Ely Cathedral


December 6, 2021

Ely Cathedral, formally the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, is a cathedral in the Anglican Diocese of Cambridgeshire in the south of England. The cathedral's origins as a bishop's seat go back to the monastery church that Sankt Etheldreda built in 672 AD. The present cathedral was consecrated in 1083 and became the episcopate of 1109. The church is the episcopal see of the bishop of Ely and the suffragan bishop of Huntingdon.


The cathedral is built on the site where Sankt Etheldreda had a double monastery built in 673 AD. Eventually, the monastery was reorganized under the Benedictine order of monastic rule. The current cathedral began to be built in the 1080s, on the same site as the then monastery church. In the early 12th century, Anselmus, Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote to the Pope that the diocese of Lincoln had become too large, and that the bishop, archbishop and king had agreed that a new diocese should be established, based in Ely. In 1109, Pope Paschalis II decided to establish a bishopric in Ely, and appointed the abbot of the Benedictine monastery, Harvey, as the first bishop. The choir of the new cathedral was completed in 1252, when King Henry III of England attended the inauguration. To make way for the new cathedral, the existing church was demolished as construction progressed. During the 1340s, the octagonal central tower was completed first, and then the Our Lady's Chapel. The Norman Cathedral had been consecrated to Saint Etheldreda, Saint Peter and Saint Mary. During the English Reformation, the monastery was dissolved, and in 1539 the monastery in Ely was closed for good. However, the cathedral is saved, and in 1541 Henry VIII decides to form a new cathedral chapter in the cathedral, consisting of secular canons. At the same time, the cathedral is given a new dedication, and is now consecrated to the holy and indivisible trinity. During the Reformation, an iconoclasm is also carried out, and in the 1540s, Saint Etheldreda's shrine and many statues and stained glass windows in the cathedral were destroyed.

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Source list

Beda (1910) [circa 731]. Jane, Lionel Cecil. red (in English). Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. "4". Stevens, John (translator). https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ecclesiastical_History_of_the_English_Nation_(Jane)/Book_4. Read November 1, 2021

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