Norman
clerestory, with its adjacent round-headed lancets in the wall, remains
in each bay unaltered. Above these windows was once a battlement; but
Miller records, in 1834, that it was "removed within the last sixty
years." The aisle battlement remains. The walls of the triforium were
raised, and the Norman windows, both of the aisle and triforium,
altered, in the Perpendicular period, the alterations having been begun
on the south side in 1469. All these windows now have ogee arches, and
are of three lights. The tracery is unimposing. About the middle of the
wall can be distinctly seen the marks of the door and covered way that
led from the cathedral to the Church of S. Cross. This church had been
erected in the early part of the fourteenth century, but (as has been
mentioned, p. 29), was found in 1566 to be too dilapidated for use, and
beyond repair. It was accordingly destroyed, and the lady-chapel
assigned, in lieu of it, to the parishioners for their parish church.
Either the fabric of this church must have been strangely neglected by
its custodians, or it must have been very inferior in merit of
construction to Walsingham's work, which was being erected at the same
time, if it could last no longer than about two hundred and thirty
years. Round the clerestory windows and arcading can be seen the billet
moulding; under the triforium parapet is a corbel table with billets;
below the triforium windows is a string-course consisting of little
double squares with a diagonal (sometimes called the hatched moulding),
a form of ornament not one of the most common. Good examples of it are
to be seen in Westminster Hall. In the sixth bay from the transept is a
tablet with the date 1662. This must be the time when some alterations
were made; but it can neither refer to the raising of the triforium
walls, nor to the building up the wall when the door to the destroyed
church was no longer needed. Between this point and the transepts can be
plainly seen the marks of the original Norman windows over the heads of
the existing Perpendicular ones.

#The Octagon# can be nowhere seen to better advantage than from this
point of view. Restored as a memorial to Dean Peacock, it has been
brought as nearly as possible to what Walsingham intended; for it is not
quite certain that he entirely completed his own design. The
quadrangular turrets, for instance, at the corners of the lantern, were
probably meant to be surmounted by pinnacles. These were included in
Scott's original designs for the restoration, but have not been erected.
Indeed, two of Bentham's views of the building represent pinnacles at
the corners of both octagon and lantern, while one view has them to
neither. It is certain also that there were slighter pinnacles designed
for the middle of the longer sides of the octagon. These have now been
built. The lantern has quite recovered its original beauty, after being
sadly mutilated and altered at various times. During the discussions
about the correct way of completing the lantern not a few persons
maintained that the true termination of the whole was a lofty, light,
open spire, and that if Walsingham never erected one, he must, at least,
have had one in contemplation. The examination of the interior
construction leaves no doubt whatever that no such flèche was ever
erected, and also that Walsingham intentionally completed the whole
without making any preparation for the addition of such a feature, a
preparation which he would beyond question have made had he thought a
spire was necessary to the completion of the work.

The octagon is not equilateral. The cardinal faces, being equal to the
inner breadth of the nave and transepts, are the longer. In all the
faces just below the open parapet are arcades of cinquefoiled arches,
some of them pierced for windows. The cardinal faces have each six such
arches, and the other faces only three. These shorter sides only have
large windows, the others abutting directly upon the roofs. These large
windows have exquisite tracery; they are all of four lights, with
transoms, and are beneath arches unusually acute for the Decorated
period. The windows in the lantern are new, Essex having destroyed the
original four-light windows and substituted poor ones of three lights

The way in which the octagon and lantern combine in producing a
perfectly harmonious composition is in great part due to two points of
difference, points which very few observers detect. These are, firstly,
that the lantern is a regular octagon, having all its sides equal, in
this respect being unlike the stone octagon beneath it; and, secondly,
that the eight faces of the lantern are not parallel to the eight faces
of the octagon. The new windows of the lantern are similar to the large
ones below, but are not mere copies of them. The upper stage of the
lantern, above the roof as seen from within, was once a bell-chamber;
its lights are not, and never have been, glazed. The whole of the
lantern is of wood, covered with lead. Two flying buttresses rise from
the corners of the nave and transept aisles to the corbel table of the
clerestory range. There are also eight elegant flying buttresses, one to
each of the angles of the lantern. These are part of the new work, the
originals having long disappeared.

#The North Transept# retains its original Norman windows in the lower
stage of its western aisle, though we must remember that the
north-western angle of this transept fell down in 1699, and was
rebuilt[9] under the superintendence of Sir Christopher Wren. It is
said that an earthquake had occurred some few years before, and had
caused some damage which was not suspected at the time. However much we
may admire Wren's constructive genius, we cannot justify the incongruous
door in the north wall of the transept, for which we take it for granted
he was responsible. It is in the classical style, utterly out of keeping
with the architecture near. The arch and jambs of the Norman window
above it were replaced; but this again is spoilt by the insertion of
rude unadorned mullions. The corresponding window over the eastern aisle
is original and unaltered. The north end of the transept has also Norman
lights, larger than those below, on the second range; while above are
two large Perpendicular windows, each of three lights, with transoms. To
see the east wall of the transept we have to go round the lady-chapel.
Here both triforium and clerestory are in their original Norman
condition. The lower windows are Decorated.

It cannot but be regretted that the two large windows east and west of
#The Lady-Chapel# are not portions of the building as it stood at
first. That to the east, of seven lights, is known to have been inserted
by Bishop Barnet, who died in 1373. The authority for this is the
sacrist's roll for that year. The item is given in Dean Stubbs'
"Historical Memorials," p. 147. The bishop's executors paid £20 "for
making a certain window in the lady-chapel near the high altar in the
preceding year." The west window, of eight lights, is of somewhat later
date. Considering that the chapel was finished in 1349, and that there
is no reason to doubt that the east and west ends were adorned with fine
windows of the same character as those in the sides, it seems
extraordinary that within twenty-five years it should have been thought
worth while to alter the eastern end. Was the alteration made in
connection with the insertion of a grander reredos than had been at
first provided? This seems possible, as may be judged from the following
observations of the present Dean: "It is evident from indications
supplied by the masonry of the central light of the east window, the
mullions of which are of unusual solidity, that the Reredos and East
window were originally combined in some structure, of which the chief
object was the large figure of S. Mary, often mentioned in the Rolls
of the Custos Capellæ, and which must have occupied a canopied niche,
blocking up the whole of the middle light from sill to transom."[10] The
design of the east window is inelegant, the transom is heavy, and the
tracery in the large circle at the top spoils the effect of the window
as a whole.


The west window, except for the central portion at the top and the heavy
mullions, is just like two of the side windows placed side by side. But
here again the vertical lines in the upper part harmonise ill with the
rest. There are some good niches at the west end above the window, but
there are no figures in them; and there are shallow arches on the
surface of the wall, on each side of the window as well as beneath it.
Above most of the niches are shields with heraldic bearings, twelve in
all. Among these are the coats of Edward the Confessor, the See of Ely,
Bishops Hotham, Montacute, Fordham, and perhaps Barnet.[11] One shield
has a cross, and one a lion between three helmets. The arms of the
monastery--three keys (said to have been adopted from Bishop Ethelwold
of Winchester)--occur four times, in three cases with initials beneath.
These initials are: A. W., which may certainly be assigned to Alan de
Walsingham; J. C.; and C. W. S. From the occurrence of Bishop Fordham's
arms we may conclude that this west end was reconstructed, or at least
that its reconstruction was completed, in his time (1388-1425). In some
of the lower niches are memorial tablets.

On each side of the lady-chapel are five large windows of four lights
each, with very beautiful tracery. Those on the north side have been
thoroughly restored within the last few years. At the same time the
cusps have been replaced in the large circles, of which two are over the
head of each window. Between the windows are buttresses, necessarily
large, to support the vast extent of the stone-groined roof. At the four
corners are double buttresses, with much larger pinnacles, and two
niches toward the top, the upper one shallow, but the lower deep enough
to hold a statue, and with a projecting canopy. The east end is less
decorated than the west. There was once, as it seems, some sculptured
figure or figures in front of the upper part of the window, no doubt
destroyed when the interior was mutilated.


"The #East End# of the cathedral itself (Bishop Hugh's work) is a
grand example of Early English."[12] Except for the windows of the
chapels of Bishops Alcock and West in the aisles, and that the Early
English lancets in the triforium range in the south aisle have been
removed and a plain wall substituted, this eastern front is almost
unaltered. It does not appear when this last alteration was made. In the
view in Bentham, dated 1767, are represented lancets glazed and blank,
exactly similar to those in the triforium on the north. The windows are
all lancets, without any cusping. Their grouping is specially effective.
In the centre, in the lowest stage, are three broad lancets of equal
height, divided by shafts, and with deep mouldings, and with two sets of
dogtooth all round. Below the string-course above are four deep
quatrefoils. In the next stage the lancets are five in number, the
central one being the tallest, while above the outer ones are trefoiled
niches; and there are two six-foils below the next string-course. The
upper stage has three lancets of equal height, which give light to the
space above the stone-groined roof, with a small trefoiled arch,
unglazed, and half of another on each side. In the gable are three large
sunk panels, two of six cusps, and one of eight. The whole is surmounted
by a large handsome cross, restored at the expense of Lady Mildred Hope.
The large buttresses on each side of the central group of windows have
four niches on each side, the three upper ones having bases to support
statues; the upper and lower of these have trefoiled heads, the two
others cinquefoiled heads. At the summit are sunk trefoils under the
gabled tops; and a little further to the west, on the south, the whole
is finished by an octangular turret with shallow arches and a pyramidal
top with crockets.[13] The buttresses at the corners of the aisles have
much loftier pyramidal heads. These have also crockets. The east end of
the triforium range on the north is particularly good. The east window
of Bishop Alcock's chapel, which was of course in existence long before
his time, is round-headed, with four lights, and some good Decorated
tracery. That to Bishop West's chapel, in the south aisle, is of five
lights, of very late Perpendicular character. It may be noticed that the
window in the north aisle is in the wall as originally built, but in the
south aisle the whole wall has been advanced further east, as far as the
bases of the buttresses.

Both of #The Aisles# have on the sides large pinnacled buttresses of
graceful design; and from all of these on the north, and from some on
the south, there rise flying buttresses to support the roof of the
presbytery and choir. Two of the bays on the south side have the Early
English triforium range unaltered. This gives the original height of
Bishop Hugh's triforium walls. Below the parapet here is a
characteristic corbel table. These bays form the western portion of
Bishop Hugh's work in the presbytery.

              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

The retention of this little portion of the Early English #Triforium#
is very interesting and instructive; for we should otherwise not have
known precisely how this part of the work had been carried out.
Professor Willis traced out with great care the alterations to which
the presbytery had been subjected, and his conclusions are given in
Canon Stewart's book. Early triforium windows were only for lighting the
triforium passage; they were small, and could not be seen from the floor
of the church. It will be noticed that the windows remaining in the
portion spoken of are quite small and quite close to the floor. The
changes that were made in the three great Norman minsters, Norwich,
Peterborough, and Ely, were "made evidently for the purpose of
introducing more light into the church." The walls were raised, the
windows much enlarged, and the slope of the roof consequently much
flattened. No doubt, as regards dimensions, Bishop Hugh's triforium was
a continuation of the Norman triforium of the choir. The first
appearance of a high triforium outer wall is in Bishop Hotham's work
(1316-1337). "In the following centuries this new form was extended by
alterations, first to Hugh de Northwold's presbytery and next to the
nave. But before the Early English gallery had been thus completely
transformed, it happened that some architect, apparently employed by
Bishop Barnet [1366-1374], introduced in two of the southern
compartments a method of getting rid of the gloom of the low-windowed,
Early English triforium, which, although perfectly successful within the
church, would, if it had been carried throughout, have been productive
of a most injurious effect upon the appearance of the fabric within and
without, as may be seen at present in the compartments in question."[14]
This method was to remove entirely the triforium roof, and to convert
the open arcade of the triforium towards the church into windows by
filling the tracery with glass. The designer thus introduced a flood of
light upon the choir altar, the shrines in the neighbourhood, and Bishop
Barnet's tomb under the pier arch, which is beneath one of these
windows. Fortunately the experiment was not repeated. After some time
had elapsed, the changes above indicated were carried out; the low Early
English triforium outer wall was removed, and the loftier Decorated wall
and windows erected. In the extract above given it looks as if the
removal of the triforium roof, putting a lead roof to the aisle below,
and turning the triforium arches into windows, were confined to these
two bays on the south. But the same thing was also done in the two
corresponding bays on the north. But there, when the later raising of
the triforium walls took place, this raised wall was continued over the
two bays in question; and we do not now see there any remains of Early
English work.

[Illustration: THE PRIOR'S DOORWAY.
              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

In the east wall of the #South Transept# are broad, geometrical
windows of two lights each. At the top of the southern face of this
transept, deeply recessed, is an extraordinary Perpendicular window of
seven lights. There seems no record of this being constructed. By the
remains of corbels in the lower part of the wall we see that there was
once a covered passage here, no doubt connecting the cloister with the

Beyond the transept are three Norman doors of exceptional interest. One,
indeed, is in the west side of the transept, and must have been the
original entrance here into the church. It is now quite blocked up with
stone. It has only recently been discovered. There are remains of two
Norman doors, the lower, with enriched mouldings and shaft, being
considerably later in date than the round arch above it. This latter has
the nail-head ornament. The northern end of the arch is concealed, as
well as the eastern end of the adjoining door into the south aisle, by a
mass of masonry built for a buttress.

The door into the south aisle is known as #The Monks' Door#, and is
the regular entrance into the cathedral from the south. It opened from
the eastern walk of the cloister. It is of later date than the wall in
which it is placed. The ornamentation is very rich; one spiral column is
especially noteworthy. There is a trefoiled arch, the cusps having
circular terminations with the star ornament. In the spandrels are
quaint, crouching monks, each holding a pastoral staff. Above are two
curiously twisted dragons.

#The Prior's Door# is nearly at the west end of the north alley of
the cloister. Like the monks' door, it is an insertion, being later than
the wall. It is a very fine specimen of late Norman. The tympanum is
filled with carving in high relief. In the centre is the Saviour,
seated, enclosed within a _vesica piscis_, His right hand uplifted in
blessing, His left hand resting on an open book; His bare feet rest
upon the border of the oval enclosure. This oval is supported by two
angels, the arms which hold the upper part being abnormally lengthened.
On each side is a round shaft, enriched with a deeply cut series of
ornaments running in a spiral; and at the head is a cushion capital with
interlacing ornamentation. On each side of the shaft is a square pillar,
the outer one having some curious figures of beasts and other objects
enclosed in circular rings, while the foliage of the inner one is
singularly like a premature specimen of Early English conventional
decoration. The topmost stone of this inner jamb is enlarged into a
corbel to support the lintel, and is carved with a large face. The
expense of the restoration of this doorway was undertaken by the
Bedfordshire Architectural Society.[15]

One or two bays of the north alley of #The Cloister# have been lately
restored by Canon Dickson as a vestry for the choir-boys. These are not,
of course, now open to the air. Against the wall of the church can be
seen the Norman arcading, showing there were cloisters from the first;
while the remains of the windows towards the cloister enclosure, to be
seen in the north and east alleys, tell us that they were rebuilt in the
Perpendicular period, probably in the last quarter of the fifteenth
century. Some corbels remain in the wall of the cathedral. The roof of
the cloister was therefore of wood; but there are remains of vaulting to
the west of the prior's door, so perhaps the western alley had a stone
roof. The first window to the west of the prior's door is original
Norman; all the rest (except one) were changed into three light windows,
apparently of the same date as those in the north aisle, but have lately
been reconstructed in the Norman style. This applies only to the windows
in the aisle; those in the triforium are of three lights, similar to
those removed from the aisle; and those in the clerestory are the
original Norman, just as on the north side.


   [1] Not many persons who travel by the Great Northern main line know
       that a good view of Lincoln Cathedral is to be obtained from it.

   [2] Introduction to Farren's "Cathedral Cities of Ely and

   [3] Population of Ely, 1891, was 6,646; of Wells, 5,899.

   [4] Ely is almost universally called a city, upon the supposition
       that the mere fact of its having a cathedral constitutes the town
       a city. But since the Norman Conquest the dignity of a city has
       always been conferred by grant, and no such grant is known to
       have been made to Ely.

   [5] An American visitor whom the writer was once conducting over
       Peterborough Cathedral observed, "This is a very large church for
       so small a place." Ely is about a quarter of the size of
       Peterborough in respect to population.

   [6] But there is no indication that such a roof actually reached
       the tower.

   [7] Scott's Paper, read at Bissexcentenary Festival, 1873.

   [8] From the additions to Rickman's "Attempt to Discriminate the
       Styles of Architecture in England," given in the 5th ed., 1848.
       The "happy effect" described is in the interior of the porch.

   [9] Some money was raised towards the expense of this rebuilding
       by means of a brief. At Castor, co. Northants, 5_s._ 4½_d._ was
       sent "for Ely Cathedral"; this was in 1701. In the same year, at
       Bishop's Hatfield, co. Herts, £1 5_s._ 2½_d._ was raised upon the
       "Brief for Ely Cathedral." In the following year a brief was
       issued for a fire in the city of Ely, but it does not appear that
       this had anything to do with the cathedral.

  [10] "Historical Memorials," p. 116.

  [11] One shield has a saltire: Bishop Barnet used a saltire with
       a leopard's head in chief.

  [12] Murray's "Eastern Cathedrals," p. 221.

  [13] The cost of this pinnacle was defrayed by Mr. Beresford Hope.
       The corresponding pinnacle on the north is still wanting.  It
       is, however, figured, by mistake, in the view of the east end
       in Murray's "Eastern Cathedrals."

  [14] Professor Willis's observations upon this subject are given
       in Stewart's "Architectural History," pp. 76-81.

  [15] Bishop Goodwin's "Ely Gossip," 1892, p. 48.

[Illustration: THE NAVE, LOOKING WEST.
              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

[Illustration: S. CATHARINE'S CHAPEL.
              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]



Entering the cathedral from the west, we have the full view of the
entire building, the vista being not broken, but relieved, by the open
screen. Before examining the nave itself, the visitor should inspect the
lower part of the west tower, beneath which he is standing. The curious
labyrinth worked in the pavement was there placed by Sir G. G. Scott, and
is believed to have been designed by him, and not copied from any
foreign example. The troubles that arose from the great weight of the
tower have been already described. We can here see the methods taken to
secure the stability of the structure.[1] Very massive Perpendicular
arches have been built beneath the lofty Norman ones; and all the four
great piers were surrounded with masonry at the same time. Both Bentham
and Miller give the date 1405-1406 for the beginning of this work. This
date is quite consistent with the character of the mouldings of the
arches. There was at one time a plaster ceiling just above these lower

Above the inner west door is a series of panels bearing coats of arms,
so much resembling the fronts of galleries built for the accommodation
of instrumental performers--which were known as "Minstrels'
galleries"--as to suggest the idea that the large room over the porch
was devoted to this purpose. The window above is an unfortunate
insertion, dating only from 1800; and this, as well as the stained glass
with which it is filled, could well be spared.

#The Western Transept# and #S. Catharine's Chapel.#--The Transitional
character of the late Norman work here is more marked than on the
outside of the west front. It will be noticed that the great arches of
the tower, though retaining all other characteristics of the period, are
pointed. There are two rows of mouldings, and in the spandrels above are
pointed ovals. Above the string-course are three stages: the lowest has
three sets of lofty trefoiled lancets, supported by double detached
shafts; above is a similar series, less lofty; at the top are three
large glazed windows. The painted ceiling of the tower was Mr. le
Strange's first experiment in painting at Ely. Some ancient decoration
in the vault of the south aisle of the nave had been brought to light
when he was on a visit at the Deanery, and this to some extent suggested
the thought of painting the flat roof of the tower. The subject is the
Creation. We see the right hand of the Lord; the Saviour holding a
globe, surrounded by the heavenly bodies of the fourth day of the
Creation; the Holy Dove; angels holding scrolls, with the Trisagion; and
all these are in circular designs, united by branches of foliage. A very
sad accident occurred during the early period of the restoration of the
tower in 1845, when Mr. Basevi, the architect, met his death by falling
from the upper floor of the scaffold which had been erected for the
work. He was buried in the cathedral, and a brass has been laid over his
grave. He was not in any way professionally connected with the work of
the restoration.

[Illustration: THE NAVE, LOOKING EAST.]

The very late appearance of the highly enriched work in the south part
of the western transept makes it probable that this part was completed
in quite the latest years of the twelfth century. The zigzag mouldings
to the two arches in the east are of extraordinary richness; one opens
to the south aisle, and one to S. Catharine's chapel. The whole of this
arm of the transept was at one time walled off, and the chapel itself
was destroyed. This has been rebuilt, under the advice and authority of
Professor Willis. The Woodford Trustees of the Theological College were
at the expense of providing the alabaster altar; and the chapel is now
used for the daily service of the members of that college, as well as
for early celebrations of Holy Communion. Although now known as S.
Catharine's chapel, it has never, strictly speaking, been so dedicated;
and the present Dean has pointed out that the name was given under a
misapprehension. The font in the transept was the gift of Canon Selwyn.
Its style is in keeping with the adjacent architecture. The north
portion of the western transept is entirely walled off. No documentary
evidence has been discovered to decide if it had been actually built.
The old tradition of the cathedral was that it had been finished by
Bishop Eustace at the beginning of the thirteenth century.

#The Nave.#--Originally of thirteen bays, but since the fall of the
central tower of twelve bays, the nave is a most complete and perfect
specimen of late Norman work. The naves of Ely and Peterborough are
conspicuously the best examples of the period in England. In most
respects they are very similar, and it would be difficult to pronounce
one superior to the other. In one point, indeed, the superiority is with
the Ely nave. There is not in it the slightest mixture of any
Transitional details. At Peterborough we can detect, towards the west,
some unmistakable evidences of the approaching change in style.

It is believed that the nave was completed in the time of Bishop
Riddell--that is, before 1173. This is probably somewhat earlier than
the nave at Peterborough; but both were obviously being built at the
same time for the greater part of the period of their erection. Both are
manifestly superior to Norwich, where (to mention only one point) the
excessive height of the triforium arches and the comparative low
elevation of the nave arches--so that the two arcades are almost of the
same dimensions--produce an unpleasing effect. But the work at Norwich
was earlier, perhaps by thirty years, than either of the others. It is
very difficult to obtain exact and authoritative measurements; but those
usually given supply the following comparison:--Norwich, 14 bays; length
of nave, 250 feet: Peterborough, 11 bays; length of nave, 228 feet: Ely,
12 bays; length of nave, 208 feet. From this it will be seen that before
the tower fell the naves of Ely and Peterborough were almost exactly of
the same length, while the former had two more bays than the latter.

The piers are of alternate design. In front of each an inner shaft runs
up to the roof. The string-course above the main arcade has the billet
moulding. All the attached shafts in all three stages have cushion
capitals. Under each of the large triforium arches are two smaller ones.
Though it has been said that there is no trace of any change of style
throughout the entire nave, yet it has been noticed that there is a
certain roughness about the execution of the arches towards the east
which is not seen further west. The floors of the nave and its aisles
are on one level; but till recently the floors of the aisles were a few
inches lower, and this is believed to have been the original
arrangement. The clerestory range has three arches, the central being
the highest.

              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

The western half of the #ceiling# was painted by Mr. Styleman le Strange,
of Hunstanton Hall, in Norfolk, between 1858 and 1861. He died in 1862.
The eastern half was then undertaken by Mr. Gambler Parry, of Highnam
Court, near Gloucester; and the main design of Mr. le Strange was
carried to a most successful issue. The original idea had been that a
Jesse tree should commence at the seventh bay, and the arrangement of
the subjects towards the west was meant to lead up to this. But Mr. le
Strange himself, as the work proceeded, realised that a grander effect
would be produced by introducing larger scriptural subjects towards the
east; and Mr. Gambier Parry accordingly acted upon what was known to be
the intention of the original designer. It has been many times said that
the whole design was suggested by the painted ceiling at Hildesheim, and
some words of Sir G. G. Scott have been quoted as proof of this; but Dean
Goodwin says that the scheme was not taken in any way from the foreign
example, and that Mr. le Strange had not seen the Hildesheim ceiling
when his design was formed.[2] It is worth noting that some of the
faces of the prophets are portraits; that of Isaiah, for instance, is a
portrait of Dean Peacock. The general tone of the colouring is
intentionally subdued, and the effect of this is said to be to increase
the apparent height of the nave.

The twelve subjects along the central portion of the ceiling, commencing
at the west, are these: (1) The Creation, (2) The Fall, (3) The
Sacrifice of Noah, (4) The Sacrifice of Isaac, (5) Jacob's Dream, (6)
The Marriage of Ruth, (7) Jesse, (8) David, (9) The Annunciation, (10)
The Nativity, (11) The Adoration of the Shepherds and of the Magi, (12)
The Lord in Glory.[3]

On the inner slope on each side of the central line for the ten western
bays are figures of patriarchs and prophets, each with a scroll bearing
some of his own words, all having prophetic reference to the Messiah. On
the outer slope on each side are heads in circular medallions, three in
each bay. "The heads forming the border represent the human ancestors of
our Lord, according to the genealogy in S. Luke's Gospel; they commence
at the eastern end and terminate at the western, thus linking together
the Glorified Manhood, as exhibited in the last of the pictorial
representations, with the Creation of Man in the first."[4]

The sloping sides of the ceiling follow the course of the great beams
supporting the roof. Till it was resolved to construct this ceiling the
beams were exposed, and the whole was open to the leads. Canon Stewart
speaks of it as a "remarkable example of a trussed rafter roof of seven
cants," and says that such a roof was sometimes called a compass roof.
He thinks it might have taken the place of an original roof of the
thirteenth century.

              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

#The Nave Aisles.#--These retain their groined roofs. Some remains of
coloured decoration may be seen in various places, especially in the
south aisle; and the appearance of more elaborate colouring at one place
seems to indicate that there was a side altar beneath. The rood-screen
in the nave was by the pier in which is a small canopied niche. In the
north aisle, beneath the windows, is an arcade of round-headed lancets,
four in each bay. Above the arcade was originally a string of chevron
moulding running along the whole length of the aisle; but this has been
hacked off, except beneath the most eastern window. In the south aisle
there are five such lancets in each bay west of the prior's door, and
four in each bay beyond. The windows east of this door are higher in the
wall than the others, because of the cloister, and the wall arcade is
correspondingly more lofty. The chevron moulding remains in this aisle
for seven bays, after which (until the last bay but one) the marks of it
are clearly to be seen. One of the windows in the south aisle is
original; all the rest, except one, have been recently made like it. In
the north aisle all the windows are of the Perpendicular period, and
have three lights under ogee arches. All are filled with stained glass.

              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

In the south aisle is placed an ancient memorial stone of the greatest
interest. It consists of the square base and part of the shaft of a
cross. It was brought here from Haddenham, where it had been used as a
horse-block, by Mr. Bentham. On the base is this inscription:


Ovin has been named in the account of the foundress as being her chief
agent, to whom was entrusted the civil government of her territory.
There is every reason to believe that this cross was erected either by
him or to his memory; and if so it must be twelve centuries old.

Just west of the monks' door is the entrance to the recently constructed
vestry for the choir-boys. This is thought to have been originally the
entrance to the cloister library or bookcase.

#The Octagon.#--Few visitors will perhaps be disposed to examine any
of the objects of interest in the cathedral before an inspection of the
beauties of this magnificent erection, the first sight of which, from
one of the smaller arches towards the aisles, is a thing never to be
forgotten. There is not one of the many able artists and architects who
have written about the octagon that has not spoken of it as being
without rival in the whole world; and the admiration that was expressed
fifty and more years ago would have been far greater, and the enthusiasm
more profound, had the writers seen it in its present state of perfect
restoration. No description can do adequate justice to the grandeur of
the conception or to the brilliancy of the execution of this renowned

The four great arches rise to the full height of the roof; that to the
east, indeed, is higher than the vaulted roof of the choir and
presbytery, the intervening space being occupied with tracery of
wood-work on painted boards, the Saviour on the Cross being painted in
the middle. The wooden vaulting of the octagon springs from capitals on
the same level as those of the great arches. The four small arches to
the aisles are of course no higher than the roofs of the aisles: above
these, on each side, are three figures of apostles, under canopies with
crockets. The figures are seated, and each holds an emblem, by which it
can be seen for whom the figure is intended. It may be noticed (in the
central figure on the south-west side) that S. Paul, not S. Matthias,
is put in the place of Iscariot. The hood-moulds of the arches are
terminated by heads, of which six are portraits. King Edward III. and
Queen Philippa are at the north-east, Bishop Hotham and Prior Crauden at
the south-east, Walsingham and his master mason (so it is believed) at
the north-west; those to the south-west are mere grotesques. Above the
seated figures on each side is a window of four broad lights, filled
with stained glass. The eight chief vaulting shafts rise from the ground
as slight triple shafts; they support, a little above the spring of the
side arches, large corbels, which form bases for exquisitely designed
niches, and through these spring more shafts reaching to the vault. On
each of the corbels is a boldly carved scene from the career of S.
Etheldreda; they commence at the north-west arch. The subjects (two to
each arch) are as follows:

NORTH-WEST ARCH.--S. Etheldreda's second marriage. Her taking the veil
at Coldingham.

NORTH-EAST ARCH.--Her staff taking root. Her preservation in the flood
at S. Abb's Head.

SOUTH-EAST ARCH.--Her installation as Abbess of Ely, Her death and
burial (two scenes).

SOUTH-WEST ARCH.--One of her miracles. Her translation.

All these incidents have been sufficiently explained in the chapter on
the history of the building, with the exception of the seventh. The
authority for this is the "Liber Eliensis." A man named Brytstan,[5]
being ill, had vowed that if he were restored to health he would become
a monk. Upon his taking steps to carry out this intention he was charged
with seeking refuge in a monastery simply to escape the consequences of
robberies of which he had been guilty in his business. After trial at
Huntingdon he was condemned and put in chains in prison in London. After
continuous prayers for the intercession of S. Etheldreda and S.
Benedict, these two saints appeared to him, and the latter drew the
links of the chain apart and set the prisoner free. The miracle came to
the knowledge of Matilda, Henry I.'s queen, and investigations
followed, which resulted in the release of Brytstan, and he was
conducted to Ely with manifestations of joy. Some have thought that the
ribands still to be bought at the stalls at the annual fair, and known
as "S. Audrey's laces," are a reminiscence of this legend, and that they
represent the chains from which Brytstan was delivered. But the more
probable explanation is that they refer to the disease that afflicted S.
Etheldreda, a swelling in the neck, which she held to be a fit
punishment for the vanity of her youthful days, when she was fond of
wearing necklaces and jewels. "Saint Audrey's laces" became corrupted
into "Tawdry laces"; and so the adjective has been applied to all cheap
and showy pieces of female ornament.

Special attention may be given to some points in the sculpture of these
corbels, every one of which is worthy of careful study. In (1) notice
the figure of Ovin, previously named as the steward, bearing an official
staff, or perhaps a sword. In (2) the surrender of royal dignity is
signified by the crown placed on the altar. In (3) the leaf-bearing
staff has an abundance of conventional foliage. In (5) Wilfrid bears a
simple pastoral staff, and not an archbishop's cross, as in previous
scenes--a point to which Dean Stubbs calls attention as indicating the
historical accuracy of the designer, because in former scenes the
archbishop is represented in his own diocese, while here he is a simple
bishop in banishment. In (6) there is a dignified figure--probably S.
Sexburga--standing behind the priest who is ministering to the dying
abbess. In (7) the kneeling figure is S. Benedict handling the fetters.

Until the plain colour-wash with which the vault had been covered was
removed in 1850 there was no knowledge of what had been the character of
the original decoration. Traces of colouring were then discovered, and
in some places geometrical designs, but there was no evidence of
anything very elaborate. The whole of the present decoration forms
accordingly an entirely new design; it is by Mr. Gambier Parry, who
himself painted the principal figures. The central boss of the lantern
is carved in oak, and is original; only its painting is new. All the
remaining figures are wholly new. Groups of seraphim, bands of heavenly
minstrels bearing all kinds of ancient musical instruments, monograms,
and sacred emblems, all combine to give a rich variety.

[Illustration: THE SOUTH TRANSEPT.
              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

#The Transepts.#--The architectural student will find the transepts
of the greatest interest; as in them is to be seen the earliest work in
the cathedral. They are similar in general character to those at
Winchester, which were built by Abbot Simeon's brother. The transepts at
Winchester were ready for consecration in 1093, and this was seven years
before Simeon came to Ely. The triforium is probably only in part
Simeon's work; and the clerestory was almost certainly added by his
successor. Both transepts have aisles, but in the south transept the
western aisle is walled off. Along the western wall in the north
transept is a stone bench. The square capitals of the piers here have
indentations at the corners, and this is an early example of such
indentation. Some slight ornamentation may be noticed in the cushions of
the capitals, especially in the south transept, where there are traces
of ancient colouring. The three chapels to the east of the north
transept are divided by walls, and two have wooden screens. One of these
has been restored by Professor Stanton for use as a chapel for early
celebrations and for private devotion. Some early paintings on the
vaulted roof, representing the martyrdom of S. Edmund, are sufficient
to justify this being called S. Edmund's chapel. It is probable that
this was the Chantry on the Green (so called from the place of residence
of the four chaplains) founded by Bishop Northwold. The screen in front
of this chapel is exceedingly light and graceful; it dates from about
1350. At one time it is said to have been in the south transept, and
afterwards where it now stands; it was removed in 1865, but is now
replaced. In the south transept the whole of the eastern aisle is walled
off for the library. In the plan in Bentham's History, 1770, only the
single bay to the south is marked as the library. The walls of partition
between the chapels were taken down in 1814. The western aisle has
always been separated by a low wall of Norman date, possibly a little
later than the adjacent piers; this wall has an intersecting arcade of
round arches, with a string of chevrons above. This aisle is used as a
vestry. Within is the ancient Norman vaulting; and there are some good
original windows, which cannot be seen from without except from the
Deanery gardens. From the devices on the late Perpendicular door it is
clear that it belonged to some church erected by Bishop Alcock; it was
only brought here from Landbeach about fifty years ago.

[Illustration: THE NORTH TRANSEPT.
              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

The triforium and clerestory ranges are almost identical with those in
the nave. In the south transept the western windows of the triforium
have been altered into three-light Perpendicular windows. The roofs of
both transepts have been raised, but it is not known at what time. At
the north end are two large windows of good Perpendicular character; at
the south is a single window of seven lights, of very singular design.
At the ends of the transepts are two original galleries, level with the
triforium, supported on round-headed arches. On the north are five
arches, not of equal height, the two most lofty of which reach nearly to
the triforium level. On the south are six much lower arches, and above
them is a blank arcade of intersecting arches. In the floor of the south
transept are laid some very remarkable ancient tiles.

[Illustration: THE CHOIR SCREEN.
              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

#The Choir# and #Presbytery#--A beautiful screen of oak, with brass
gates, designed by Scott, divides the choir from the octagon. It is of
early geometric character; and if there had been an original screen of
this design it would have been intermediate in date between the
presbytery and the choir. The tracery is very graceful. A rich cresting
runs along the top, cut through by the gable over the gates, which bears
a terminal cross. On both sides the small niches have statuettes.

              (_for exterior see p. 55._)]

The choir, of three bays, is the work of Bishop Hotham. The last six
bays are the work of Bishop Northwold, and form the presbytery. In the
present arrangement seven of these nine bays form the ritual choir, and
two form the retro-choir. The difference in date between the presbytery
and choir may be roughly taken as very nearly a hundred years. The
former had been begun in 1240; the latter was nearly finished in 1340.
In the juxtaposition of these two magnificent specimens of the Early
English and Decorated periods of architecture there is an opportunity of
comparison which on such a scale occurs nowhere else. It is to be
remembered that in neither case is the treatment of the upper part quite
in accordance with the usual practice of the period. When the presbytery
was being built there were still standing east of the central tower the
four original bays of the Norman choir. These, it may be assumed, were
very similar in character to those in the nave. There would, beyond
question, have been in each bay large triforium arches, each with a
couple of subordinate arches; and a single window in the clerestory with
a blank arch on each side. Bishop Northwold's work was purposely made to
correspond with these bays as far as Early English work could do so; and
when after the fall of the tower it became necessary to rebuild the
choir, Bishop Hotham in like manner made his Decorated work correspond
with the Early English presbytery. The choir is, as would be expected,
richer in detail as well as more elaborate in design; and it would be
difficult to find in England anything to surpass the tracery of the
clerestory windows and triforium arches, the beautiful cusped inner
arches of the clerestory range, the open parapets at the base of the two
stages, or the long corbels, covered with foliage, that support the
vaulting shafts. In the choir the clerestory windows have four lights
each; in the presbytery are triplets. The old colouring has been renewed
throughout. On the north side of the choir the three bays are precisely
alike; but on the south there is a variation in the tracery of the
western triforium arch. There are also shields of arms (of the See of
Ely and of Bishop Hotham) in the spandrels of the triforium and arch
below; and the shaft between this arch and the next is enlarged at the
top into a base for a statue (probably of S. Etheldreda); while level
with the string above is a very fine large canopy (called by the
work-men "the table"), which is like nothing else in the cathedral. The
clerestory windows also on the south have different tracery.

              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

The difference between the two styles of architecture is well marked in
the groining of the roof, the Decorated portion being much more
elaborate. Some of the bosses are very remarkable: one has S. Etheldreda
with pastoral staff; one has the coronation of the Virgin Mary; one has
the foundress bearing the model of a church, in which (as Dean Stubbs
has pointed out) both arms of the western transept are represented, so
that it is a fair inference that at the time this roof was constructed
the whole of the western transept was standing.

              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

Between the choir and presbytery there rise the massive Norman piers
built as the entrance to the apse; and these are the only remains of the
Norman church east of the octagon. Since the careful examination of the
foundations here, made by Professor Willis in 1850, it is not thought
certain that the apse was actually built. The foundations of the apse
were very manifest, and the design did not include a passage round it;
but there was also clear evidence that the apsidal foundation was
altered into a straight wall of the same thickness, and the probability
is that before the apse was built "it was resolved to convert it into
a square-ended presbytery, such as we now see at Oxford Cathedral and
St. Cross."[6]

              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

The two most western triforium arches in the presbytery are glazed, the
roof of the triforium itself being wholly removed. The object of this
alteration has been fully explained in the account of the exterior of
the cathedral. On the ground beneath were the shrines; and under one of
the arches was erected, not long afterwards, the monument of Bishop
Barnet, in whose time and at whose expense the alteration was made.

The arrangement of the lancets at the east end is even more effective
within than without. The east end of Ely, says Professor Freeman, "is
the grandest example of the grouping of lancets.... Ely is also
undoubtedly the head of all east ends and eastern limbs of that class in
which the main body of the church is of the same height throughout, and
in which the aisles are brought out to the full length of the

It will hardly be believed that the magnificent stalls which were
formerly ranged in the octagon, and at a later period in the presbytery,
were once painted all over with a mahogany colour. They are the finest
Decorated stalls in England, the beautiful ones at Winchester being of
late thirteenth-century date. The carved panels in the upper parts are
new, and are the gifts of individual donors. They were executed in
Belgium. It is not known how these spaces were originally filled; Mr. le
Strange thought possibly with heraldic devices. The designs on the south
are from the New Testament, those on the north from the Old Testament
The seats in the lower range are also modern, as are the various
statuettes at the Stall ends, which represent the builders of the most
important parts of the fabric. On the misereres of the ancient stalls
are some wonderful grotesque carvings. The brass eagle lectern has been
copied, as to its main features, from an ancient example at Isleham. The
organ is in the triforium, on the north, and part of the case projects
over the easternmost arch of the choir.

The reredos is the first example in modern cathedral work of the
elaborate style of decoration for the most holy part of the sanctuary,
which is now not uncommon. It was the gift of Mr. John Dunn Gardner, of
Chatteris, and was designed by Scott. It forms the central portion of a
screen of stone which extends for the whole width of the presbytery. The
lower part of the whole is of deeply cut diaper-work; the upper part has
an open arcade of six arches, each with a mullion and tracery in the
early Decorated style. The reredos itself is of alabaster, and consists
of five main arches under canopies, and with tracery, and is ornamented
with a rich abundance of mosaic work, panels, medallions, statuettes,
twisted columns, and various kinds of carving. Five scenes from the last
days of our Lord's life on earth are carved in relief under canopies
beneath the chief arches. A full description, giving all the details of
the sculpture, and the materials of the mosaic, and the different
persons and emblematic graces represented by the busts and figures,
would require more space than we can give. The altar cross, of silver
gilt, is in memory of Bishop Woodford.

[Illustration: THE REREDOS.
              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

[Illustration: THE LADY-CHAPEL.
              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

#The Lady-chapel.#--Notwithstanding the cruel mutilation of the
sculpture all round this chapel, it can be seen that for perfection of
exquisite work there is no building of the size in this country worthy
for one moment to be compared with this in its unmutilated state. Its
single defect strikes the beholder at once: the span of the roof is too
broad and the vaulting too depressed for the size of the chapel. The
windows, of which those on the north have been restored, have already
been described. The end windows, which are of great size, are of later
date; that to the east has a look of Transition work about it. The
building was finished in 1349, and the east window was inserted by
Bishop Barnet, _circa_ 1373. For a possible explanation of the insertion
of this window, only a quarter of a century after the completion of the
chapel, see _ante_, p. 52. It is not thought probable that the original
designers left anything incomplete. The great beauty of the interior
consists in the series of tabernacle work and canopies that runs round
all the four sides below and between the windows. The heads of the
canopies project. In the tracery beneath, at the head of the mullion,
was a statue. The delicate carving of the cusps and other tracery is
varied throughout. On the spandrels were incidents connected with the
history of the Virgin Mary (mainly legendary) and of Julian the
Apostate; and though in no single instance is a perfect uninjured
specimen left, yet enough remains, in all but a few cases, for the
original subjects to be identified.[8] All was once enriched with
colour, and many traces remain; and in various parts of the windows
there are fragments of stained glass. Most of the monumental tablets
which once disfigured the arcade below the windows have been happily
removed into the vestibule. The arches and canopies at the east end are
arranged differently from those on the sides. In the roof, which reminds
us of the contemporary roof in the choir, are some carved bosses, not
large, but singularly good. Among the subjects can be recognised a
Crucifixion, with half-figures beside the cross; Adam and Eve; the
Virgin Mary and Elizabeth, holding between them a book inscribed
"Magnificat"; the Annunciation, with "Ave Maria Gracia plena"; the
Ascension, indicated by the skirt and feet of the Saviour and five heads
of apostles; the coronation of the Virgin; and the Virgin in an aureole.

              _Rev. T. Perkins Photo._]

The arrangements for worship present an appearance very unlike those of
sixty years ago. A writer in 1876, writing of his early recollections,
says: "When I first knew Ely the state of the lady-chapel--then, as now,
used as a parish church--was so miserable from decay, violence, and
neglect, that it was simply painful to enter it." ... Now,
"well-designed benches have replaced the mean deal square pews, the
whitewash and yellow-wash which thickly clogged the carving has been
removed, the windows have been repaired and made water-tight, and the
altar and its adjuncts made to assume an air of reverent dignity."

We do not remember to have anywhere seen an explanation of the fact that
this chapel is now used as the parish church of Holy Trinity parish;
whereas the old church, the destruction of which occasioned the
appropriation of the lady-chapel to parochial use, was dedicated to S.

#Monuments And Stained Glass#--It is convenient to treat the
monuments as a separate subject, so as not to break the continuity of
the architectural description. We will commence at the west, proceeding
along the north aisle, and so round the cathedral, pointing out those
that have anything of special interest.

Against the blocked doorway which gave access to the church of S. Cross
is placed an altar-tomb to the late Bishop Woodford (see below, p. 129).
The figure of the bishop is vested in cope and mitre, and has a pastoral
staff. The Crucifixion is on the wall at the back. There are several
shields of arms relating to the bishop's career or to the cathedral
history: among these are those of the Merchant Taylors' Company, at
whose school he was educated; Pembroke College, Cambridge, of which he
was a member; and of other colleges at Cambridge founded by bishops of
Ely. Three tablets in this north aisle, near the transept, record
donations towards the re-paving of the nave and aisles in 1676, 1869,
and 1873.

There is no monumental memorial in the nave. But the large slab of
marble in the centre, just in front of the position of the old
rood-loft, which has been already referred to as traditionally marking
the grave of Alan de Walsingham, should be noticed.

Under the four arches of the presbytery on the north, between the stalls
and the altar, are monuments of great importance. First we see that of
Bishop Redman (d. 1505), a very fine specimen of enriched Perpendicular
work. The mitred figure of the bishop is on an altar-tomb beneath a
richly groined roof, and a space is left at the feet, where a priest
might stand to pray for the soul of the deceased prelate.[9] There are
grand canopies on the sides, with crockets and coloured shields bearing
emblems of the Crucifixion, the arms of the See of Ely and of S. Asaph,
where Bishop Redman was at first; but the arms of the See of Exeter,
from which diocese he came to Ely, as now used, are not to be seen.
Above the roof is fine open screen-work, and against the adjoining
piers, east and west, are large canopied niches.

Next to this is the effigy of Bishop Kilkenny (d. 1256), a fine example
of Early English. The figure has cope, mitre, and staff. The bishop's
heart only was buried here.

[Illustration: THE NORTH CHOIR AISLE.]

In the next arch is a large Decorated structure of two stories, believed
by Scott to have been built by Walsingham as the base for the shrine of
S. Etheldreda. It was formerly known as Bishop Hotham's shrine, and his
effigy was placed beneath it. The lower story is open.

In the arch north of the altar is the tomb of the builder of the
presbytery, Bishop Northwold (d. 1254). He is represented in full
vestments. At the east of the tomb is a curious carving, apparently
meant for the martyrdom of S. Edmund. A king naked above the middle,
except for his kingly crown, is tied to a tree and pierced by arrows;
archers with drawn bows are behind; at one end the king has his head,
still crowned, in his hands, with a figure bearing a sword over him; at
the other side is either the wolf of the legend or an evil spirit in
animal shape.

In the aisle itself are several memorials, mostly of the eighteenth
century, that call for no special mention. The latest is the brass to
Mr. Basevi, 1845.

At the east end of the aisle is the #Chapel Of Bishop Alcock# (d.
1500). The date, 1488, is fixed precisely by the inscribed stone now
placed in the wall above a small stone altar. The stone in the wall has
five crosses, as though intended for a chantry altar, but the slab of
the altar beneath has no crosses. The inscription is, "Iohanes Alkoc
epus Eliesis hanc fabricam fieri fecit M cccc iiij(xx) viij." The sides
of the chapel are covered with niches, canopies, crockets, panels, and
devices. The roof has fan tracery with a massive pendant. A singular
little chantry is at the north, access to which is through a door at the
foot of the bishop's tomb. In a small window here is a little
contemporary stained glass. The bishop's rebus--a cock on a
globe--repeatedly occurs in the stone-work. The ornamentation strikes
the spectator as being excessive and too profuse. No figures have been
replaced in the niches.

In the retro-choir a mosaic slab over the remains of Bishop Allen (d.
1845) has a curious history. A son of the bishop was passing through
Paris soon after Napoleon's tomb was finished, and the surplus materials
were offered for sale by auction. Some of these were purchased by Mr.
Allen and utilised for the slab over the bishop's grave. The large
monument to Canon Mill (d. 1853) has an effigy in copper on a support of
marble and alabaster; students of India and Cambridge are by the feet.

The tomb of Cardinal Luxemburg (d. 1443) is beneath the most eastern
arch on the south, just north of Bishop West's chapel. When the monument
was concealed behind some wood-work great dispute arose as to the
headdress of the effigy. Bentham has an engraving with a cardinal's hat
on the archbishop's head. Cole records that it was a mitre. When the
wood-work was removed it was found that the figure was headless, as it
still remains.


Corresponding to the chapel of Bishop Alcock on the north is that of
#Bishop West# (d. 1533) in the south aisle. This is a most valuable
example of the Renaissance style. The niches and canopies with which the
walls are covered are much smaller than those in the other chapel, and
consequently more numerous; but by reason of the great delicacy of the
tracery and the wonderful variety of the designs there is no impression
that the decoration is overdone. No perfect specimen is left of the
statues or of the heads which were introduced in the tabernacle work;
and in its complete state this exquisite work can have existed for not
more, than twelve or thirteen years, as the Order in Council for
removing images was made in 1548. The roof is curious, as being an
adaptation in the Renaissance of the late Gothic fan tracery Some
colouring remains. The wrought-iron gates, with motto in Latin several
times repeated, and the curious little pendants from the roof,
consisting of angels bearing shields of arms, should be noticed. Bishops
Greene (d. 1738), Keene (d. 1781), Sparke (d. 1836), and Woodford (d.
1885) are all buried in this chapel. On the south side, within a
shrine-like receptacle, have been placed the relics of seven early
benefactors of the church. Originally buried in the Saxon church, they
have been several limes removed. They were placed here in 1771. The
names are carved in seven shallow niches. One was an archbishop, five
were bishops, and the seventh was Alderman Brithnoth. The dates range
from 991 to 1067.

The very interesting early Norman monumental slab, with carving in
relief, preserved in the aisle, does not strictly belong to the
cathedral, having been found at S. Mary's Church. Above a round-headed
canopy are some Norman buildings; in the chamfer of the canopy is an
invocation of the Archangel Michael, a figure of whom below has wings
and nimbus, and in the robe a portion of a naked figure with pastoral
staff beside it.


Proceeding westward, the monuments under the windows are those of Canon
Selwyn (d. 1875), Bishop Gunning (d. 1684), wearing a mitre, with long
hair and short beard, and Bishop Heton (d. 1609), in a cope and having
an ample beard. Under the arches of the presbytery, after the huge
tablet to Bishop Moore (d. 1714), are four monuments. The first is all
that is left of the tomb of Bishop Hotham (d. 1337). The next has
figures of John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, K.G., and his two wives. The
earl was beheaded in 1470, and is not interred here. One of the wives
was Cecily Neville, sister of Richard, Earl of Warwick, the King-maker.

Of the tomb of Bishop Barnet (d. 1373) the base only remains. It
resembles in general character the monument of Bishop Northwold.

[Illustration: BISHOP WEST'S CHAPEL.]

Under the last arch of the presbytery is the fine monument of Bishop
Louth (d. 1298). It is a very beautiful early Decorated composition.

Two brasses remain in the floor of the south aisle, both of great
interest. The famous brass of Bishop Goodrich (d. 1554) represents him
in full vestments (wearing a chasuble, not a cope), with mitre and
pastoral staff (see below, p. 124). This is specially noteworthy as he
was an enthusiastic supporter of the Reformation changes and is believed
to have encouraged, if he did not order the wholesale destruction of
statues and other ornamentation of the cathedral. He was Lord Chancellor
for three years, and the Great Seal is figured on the brass. Dean
Tyndall (d. 1614) is represented in a very different style. He is
figured in academical dress, wearing a ruff and a skull-cap, and with a
long beard. On one of the shields of arms may be seen the arms of the
Deanery impaling Tyndall.

Very many other tablets and inscriptions remain; but we have no space
for a more extended treatment of the subject. In the south transept is a
tablet to Dean Merivale (d. 1894), with a likeness in slight relief; and
mention of this gives opportunity for saying that the very greatest care
seems to have been taken to secure good likenesses in the most recent
monuments, those of three, as to which the writer can speak from
personal knowledge--Bishop Woodford, Dean Merivale, and Canon
Selwyn--being of conspicuous merit.

It would require a book to itself to treat exhaustively of the stained
glass in the windows. In nearly all cases, certainly in those which can
be examined without the aid of a glass, the names of the donors, or of
the persons to whose memory the windows were inserted, are plainly set
forth either in the windows or on brass tablets adjoining. It should be
stated that the greatest encouragement to this form of decoration was
given by Canon E. B. Sparke, who secured, partly by his influence and
persuasion, and largely by his own munificence, the insertion of so many
windows. It is true that in the first instance not a few were prepared
in too great a hurry, and some of those first placed in the restored
cathedral (as those in the octagon) have been at a later time condemned
as being deficient in harmony of colouring and in artistic design; but
there is little fault to be found with the most recent additions. Among
so many it is inevitable that very different degrees of merit will be
exhibited. It has been said that the entire series is an exemplification
of the Horatian maxim, "Sunt bona, sunt quædam mediocria, sunt mala
plura"; and, except that we should be disposed to exchange the position
of the words "quædam" and "plura" (if the metre allowed it), with this
sentiment we agree.


   [1] Quite recently further security has been attained by a system
       of iron bracing, not visible from beneath.

   [2] "Ely Gossip," p. 39.

   [3] When Murray's "Eastern Cathedrals" was published, Mr. Gambier
       Parry's work had not been begun; and by comparing the above list
       with the list there given as the proposed series of sacred
       subjects for the last six bays of the ceiling, it will be seen
       that the last three subjects are not the same as at first

   [4] From the key to the ceiling by Dean Stubbs, in "Handbook,"
       20th ed., pp. 60, 61.

   [5] Admirable and exhaustive descriptions of these pieces of
       sculpture, with sketches of six of them, are given in Dean
       Stubbs' "Historical Memorials of Ely Cathedral," pp. 71-84. The
       account in the text of the miracle on the seventh corbel is
       condensed from this description.

   [6] Canon Stewart, in _The Builder_, April 2nd, 1892.

   [7] Introduction to Farren's "Cathedral Cities of Ely and

   [8] For a full account and list of all the subjects as far as is
       known, see Dean Stubbs' catalogue of them, abridged from Dr.
       Montagu James' work on the iconography of the lady-chapel, given
       in the "Handbook," 20th ed., pp. 127-132.

   [9] In the inventory of plate, etc., "belonging to the late
       priory at Ely," made 31 Hen. VIII., printed in Bentham's
       "History" from the MS. in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, the
       only altars mentioned are the high altar, those in the
       lady-chapel, in the chapels of Bishops Alcock and West, and in
       "Byslope Redmannes Chaple."


[Illustration: THE CHAPTER SEAL. _From Bentham._]



All that need be said of the original establishment at Ely has already
been told in the account of the foundress. There is no doubt that in the
monastery there were religious persons of both sexes. Dean Stubbs says
"the mixed community was the fashion of the time"[1] and he gives
Coldingham, Kildare, and three in Normandy--Chelles, Autun Brie, and
Fontevrault--as examples of similar foundations. In this instance the
abbess was the head of all; and this accounts for Bede's calling the
house a nunnery. What name was given to the superior of the men's part
does not appear.

Of all the abbesses who ruled over this "twin monastery" we know only
the names of the first four; and all these were in due time canonised.
These were S. Etheldreda (673-679), S. Sexburga (679-699), S. Ermenilda
(699-?), and S. Werburga (dates unknown). If we allow ten years for the
duration of the rule of the last two, we still have the names of the
abbesses for only thirty-six years out of the one hundred and
ninety-seven years that the institution lasted. It is said to have been
in a very flourishing condition when the Danes came to destroy it; and
there is no hint anywhere that there was not a continuous succession of
abbesses during the whole period.

S. Sexburga, the elder sister of the foundress, succeeded her as abbess.
She was the widowed queen of Ercombert, King of Kent, and had herself
founded the monastery of Sheppey, at the place now known as Minster, and
set over it her daughter Ermenilda, another widowed queen. S. Sexburga
joined the house at Ely, and had resided there some time before her
sister's death. The body of S. Etheldreda was in her time removed into
the church, under the superintendence of Archbishop Wilfrid. Bede gives
a full account of the translation. The monks who had the charge of
providing a stone coffin suitable for the reception of the remains of
the foundress are said to have "found" one of marble among the ruins of
Grantchester, the name of the old town of Cambridge. When disinterred,
the body was reported free from all corruption. The account would not be
complete without the customary miracles--marvellous cures effected by
touching the clothes and coffin, and by the healing efficacy of a spring
that flowed from the place of the first interment. This translation took
place on October 17th, 695. This is the day assigned to the
commemoration of S. Etheldreda. The importance of this festival is
sometimes held to account for the fact that the Feast of S. Luke, on
October 18th, is not preceded by a fast. But as no fast is assigned to
the vigils of the Conversion of S. Paul, S. Mark, or Saints Philip and
James, it is questionable if this opinion is sound. Upon the death of S.
Sexburga, in 699, her body was laid in the church next to that of her

The next abbess was her daughter, S. Ermenilda. Her husband had been
Wulphere, King of Mercia, who died in 675. She had been professed at
Ely, and left to become the head of her mother's foundation at Sheppey.
The date of her death is not known. She was succeeded, both at Sheppey
and at Ely, by her daughter, S. Werburga. How long she ruled at Ely is
not recorded. She was buried by her own desire at Hanbury, in
Staffordshire. When the Danes reached Derbyshire in their incursions,
this was deemed no longer a safe place, and her body was removed to
Chester, where the cathedral was afterwards placed under the joint
invocation of S. Werburga and S. Oswald.[2] The reason why it is
suggested above that ten years may be taken as the limit of time to be
assigned to the rules of S. Ermenilda and S. Werburga is that the author
of her Life[3] says that her body was taken up "9 years after her
decease, to translate it to a more eminent part" of Hanbury Church, by
order of Ceolred, King of Mercia. As this king died at latest in 717, it
would follow that S. Werburga must have died not later than 708.

Probably in the Isle of Ely more special respect was paid to the
festivals of these four sainted abbesses than elsewhere. But we find no
churches dedicated to any of the four in the isle except those
previously named as dedicated to S. Etheldreda, the cathedral, Histon,
and a chapel at Swaffham Prior. Minster Church, in Kent, is dedicated to
Saints Mary and Sexburga. In a tenth-century will of the widowed queen
of Edmund I. we read: "I give to S. Peter's, and to S. Ætheldryth, and
to S. Wihtburh, and to S. Sexburh, and to S. Eormenhild at Ely where my
lord's body rests, the three lands which we both promised to God and His
saint."[4] There were no doubt side-altars erected in honour of one or
more of the four. At Wisbech, for instance, there was a "light" of S.
Etheldreda, to which we find persons bequeathing small sums.

Of the monastery of S. Etheldreda and that of Bishop Ethelwold,
Professor Freeman writes that there is "no continuity between the
two."[5] By this we must probably understand that he considered the
original monastery absolutely at an end after its destruction by the
Danes; and that the monastery founded in its place a century later was
something quite new, that had no claim to be regarded as the
continuation of the former one. But the history of the place during the
interval was not an absolute blank.

The Danish destruction took place in 870. The reconstruction by King
Edgar and Bishop Ethelwold took place in 970. In the monastery so
founded, or, as most would prefer to say, resuscitated, there were no
nuns. It has been pointed out that at Ely, unlike other religious houses
in the district, there was not complete desolation during the century
intervening between the destruction of the former and the construction
of the latter house. Some clergy banded themselves together and formed a
religious community, of what precise character is not known, but
apparently it was something in the nature of a college of secular
priests. When the second monastery arose, these clergy were either
absorbed or evicted.

#Brithnoth# (970-981) was the first abbot. He had been Prior of
Winchester. He devoted his energies to the consolidation of the new
house, securing many fresh endowments, settling the boundaries of the
Isle of Ely, and laying out the grounds of the abbey in beautiful order.
The church possessed only the bodies of three of the four saints
connected with the original foundation. There being no hope of
recovering the fourth, Bishop Ethelwold and the abbot resolved to find a
substitute in the body of S. Withburga, the youngest sister of S.
Etheldreda. Her youth had been spent at Holkham, in Norfolk, where the
church is now said to be dedicated to her, and afterwards founded a
nunnery at Dereham, in the same county, where she died and was buried. A
long account is given by Bentham[6] of the trickery by which her body
was purloined and brought to Ely, where it was interred near the bodies
of the three abbesses.[7] Brithnoth is said to have been murdered at
the instigation of Queen Elfrida, having grievously offended her in many
ways, especially by reproving her infamous and abandoned life. This is
the same Elfrida who, two years before, had caused her stepson, King
Edward (thence called the Martyr), to be assassinated in order that her
own son, Ethelred (the Unready), might have the crown. Edward only
reigned four years; but during that time much that his father, King
Edgar, had done towards establishing the monastic rule in England was
set aside. In some instances "the monastic rule was quashed, and
minsters dissolved, and monks driven out, and God's servants put down,
whom King Edgar had ordered the holy bishop Ethelwold to establish."[8]
The queen confessed before her death to having compassed the death of
Abbot Brithnoth. His body was conveyed to Ely for interment.

He was succeeded by #Elsin# (981-1016), "of a noble family." In his
time very considerable donations and bequests were made to the
monastery. In some cases members of the house who rose to eminence and
obtained lucrative appointments became benefactors; sometimes the
parents of young men who joined the society testified their confidence
by munificent gifts; sometimes widows gave manors and lands in their
lifetimes or in their wills. In one case at least much wealth was
acquired by way of penance. Leofwin, a man of large possessions, in a
violent fit of anger had occasioned the death of his own father. In his
remorse he betook himself to Rome to obtain absolution, undertaking to
perform any penance that might be enjoined. The pope required him to
dedicate his eldest son to the religious life in some monastery which he
was liberally to endow, and to bestow largely of his substance to the
relief of the poor. His son Edelmor was accordingly devoted to the
service of God at Ely, and very large estates were assigned by Leofwin
to the monastery. He further improved the church, rebuilding and
enlarging the south aisle, and joining it to the rest of the building;
and in one of its porches, or side-chapels (_in uno porticu_), he built
an altar to the Virgin Mary, erecting over it a stately image of gold
and silver, adorned with valuable jewels. It is probably to this altar
that reference is made when we find some speak as if there were a
lady-chapel in existence before the present one. At Leofwin's death his
body was buried in the church, and to it he bequeathed his entire

Alderman Brithnoth, a man of great rank and eminence, and of great
reputation as a soldier, was another considerable benefactor. On one
occasion he was marching with his forces from the north to encounter the
Danes, who had been plundering in Suffolk and had reached Essex. Passing
Ramsey Abbey, he sent word to the abbot that he proposed to stop there
with his men for refreshment. But the abbot, though willing to entertain
the alderman and a few select friends, declined the honour of providing
for his troops. This did not suit Brithnoth, and he went on to Ely.
There the whole company was hospitably entertained; and Brithnoth was so
pleased that he on the next day made over to the monastery a number of
manors into their immediate possession, and also assigned certain
others, on condition that if he should be slain in battle his body
should be buried at Ely. In the battle the English forces were
outnumbered, and Brithnoth fell, the Danes taking his head away with
them in their triumph. On hearing of his death, the abbot and some of
the monks went to the scene of the engagement, recovered the body, and
interred it with all honour in their church.

A great accession of dignity was granted by King Ethelred. While his
brother, King Edward, was on the throne, Ethelred, with his mother, had
visited the tomb of S. Etheldreda, and professed great admiration for
her character and work. When Ethelred became king he granted to the
churches of Ely, Canterbury, and Glastonbury the office of Chancellor of
the King's Court, putting, as it were, the office in commission; so the
abbot of each place, or his deputy, officiated as chancellor for periods
of four months each. This privilege was only retained till the time of
the Normans.

Elsin died in a good old age, "after a life of great sanctity and
observance of the commandments of God, and after the acquisition of much
honour and great possessions to the church." His death took place,
according to the "Liber Eliensis," in King Ethelred's time--that is, not
later than 1016. Wharton gives 1019 as the date. Possibly the unsettled
state of the kingdom may have caused the abbey to be vacant for three

At the Battle of Assendun, 1016, some of the monks of Ely, as well as
Ednod, Bishop of Dorchester, and the Abbot of Ramsey, were slain. The
Ely monks took with them to the camp the relics of S. Wendreda, which
were there lost and never recovered. Canute is thought to have acquired
them, and to have bestowed them upon the Church of Canterbury. The body
of Bishop Ednod was brought to Ely, with the intention of taking it on
to Ramsey, where he had been abbot, for interment. But when the body
arrived at Ely it was buried privately by night in the church.

Of #Leofwin#, called also Oschitel (1019?-1022), who is given in the
lists as the third abbot, nothing whatever is known, except that he was
deposed by the monks, and reinstated, after a journey to Rome, by the

His successor, #Leofric# (1022-1029), who had been prior, is
remembered only as being abbot when Archbishop Wulstan of York and
Bishop Alfwin of Elmham were buried at Ely, and when divers possessions
were acquired by gift or bequest of a certain Countess Godiva.

#Leofsin# (1029-1045), like his predecessor, was appointed by King
Canute. Canute was much in the eastern counties; and he is said to have
made a point, when possible, of keeping the Feast of the Purification at
Ely, that being the date on which the abbot's turn as chancellor
commenced. It was on one of these occasions, while coming by water with
his queen and nobles, that the remarkable incident occurred of his
hearing the monks singing in the distance, and breaking out himself into
verse. Four lines of his song have been preserved.[9] The Latin of
them, as given in the "Liber Eliensis," runs thus:

  "Dulce cantaverunt monachi in Ely
  Dum Canutus rex navigaret prope ibi,
  Nunc milites navigate propius ad terram,
  Et simul audiamus monachorum harmoniam."

The incident has attracted many writers, and not a few poems have been
written upon it. Wordsworth's sonnet on the subject commences:

  "A pleasant music floats along the mere.
  From monks in Ely chanting service high,
  While as Canute the king is rowing by:
  'My oarsmen,' quoth the mighty king, 'draw near,
  That we the sweet song of the monks may hear.'"

And in a ballad upon Chelsea, a quarter of New York where the General
Theological Seminary of the American church is situated, a poet of that
communion has these verses:

  "When old Canúte the Dane
    Was merry England's king,
  A thousand years agone, and more,
    As ancient rymours sing,
  His boat was rowing down the Ouse,
    At eve, one summer day,
  Where Ely's tall cathedral peered
    Above the glassy way.
  Anon, sweet music on his ear,
    Comes floating from the fane,
  And listening, as with all his soul
    Sat old Canúte the Dane;
  And reverent did he doff his crown,
    To join the clerkly prayer,
  While swelled old lauds and litanies
    Upon the stilly air."[10]

Ely minster was, however, not a cathedral in Canute's time; and it is a
strange poetical licence that can describe an evening just before the
Feast of the Purification as a "summer day."

Perhaps the greatest distinction belonging to the monastery at this
period was the honour of having educated King Edward the Confessor. He
had been brought here in his infancy and offered by his parents on the
altar; "and it was a constant tradition with the Monks that he used to
take great delight in learning to sing Psalms and godly Hymns, among the
children of his own age, in the Cloister, on which account he always
retained a favourable regard to the place, after he became King."[11] In
1036, the year after Canute's death, Edward and his brother Alfred came
over from Normandy to England, ostensibly to visit their mother, Queen
Emma, who lived at Winchester, but really to ascertain the feeling of
the nation with regard to the succession to the throne. Alfred fell into
the hands of Earl Godwin, by whose orders he was deprived of his eyes
and committed to the custody of the monks of Ely. He lived a very short
time after this cruel treatment, and died and was buried at Ely.

Abbot #Wilfric# (1045-1065) came from Winchester. He was a kinsman of
Edward the Confessor. Through this relationship, as well as from
personal connection with the place, the king greatly favoured the abbey.
He granted a confirmatory charter himself, and obtained a bull from the
pope confirming all the rights and privileges of the church. But several
of the possessions of the abbey were lost in Wilfric's time. In one
instance the High Constable of England seized a village belonging to the
monks. Proceedings were taken against him and sentence pronounced; but
he evaded even the king's orders, and at last actually secured the
possession of the village for his own life, after which it was to revert
to the true owners. After the Conquest, however, all the lands of this
nobleman were seized by the Conqueror, this village among the rest; nor
could the Church of Ely ever regain it. In another instance Abbot
Wilfric himself was the cause of the loss of much landed property. In
order to advance his brother he conveyed to him, without the consent of
the monastery, several estates. Upon discovery, the abbot withdrew from
Ely in sorrow and disgrace, and soon fell sick and died. As in the
previous case, a composition was effected between Guthmund, the late
abbot's brother, and the monks, whereby he was to retain the lands for
his life. But, as before, these lands were alienated after the Conquest,
and never recovered.

Abbot #Thurstan# (1066-1072) was appointed by King Harold, and was
the last Saxon abbot. He was a native of the Isle of Ely, having been
born at Witchford. He naturally took the part of Edgar Atheling--whom he
regarded as the rightful heir after Harold was killed--against William
the Conqueror. He gave every support to the many who gathered together
in the isle as to a fastness, and encouraged the plans of Hereward. When
the cause of the English seemed hopeless, the monks endeavoured to
persuade the soldiers to surrender; not being successful, they sent
messengers to the king assuring him of their sorrow at having taken part
against him, and promising to behave better in future. Afterwards the
abbot himself went, and gave the king much information about the place,
and the best method of subduing it. But when the isle was finally
subdued, the king signified his great displeasure at the behaviour of
the monks, and exacted a heavy fine. He is said to have gone in person
to the minster, after his victory, and to have made an offering at the
altar; but the monks were under such strict surveillance, and the king's
visit was so secret, that no one knew of his coming till after he was
gone. Thurstan escaped deprivation by his complete submission and
prudent conduct, and remained abbot till his death in 1072. But it
appears that the monks had not thoroughly made their peace with the
Conqueror by the time of Abbot Thurstan's death, for we read, "Eodem
anno monachi Elienses, quibusdam Anglorum magnatibus contra regem
Willelmum rebellantibus succursum præbentes, exlegati sunt."[12]

He was succeeded by a Norman, #Theodwin# (1072-1075), a monk of
Jumièges. This was a Benedictine abbey of great repute in the diocese of
Rouen. Its church had been built during the abbacy of Robert, afterwards
Archbishop of Canterbury; and he died and was buried at Jumièges.
Theodwin was present at the Council of London in 1075. He died the same

For upwards of six years the affairs of the monastery were administered
by Godfrey, one of the monks. He was an able and efficient
administrator. In his time the king sent a number of knights and
gentlemen to live at Ely, and he supported them out of the revenues of
the house. The names and armorial bearings of these pensioners are
preserved in a curious painting called the "Tabula Eliensis," now in the
palace. This is a copy, as it is said, of one formerly in the refectory.
It cannot be earlier than the fifteenth century. There are in it forty
compartments, in each of which is represented a knight and a monk, the
names of both being given above, and the arms of the knights being
placed beside their heads. Some of the names are still to be found among
the nobility and gentry of England, and in some instances the very same
armorial bearings are used. This is the case in the families of Lacy,
St. Leger, Montfort, Clare, Touchet, Furnival, Fulke, Newbury, Lucy,
Talbot, Fitzallen, Longchamp. It need hardly be pointed out that no
contemporary Norman painting could have given such shields of arms to
the different knights, heraldry having only established itself as a
science in England in the thirteenth century.

The affairs of the abbey had been in a very unsettled state since the
time when the Camp of Refuge was attacked, so many of the estates of the
church having been granted to Norman followers of the Conqueror. But the
king's resentment at last gave way, and he was induced to sanction an
inquiry into the rights and liberties of the monastery. He appointed his
brother Odo, then Bishop of Bayeux, to summon an assembly of barons,
sheriffs, and others interested in the matter, to consider and determine
the claims of the monks. The meeting was held at Kentford, in Suffolk;
and the report was so favourable that the king directed the church to be
put into possession of all the rights, customs, and privileges which it
enjoyed at the time of King Edward's death.

Godfrey, the administrator, being made Abbot of Malmesbury, an abbot was
at length given to Ely in the person of #Simeon# (1081-1093). He was
prior of Winchester, and brother to Walkelin, Bishop of Winchester. He
was very old when he came to Ely; but though upwards of eighty-six years
of age at the time, he remained abbot for more than twelve years. He
laid the foundations of the present church, and completed some part of
the building, as has been previously told. He died in 1093.[13]

King William II. immediately took possession of the abbey estates, let
them to various tenants, and appointed a receiver to pay the rents into
his treasury. This arrangement lasted during the remainder of his reign.

King Henry I., upon coming to the throne, at once "restored the
liberties" of the church, and made Richard (1100-1107) abbot. He was a
Norman and a kinsman of the king, as his grandfather, Earl Gilbert, was
descended from Robert, Duke of Normandy. He successfully resisted the
claim of the Bishop of Lincoln to give him benediction, though Simeon
had received benediction from Bishop Remigius. In the Council of London,
in 1102, Abbot Richard, with many others, was deposed. "Anselmus
archiepiscopus, concilio convocato apud Londiniam, rege consentiente,
plures deposuit abbates vel propter simoniam vel propter aliam vitæ
infamiam."[14] The abbots of Burgh, Ramsey, and Ely were three of nine
so deposed. The "Liber Eliensis" attributes Richard's deposition to the
intrigues of the Court. The pope annulled the sentence in the following
year. This abbot proceeded with the building of the church, and seems to
have finished the Norman transepts and choir, and perhaps the whole of
the Norman tower. He is, however, most worthy of note from having been
the first to suggest the creation of the See of Ely. He submitted the
idea to the king, who was quite favourable; and he then sent messengers
to the pope to obtain his approval. Before this could be secured the
abbot died, but in little more than two years after his death the
proposal was carried into effect.

Richard was the last of the ten abbots. Hervey, Bishop of Bangor, had
the management of the affairs of the abbey for the next two years. His
rigorous discipline at Bangor had aroused very violent opposition, which
came at last to armed insurrection, and the bishop had withdrawn to the
king's court for safety. When appointed administrator of the abbey at
Ely, he exerted himself to bring to a successful conclusion the creation
of the bishopric. The consent of the Bishop of Lincoln to the
subdivision of his diocese was secured by a grant of the Manor of
Spaldwick. At a Council of London in 1108 the enormous size of the
Lincoln diocese was under consideration; and Ely seemed on every account
to be the best place for the cathedral of a new diocese to be taken from
it. The pope was entirely favourable to the design. Though the letters
announcing the pope's consent were dated November 21st, 1108, it was not
till October, 1109, that the king granted his charter for constituting
the bishopric. In this he nominated Hervey to be the first bishop, in
accordance with the recommendation of the pope himself.

The monastery did not come to an end by the substitution of a bishop for
an abbot. But for the purposes of this handbook, concerned as it is
mainly with the fabric of the cathedral, the remainder of the historical
portion will be associated with the names of the bishops--not that, by
any means, the most important works connected with the church were due
to the initiation of the bishops, nor was the cost always, or indeed
generally, defrayed by them. The monastic body spent large sums upon the
building, as has been seen in the case of the octagon: but these works
are mostly to be credited to the whole body, and, except in a few cases,
which are duly noticed, are not assigned specially to the prior who was
the head of the house at the time.



   [1] "Memorials of Ely," p. 18. Gloucester is another example.

   [2] "The Cathedral Church of Chester," in Bell's "Cathedral
       Series," p. 3.

   [3] In MS., Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Referred to by
       Bentham, p. 63.

   [4] Quoted in "Fenland Notes and Queries," i., p. 163. The writer
       has found a will in the Probate Registry at Peterborough in which
       the testator, John Mobbe, of March, dates his will on the day of
       S. Ermenilda (February 13th), 1457.

   [5] Introduction to Farren's "Cathedral Cities of Ely and

   [6] Pages 76-78.

   [7] The success of this attempt may have encouraged the monks to
       make a similar effort some fifty years later. The body of S.
       Felix, the first of the East Anglian bishops, had been interred
       at Soham, where he is said to have founded a monastery. Soham was
       also at first, before the removal of the seat of the bishopric to
       Dunwich, the headquarters of his diocese. Felix had indeed first
       been buried at Dunwich, but (probably from fear of the Danes) the
       body had been removed to Soham. But Soham itself, in its turn,
       was utterly destroyed by the Danes, and the remains of the bishop
       became neglected. In 1020 the Abbot of Ramsey obtained permission
       to move them to his abbey; and while he was doing this, the monks
       of Ely set out with the intention of intercepting the convoy and
       securing the body for their own church. A dense fog prevented the
       Ely men from reaching the monks of Ramsey.

   [8] "Annals of England," i., p. 115.

   [9] The Saxon version, together with some valuable notes by
       Professor Skeat, including a literal transcript, a corrected
       transcript in the true spelling of the period, and a discussion
       of the grammatical forms, is given in Dean Stubbs' "Memorials of
       Ely," pp. 49-52.

  [10] "Christian Ballads and Poems," by Rev. Arthur Cleveland
       Coxe. The author was ultimately Bishop of Western New York.

  [11] Bentham, p. 97.

  [12] "Chronicon Angliæ Petriburgense," p. 57, _sub anno_ 1072.

  [13] Bentham says, "after he had lived too years complete." The
       "Liber Eliensis" says he was in his eighty-seventh year when
       appointed abbot; if so, he was nearly, but not quite, one hundred
       years old at his death.

  [14] "Chronicon Angliæ Petriburgense," _sub anno_ 1102.



Ely thus became a cathedral--of the kind that was called conventual
cathedrals. No such cathedral had a dean and canons till the time of
Henry VIII. The prior and convent were the custodians of the fabric, and
perhaps to a certain extent they acted as the bishop's council; and the
bishop, as representing the abbot, had the right to preside in the
chapter-house whenever he chose.[1] The bishop also had the power of
appointing several of the officers of the monastery, and of displacing
them. At Ely the priors were appointed by the bishop until 1198. In 1197
the offices of bishop and prior were vacant at the same time, and the
convent was unable to elect a bishop without having a prior: so the
Archbishop of Canterbury authorised the monks to proceed to the election
of a prior; and it is believed that subsequent priors were all elected
by the monks, and not appointed by the bishop.

The first bishop, as has been seen, was #Hervey# (1109-1131), Bishop
of Bangor.[2] He had been consecrated in 1102. His ecclesiastical
discipline in Wales was very strict, and he made many enemies; and he
thought to carry out his spiritual censures with the help of armed
forces, but insurrections arose, in one of which his own brother and
several of his company were slain. Upon this Bishop Hervey made his way
to the English court, where he remained until he was sent to take charge
of Ely monastery at the death of Abbot Richard. He was bishop here for
nearly twenty-two years, and was most active and painstaking in managing
the very difficult business of settling the affairs of the bishopric and
monastery in such a way that justice was done to both. He died in 1131.

After two years #Nigel# (1133-1169) was made bishop. He was
Prebendary of S. Paul's and also Treasurer to King Henry I. This latter
office necessitated his continuous absence from his diocese, and may
also serve to explain the very active part he took in the civil wars. He
espoused the cause of the Empress Matilda, and built a castle at Ely as
a military position where a good stand could be made against the
partisans of Stephen. More than once he narrowly escaped being taken;
and when at first Stephen's cause prospered, all Bishop Nigel's estates
and property were seized. When the chances of war favoured Matilda he
recovered the Isle of Ely and was fully restored to his bishopric. By
this time he had had enough of fighting, and made his peace with
Stephen. But his troubles were not at an end. As he was going to consult
some friends who were with the Empress upon a matter unconnected with
politics, he was nearly taken prisoner by a party of the king's forces,
losing all his baggage and everything he had with him. Being summoned to
Rome, he was, in his absence, suspected of favouring the king's enemies,
and his possessions were again seized. Only with great difficulty, and
after paying a large fine, did he obtain Stephen's pardon. At one time
he was suspended by the Pope "pro bonis Ecclesise suse dispersis"; but
the suspension was removed on condition that he restored the goods. When
King Henry II. came to the throne, Nigel was made Baron of the
Exchequer. Some have attributed to him the foundation of the hospital
for canons regular dedicated to S. John at Cambridge, an institution
afterwards absorbed in Lady Margaret's College of S. John the
Evangelist. He died in 1169.

There was an interval of four years before a new bishop was appointed,
and it was more than five before #Geoffrey Riddell# (1174-1189) was
consecrated. He was one of the king's chaplains, a Baron of the
Exchequer, and Archdeacon of Canterbury. The delay in his consecration
was due to a disagreement between King Henry II. and his son Henry, who
had actually been crowned, the latter considering that he ought to have
a voice in the appointment. The dispute was not settled without an
appeal to Rome. Bishop Riddell furthered the building of the church, and
embellished it in various ways. He also recovered some property that had
been taken away. Before consecration he had been compelled to profess
publicly that he had had nothing to do with the murder of Archbishop
Becket: "Mortem S. Thomæ Archiepiscopi neque verbo neque facto neque
scripto scienter procuravit." He became very wealthy. He died in 1189 at
Winchester, whither he had gone to welcome King Richard. Not long after
his death his tomb was violated, and the episcopal ring on his finger
purloined. The violators were anathematised from the pulpit.

The fourth bishop was #William Longchamp# (1189-1197), Chancellor of
England and subsequently Papal Legate. When the king went abroad he was
appointed to govern England south of the Trent. He behaved in this
office "with great insolence, pride, and oppression," and having
particularly offended John, the king's brother, he made an attempt to
escape from the country in the disguise of a woman; but he was detected
at Dover and thrown into prison. Being allowed, after a time, to go to
Normandy, he there waited until the king's return, by whom he was
restored to favour. He died in 1197 at Poictiers, and was buried there
in a Cistercian abbey, his heart being brought to Ely.

He was succeeded by #Eustace# (1198-1215), Archdeacon of Richmond,
Treasurer of York, Dean of Salisbury, and Keeper of the Great Seal. He
was one of the bishops to whom was entrusted the invidious employment of
publishing the excommunication of King John and putting the kingdom
under an interdict. For this, in 1209, he was outlawed, and had to leave
the country. Upon the king's submission in 1213, he (with Archbishop
Stephen Langton and three other bishops) returned to England. He built
the galilee at the west end of the church. He died in 1215 at Reading.

Robert of York was chosen by the monks to succeed him. They had at first
selected Geoffrey de Burgh, but for some reason that does not appear
they altered their minds before making their selection known. Robert
got possession of the temporalities, and even gave away preferments that
were in the bishop's gift, for five years; but the king never consented
to his appointment, nor was he ever consecrated. He took the part of the
French against the king, who at last applied to the pope to nominate
some one else to the See of Ely. Accordingly, upon the recommendation of
the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Legate Pandulph, and the Bishop of
Salisbury, who had been authorised by the pope to make the selection,
#John Pherd# (1220-1225), Abbot of Fountains, hence called De
Fontibus, was made bishop. He was also Treasurer of England. He died at
Downham in 1225, and was succeeded by the same #Geoffrey De Burgh#
(1225-1228) who had at first been elected by the convent upon the death
of Eustace. He was Archdeacon of Norwich, and brother to Hubert de
Burgh, Earl of Kent. He gave much costly plate to the monastery, as well
as three hundred acres of land.

Upon his death, #Hugh Norwold# or Northwold (1229-1254), Abbot of
Bury S. Edmunds, became bishop. He had been a justice itinerant. He was
one of the embassy sent to conduct to England the king's bride, Eleanor
of Provençe. "He was one of the most eminent examples of piety and
virtue in his time." He is especially commended for his hospitality and
liberality to the poor; and he was a great benefactor to the monastery.
He spent more than £5000 on the fabric of the church, and built the
palace. The six eastern bays of the presbytery are his work. After
removing to this new part of the church the remains of the three sainted
abbesses and S. Withburga and also the so-called relics of S. Alban, he
dedicated the whole church on September 17th, 1252, in the presence of
King Henry III. and his son, Prince Edward. Bishop Norwold died at
Downham in 1254, and was buried at the feet of S. Etheldreda, where a
splendid monument was erected over his body, now removed to the north
side of the presbytery, beneath the third arch from the east.

The next bishop was #William De Kilkenny# (1255-1256), Archdeacon of
Coventry and chancellor of the king. After his consecration, which took
place ten months after his election, he only lived thirteen months. He
was consecrated by Archbishop Boniface at Belley, in Savoy, a place
near the Rhone, about forty miles east of Lyons. He died in Spain while
negotiating a treaty, and was there buried, at Sugho. His heart was
brought to Ely.

#Hugh Belsham# (1257-1286) the sub-prior, came next. He founded
Peterhouse (now S. Peter's College) at Cambridge. He had been elected in
defiance of the king's recommendation, and the king tried to annul his
election; but he proceeded to Rome, and was actually consecrated there
by the pope. It is in connection with his election that we learn that
the custom of the monks was to depute the election of a bishop to a
committee of seven chosen from among themselves. Bishop Hugh died at
Doddington in 1286.

The next bishop, #John Kirkby# (1286-1290), although at the time of
his appointment Dean of Wimborne, Archdeacon of York, and Canon both of
Wells and York, was only in deacon's orders. He was accordingly ordained
priest one day and consecrated bishop the next. Three years previously
he had been elected to the See of Rochester, but had declined it. He had
also been Chancellor and Treasurer of England. He gave to his successors
a house in Holborn, which formed the nucleus of the grand palace
afterwards erected, adjacent property being subsequently acquired. He
died in 1290.

His successor, #William De Louth# (1290-1298) was not even in holy
orders at all when elected; yet he held prebends at S. Paul's, York, and
Lincoln, the Archdeaconry of Durham, and the Deanery of S.
Martin's-le-Grand. He is the only Bishop of Ely who was consecrated at
Ely (it was in S. Mary's Church, not the cathedral), a provincial
council of bishops happening to meet there at the time.

#Ralph Walpole# (1299-1302), Bishop of Norwich, was, on the death of
Bishop Louth in 1298, translated to Ely; the prior, John Salmon, who had
been elected by the monks, being made instead Bishop of Norwich. Walpole
had been formerly Archdeacon of Ely. He revised the statutes of the
monastery during the short time that he held the see, which was less
than three years.

The next bishop, #Robert Orford# (1302-1310), like his predecessor,
Hugh Belsham, was consecrated at Rome, though not, as he had been, by
the pope himself. The Archbishop of Canterbury had refused his consent
to the appointment on the ground that the elect was illiterate, but the
pope overruled the objection. He died at Downham in 1310.

A monk of the house, #John Keeton# (1310-1316), succeeded. King
Edward II. visited Ely in his time, and while there settled the
controversy between Ely and S. Albans as to the true place where the
body of the proto-martyr of England was deposited. The remains of S.
Alban had been carried off to Denmark by the Danes, after plundering the
abbey raised to his honour, and recovered by a trick. At a later time,
fearing again an attack from the Danes, the Abbot of S. Albans sent to
Ely a chest containing (so he said) the relics of the martyr for safe
custody. When the troubles were over, the monks of Ely sent back the
chest, but with other bones in it, supposing that they had thereby
secured the true relics for their own church. So the Abbot of S. Albans
declared that they were not the true relics that he had sent to Ely, but
that he had buried them in a fresh place in his own church. The king, in
1314, decided the matter in favour of S. Albans.

At the death of Bishop Keeton in 1316 the bishopric was conferred upon
#John Hotham# (1316-1337), Chancellor of the Exchequer. Bentham calls
him Prebendary of York and Rector of Collingham; Browne Willis calls him
Provost of Queen's College, Oxford, and Chancellor of the University,
and S.T.P., being the first bishop in his list who is credited with any
university degree. He was a man of great eminence both as a bishop and
as a statesman. In his political capacity he was Lord Chancellor. He was
employed more than once on foreign embassies. He was one of the
commissioners to arrange a truce between England and Scotland after the
Battle of Myton in 1319, at which he had been present. He was made
special commissioner to settle the troubles in Gascony. In his
ecclesiastical capacity he added much landed property both to the see
and the monastery. He erected the choir, providing for the building of
the western bays after the fall of the tower. He obtained confirmatory
charters from the king, and also a grant giving to the prior and convent
the custody of the temporalities of the see during a vacancy, upon
paying to the king, as long as their custody lasted, at the rate of
£2000 a year. He died, "vir prudens, Justus, et munificus," in 1337.

The monks desired that their prior, John Crauden, should become bishop;
but the king translated hither #Simon Montacute# (1337-1345), Bishop
of Worcester. In a letter to the pope about him, in 1318, King Edward
II. calls him his cousin (_consanguineus_). He materially assisted the
buildings at the church, particularly the lady-chapel. He died in 1345.

Again the nomination of the monks, in favour of their prior, Alan de
Walsingham, was set aside, and #Thomas De Lisle# (1345-1361) became
bishop. He was prior of the Dominican Friars at Winchester. For nearly
the whole of his episcopate he was engaged in a prolonged controversy
with Lady Blanche Wake, a daughter of the Earl of Lancaster--the same
lady who afterwards married John of Gaunt and became mother of King
Henry IV. Her estates were contiguous to the bishop's manors in
Huntingdonshire, and frequent disputes arose about their boundaries. The
tenants took violent measures to assert the claims of their respective
landlords, and much litigation ensued. The bishop, by his haughty
behaviour, offended both the courts and the king, to whom he appealed;
and at last he was constrained to escape to Avignon, then the seat of
the pope. Here he had been consecrated; and here, while negotiations
were proceeding for settling the dispute, in 1361 he died; and here he
was buried.

This time the monks elected, not one of their own body, but the Dean of
Lichfield. But once again their nomination was disregarded, and #Simon
Langham# (1362-1366) was appointed bishop. He was Abbot of Westminster
and Treasurer of England. He had lately declined the See of London. He
was afterwards Lord Chancellor, and in 1366 he was translated to
Canterbury; but he only remained archbishop till he was created a
cardinal in 1368. In 1374 he was appointed Bishop of Præneste. Like his
predecessor, he died and was buried at Avignon. This was in 1376. After
three years his body was removed to Westminster Abbey, where his
handsome monument is well known. The inscription implies that all the
world sorrowed at his death: "Orbe dolente Pater ... ruit."

On his removal to Canterbury, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, #John
Barnet# (1366-1373), was translated to Ely. He had been previously
Bishop of Worcester, and for a time Treasurer of England. He
"beautified" five of the windows in the presbytery. He died at Hatfield
in 1373, but was buried at Ely.

His successor was #Thomas Fitz-Alan# (1374-1388), son of the Earl of
Arundel, Archdeacon of Taunton. He is said at the time not to have been
in holy orders and under twenty-three years of age. The convent had in
vain elected the Archdeacon of Northampton. Bishop Arundel (so he is
generally called) was Chancellor of England in 1386, but resigned that
office in 1389, the year after he was made Archbishop of York. He
ultimately became Archbishop of Canterbury, and died in 1414. He almost
rebuilt the Bishop of Ely's palace in London. He fell into disfavour
with King Richard II., and was banished; but he returned to England on
the accession of King Henry IV. He was buried at Canterbury.

#John Fordham# (1388-1425), who succeeded Bishop Arundel at Ely, was
Bishop of Durham. He had been Keeper of the Privy Seal. He died at
Downham in 1425, and was followed by #Philip Morgan# (1426-1435),
Bishop of Worcester. The king had given licence to the monks to elect,
and had recommended his confessor. They elected instead their prior; but
neither obtained the see. In Bishop Morgan's time the University of
Cambridge secured entire freedom from the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of
the Bishops of Ely: in the time of the previous bishop the University
had got rid of the necessity of presenting their chancellor to the
Bishop of Ely for confirmation. Bishop Morgan died at Hatfield in 1435,
and was buried at the Charterhouse in London.

There was much dispute about the next bishop. The monks chose Fitz-Hugh,
Bishop of London; but he died. The king then recommended the Bishop of
S. David's; but the monks preferred Thomas Bouchier, Bishop of
Worcester, whom the king refused. Bouchier appealed to the pope, who at
first confirmed his election; but the bishop-elect was afraid to present
the papal bull. This was an opportunity for the king (Henry VI.) "to
gratify one of his numerous adherents of the French nation, who had lost
their all in that kingdom, and followed his fortunes in this." He
accordingly obtained the pope's consent to appoint #Lewis De
Luxemburg# (1438-1443), Archbishop of Rouen, to be administrator of
the Diocese of Ely, at the same time assigning him the £2000 a year due
from the prior and convent to the king during a vacancy. The bulls for
Bishop Bouchier's translation from Worcester were revoked. This was in
1438, which is held to be the beginning of Bishop Luxemburg's tenure of
the see; but the spiritualities were not legally surrendered to him till
the next year, and even then it seems to have been only under the title
of "Perpetual Administrator of the See of Ely"; and in formal documents
some time later he still has the same title, and even in the pope's bull
appointing a new Bishop of Ely after his death. He had been Bishop of
Terouanne, Chancellor of Normandy, and Governor of Paris, and was a
great upholder in France of the cause of the King of England. He was
afterwards cardinal. He was hardly ever in his diocese of Ely. He died
at Hatfield in 1443, and was buried at Ely, his heart being taken to
Normandy to be interred at Rouen.

There was now no opposition to the appointment of #Thomas Bouchier#
(1444-1454), Bishop of Worcester. He was of the blood royal, being
grandson of Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, son of King Edward
III. He was not liked at Ely, where, after his installation, he would
never take part in any solemn service. He became Archbishop of
Canterbury in 1454, Lord Chancellor in 1455, and cardinal in 1464. He
crowned three kings. He died in 1486 at his palace at Knole, and was
buried at Canterbury.

He was succeeded by #William Gray# (1454-1478), Archdeacon of
Northampton. He was for a time Treasurer of England and employed as
Commissioner and Ambassador. He gave material assistance to the cost of
the works at the west tower of the cathedral, and in various ways
improved the presbytery. He was a great benefactor to Balliol College,
Oxford. He died at Downham in 1478.

The next bishop was #John Morton# (1479-1486). He had held very
numerous preferments, including no less than five archdeaconries, and
was Master of the Rolls. He was made Lord Chancellor in the same year
that he was appointed to Ely. While bishop he executed some important
works to improve the navigation and drainage of the fens. The great
artificial cut between Peterborough and Wisbech which he constructed is
still called Morton's Learn. He became Archbishop of Canterbury in
1486, and cardinal in 1493. He died at Knole in 1500, and was buried at

              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

#John Alcock# (1486-1500) succeeded him at Ely. He was Bishop of
Worcester, previously of Rochester, and had been for a few months Lord
Chancellor. He founded Jesus College, Cambridge, upon the dissolution of
the ancient nunnery of S. Rhadegund. He was a great architect, and
erected many costly buildings. He built the great hall in the palace at
Ely, much improved the palace at Downham, founded a school at Hull, and
erected a chapel in the church there, and built the beautiful chapel in
Ely Cathedral, where his body now lies. He died at Wisbech in 1500.

After nearly a year's interval, #Richard Redman# (1501-1505) became
bishop. He was Bishop of Exeter, previously of S. Asaph. He died at Ely
House in London in 1505.

[Illustration: BISHOP WEST'S CHAPEL.
              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

The next bishop was #James Stanley# (1506-1515), son of the first
Earl of Derby. Among other preferments he held was the Wardenship of
Manchester. He built part of Somersham palace, and was a considerable
benefactor to the Collegiate Church of Manchester, where he was
ultimately buried, although he left directions in his will to be buried
at Ely. His numerous promotions are possibly due to the influence of
his stepmother, the famous Lady Margaret, Countess of Richmond and
Derby, the mother of King Henry VII. He was very little at Ely, and bore
an indifferent moral character. The quaint set of verses[3] drawing his
character says there was "little Priest's metal in him," that he was "a
goodly tall man as any in England," that he was made bishop "for his
wisdom and parentage," that he was "a great Viander as any in his days,"
which last expression probably means that he was unduly given to
hospitality. He died at Manchester in 1515.

#Nicholas West# (1515-1533) who succeeded him, was the son of a
baker. He had been employed in foreign embassies, and was Dean of
Windsor and Archdeacon of Derby. He lived in great splendour, and
relieved the poor with much bounty. He was a benefactor to King's
College, Cambridge, where he had been fellow. He took the part of Queen
Katherine of Arragon, to whom he was chaplain, in the question of the
divorce; and the disfavour into which he consequently fell with the king
is thought to have hastened his death, which took place in 1533.

VI., DIED 1554. (He holds the Great Seal in his right hand.)]

#Thomas Goodrich# (1533-1554) was a "zealous forwarder of the
Reformation." He was one of the revisers of the translation of the New
Testament, and assisted in the compilation of the Prayer-book. He was
also Lord Chancellor. In his time, in 1539, the monastery was
surrendered to the king. All the inmates were pensioned or otherwise
provided for. Dugdale gives the revenues of the monastery at its
dissolution as £1084 6_s._ 9_d._; Speed says £1301 8_s._ 2_d._ Bishop
Goodrich's monumental brass in the cathedral is a very important example
of such memorials. He died at Somersham in 1554.

#Thomas Thirlby# (1554-1559) was Bishop of Norwich, having been
previously the first and only Bishop of Westminster. "He is said to have
been a discreet moderate man"; but he lived in troublous times, and had
the distasteful task of committing some so-called heretics to the
flames. He was dispossessed of his bishopric soon after the accession of
Queen Elizabeth, and sent to the Tower. He was, however, soon released,
and permitted to live in retirement with Archbishop Parker at Lambeth,
where he died and was buried in 1570.

#Richard Cox# (1559-1581) was Dean of Westminster and of Christ
Church, Oxford. He was much troubled at the series of alienations of the
property of the see insisted upon by the Government, and used every
effort to secure what he could for his successors; and for this
opposition, and also for his being married, he fell under the queen's
disfavour, and many times solicited permission to resign his see, but he
remained bishop till his death in 1581.

For eighteen years the see was vacant, all the revenues being absorbed
by the Crown. At last #Martin Heaton# (1600-1609) was made bishop. He
was Dean of Winchester. He has the reputation of having been a pious,
hospitable man, and a good preacher. He died at Mildenhall, in Suffolk,
in 1609.

His successor was the famous #Lancelot Andrewes# (1609-1619), Bishop
of Chichester. He was a man "of extraordinary endowments, very pious and
charitable, of a most blameless life, an eminent Preacher, of universal
learning, and one of those principally concerned in the new Translation
of the Bible." He became Bishop of Winchester in 1619, and died in 1626,
being buried at S. Saviour's, Southwark. Milton has a Latin elegy upon
his death, written when the poet was in his seventeenth year. Dean
Duport[4] has also a short poem in the form of an epitaph on him, in
which occur these lines:

  "Hoc sub nomine quippe continentur
  Virtus, ingenium, eruditioque,
  Fides, et pietas, amorque veri,
  Doctrinæ jubar, Orthodoxiæque
  Ingens destina, schismatis flagellum,
  Tortor tortilis illius Draconis,
  Scutum Ecclesiæ et ensis Anglicanæ
  Contra bella, minas, et arma Romæ."

#Nicolas Felton# (1619-1626) was Bishop of Bristol. He died in 1626,
and was buried at S. Antholin's, London, where he had been rector.

#John Buckridge# (1628-1631) succeeded after an interval of eighteen
months. He was Bishop of Rochester. "A Person of great Learning and
Worth, and a true Son of the Church of England." He died in 1631, and
was buried at Bromley in Kent, near the palace of the Bishops of

#Francis White# (1631-1638) was Bishop of Norwich, previously of
Carlisle. Dying in 1638, he was buried in S. Paul's Cathedral.

#Matthew Wren# (1638-1667) was also Bishop of Norwich, and previously
of Hereford. He was an unflinching supporter of King Charles I. and
Archbishop Laud, and had a full share of the sufferings which his
principles involved, being imprisoned in the Tower for eighteen years,
from which imprisonment he was only released at the Restoration, when of
course he was restored to his see. Sir Christopher Wren was his nephew.
He had been fellow of Pembroke, Cambridge, and after the Restoration he
built a chapel for his old college, in which he was buried upon his
death in 1667.

#Benjamin Laney# (1667-1675) had been Bishop of Peterborough and then
of Lincoln. He spent a great deal of money in repairing the palace at
Ely, which was much dilapidated. He died in 1675. He is described on his
monument as being "facundia amabilis, acumine terribilis, eruditione

#Peter Gunning# (1675-1684) had been Regius Professor of Divinity at
Cambridge, Master of Corpus Christi, and then of S. John's College, and
Bishop of Chichester. He composed the prayer "For all Sorts and
Conditions of Men" in the Prayer-book. He is very highly praised in the
inscription on his monument, which also records that he never was

#Francis Turner# (1685-1691) had been Master of S. John's College,
Cambridge, also Dean of Windsor and Bishop of Rochester. He was, with
six other bishops, sent to the Tower in 1688 for presenting to the king
a petition which was called a seditious libel. They were committed on
June 8th and tried on June 29th. Amidst universal acclamations of joy
and enthusiasm they were acquitted. In 1691 Bishop Turner, with
Archbishop Sancroft and four other bishops, upon refusing to take the
oaths to William and Mary, were deprived of their bishoprics. He lived
in retirement for nine years, and died in 1700. He was buried at
Therfield, in Hertfordshire, where he had been rector.

#Simon Patrick# (1691-1707) had been Dean of Peterborough and Bishop
of Chichester. He was a very learned man and a great writer. His
writings, says his epitaph, are superior to any inscription and more
lasting than any marble. He died in 1707.

#John Moore# (1707-1714), Bishop of Norwich, was a book-collector,
and after his death his library was purchased by the king and presented
to the University of Cambridge. He died in 1714.

#William Fleetwood# (1714-1723) was translated to Ely from S. Asaph.
He was a great supporter of the principles of the Revolution, and
towards the end of Queen Anne's reign, when the Jacobites seemed to be
making very many adherents, he published some sermons, to which was
prefixed a preface setting forth his opinion of the dangerous tendency
of the views that were being spread so industriously. The House of
Commons condemned the book; but upon the arrival of King George, his
services were recognised by his translation to Ely. He died at Tottenham
in 1723.

#Thomas Greene# (1723-1738) was Bishop of Norwich and previously
Master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. In Masters' history of that
college a very high character of him is given, and his publications are
greatly praised. He was zealous "for the Protestant Succession in the
illustrious House of Hanover." He died at Ely House in London in 1738.
His epitaph in the cathedral says he had the credit of diligence,
impartiality, and integrity in the administration of his diocese. One
expression is curious: "Pietate et Annis gravis, Accepta tandem Rude,
Uxori et numerosæ Proli ... Flebilis decessit." According to this he
was greatly lamented "when he received his discharge."

#Robert Butts# (1738-1748), like his predecessor, came from Norwich,
where he had been dean and then bishop. He died at Ely House in 1748,
possessed (according to the epitaph at Ely) of nearly all the virtues.
He came of a gentle family of moderate means: "tenui vico, at honesto

Again a Bishop of Norwich was translated to Ely. #Sir Thomas Gooch#,
second Baronet of Benacre (1748-1754), had been Master of Caius College,
Cambridge, and Bishop of Bristol before he went to Norwich. At Cambridge
he was instrumental in raising funds for building the Senate House; at
Norwich he greatly improved the palace, and obtained charters for two
societies for the relief of widows and orphans of the clergy; but there
is no record of anything special achieved by him at Ely. He died at Ely
House in 1754, and was buried in the chapel at Caius, where is a lengthy
inscription enumerating his preferments and his three wives.

#Matthias Mawson# (1754-1770) had been Master of Corpus Christi
College, Cambridge, Bishop of Llandaff, and Bishop of Chichester. While
at Ely he spent large sums on the cathedral alterations, as described
above, and was also very active in encouraging, by his advice and purse,
the steps that were being taken to improve the roads near Ely and to
erect draining-mills. The adjoining lowlands had "been several years
under water; and the publick roads, at the same time, in so bad a state,
as not to be travelled with safety."[5] He founded several scholarships
at his old college, of the aggregate value of £400 a year. He died in

#Edmund Keene# (1771-1781) had been Master of Peterhouse and Bishop
of Chester. The inscription on his monument at Ely was written by
himself. He died in 1781.

#The Hon. James Yorke# (1781-1808), fifth son of the first Earl of
Hardwicke, had been Dean of Lincoln, Bishop of S. David's, and Bishop of
Gloucester. He died in 1808, and was buried at Forthampton, in

#Thomas Dampier# (1808-1812) was son of the Dean of Durham. He was
Dean and afterwards Bishop of Rochester. He died suddenly in London in
1812, and was buried in the chapel of Eton College.

              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]

#Bowyer Edward Sparke# (1812-1836), Bishop of Chester, previously
Dean of Bristol. In his time the temporal jurisdiction of the bishop
over the Isle of Ely came to an end. On State occasions a sword used to
be carried before the bishop when he attended cathedral service; but
this practice ceased when it was no longer right to exhibit any emblem
of judicial authority. The sword itself was buried with Bishop Sparke.

#Joseph Allen# (1836-1845), Bishop of Bristol. He published some
sermons and charges. He secured from the ecclesiastical commissioners a
large increase in the income of the bishopric.

#Thomas Turton# (1845-1864) had been Regius Professor of Divinity at
Cambridge, Dean of Peterborough, and, for a short time, Dean of
Westminster. He was author of several works. By his will he left £500
for the improvement of the nave of the cathedral. He died in 1864.

#Edward Harold Browne# (1864-1873) was of great reputation as a
scholar and theologian. He was chairman of the Old Testament Revision
Committee. He became Bishop of Winchester in 1873, and died at Bitterne,
in Hampshire, in 1891. He was buried at West End, Southampton.

#James Russell Woodford# (1873-1885) was Vicar of Leeds. He published
many sermons and lectures, and was well known as a successful organizer
and an eloquent preacher. He died in 1885.

#Lord Alwyne Compton# (1885-1905) was a son of the second Marquess of
Northampton, and was previously Dean of Worcester. Resigned, and died,
1906, and was buried at S. Martin's, Canterbury.

#Frederic Henry Chase# (1905-) was formerly Norrisian and Lady
Margaret Professor, and President of Queens' College, Cambridge, and is
the author of numerous works in critical theology.

The names and dates of the earlier bishops are taken from Bishop Stubbs'
"Registrum Sacrum Anglicanum." Of the bishops between 1609 and 1845
there was only one (Peter Gunning) who was not translated to Ely from
some other see. It is now an unwritten law that the Bishop of Ely should
be a Cambridge man. For at least two centuries and a half this rule has
been followed, if we except Francis Turner; and he, though of New
College, Oxford, had been Master of S. John's, Cambridge. Unless
otherwise stated, the bishops were buried at Ely.

The original diocese of Ely was enlarged, in 1837, by the addition of
the counties of Huntingdon and Bedford, and the archdeaconry of Sudbury.


   [1] Cathedrals "of the old foundation" were cathedrals from the
       first, and had deans and chapters of secular canons. Those that
       were once conventual churches had no deans or canons till Henry
       VIII. An easy way of identifying cathedrals of the old foundation
       is this: if the non-resident canons have the title of
       prebendaries, they are members of a cathedral of the old
       foundation. The modern dignity of honorary canon was created in
       order that all other cathedrals might have a body of clergy
       corresponding to the prebendaries of the ancient cathedrals.

   [2] He is called, in Bishop Stubbs' "Registrum Sacrum
       Anglicanum," Herve le Breton.

   [3] Quoted by Bentham, p. 187.

   [4] Of Peterborough, in his "Musæ Subsecivæ."

   [5] Bentham, p. 213.

              _Photochrom Co. Ltd. Photo._]



Besides numerous remains of mediæval architecture to be found in the
residences and private grounds of the cathedral clergy, there are some
buildings of great interest to the south of the cathedral, the two most
remarkable being the infirmary and Prior Crauden's chapel. Of the former
no more than the piers and arches are to be seen, as the roof is gone,
and the whole has been converted into residences. The latter is quite

The #Infirmary# is in the same relative position to the church as at
Peterborough, at the south-east. The plan was that of an ordinary
church, with nave, aisles, and chancel; but the chancel was the chapel,
the aisles were the quarters of the inmates, and the nave was a common
hall, or ambulatory. So complete was the resemblance to a church that
the true purpose of this and other similar buildings elsewhere had been
quite forgotten, and it was left to Professor Willis to discover that
the remains were not those of a disused church. Bentham[1] has an
engraving of the arches and clerestory, divested of all the domestic
additions, which to a modern student of ecclesiastical architecture
indicates at once a building of Norman date, which is described as an
elevation "of the remains of the Old Conventual Church of Ely, built in
the time of the Heptarchy, A.D. 673, and repaired in King Edgar's Reign,
A.D. 970." In the plan given in the same plate an imaginary apse is
marked out with dotted lines.[2] In the chapel is a groined roof, and
this belongs to the latter part of the twelfth century; but the nave
arches, where are some very good and unusual mouldings, have nothing of
Transitional work, and in the absence of documentary evidence would be
assigned to 1140 or 1150. The hall, situated to the north of what would,
in a church, be called the north aisle of the nave, is the work of


#Prior Crauden's Chapel# is a most exquisite specimen of the
Decorated period, designed by the same master mind that created the
octagon and the lady-chapel. Crauden was prior from 1321 to 1341. Built
as a private chapel, it was at one time converted into a dwelling, but
is now restored to sacred uses as the chapel of the King's School. It is
situated to the south of the deanery. It is of small dimensions, being
only thirty-one feet long; and this is exactly double its breadth. The
vaulted roof springs from clustered shafts in the walls; in the eastern
half, on each side, are two tall windows of two lights, with most
graceful tracery; at the east is a window of five lights, of equally
beautiful tracery, filled with stained glass, of which the five lower
figures are ancient and said to have been brought from Cologne. The
west window has four lights. When Professor Willis was conducting some
members of an architectural congress, in 1860,[3] over the monastic
buildings, on arriving at this "beautiful little gem of architecture,"
in the course of his remarks "he pointed to the restorations that had
taken place, and found that they were good ones, the actual mason's
lines having been taken in some instances. In one or two cases where the
work was destroyed the spaces had been filled up with plain block,
purposely to show where the masonry had been knocked away." Some curious
tiling is to be seen on the altar platform: there are figures of Adam
and Eve and numerous unusual designs. On no account should this chapel
be left unvisited.

              _From Stevenson's Supplement to Bentham._]

The great gateway of the abbey, #Ely Porta#, remains in a nearly
perfect condition. It was the place where the manor courts were held,
and was in course of erection when Prior Bucton died in 1397. From his
successor, in whose time it seems to have been completed, it is
sometimes called Walpole's gate. At one time a portion was devoted to
the brewery, and here the audit ale was brewed till so recently as Dean
Goodwin's time.[4] It is now used partly as a house for the porter and
partly for the school. The new buildings of the school, just opposite,
are on the site of an ancient hostelry called the Green Man, which was
"possibly the descendant of some mediæval lodging-house to which
pilgrims resorted."[5]

Between Ely Porta and the cathedral are to be seen many fragmentary
remains of the old monastery, some of Norman date, now forming parts of
houses. Over the road to the west of these buildings there used to be a
covered passage, called "The Gallery"--a name still retained by the
street itself--leading from the bishop's palace to the cathedral. Access
to this from the cathedral was in the western transept. The writer has
not been able to hear of any engraving or drawing of this.

The remains of the refectory and of the Norman kitchen are in the
deanery grounds. The guest-house is wholly absorbed in the deanery.
There is a picturesque entrance into the close, on the north side, from
High Street. The buildings on each side of it and the room above (now
the muniment room) are quite ecclesiastical, though modernised and in
part new. The eastern portion occupies the site of the sextry.


   [1] "History," 1771, Plate IV.

   [2] Another instance of imperfect acquaintance with church
       architecture is found in one plan of the cathedral (not in
       Bentham) in which the lady-chapel is called the chapter-house.

   [3] At which the writer was present.

   [4] "Ely Gossip," p. 5.

   [5] _Ib._, p. 7.


Alban's, S., relics, 116, 118
Alcock, Bishop, 122;
  his chapel, 35, 90--pl., 94, 112
Allen, Bishop, 130;
  tomb, 90
Altar, often moved, 90
Andrewes, Bishop, 125
Apse, 19, 80
Arundel, Archbishop, 120

Barnet, Bishop, 26, 119;
  tomb, 95
Basevi, Mr., fatal accident, 64;
  brass 90
Belsham, Bishop, 117
Bishop, in abbot's stall, 29;
  his sword of state, 129
Bishopric constituted, 15, 110
Bourchier, Archbishop, 120-1
Brithnoth, Abbot, 12, 102
Brithnoth, Alderman, 93, 103
Browne, Bishop, 131
Buckeridge, Bishop, 126
Butts, Bishop, 128

Canute, King, 105
Catharine's, S., chapel, 21, 64-5--pl., 63
Cathedrals of old foundation, 113
Choir, 77--pl., 53, 55, 79, 98;
  aisles, 56--pl., 89, 122;
  screen, 76--pl., 76;
  compared with presbytery, 78
Cloister, 61
College of Secular Clergy, 12, 102
Compton, Bishop, 131
Cox, Bishop, 125
Cratendune, 8
Crauden, Prior, his chapel, 25, 131--pl., 131
Cromwell, Oliver, 29
Cross, S., church, 29, 49, 97

Dampier, Bishop, 128
De Burgh, Bishop, 116
De Fontibus, Bishop, 116
De L'Isle, Bishop, 25, 119
Dickson, Canon, 61
Dunstan, Archbishop, 11, 12

East End, 55
Edmund's, S., chapel, 75;
  representation of his martyrdom, 90
Edward, Confessor, educated at Ely, 105
Elsin, Abbot, 12, 13, 103
Ely Cathedral, built, 13;
  congregation ejected, 29;
  in seventeenth century, 30;
  in eighteenth century, 31--pl., 33
Ely, etymology, 4;
  above sea level, 42;
  population, 42
Ely, Isle of, 3, 9, 11, 13
Ely monastery, founded, 8;
  destroyed by Danes, 10, 101;
  reconstituted, 102;
  monks and nuns, 99;
  surrendered, 29;
  mitred prior, 25
Ely Porta, 133--pl., 133
Ermenilda, S., Abbess, 15, 100
Etheldreda, S., foundress, 3-9;
  translation, 15;
  scenes from career on corbels, 6, 72;
  churches dedicated to her, 7;
  her shrine, 16,20,21, 89--pl., 20, 91;
  S. Audrey's laces, 73
Ethelwold, Bishop, 11, 12
Eustace, Bishop, 17, 18, 66, 114

Felix, S., attempted seizure of his remains, 102
Felton, Bishop, 4, 126
Fitz-Alan, Archbishop, 120
Fleetwood, Bishop, 127
Fordham, Bishop, 120
Front, west, 17, 43

Galilee, 17-19, 44, 46--pl., 18, 41, 45
Gardner, Mr. J. D., gave the reredos, 83
Godfrey, administrator, 13, 108
Gooch, Bishop, 128
Goodrich, Bishop, 29, 124;
  brass, 96--pl., 124
Goodwin, Dean, restoration in his time, 35
Gray, Bishop, 26, 121
Greene, Bishop, 90, 127
Guest-hall, 25
Gunning, Bishop, 32, 126;
  tomb, 95

Hereward, 16
Hervey, Bishop, 114
Heton, Bishop, 125;
  tomb, 95
Hotham, Bishop, 29, 99, 118;
  tomb, 89

Infirmary, 24, 131--pl., 132

Keene, Bishop, 93, 128
Keeton, Bishop, 118
Kilkenny, Bishop, 116;
  tomb, 83
Kirkby, Bishop, 117

Labyrinth, 63
Lady-chapel, 20, 24, 28, 52, 84--pl., 53, 85, 86;
  bosses in roof, 28
Laney, Bishop, 126
Langham, Cardinal Archbishop, 119
Lantern, 36, 73--pl., 57
Leofric, Leofsin, Leofwin, Abbots, 105
Le Strange, Mr., painted ceiling, 67
Longchamp, Bishop, 114
Louth, Bishop, 117;
  tomb, 95
Luxemburg, Cardinal Archbishop, 120;
  tomb, 93

Mary's, S., Church, 17, 93
Mawson, Bishop, 32, 128
Merivale, Dean, restoration in his time, 38;
  tablet, 96
Mill, Canon, tomb, 90
Monks' door, 60
Montacute, Bishop, 119
Monuments, 87
Moore, Bishop, 127;
  tomb, 95
Morgan, Bishop, 120
Morton, Cardinal Archbishop, 121

Nave, 15-17, 49, 66--pl., 2, 62, 65;
  aisles, 69--pl., 69, 70;
  ceiling, 67-69--pl., 67
Nigel, Bishop, 114
Northwold, Bishop, 15, 19, 21, 116;
  tomb, 90

Octagon, 22-4, 36, 50, 71--pl., 23;
  cost, 29
Orford, Bishop, 117
Organ, 38;
  gallery, 32
Ovin, 5, 71, 73

Parry, Mr. Gambier, painted ceiling, 67
Patrick, Bishop, 127
Peacock, Dean, restoration in his time, 29;
  octagon restored as memorial, 37
Pherd, Bishop, 116
Powcher, Prior, 25, 27
Presbytery, 26, 76--pl., 55, 77, 91;
  bosses in roof, 80
Prior's door, 60--pl., 59

Redman, Bishop, 123;
  tomb, 88
Refectory, 20
Reredos, 83--pl., 84
Richard, last Abbot, 14, 15, 110
Riddell, Bishop, 15, 114
Robert of York, 114
Rood-loft, 32

Sacrist's Office, 24
Scott, Sir G. G., 35, 37, 63
Selwyn, Canon, 96;
  tomb, 95
S. Sexburga, Abbess, 100
Sextry-barn, 34
Simeon, Abbot, 13, 14
Sparke, Bishop, 90, 129
Sparke, Canon E. B., 96
Spire on west tower, 19, 27, 32, 49
Stained glass, 96
Stalls, 32, 34, 83--pl., 81
Stanley, Bishop, 123
Stubbs, Dean, 21, 25, 52, 72, 73, 80

Tabula Eliensis, 108
Theodwin, Abbot, 13, 108
Thirlby, Bishop, 125
Thurstan, Abbot, 107
Tower, central, 21;
  west, 14, 43, 47, 63--pl., 40, 48
Transepts, 19, 75;
  north, 29, 51--pl., 74;
  south, 60--pl., 75;
  west, 35, 64;
  galleries, 76
Triforium, 26, 57, 58, 83--pl., 80
Turner, Bishop, 127
Turton, Bishop, 131
Tyndall, Dean, brass, 96

Walpole, Bishop, 117
Walsingham, Alan de, 20, 22, 24-5;
  elected bishop, 25, 119;
  stone over his grave, 25, 88
Werburga, S., Abbess, 16, 100
West, Bishop, 124;
  his chapel, 28, 93--pl., 95, 123
White, Bishop, 126
Wilfrid, Archbishop, 6, 9
Wisbech, John de, 20
Withburga's, S., body purloined, 102
Woodford, Bishop, 93, 131;
  tomb, 88 96--pl., 129
Worcester, Earl of, tomb, 95
Wren, Bishop, 126
Wren, Sir C., 51
Wyatt's report, 32

Yorke, Bishop, 128


Length (interior)         517 feet.
  " of nave               230  "
Width of nave              78  "
  "   "  octagon           74  "
Height of vault            72  "
  "    "  western tower   215  "
Area               46,000 sq. feet.


 1. S. Edmund's Chapel.
 2. Bishop Alcock's Chapel.
 3. Bishop West's Chapel.
 4. Cardinal Luxemburg.
 5. Bishop Allen.
 6. Canon Mill.
 7. Bishop Hotham.
 8. Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester.
 9. Bishop Barnet.
10. Bishop Louth.
11. Bishop Goodrich (brass).
12. Dean Tyndall (brass).
13. Bishop Heton.
14. Bishop Gunning.
15. Canon Selwyn.
16. Bishop Redman.
17. Bishop Kilkenny.
18. Shrine of S. Etheldreda.
19. Bishop Northwold.
20. Bishop Sparke.

       *       *       *       *       *

            Bell's Cathedral Series


_Crown 8vo. Profusely Illustrated, in specially designed
     cloth binding, 1s. 6d. net each._

       *       *       *       *       *

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technical in its language for the occasional use of the casual
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The volumes are fully illustrated from modern photographs and
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               Bell's Cathedral Series

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ENGLISH CATHEDRALS. An Itinerary and Description. Compiled
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CHESTER. By CHARLES HIATT. 2nd Edition, revised.
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LINCOLN. By A. F. KENDRICK, B.A. 3rd Edition, revised.
NORWICH. By C. H.B. QUENNELL. 2nd Edition.
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ROCHESTER. By G. H. PALMER, B.A. 2nd Edition.
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ST. PAUL'S. By Rev. ARTHUR DIMOCK, M.A. 2nd Edition.
SALISBURY. By GLEESON WHITE, 2nd Edition, revised.
WELLS. By Rev. PERCY DEARMER, M.A. 2nd Edition, revised.
WINCHESTER. By P. W. SERGEANT. 3rd Edition, revised.
YORK. By A. CLUTTON BROCK. 3rd Edition.

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   By the Rev. T. PERKINS, M.A., F.R.A.S.
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"For the purpose at which they aim they are admirably done, and there
are few visitants to any of our noble shrines who will not enjoy their
visit the better for being furnished with one of these delightful books,
which can be slipped into the pocket and carried with ease, and is yet
distinct and legible.... A volume such as that on Canterbury is exactly
what we want, and on our next visit we hope to have it with us. It is
thoroughly helpful, and the views of the fair city and its noble
cathedral are beautiful. Both volumes, moreover, will serve more than a
temporary purpose, and are trustworthy as well as delightful."--_Notes
and Queries._

"We have so frequently in these columns urged the want of cheap,
well-illustrated, and well-written handbooks to our cathedrals, to take
the place of the out-of-date publications of local booksellers, that we
are glad to hear that they have been taken in hand by Messrs. George
Bell & Sons."--_St. James's Gazette._

"The volumes are handy in size, moderate in price, well illustrated, and
written in a scholarly spirit. The history of cathedral and city is
intelligently set forth and accompanied by a descriptive survey of the
building in all its detail. The illustrations are copious and well
selected, and the series bids fair to become an indispensable companion
to the cathedral tourist in England."--_Times._

"They are nicely produced in good type, on good paper, and contain
numerous illustrations, are well written, and very cheap. We should
imagine architects and students of architecture will be sure to buy the
series as they appear, for they contain in brief much valuable
information."--_British Architect._

"Each of them contains exactly that amount of information which the
intelligent visitor, who is not a specialist, will wish to have. The
disposition of the various parts is judiciously proportioned, and the
style is very readable. The illustrations supply a further important
feature; they are both numerous and good. A series which cannot fail to
be welcomed by all who are interested in the ecclesiastical buildings of
England."--_Glasgow Herald._

"Those who, either for purposes of professional study or for a cultured
recreation, find it expedient to 'do' the English cathedrals will
welcome the beginning of Bell's 'Cathedral Series.' This set of books is
an attempt to consult, more closely, and in greater detail than the
usual guide-books do, the needs of visitors to the cathedral towns. The
series cannot but prove markedly successful. In each book a
business-like description is given of the fabric of the church to which
the volume relates, and an interesting history of the relative diocese.
The books are plentifully illustrated, and are thus made attractive as
well as instructive. They cannot but prove welcome to all classes of
readers interested either in English Church history or in ecclesiastical

"They have nothing in common with the almost invariably wretched local
guides save portability, and their only competitors in the quality and
quantity of their contents are very expensive and mostly rare works,
each of a size that suggests a packing-case rather than a coat-pocket.
The 'Cathedral Series' are important compilations concerning history,
architecture, and biography, and quite popular enough for such as take
any sincere interest in their subjects."--_Sketch._

       *       *       *       *       *



*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Bell's Cathedrals: The Cathedral Church of Ely - A History and Description of the Building with a Short Account of the Monastery and of the See" ***

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