My 1937 Baedeker says that the Cathedral
is one of the largest and most varied in England, dominates the fens like "a great solitary ship in a sea" and succeeds an abbey founded in 673 by St Etheldreda or Audrey, Queen of Northumbria, and reorganised under the Benedictine rule by St Ethelwold, bishop of Winchester (d 984). The existing building as begun in 1083 by Simeon, first Norman abbot, and the E. half was complete in its original form when the the see of Ely was created in 1109. The W. part of the Norman nave, including the castellated W. tower. (which suggests military rather than ecclesiastical architecture), was finished in c1180 and the Galilee (porch) was added by Bishop Eustace (1197-1215). Bishop Hugh of Northwold (1229-1254) pulled down the E. end of the choir and added the present presbytery (the six easternmost bays) in the Early English Style. The central tower fell in 1322, and Alan of Walsingham the sacrist (afterwards prior), seized the opportunity to construct the beautiful decorated Octagon completed 1348, and the three W. bays of the choir. The Lady Chapel is also of his design, and the octagonal top of the west tower is likewise of the Dec. period. The N.W. transept collapsed soon afterwards. In the 15th cent. the tower was strengthened by massive arches in the Perp. style . The building was restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1847 et. seq. It is 520ft long and 77ft wide, while the length of the transcepts is 178ft. The cathedral is open free 8-5 or 6.30, Sun 10.30-8. The W. tower (215ft) may be ascended at 11 and 3 (6d). Services at 9.15 and 4, on Sun at 8.15, 11 and 6.30.
It also tells you a lot about the interior as well!!
I can tell you the Cathedral is no longer free but a wopping £8
So lunch and off to Anglessey Abbey.
The cake looked a bit tempting....
but I resisted!! and had a nice Winter Vegetable soup