Ely Cathedral
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[Transcriber's Note: Text surrounded by plus signs is in blackletter typeface in the original book. Text surrounded by underscores is in italics in the original book. An equal sign preceding a character in brackets, e.g. Ē, represents a macron.]





Ground Plan of the Choir of Ely Cathedral.

The first three bays are in the Decorated style, about the same date as the Octagon (1337-1361). The Norman bays which they replaced were injured by the fall of the central Tower in 1322. The six eastern bays (the Presbytery) are in the Early English Style, and were built by Bishop Northwold (1235-1252).

Having entered the South aisle of the Choir by the iron gate marked 1 on the plan, and passed, on the right, the monuments of Bishop Allen, and the Stewards, we come to 2. Bishop de Luda's monument (1298) restored on the north side by Dean Peacock. 3. Bishop Barnet's tomb (1373). 4. Tomb of John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, and his two wives (1470). 5. Tomb of Bishop Hotham (1337) who left money for the rebuilding of the three Decorated bays of the Choir. 6. On the south side of the aisle is the monument erected in 1879 to Canon Selwyn. 7. Bishop West's Chapel, built about 1534, containing the graves of Bishops West, Keene, and Sparke, and on the south side the remains of seven benefactors of the monastery removed from the Conventual Church in 1154; and built in the north wall is the tomb of Cardinal de Luxemburg, Bishop of Ely, who died 1443. 8. In the Retro-Choir is the tomb of Dr. Mill, Canon of Ely, and Regius Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge, who died in 1853. 9. Grave of Bishop and Mrs. Allen (1845). 10. The east wall on which are traces of painting of which no account can be given. 11. Bishop Alcock's Chapel, containing his grave; he died in 1500; he was founder of Jesus College, Cambridge. 12. Tomb of Bishop Northwold, founder of the Presbytery, who was Abbot of Bury before he became Bishop of Ely; died in 1254. 13. The monument formerly placed over Bishop Hotham's tomb, but supposed to be part of the shrine of St. Etheldreda as adapted by Alan de Walsingham. 14. Tomb of Bishop Kilkenny (1250). 15. Tomb of Bishop Redman (1505). 16. The Reredos, designed by Sir G.G. Scott, presented by John Dunn Gardner, Esq., in memory of his wife (1851). 17. The spiral Staircase leading to the organ loft: the organ was built by Hill and Son, of London. 18 and 19. The Stalls—very ancient, though the carved panels above them are modern; the north side represents a series of pictures from the New Testament; on the south side are illustrations of the Old Testament; they were carved by Abeloos of Louvain. The sub-stalls are new. 20. The oaken Screen designed by Sir G.G. Scott.

For further particulars see "Hand-Book to the Cathedral," published by Messrs. HILLS AND SON, Minster Place, near the western entrance to the Cathedral.





The Monastic Buildings, &c.,







The Rev. the Dean and Chapter of Ely,















When this Work first appeared as a candidate for public favour in 1852, the Compiler had but faint hopes of its ever attaining a position of usefulness which the sale of the several editions has proved it to have done. His constant aim has been to render it a faithful as well as a convenient and useful companion to strangers and others when examining this interesting Cathedral; and, in order to render each succeeding edition more complete, his study has been to give from time to time the best information in his power upon the improvements which have for many years been in progress. He tenders his best thanks for the kindness of many friends who have afforded him information, and has availed himself of the important remarks of the late Sir G.G. Scott at the Etheldreda Festival in 1873, and of the valuable work of Mr. Stewart to correct as well as to verify and support his own statements, for which his grateful acknowledgments are due. The whole has been revised, and some additions have been made, which he is induced to hope will enhance its value, and render it more worthy of public favor.

April, 1880.



This Hand-book is intended simply as a "guide" for those who visit Ely for the purpose of seeing the Cathedral, the remains of the ancient Monastery, and other objects of similar interest.

The Compiler acknowledges himself greatly indebted for much valuable information to the elaborate works of Mr. Bentham and Mr. Millers; and, although he is conscious that his task has been performed but imperfectly, he still ventures to hope that, in the absence of the larger works above referred to, his little compilation will prove both interesting and useful.

May, 1852.


Introduction Page 1

Historical Summary 14

The See of Ely 17

List of Abbots, Bishops, &c. 19

Officers of the Diocese 22

Dean and Chapter 23

List of Priors and Deans 24

List of Clergy and Officers 26

The Cathedral—West Front 27

Galilee or Portico 30

Interior of the Tower 31

South-west Transept, Baptistry, &c. 34

Nave 35

Nave Aisles 40

Transept 45

Octagon 49

Choir 58

North Aisle of Choir 77

Retro-Choir 80

South Aisle of Choir 81

Lady Chapel, or Trinity Church 88

Upper parts of the Church 91

Exterior 91

Dimensions of the Cathedral 99

The Monastic Buildings, &c. 101

Prior Crauden's Chapel 105

The Bishop's Palace 110

St. Mary's Church 112

The Grange 115

St. John's Hospital 115

Appendix I. The Cathedral Organ 117

II. Statement of Restorations, &c. 120


Copied, by permission, from "Good Words."

Stone upon stone! Each in its place, For strength and for grace, Rises stone upon stone!

Like a cluster of rods, Bound with leaf-garlands tender, The great massive pillars Rise stately and slender; Rise and bend and embrace Until each owns a brother, As down the long aisles They stand linked to each other; While a rod of each cluster Rises higher and higher Breaking up in the shadow, Like clouds that aspire. While here in the midst, 'Neath the great central tower, The strength and the unity Mingle in power, And the mystery greatens: Nowhere in the place Can the eye see the whole, Or the sun light the space. And here the gloom gathers, And deepens to dense, While yonder the white light Breaks sharp and intense.

Unity! Mystery! Majesty! Grace! Stone upon stone, And each stone in its place.


The introductory chapter of a book is often passed over without the careful perusal it very frequently deserves, when, perhaps, its purpose is to promote a better understanding of the subject contained in the main portion of the work. In the present instance our object is to give our readers an outline—a very brief one it is true—of the history and foundation of the monastery at Ely twelve centuries ago, which led to the subsequent erection of one of the noblest Cathedrals in the kingdom, in order to enable them to understand more fully some of the remarks in our description of this grand edifice as we now see it. To those who desire a more elaborate detail or fuller description than we can offer in our limited space, we would recommend a reference to The History and Antiquities of Ely Cathedral, by the Rev. James Bentham; or a more recent work, The Architectural History of Ely Cathedral, by the Rev. D.J. Stewart, M.A., formerly Minor Canon of Ely.

Christianity was first introduced into East Anglia about the end of the sixth century, by Redwald, the grandson of Uffa, founder of that kingdom; but it appears that little progress was made in his time, although Ethelbert, king of Kent, is said to have founded a monastery at Ely about A.D. 604. Eorpwald, and after him, Sigebert, sons of Redwald, greatly promoted the cause of Christianity, and it was during the reign of Sigebert that the truths of the Gospel spread over the kingdom; three monasteries were founded, one at Bury St. Edmunds, another at Burgh Castle, near Yarmouth, and a third at Soham; and the first Bishop of East Anglia was consecrated. The pagan king of Mercia frequently disturbed the tranquility of the kingdom, and Sigebert and his cousin Egric (to whom Sigebert had resigned his kingdom) were both slain in repelling an invasion. Anna met with the same fate; he was a prince greatly esteemed for his good qualities; he married Heriswitha, sister of St. Hilda, the foundress of Whitby Abbey, and had a numerous family, among whom may be named Sexburga, who was married to Ercombert, king of Kent; Withburga, who founded a nunnery at Dereham; and AEthelryth, or, as she is more commonly called, Etheldreda, the renowned foundress of the monastery at Ely, who was born about the year 630, at Exning, in Suffolk, a short distance from Newmarket.

Before commencing our sketch of the life of Etheldreda, we may by way of explanation say that what is now the Isle of Ely, was "anciently called Suth Girwa,"[1] and is a large tract of high ground en-compassed with fens that were formerly overflowed with water, of which Ely is the principal place, and gives name to the whole. The boundaries as now recognised are Lincolnshire on the north, Norfolk on the east, Huntingdonshire and Northamptonshire on the west, and Cambridgeshire on the south, of which county it forms the northern portion, with a jurisdiction partially separate; within its bounds there are, besides the city of Ely, several towns and villages, as Wisbech, March, Chatteris, &c. and the former great waste of marsh and fen has become, by means of drainage, a fertile corn-growing district of great importance. Ely is believed to have taken its name from Elig in the Saxon tongue, signifying a willow; or from Elge in the Latin of Bede the historian, from the abundance of eels produced in the surrounding waters. We now continue our sketch.

[Footnote 1: Bentham's History, i. 47.]

Etheldreda, or Audrey, a princess of distinguished piety, devoted herself to the service of God in early life, but urged by her parents, was married to Tonbert, or Tonberet, Earldorman, or Prince of the South Gyrvii, or Fenmen, A.D. 652, who settled upon her the whole Isle of Ely as a dower. Three years after her marriage Tonbert died, and left Etheldreda in sole possession, who, after a short time, committed the care of her property to Ovin, her steward, and retired to Ely for the purpose of religious meditation, for which it was well adapted, as being surrounded by fens and waters it was difficult of access. She was again solicited to enter the marriage state, and, although for some time reluctant, she was induced by her uncle Ethelwold, then king of East Anglia, to give her hand to Egfrid, son of Oswy, king of Northumberland, and she afterwards became queen by the accession of her husband to his father's kingdom. After the lapse of twelve years she gained the permission of her husband to withdraw from his court, and retired to the Abbey of Coldingham, where she took the veil; thence withdrew to Ely, and repaired the old church founded by Ethelbert, at a place called Cratendune, about a mile from the present city, (of which place however nothing is now known); but, shortly after, a more commodious site was chosen nearer the river, where the foundations of her church were laid, and the monastery was commenced.

The history of this distinguished princess as related by various writers, would be interesting and amusing, if space allowed; it is to be found in Bede's Ecclesiastical History, in the Liber Eliensis, a very valuable manuscript written or compiled by Thomas, a monk of Ely, who lived in the twelfth century; and Mr. Bentham also relates it at some length in his work;[2] but it would extend far beyond the limits allowed in this sketch; we have, however, we hope given sufficient to throw some light upon remarks we may make in subsequent pages. She governed her house in such a manner as to gain the esteem both of its members and the inhabitants of the surrounding country; living and dying an example of piety and holiness, for we read that "in her last sickness, when sensible of her approaching end, she was calm and composed, and retained her memory and understanding to the last, and expired in the very act of her calling, in the presence of her flock; and whilst she was instructing them how to live, by her example also taught them how to die."[3] She was interred, in accordance with her own wish, in the grave-yard of the monastery, but after a period of sixteen years her remains were translated, with much reverence and ceremony, to the church she had founded. The account of this translation might interest some of our readers, but is too long for insertion here.

[Footnote 2: Bentham's History, i. 45, &c.]

[Footnote 3: Ibid. i. 59.]

The following lines, written at an early date, picture the fen country as a series of lakes and water-courses, (as it was until drained six centuries after,) studded with islands, on one of which the monastery of Ely stood, and the music of its 'nones' or 'vespers' sounding soft and sweet over the solitude.

Sweetly sang the Monks at Ely, Knuet, the king, row'd nigh: "Listen how the winds be bringing From yon church a holy singing! Row, men, nearer by."

Newborn sunbeams kiss the turrets Of the minster high, All the beauties of the morning,— Grey at first, then golden dreaming,— Deck the vernal sky.

Loudly sang the Monks of Ely On that Thursday morn: 'Twas the Feast of "God Ascended"— Of the wond'rous drama ended;— God for sinners born!

Hark! "I will not leave you orphans, I will not leave you long," Grand the minster music sounded And the fen-land air resounded With the holy song!

Sweetly sang the Monks at Ely Knuet, the king, row'd nigh: "Listen to the angels bringing Holy thoughts that seem like singing! Row yet nearer by."

We will now continue our narrative, briefly taking in review the history of the monastery as it is handed down to us. About A.D. 673 Etheldreda commenced the foundation of a monastery for both sexes, and was installed the first abbess; she gave the whole Isle of Ely to the monastery as an endowment, and died A.D. 679. She was succeeded by her elder sister Sexburga, then a widow, who died A.D. 699, and was buried beside her sister in the church of the monastery. Erminilda, daughter of Sexburga, and widow of Wulfure, king of Mercia, next succeeded; and the fourth abbess was Werburga, daughter of Erminilda, the time of whose death is not known. Although St. Etheldreda's monastery continued to enjoy a regular succession of abbesses for nearly two centuries, not a single name of its superiors is preserved; protected by its situation in the midst of waters, it was little molested by external troubles until A.D. 870, when it was destroyed—like that of Peterborough—by the Danes, the monastery burnt, and the inhabitants put to the sword.

After the destruction of the monastery a century elapsed before steps were taken for its restoration. At length Ethelwold, then Bishop of Winchester, who is spoken of as "a great builder of churches and of various other works," re-founded the monastery in the year 970, by the direction of Edgar "the peaceful," who then sat on the throne of England. After some time Ethelwold arranged with the king for the surrender of the whole district of the Isle of Ely, by way of purchase and exchange, for the use of the monastery. The king, for certain considerations, gave his royal charter[4] restoring the revenues, rights, and privileges to the monastery for ever. This charter (which was afterwards confirmed by king Edward the Confessor,) formed the base of that temporal power given to the church and monastery of Ely by St. Etheldreda, and exercised (with some interruption) by the abbots and bishops down to the year 1836, when it was discontinued by an Act of Parliament.

[Footnote 4: This Charter is given at length in the Saxon language, with an English translation, in the Appendix to Bentham's History.]

On the re-foundation of the monastery it was placed under the Benedictine rule, which required the separation of the sexes, whereas under the previous order both men and women had resided in the same establishment. Brithnoth, prior of Winchester, was instituted as the first abbot of the restored monastery, by Ethelwold, and appears to have been zealous in his duty; he governed the house eleven years, but in the year 981 he met an untimely death at the instigation of Elfrida, queen dowager of king Edgar. He was succeeded by Elsin, Leofric, Leofsin, Wilfric, Thurstan, (the last Saxon abbot, who surrendered the monastery to the Conqueror in 1071,) Theodwin, Godfrey, (a monk, as Administrator ad interim,) and Simeon, the ninth abbot, who was a relative of king William, and prior of Winchester; he recovered for his monastery some of the lands which had been given to the Normans during the siege of the fen district. This was the "Camp of Refuge" for all the English who refused submission to the arbitrary rule of the foreigners, and thus it was the last strong hold of the Saxons, and cost the Norman king much loss of time, blood, and treasure, before he obtained possession, which was, however, at last effected by the treachery of the abbot Thurstan. Simeon, though a very old man when he was appointed abbot, laid the foundation of a new church (the present Cathedral) A.D. 1083, as his brother Walkelin, bishop of Winchester, had done there about four years before; he lived to the age of one hundred years, and died in 1093; after this a vacancy of seven years occurred, during which the revenues were claimed for the use of the king (William II.) after whose death the work was continued by Richard, the tenth and last abbot, who was appointed on the accession of Henry I. A.D. 1100, and governed the monastery seven years, and his church is said by Thomas of Ely[5] to have been one of the noblest in the kingdom, and a marvel of architectural skill; and was sufficiently far advanced to allow him to translate into it on the 17th of October, 1106, the remains of Etheldreda and her companions and canonized successors, placing them behind the high altar in the new presbytery, with great pomp and ceremony. Further progress was made under Herve le Breton, formerly Bishop of Bangor, who was appointed administrator to the monastery after the death of Richard.

[Footnote 5: Liber Eliensis, ii.]

Hitherto, spiritual jurisdiction over the Isle of Ely had been claimed by the Bishop of Lincoln, but Abbot Richard obtained the consent of the king (Henry I.) to a scheme for converting the abbacy into a bishopric; and after much negociation, the change was effected in 1109, by the appointment of Herve (then administrator) as the first Bishop of Ely. He set himself energetically to the task of settling the government of his See, and of apportioning the lands and revenues of the monastery between the monks and himself, with a keen eye to his own interests and those of his successors.

At the time of the conversion of the abbacy into a bishopric, when the Conventual Church became a Cathedral, the number of monks was about fifty, though the usual number was seventy; of these the chief in subordination to the Bishop, was the Prior, (sometimes styled the Lord Prior) who had the superintendence over all the inferior members; and next, the Sub-Prior, or Prior's deputy, to assist him when present and act for him in his absence. The other officers were, the Sacrist, who had the care of the books, vestments, plate, and ornaments belonging to the church, as well as the superintendence of the buildings; the Cellarer, who procured all the necessaries for the living of the community; the Chamberlain, who provided their clothes, beds, and bedding; the Almoner, who distributed the charities of the monastery; the Precentor, who regulated the singing and the choristers; the Hosteller, who entertained strangers; the Infirmarer, who had the charge of the sick; and the Treasurer, who received the rents and other means of revenue, and made the disbursements.

We have endeavoured briefly to bring down our history from the period of the introduction of Christianity into East Anglia, and the foundation of the monastery, to the time when the present Cathedral was commenced and some way advanced; we will follow it up with a brief account of the periods of erection of this noble edifice, reserving the more particular description of the several parts for our survey of the building.

There is no Cathedral in England which possesses finer examples of the various successive styles of ecclesiastical architecture than that of Ely; affording excellent opportunities of judging of the comparative merits of each. The Norman portion of the building—the Nave and Transept—is lighter in character than earlier examples of the same style; indeed, in many places it bears marks of transition from the round to the pointed style. Of each of the several periods of what is usually termed Pointed, or Gothic, Ely Cathedral possesses pure and perfect specimens: the Galilee, or western porch, and the Presbytery were built when the Early English style was perfected: the Octagon, the three bays of the stalled Choir, and the Lady Chapel, when the Decorated English prevailed: and the chapels of bishops Alcock and West when the Perpendicular style was adopted. "It will be thus seen that this remarkable structure completely illustrates the history of church architecture in England from the Conquest to the Reformation," viz., Norman, A.D. 1066-1150; Transitional, 1150-1200; Early English, 1200-1300; Decorated, 1300-1460; Florid, or Perpendicular, 1460-1550.[6]

[Footnote 6: The periods were thus divided by the late Mr. Sharpe: Norman, A.D. 1066-1145; Transitional, 1145-1190; Lancet, 1190-1245; Geometrical, 1245-1315; Curvilinear, 1315-1360; Rectilinear, 1360-1550.]

The Cathedral was commenced, as before stated, in A.D. 1083, by Simeon, in the Norman style; the Choir, with its apse or semicircular end—altered however to a square end before it had proceeded far—the central Tower, the great Transept, and part of the Nave were begun by him, but were not finished at his death in 1093; of this work, only the ground-story of the great Transept now remains; the original plan, as was usual in Norman churches, comprehended an eastern arm of moderate length, a Transept, with a central Tower at the crossing, and a Nave; the Choir usually occupying the crossing and one or more bays of the Nave, the eastern arm being used as a presbytery or sanctuary.

After a delay of seven years, the work was carried on by Abbot Richard (1100-1107), who probably completed them, with the exception of the Nave, which was finished about 1174, affording a fine specimen of later Norman, and by its extension westward gave the church the form of a Latin cross, then much used. It is not improbable that the Conventual Church, which the new building was intended to supersede, stood on the site of the present Nave, and was removed from time to time to make room for the new and enlarged building then in progress.

A few years later the great western Tower with the wings, forming a second Transept, were begun, but whether by Bishop Harvey or by the monks themselves during the episcopate of Bishop Nigel (1133-1169), we cannot say; they were carried on during the episcopate of Bishop Ridel (1174-1189), and completed as high as the first battlements during that of his successor, Longchamp (1189-1197), producing a fine example of what is called the Transitional style. During this latter period the Romanesque had been rapidly giving way to the Pointed style, and thus as the building progressed one style merged into the other.

After some years further progress was made towards the west, as the Galilee, or western porch, is stated to have been erected by Bishop Eustace (1198-1215), of whom it is recorded that "he built from the foundation the new Galilee of the Church at Ely, towards the west, at his own cost." "This has given rise to much difference of opinion. Some persons think that by the 'Galilee towards the west,' is meant the western porch, while others holding that so fine a work is inconsistent with so early a date, suppose the Galilee to have been the northern half (now lost) of the western Transept.... My own impression has always been that it was the west porch which still exists."[7] Be this as it may, it is a beautiful specimen of the Early English style; and Bishop Northwold (1229-1254) took down the east end of the church and lengthened it by the six eastern arches, usually called the Presbytery, with its magnificent eastern facade, in the same style; they were begun A.D. 1234, and finished and dedicated in 1252, being "one of the noblest pieces of architecture of that glorious architectural period." About the same time a spire of timber covered with lead was erected on the Tower.

[Footnote 7: Lecture on Ely Cathedral by the late Sir G.G. Scott, at the Etheldreda Festival, Oct. 1873.]

We now come to the period in which the "two great and famous productions of the fourteenth century—the two special objects of pride which our Cathedral boasts—the Lady Chapel and the central Octagon, with the three adjoining bays eastward,"[8] were erected; "each work is of the highest and of undisputed merit, and forms a most marked feature in the building;"[9] affording most admirable specimens of the Decorated English style. In 1321 the foundation stone of the vast and magnificent Lady Chapel was laid by Alan de Walsingham, then sub-prior, in the time of Bishop Hotham (1316-1337), the work was continued under Bishop Montacute (1337-1345), and finished in 1349, under Bishop L'Isle (1345-1362). In the year following the commencement of this work the fall of the great central Tower took place, ruining the adjoining bays all round, and especially those of the Norman Presbytery. This catastrophe was not altogether unexpected, for the monks had discontinued the use of the Choir and held their services in St. Catherine's Chapel, in the western part of the Cathedral. The Tower fell with such noise and violence as "to make the whole city to tremble, and to cause men to think that an earthquake had taken place." The work of rebuilding was soon undertaken, and under the skilful directions of the same Alan de Walsingham (who was doubtless the architect of both these erections,) the grand work was accomplished; the stone-work of the Octagon was finished (if indeed it ever was quite finished) in 1328, and the woodwork and roof about 1342. The plan of the Octagon included in its area one bay on each of its four sides. The expense of rebuilding the three bays on the eastern side was defrayed by a sum of money left by Bishop Hotham.

[Footnote 8: Ibid.]

[Footnote 9: Ibid.]

The spire erected on the western Tower by Bishop Northwold was taken down in the latter part of the fourteenth century, and was replaced by an octagonal story, flanked with turrets, in the Decorated style, above which a spire was again placed. This was an injudicious step, and has been thought to have been the primary cause of the ruin of the north-western Transept, the great additional weight being more than the four supporting arches (which were lofty) were intended to bear. Of the period when the Transept fell, or was taken down, we have no record; but the character of the buttress on the site of the western wall shows that it must have been at an early period, probably about A.D. 1400, as the strengthening arches placed within the original ones appear to have been erected a few years after.

We have no further additions to the fabric to particularise in this sketch, with the exception of the chapel of Bishop Alcock, (1486-1500), in the Perpendicular style; and that of Bishop West (1515-1533), in the same style, but when it was approaching to Renaissance; but the alterations of windows and other parts, together with necessary repairs, have been numerous and various at different periods.

The Choir was under the Octagon until 1770, when it was removed to the east end of the church; it was again altered in 1852 to its present position. Many costly and extensive restorations[10] and alterations have been made within the last thirty-five years, and others are still in progress. The Galilee, or western porch, has been cleansed and floored, and the arch of communication with the Tower beautifully restored; the western Tower has been strengthened, the interior thrown more open, a painted ceiling put up, and a new floor laid; the south-west Transept has been opened, repaired, ceiled, paved and cleansed; the apsidal Chapel of St. Catherine has been rebuilt and paved; the roof of the Nave has been re-covered with lead, the interior walls have been cleansed, a new and beautiful painted ceiling completed, and a new floor laid in the Nave and aisles; the Octagon and Lantern have undergone a thorough repair, and the decoration of the dome and lantern has been effected; the great Transept has been repaired, the polychrome roof re-painted, and a new floor laid in the northern portion. The whole of the eastern portion of the church has been cleansed and restored; the beautiful Purbeck marble pillars have been re-polished; the floor of the Choir has been re-laid with veined and black marble combined with encaustic tiles; an enriched oaken screen has been erected at the entrance of the Choir, near which a new and elegant stone pulpit has been placed; the original stalls have been repaired, and improved by the introduction of a series of carved panels, and new sub-stalls erected; and a new and elaborate reredos or altar screen has been placed in the Choir. More than eighty windows, exclusive of the eight lights at the east end of the church, have been filled with stained glass by various artists, and several others, which had for many years been stopped up, have been re-opened; the organ has been very considerably enlarged and improved, put into a new and elegant case, and placed in another position; and several stoves have been introduced for warming the Cathedral when necessary. The whole has been done at considerable expense, to meet which the funds have been raised by subscriptions, towards which the late Bishops Sparke, Allen, Turton, and Browne, the late Deans Peacock and Goodwin, the Canons and their families and connections, with many noblemen, gentlemen, and others, have been contributors: the capitular body have done much towards the work in general, but particularly towards the repairs of the fabric, the enlargement of the organ, and the warming of the Cathedral. For a more detailed account of works and expenses we refer our readers to Appendix II. at the end of the work.

[Footnote 10: The Restorations, which have been for some years in progress, have been executed throughout with the most scrupulous care, preserving every portion of uninjured surface, and re-producing what is mutilated or destroyed as nearly as possible in exact conformity with the indications of the ancient work afforded by the parts which remain, and in the same material. They were at first carried out under the directions of the late Dean Peacock, assisted from time to time by Professor Willis, and by the occasional advice of Professional friends: but towards the end of the year 1847, Sir G.G. Scott was appointed architect to the works, and under his direction the rearrangement of the Choir was effected, and other restorations in progress carried out until his death. The windows have been filled with stained glass chiefly through the munificence and exertions of the late Canon E.B. Sparke.]

* * * * *

St. Etheldreda's church was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin; the church erected by Ethelwold to St. Peter and St. Etheldreda; but since the Reformation the dedication of the Cathedral has been to "The Holy and Undivided Trinity."

* * * * *



673 Foundation of the Monastery for men and women, married and single, by Queen Etheldreda. Etheldreda, first abbess, succeeded by (1) her sister Sexburga. (2) Erminilda, daughter of Sexburga. (3) Withburga, daughter of Erminilda.

870 The Monastery destroyed by the Danes.

970 The secular clergy, who had returned to Ely, dismissed by Ethelwold, bishop of Winchester, and the monastery reconstituted for monks only under the rule of St. Benedict. Brithnoth first abbot.

1071 The Abbey, after a long defence by Hereward, surrendered to William the Conqueror by Abbot Thurstan.

1083 The building of the present Cathedral commenced with the south-eastern Transept, by Abbot Simeon, brother of Walkelin of Winchester.

1109 Erection of the Diocese of Ely, Herve le Breton being appointed the first Bishop. Building of the Nave, Transepts, Tower and Choir continued through the twelfth century.

1215 (about) Erection of Galilee Porch.

1235 Erection of the Presbytery, eastward of the Choir, by Bishop Northwold. A spire erected on the Tower.

1321 Building of the Lady Chapel (Trinity Church) commenced.

1322 Fall of the Central Tower, followed by construction of the Octagon and Lantern, by Alan de Walsingham. Western portion of the Choir reconstructed by Bishop Hotham.

1330 (about) Prior Crauden's Chapel and the Guest Chamber, now the Deanery, erected.

1340 The Stalls, the work of Alan de Walsingham, placed in the Octagon, the position of the Choir before the fall of the central Tower.

1400 (about) William de Walpol, prior, erected the great gate of the Abbey (Ely Porta). About this time erection of the Octagon or Campanile on the West Tower, followed by the strengthening of the piers below.

1440 Erection of the Cloisters, and towards the end of the century, Bishop Alcock's Chapel.

1534 Bishop West's Chapel.

1541 The Abbey dissolved by Henry VIII. and reconstituted as a Chapter of Dean and Canons. Robert Steward last Prior and first Dean. The conventional [Transcriber's Note: so in original, probably should be "conventual"] buildings sold and destroyed, portions only reserved for residence of Dean and Canons and other officers. The Guest Chamber used as the common Hall of the College, but converted at a later period into the Deanery.

1642 Dean Fuller deprived by the Parliament. During the Rebellion Ely occupied by Cromwell's soldiers, and the Cathedral said to have been used for stabling their horses.

1649 Commissioners under the Commonwealth survey and cause further destruction of the conventual buildings.

1676 Pavement of the Nave restored by Mr. Clopton.

1699 Fall of the north-west angle of the north-eastern Transept; rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren.

1754 Extensive repairs of the roof of the Octagon and Choir by Bishop Mawson, and Deans Allix and Thomas.

1770 The stalls transferred from the Octagon to the Presbytery by Essex, architect, and important repairs of the fabric executed.

1771 Publication of Bentham's "History and Antiquities of Ely Cathedral"

1801 The upper parts of the Tower repaired.

1823 The Nave, Octagon, Lantern, and Transepts coloured, and the Stalls painted. This was done at considerable expense, and deemed at the time a great improvement.

1831 A new Organ put in the old case.

1842 A fire accidentally commenced in the roof of the Nave adjoining the Tower, but was soon extinguished. The roof of the Nave re-covered with lead.

1845 Commencement of the modern Restoration of the Cathedral under Dean Peacock. St. Catherine's Chapel rebuilt. South-western Transept restored. Interior of the western Tower opened and ceiled.

1847 Sir G. Gilbert Scott appointed architect. The stalls removed westward and Choir re-arranged. Painting of the Nave ceiling commenced, &c. A large number of stained windows introduced.

1851 The Organ re-modelled, enlarged and removed to the triforium.

1857 The east windows filled with stained glass.

1858 Restorations continued under Dean Goodwin. The Reredos erected. The Lantern reconstructed as a memorial to Dean Peacock. Western entrance repaired. Commencement of pavement of the Nave, &c., &c. Foundations of the South Aisle of the Choir repaired.

1867 The Organ further enlarged and improved, towards which some of the inhabitants of the town contributed L80 for a sub-base of 32 feet tone [Transcriber's Note: so in original; possibly "of stone."].

1870 Restorations continued under the present Dean. Foundations of south-east Transept and south side of the Choir repaired. Western Tower braced with iron bands. Pavement of Nave and Aisles completed. Further additions to stained glass in Choir. Fourth stained window placed in the Octagon.

1873 Celebration of the Bissexcentenary or Twelve-hundredth anniversary of the foundation of the Monastery.

1874 Commencement of the decoration of the Octagon, Lantern, &c.

1875 Several new sculptured figures placed in the Octagon, and the decoration of the Octagon and Lantern completed and re-opened.

1876 The paving of the north Transept completed.

1878 The ceiling of the Baptistry painted by Mr. Parry.

1879 The corona of pinnacles on the exterior of the Octagon completed. A monument to Canon Selwyn placed in the South Aisle of the Choir.

The See of Ely.

Edgar "the peaceful," by his charter, as mentioned in the Introduction, restored the powers and privileges enjoyed by the Superiors of the monastery previous to its destruction by the Danes, to the newly-appointed Abbot on its re-foundation by Bishop Ethelwold, A.D. 970, and the Abbots of Ely successively exercised powers nearly similar to a County Palatine, and after the change from an abbacy to a bishopric, the bishops continued to exercise similar authority until the reign of Henry VIII., when they were greatly abridged by an Act of Parliament. The successive Bishops of Ely, however, until the year 1836, possessed a jurisdiction of considerable importance, and had almost sovereign authority within the district known as the Isle of Ely, which was styled "The Royal Franchise or Liberty of the Bishops of Ely."

On the conversion of the abbacy into a bishopric A.D. 1109, a division of the property and revenues took place, and the bishop took care to protect his own interests and those of his successors, but the charge and repairs of the church and monastery fell to the share of the prior and monks, the bishop retaining a certain jurisdiction over them. The County of Cambridge, with the exception of a few parishes, was transferred from the See of Lincoln to the new See of Ely, and the Manor of Spaldwick, in the County of Huntingdon, was given to the Bishop of Lincoln in compensation. The See now comprises the Counties of Cambridge, Huntingdon, and Bedford, and the western division of the County of Suffolk, comprised in the Archdeaconry of Sudbury. It is divided into four Archdeaconries, which are subdivided into thirty-three Rural Deaneries, except the Isle of Ely, which is under the peculiar Archidiaconal jurisdiction of the Bishop, and is divided into two Rural Deaneries. There are five hundred and fifty-four benefices in the diocese. The population of the whole is about 500,000; and the area in acres is 1,357,756.

The Bishop has patronage to a considerable extent; he appoints to the Chancellorship, to the Registrarship, to the four Archdeaconries, the Rural Deaneries, to four Canonries in the Cathedral, and several Honorary Canonries; to the Mastership and one Fellowship of Jesus College, to one Fellowship at St. John's College, to the Mastership of St. Peter's College, and is Visitor of four Colleges, in Cambridge, and of several schools; and has about fifty livings in his gift.

* * * * *

Arms of the See—Gu. three ducal coronets or. These are derived from the arms of the East Anglian kings.

* * * * *

The following list of the Bishops, to which is prefixed the succession of Abbesses and Abbots, is derived chiefly from Mr. Bentham's History and Antiquities of Ely Cathedral.



673. St. Etheldreda. Foundress, and first Abbess. 679. St. Sexburga. 699. St. Erminilda. ? St. Werburga.



970. Brithnoth. First Abbot.

981. Elsin.

1016. Leofwin, or Oschitel.

1022. Leofric.

1029. Leofsin.

1045. Wilfric.

1066. Thurstan. Last Saxon Abbot.

1072. Theodwin. A monk of Jumieges.

1075. [Godfrey, Administrator ad interim.]

1081. Simeon. Founder of the Norman Church.

Interval of seven years.

1100. Richard. Completed the Norman Choir. Translated into it the remains of the sainted Abbesses. Commenced negociations for the conversion of the abbacy into a bishoprick. Died 1107.


1109. Herve, or Hervey, first Bishop. The abbey estates divided, and the See firmly established. Died 1131.

1133. Nigellus, a Prebendary of St. Paul's, London. Treasurer to the King, Henry I. A Baron of the Exchequer. Died 1169.

1174. Geoffry Ridel, Archdeacon of Canterbury. Chaplain to King Henry II. Baron of the Exchequer. Opponent of Becket. He built the lower part of the great western tower of the church.

1189. William Longchamp, Chancellor of England. Papal Legate. Died at Poictiers, 1197.

1198. Eustachius, Archdeacon of Richmond, Treasurer of York, and Dean of Salisbury. Chancellor of England. Founder of the Galilee or western porch. (See Stewart's Arch. Hist. of Ely Cathedral, p. 50.) Died 1215.

1215. [Robert of York, chosen by the monks, but never consecrated, held possession of the temporalities of the See for five years.]

1220. John de Fontibus, Abbot of Fountains in Yorkshire.

1225. Geoffery de Burgh, Archdeacon of Norwich.

1229. Hugh de Northwold, Abbot of St. Edmundsbury. This distinguished prelate built the magnificent Presbytery, or eastern portion of the choir. On the occasion of the dedication of the whole church, he entertained sumptuously the King, Henry III., Prince Edward his son, and many nobles and bishops.

1254. William de Kilkenny, Archdeacon of Coventry, and Chancellor.

1257. Hugh de Balsham, Sub-prior of the abbey. Founder of St. Peter's, the first endowed College at Cambridge.

1286. John de Kirkeby. Treasurer of King Edward I. Canon of Wells and York. Archdeacon of Coventry.

1290. William de Luda, (or Louth), Archdeacon of Durham. Prebendary of St. Paul's, of York, and of Lincoln. Sometime Chancellor. Died 1298.

1299. Ralph de Walpole, Bishop of Norwich.

1302. Robert de Orford, Prior of the convent.

1310. John de Ketene, almoner of the church.

1316. John Hotham, Chancellor of the king's (Edward II.) exchequer; Prebendary of York; Rector of Cottingham, in Yorkshire. Bishop Hotham was a munificent promoter of the great architectural works carried on under the rule of Prior Crauden, and from the designs of Alan de Walsingham, then Sacrist. In his time the Lady Chapel was begun; the Octagon completed; and the exquisite bays of the western Choir designed.

1337. Simon de Montacute, Bishop of Worcester.

The Monks had chosen Prior Crauden.

1345. Thomas L'Isle, Prior of Dominicans at Winchester.

The choice of the Monks, which had fallen upon Alan of Walsingham the illustrious architect, then their Prior, was again set aside by the Pope, 1361.

1362. Simon Langham, Abbot of Westminster, and Treasurer of England. Afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, and Chancellor. In 1368 created Cardinal.

1366. John Barnet. Treasurer of England. Had been Bishop of Worcester; afterwards of Bath, thence translated to Ely.

1374. Thomas de Arundel, Archdeacon of Taunton. Appointed Chancellor of England in 1386; Archbishop of York in 1388, of Canterbury, 1396.

1388. John Fordham, Dean of Wells; Keeper of the Privy Seal.

1426. Philip Morgan, Bishop of Worcester. Died 1435.

1438. Louis de Luxemburg, Archbishop of Rouen. Had been Chancellor of France and Normandy. Afterwards Cardinal.

1444. Thomas Bourchier, Bishop of Worcester; translated to Canterbury 1454. Cardinal, 1464.

1454. William Gray, D.D., Archdeacon of Northampton. Chancellor of the University of Oxford. Lord Treasurer. Bishop Gray altered some of the aisle windows of the Presbytery.

1478. John Morton, LL.D., Master of the Rolls. Archdeacon of Winchester. Lord Chancellor, 1479. Translated to Canterbury, 1486. Cardinal, 1493.

Bishop Morton was the first to attempt to drain the Fens; hence "Morton's Leam," a drain extending from Guyhirn to Peterborough.

1486. John Alcock, LL.D., Master of the Rolls. Bishop of Rochester; afterwards of Worcester; translated to Ely. Founder of Jesus College, Cambridge. Bishop Alcock built the elaborate mortuary chapel in which his remains lie buried, and much of the Episcopal Palace at Ely.

1501. Richard Redman, D.D., Bishop of St. Asaph; then of Exeter.

1506. James Stanley, D.D., Archdeacon of Richmond; Precentor of Salisbury.

1515. Nicholas West, LL.D., Chaplain to King Henry VII. Dean of Windsor. Built a chapel bearing his name.

1534. Thomas Goodrich, D.D., a zealous promoter of the Reformation. One of the revisers of the Translation of the New Testament. Lord Chancellor, 1551. Built Gallery of the Palace.

1554. Thomas Thirlby, D.D., Bishop of Westminster; translated to Norwich; thence to Ely. Dispossessed for refusing the oath of supremacy to Queen Elizabeth, 1559.

1559. Richard Cox, D.D., Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, and of Westminster. Died 1581.

The See vacant Eighteen years.

1600. Martin Heton, D.D., Dean of Winchester.

1609. Lancelot Andrewes, D.D., Bishop of Chichester. Translated from Ely to Winchester, 1619. Author of the celebrated Book of Devotions.

1619. Nicholas Felton, D.D., Bishop of Bristol. One of the Translators of the Bible.

1628. John Buckeridge, D.D., Bishop of Rochester.

1631. Francis White, D.D., Bishop of Carlisle; then of Norwich.

1638. Matthew Wren, D.D., Bishop of Hereford; thence translated to Norwich; thence to Ely. Bishop Wren was confined in the Tower for 18 years, in consequence of his firm support of the Royal Authority.

1667. Benjamin Laney, D.D., translated from Peterborough to Lincoln; thence to Ely. Bishop Laney bequeathed an estate to trustees for putting out youths as apprentices.

1675. Peter Gunning, D.D., translated from Chichester.

1684. Francis Turner, D.D., translated from Rochester. Bishop Turner was one of the seven bishops committed to the Tower, and was deprived, as a non-juror, in 1691. Died 1700.

1691. Simon Patrick, D.D., Dean of Peterborough; Bishop of Chichester: translated to Ely. Well known for his Devotional and Theological Works.

1707. John Moore, D.D., Bishop of Norwich.

1714. William Fleetwood, D.D., Bishop of St. Asaph.

1723. Thomas Greene, D.D., Bishop of Norwich.

1738. Robert Butts, D.D., Bishop of Norwich.

1748. Sir Thomas Gooch, Bart., D.D., Bishop of Bristol; translated to Norwich; thence to Ely.

1754. Matthias Mawson, D.D., Master of Corp. Chris. College, Cambridge; Bishop of Llandaff: translated to Chichester; thence to Ely.

Bishop Mawson was the first to make a road practicable for wheeled carriages from Cambridge.

1771. Edmund Keene, D.D., Bishop of Chester. Effected great improvements in the Palace at Ely.

1781. James Yorke, D.D., Bishop of St. David's; translated to Gloucester; thence to Ely.

1808. Thomas Dampier, D.D., Bishop of Rochester.

1812. Bowyer Edward Sparke, D.D., Bishop of Chester.

On the death of Bishop Sparke the temporal jurisdiction exercised within the Isle of Ely by the Bishops ceased by Act of Parliament.

1836. Joseph Allen, D.D., Bishop of Bristol.

The additions to the Diocese of the Counties of Huntingdon and Bedford, and the Archdeaconry of Sudbury were made in 1837.

1845. Thomas Turton, D.D., Dean of Peterborough; afterwards of Westminster, Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge.

1864. Edward Harold Browne, D.D., Canon of Exeter; Norrisian Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. Translated to Winchester, 1873.

1873. James Russell Woodford, D.D., Vicar of Leeds, Chaplain in Ordinary to the Queen.

Diocese of Ely.

The Lord Bishop.

The Right Rev. JAMES RUSSELL WOODFORD, D.D., The Palace, Ely, and Ely House, Dover Street, London, W.

Chancellor of the Diocese.

Worshipful Isambard Brunel, Esq., D.C.L., 4, Stone Buildings, Lincoln's Inn, London, W.C.


Ely, Ven. William Emery, B.D., The College, Ely. Bedford, Ven. Frederick Bathurst, M.A., Biggleswade. Beds. Huntingdon, Ven. Francis Gerald Vesey, M.A., LL.D., Huntingdon. Sudbury, Ven. Frank Robert Chapman, M.A., Stowlangtoft Rectory, Bury St. Edmunds, and Ely.


William Johnson Evans, Esq., Ely.

Chaplains to the Bishop.

Rev. H.M. Luckock, D.D., Canon of the Cathedral.[11]

Rev. H.F. St. John, M.A., Trinity College, Cambridge, Dinmore House, Hereford.

Rev. A.R. Evans, M.A., Oriel College, Oxford.[12]

Rev. V.H. Stanton, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.[13]

Rev. J. Watkins, M.A., St. John's College, Cambridge; Gamlingay Vicarage, Sandy.

Rev. Francis Paget, M.A., Senior Student and Tutor of Christ Church, Oxford.[14]

[Footnote 11: Examining Chaplain.]

[Footnote 12: Domestic Chaplain.]

[Footnote 13: Examining Chaplain.]

[Footnote 14: Examining Chaplain.]

Proctors in Convocation.

Rev. Canon Hopkins. Rev. Canon Birkett.


J.B. & H.W. Lee, Esqs., 2, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster. William Johnson Evans, Esq., Ely.

Diocesan Architect.

Arthur Blomfield, Esq.

The Dean and Chapter.

When the abbacy was converted into a bishopric, A.D. 1109, the office of Abbot merged into that of bishop, and an officer called the Prior, or Lord Prior, became the head of the community; he presided in chapter, and governed generally the affairs of the monastery; and in the reigns of some of our kings he was summoned to sit in Parliament. The first Prior after this alteration was Vincent, and there followed in succession thirty-six others, the last of whom, Robert Wells otherwise Steward, surrendered the monastery, with its goods and possessions, into the hands of King Henry the Eighth, at the general dissolution in November, 1539. Agreeably to the powers vested in him by Parliament, the king, by letters patent dated September 10th, 1541, "did grant his royal charter for erecting the Cathedral Church of the late monastery of St. Peter and St. Etheldreda at Ely into a Cathedral Church, by the name and title of "The Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Ely" to consist of one Dean, a priest, and eight Prebendaries,[15] priests, with other ministers necessary for the celebrating Divine service therein." And "did ordain the said Cathedral Church to be the Episcopal See of the Bishop of Ely and his successors, with all the honours and privileges of an Episcopal See and Cathedral Church. And that the said Dean and Prebendaries be one body corporate, have perpetual succession, one common seal, be the Chapter of the then Bishop of Ely, and his successors, and be called 'The Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Ely:' also did give and grant unto them the whole site of the late dissolved monastery, with all the ancient privileges, liberties, and free customs of the same, and nearly all the revenues thereof." Robert Steward, the late Prior, was made the first Dean, since whose time twenty-three others have held the office exclusive of the present Dean, who was appointed in December, 1869.

[Footnote 15: By an Act of Parliament passed in 1840, the number of Prebendaries was in future to be reduced to six, two of which stalls were to be attached respectively to the Regius Professorships of Greek and Hebrew in the University of Cambridge.]

We append a list of the Priors and Deans of Ely.


1. Vincent. 2. Henry. 3. William. 4. Tombert, or Thembert. 5. Alexander. 6. Solomon. 7. Richard. 8. Robert Longchamp. 9. John de Strateshete. 10. Hugh. 11. Roger de Brigham. 12. Ralph. 13. Walter. 14. Robert de Leverington. 15. Henry de Banccis. 16. John de Hemingston. 17. John de Shepreth. 18. John Saleman. 19. Robert de Orford. 20. William de Clare. 21. John de Fresingfield. 22. John de Crauden. 23. Alan de Walsingham. 24. William Hathfield. 25. John Bucton. 26. William Walpole. 27. William Powcher. 28. Edmund Walsingham. 29. Peter de Ely. 30. William Wells. 31. Henry Peterborough. 32. Roger Westminster. 33. Robert Colville. 34. William Witlesey. 35. William Foliott. 36. John Cottenham. 37. Robert Wells, alias Steward, last Prior, and first Dean.



1541. Robert Steward, or Wells, M.A., last Prior.

1557. Andrew Perne, D.D., Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge.

1589. John Bell, D.D., Master of Jesus College, Cambridge.

1591. Humphrey Tindall, D.D., President of Queen's College, Cambridge.

1614. Henry Caesar, or Adelmare, D.D.

Dean Caesar was a great patron of Music. A musical Service, known as "Caesar's Service," but written by John Amner, Organist, is preserved among the MSS. in the Cathedral Library.

1636. William Fuller, D.D. In 1646, Dean of Durham.

1646. William Beale, D.D., nominated but never admitted; Master of St. John's College, Cambridge. Died at Madrid, 1650.

A vacancy of ten years.

1660. Richard Love, D.D., Master of Bene't College, Cambridge.

1661. Henry Ferne, D.D., Master of Trinity College, Cambridge; in 1662 Bishop of Chester. Died five weeks after his consecration.

1662. Edward Martin, D.D., Master of Queen's College, Cambridge. Died a few days after his institution.

1662. Francis Wilford, D.D., Master of Bene't College, Cambridge.

1667. Robert Mapletoft, D.D., Master of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge.

Dean Mapletoft left several acres of land to augment the Stipends of the Singing Men.

1677. John Spencer, D.D., Master of Bene't College, Cambridge.

1693. John Lamb, M.A., Chaplain to King William and Queen Mary.

1708. Charles Roderick, D.D., Provost of King's College, Cambridge.

1712. Robert Moss, D.D., Fellow and Tutor of Bene't College, Cambridge.

1729. John Frankland, D.D., Master of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.

1730. Peter Allix, D.D., Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge.

Commenced important repairs in the fabric of the Church.

1758. Hugh Thomas, D.D., Master of Christ's College, Cambridge.

1780. William Cooke, D.D., Provost of King's College, Cambridge.

1797. William Pearce, D.D., Master of Jesus College, Cambridge.

1820. James Wood, D.D., Master of St. John's College, Cambridge.

1839. George Peacock, D.D., Lowndean Professor of Astronomy, Cambridge.

Extensive repairs and restorations were commenced in 1844.

1858. Harvey Goodwyn, D.D. In 1869, Bishop of Carlisle.

1869. Charles Merivale, D.D., D.C.L.

* * * * *

Arms of the Deanery—Gu. three keys or. These were the arms of Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, and from him assumed as the arms of the monastery.

* * * * *

The Dean and Chapter have the patronage of sixteen livings in this diocese, three in the diocese of Norwich, and one in the diocese of Rochester. They also appoint to the Minor Canonries and other offices connected with the Cathedral.

* * * * *

Service—On Sundays at 9 0, a.m., 11 0, a.m., and 4 0, p.m.

A Parochial Service at 6 30, p.m.

The Ordinary Daily Service at 10 0, a.m., and 4 0, p.m.

List of Clergy and Officers.


The Very Rev. CHARLES MERIVALE, D.D., D.C.L. 1869.


Thomas Jarrett, M.A.[17] 1854. Benjamin Hall Kennedy, D.D.[18][19] 1867. William Emery, B.D.[20] 1870. Edward Clarke Lowe, D.D.[21] 1873. Herbert Mortimer Luckock, D.D. 1875. Frank Robert Chapman, M.A. 1879.

[Footnote 16: All have Residences.]

[Footnote 17: Annexed to the Regius Professorship of Hebrew in the University of Cambridge.]

[Footnote 18: Annexed to the Regius Professorship of Greek in the University of Cambridge.]

[Footnote 19: Proctor for the Chapter in Convocation.]

[Footnote 20: Vice Dean.]

[Footnote 21: Treasurer.]

Honorary Canons.

William Bonner Hopkins, B.D., 1865. Samuel Blackall, M.A. 1866. Wm. Hepworth Thompson, D.D. 1867. Thomas Tylecote, B.D. 1867. George Heathcote, M.A. 1868. Alexander Ronald Grant, M.A. 1868. Frederick Bathurst, M.A. 1869. John Scott, M.A. 1869. John Parker Birkett, M.A. 1870. Charles Gray, M.A. 1870. Thomas Rawson Birks, M.A. 1871. Francis Gerald Vesey, M.A. 1871. Thomas Ed. Abraham, M.A. 1872. Jeremiah W. Haddock, M.A. 1872. C.W. Underwood, M.A. 1875. Hon. A.F. Phipps, M.A. 1875. G. Bulstrode, M.A. 1876. H.I. Sharpe, M.A. 1876. J.W. Cockshott, M.A. 1877. C. Brereton, M.A., B.C.L. 1877. J.H. Macaulay, M.A. 1878. W.T. Harrison, M.A. 1880. W.M. Campion, M.A. 1880.

Head Master of the Grammar School—Rev. R. Winkfield, M.A.

Second Master—Rev. C. Bokenham, M.A.

Precentor, Sacrist, and Praelector Theologicus.—W.E. Dickson, M.A., 1858.

Minor Canons.

George Hall, M.A. 1852. William Edward Dickson, M.A. 1858. John Franey, M.A. 1870. George Simey, M.A. 1874.


George Hall, M.A. John Franey, M.A. Richard Winkfield, M.A. E.H. Lowe, M.A.

Librarian, George Simey, M.A., 1874.

Chapter Clerk and Registrar—W.J. Evans, Esq., Ely.

Master of the Choristers, and Organist—Edmund Thomas Chipp, Mus. Doc.

Eight Lay Clerks and Eight Choristers, and Twelve Supernumeraries.

The Choristers are educated in a School within the College, maintained by the Dean and Chapter. Master—Henry Jackman, Battersea College.

King's Scholars—Twelve on the Foundation.

Sub-Sacrists and Vergers,—William Henry Southby; Henry Stone White.

Bedesmen—Six on the Foundation.

Clerk of the Works—Mr. R.R. Rowe.

The Cathedral.

"Without—the world's unceasing noises rise, Turmoil, disquietude, and busy fears. Within—there are sounds of other years, Thoughts full of prayer, and solemn harmonies."

The Cathedral.

The West Front.

In taking a survey of this noble edifice it is better to commence with the western front, which, as Mr. Millers observes, on account of its height and breadth, should be viewed from a competent distance; a good point of observation may be easily found on the Palace Green. Even in its present state it must be admired for its impressive though irregular grandeur, but when the north wing was standing, corresponding with the south, which remains comparatively perfect—before the erection of the octagonal story on the Tower, and the Galilee or portico, which, however beautiful in itself, has no proper connection with the rest—it must have presented a frontage exceedingly grand, and inferior to but few others in the kingdom. Such, we believe, was the original design, but succeeding bishops or rulers made such alterations and additions as their tastes dictated, and in the style then prevailing. This may in some measure account for the alterations of windows and other parts from their original designs, and the transitions from one style to another, producing examples partaking of two periods, but not perfect in either.

The stone used in the erection of the Cathedral was brought from Barnack, near Stamford, and is of a much harder nature than what was commonly used; it gives proof of great soundness and durability in the excellent preservation of some of the mouldings. The soft white stone used for some of the interior decorations is called "clunch," and is found within a few miles of Ely; it is well adapted for the purposes to which it is applied, it is easily worked and capable of being highly finished, but will not bear exposure to the weather. Most of the pillars with their capitals and bases, as well as many of the mouldings and ornaments in the Early English portion of the church, are of Purbeck marble.

The lower portions both of the Tower and wings were built by Bishop Ridel (1174-1189), and completed as high as the first battlements, during the episcopate of his successor, Longchamp (1189-1197), who however, spent none of his money on the fabric; the lower part of this work is late Norman, but the upper portions show indications of transition towards the pointed style. The architecture of the Tower is worthy of attention, as it shews some beautiful specimens of arcading in bands between rows of windows, all enriched with mouldings of various kinds; the western face shows three rows of windows, the others but two, as the lower one would have been hidden by the roof of the nave and of the wing on each side, these last being originally of a higher pitch than the remaining one now is. The upper band consists of circular openings with quatrefoils in the centre, and above that is a corbel-table. A spire of timber covered with lead was erected on the Tower about the middle of the thirteenth century, but it was afterwards removed, and the upper portion of the Tower, in the Decorated style, was added, and it was again surmounted by a spire. These additions were found to be injurious, and it became necessary to strengthen the lower portions of the Tower to support it; nor is it improbable that the fall of the north-western Transept was in some degree owing to the great additional weight, or that it was so far injured as to require removal. The spire was, we believe, finally removed about the end of the last century.

The octagonal story does not harmonize with the lower portion. There is a large window with transoms in each of the four principal sides, the upper portions only being glazed; it is flanked by octagonal turrets, which rise a little higher than the centre, they are faced with shallow arcading and connected with the centre portion by small flying buttresses; in each turret is a winding stair, but only that in the south-eastern turret is used. In the top of this turret is placed the clock bell.

The wings of the western Tower formed a second Transept to the church, and were doubtless perfectly similar; the remaining wing has towers at the angles; that at the south-west angle is larger than the other, though they are of equal height, and rise considerably higher than the wing. Both wing and towers are covered with ranges of arcading one above another, commencing a few feet from the bottom; the three lowest tiers are round-headed, the fourth are trefoil-headed, the fifth and all above are pointed and profusely adorned with mouldings; and the whole surface is enriched with diaper patterns. The roof was formerly of a higher pitch, as may be seen by the marks on the Tower.

Some years ago there was a communication by a covered viaduct over the road, between this Transept and the east wing of the Bishop's Palace, which enabled him to visit the Cathedral under cover; and the road over which it passed is still called "The Gallery."

"Mr. Stewart has pointed out the fact that the Galilee porch is not parallel to the axis of the Nave, but has a marked inclination to the north, while the Choir on the other hand (like that of Exeter), inclines to the south. This doubtless was for a symbolical reason. The ground plans of churches, by so frequently assuming a cross form, typify the doctrine of the Atonement—the Choir or Chancel marking the position of the Saviour's Head, the Transepts His Arms, and the Nave His Body. By an expansion of this idea the Choir is made to bend southwards to shew the inclination of the Redeemer's Head upon the cross; while, as it would seem here the Porch is turned in an opposite direction to indicate the position of His feet."[22]

[Footnote 22: Hewitt's description of Ely Cathedral, p. 13.]

The Galilee[23] or Western Porch.

[Footnote 23: The name "Galilee" is thus accounted for by the late Rev. G. Millers in his "Description of Ely Cathedral," p. 43. "As Galilee, bordering on the Gentiles, was the most remote part of the Holy Land from the Holy City of Jerusalem, so was this part of the building most distant from the sanctuary, occupied by those unhappy persons, who, during their exclusion from the mysteries, were reputed scarcely, if at all better than heathens."

Another writer gives as a reason for the name, that upon a woman applying for leave to see a monk, her relation, she was answered in the words of Scripture, "Behold he goeth before you into Galilee, there you shall see him."]

This has been stated to have been erected by Bishop Eustace (1198-1215), but although he is known to have made large additions to the building and to have built the Church of St. Mary, it has been thought the present building is not quite so early as that date, and that it was "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?"[24] and that it occupies the site of a former building. Sir G. Scott seemed to think it was the work of Bishop Eustace.[25]

[Footnote 24: Stewart, p. 53.]

[Footnote 25: Mr. Scott's Lecture.]

It is a beautiful specimen, and may fairly be ranked among the most exquisite Early English works we possess. "Nothing," says Mr. Parker, "can exceed the richness, freedom and beauty of this work; it is one of the finest porches in the world."[26] Externally, both sides are adorned with four tiers of arcading of different heights, one above another; in front, the recesses of the arches are deeper, and were probably intended for the reception of statues; some of them are ornamented with dog-tooth mouldings, and have trefoils in the spandrils. It is of two stories without windows in the sides; in the upper story there is a triple lancet window at the west end, the middle light being higher than the one on either side; the lower story receives light through the western opening. The arch of entrance is very elegant, and worthy of notice; it is receding, with rich and various mouldings, which on each side rest upon slender columns; a central group of shafts separates the opening into two smaller arches, with good tracery in the tympanum. The length on each side, internally, is occupied by two large pointed arches, comprehending under each two tiers of subordinate ones, the upper tier of five and the lower of three, which contains both outer and inner arches of different heights, supported by very slender columns; all the shafts were originally of Purbeck marble, with elegant capitals; the ribs of the vaulting are of free-stone, but the vault is of clunch. The arch of communication with the Tower is also very beautiful; it is similar in form to the exterior arch, but the ornaments in the mouldings are richer and more delicate: this has just been restored, and the Purbeck marble pillars—some of which had disappeared and others had become decayed—have been replaced by pillars of Devonshire marble with Purbeck plinths and capitals; the vesica in the tympanum has been filled with stained glass representing St. Etheldreda, the foundress; the original oaken doors have been repaired, faced, and ornamented with scrollwork in iron: this has been effected at a cost of more than L1000. contributed by Mrs. Waddington, of Twyford House, Winchester, as a memorial to her husband.

[Footnote 26: Parker's "Introduction to the study of Gothic Architecture," p. 91.]

The Interior of the Tower

has been considerably improved by the removal of a floor which had been inserted just above the lower arches, thus opening it to the great lantern, bringing into view a series of beautiful colonnades and arches, for many years hidden, except to those who explored the upper portions, besides relieving it of the weight of a large quantity of stone and materials.[27] The tops of the four fine arches which originally supported the Tower can now be partially seen; they were spacious openings, but are contracted by interior arches in a different style, which were inserted in the early part of the fifteenth century, for the purpose of strengthening the building. The beautiful painted ceiling of the Tower was designed, and all its essential parts executed, with a rare union of artistic skill and archaeological knowledge, by H.S. le Strange, Esq., of Hunstanton Hall, Norfolk, at the expense of H.R. Evans, Esq., then Registrar to the Dean and Chapter; the centre contains a figure of the Saviour in an aureole: He is represented as holding a globe in His left hand, and is surrounded by the sun, moon, and stars; on either side are Cherubim and Seraphim bearing scrolls containing the words "Holy! Holy! Lord God of Sabaoth." The eastern centre contains a shield on which is the dextra Domini, the "right hand of the Lord," as an emblem of the Creator; the corners are enriched with foliage, and the whole is surrounded by a border containing the words "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power; for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created." This was finished in 1855. The floor, of which the pattern forms a labyrinth, was completed in 1870.

[Footnote 27: At the time these works were in progress (Oct., 1845), Mr. Bassevi, the eminent architect of the Fitzwilliam Museum, at Cambridge, visited the Tower, and unfortunately fell from one floor to another, and was killed. He was buried in the north aisle of the Choir, and an elegant monumental brass, by Messrs. Waller has been laid over his remains.]

The window over the entrance from the Galilee, was inserted A.D. 1800, and improved in 1807 at the expense of Bishop Yorke, who filled two portions of the upper part with stained glass, the other two being filled at the cost of Dr. Waddington, then a Prebendary of the Cathedral; the remainder has lately been completed by Mr. Clutterbuck; the subjects are taken from the history of our Lord. This, with the wall decoration below, has been done at the expense of J.T. Waddington, Esq., and of his widow. Beneath the window are four shields of arms; the upper one on the south side shows the arms of Bishop Yorke impaled with the arms of the see; on the north side are those of Bishop Yorke with those of Dr. Waddington; the lower ones contain on the south, the arms of J.T. Waddington, Esq., and on the north side, the same impaled with those of the family of Cocksedge, of which Mrs. Waddington was a member.

* * * * *

Before proceeding further the visitor should pause, and observe the great length of the Cathedral, the noble appearance of the lofty arches, and the sublime grandeur of the whole. When we look around and see the lofty Tower with its decorated ceiling above; on the right, the south-west Transept, rich in the extreme with its several arcades of plain, intersecting, and trifoliated arches; and in front, through the long vista of the Nave, the noble Octagon, and the enriched Choir, to the extreme end of the church, we cannot but pause and admire the skill of man shewn in such a work; but when we consider to whose honour and glory such skill is exerted, we no longer wonder that man's best energies should be called forth to construct and ornament such a temple,

"Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault The pealing anthem swells the note of praise."—Gray.

May those who visit this temple for the purpose of examining it as a building made with hands, ever bear in mind the great and solemn purpose for which it was erected—the worship of Almighty God—and let their aspirations of prayer and praise ascend to Him in thankfulness for the privilege afforded to them of freely and openly worshipping Him, who as freely invites all to become partakers of a home made without hands, eternal in the heavens.

The South-west Transept

was, until a few years ago, separated from the Tower by a wall of stud and plaster, and used as a receptacle for materials required for the repair of the fabric, but is now thrown open in all its beauty; it has been repaired and restored at considerable expense.

The architecture of this portion of the Cathedral is worthy of special notice; the various forms of the arches, and the beautiful mouldings and ornaments on some of them, cannot but attract attention. The panelled ceiling has been painted by T. Gambier Parry, Esq., of Highnam Court, Gloucester; the floor has been re-laid with encaustic tiles and marble; a new font[28] in the transitional style, has been placed here, at the cost of the late Canon Selwyn, and this Transept will in future be used as the Baptistry of the Cathedral. Several windows, which had for many years been blocked up with stone and rubbish, have been re-opened, and those of the lower tier at the south end filled with stained glass by Mr. Wailes:

The west window contains—the Meeting of Jacob and Rachel; the Choice of Esther; and the Crowning of Esther; and was the gift of Dean Peacock.

The east window comprises—the Meeting of Isaac and Rebecca; of Boaz and Ruth; and the Marriage at Cana: given by Hamilton Cooke, Esq., of Carr House, Doncaster.

[Footnote 28: A font, the gift of Dean Spencer, in 1693, formerly stood under the third arch on the south side of the Nave, but having no accordance in style with the architecture of the building, it has been removed, and placed in a newly erected church at Prickwillow, near Ely.]

Adjoining this Transept on the east is the apsidal Chapel of St. Catharine, for many years in ruins, but rebuilt in 1848, and the floor laid in a combination of marble and encaustic tiles, with borders of incised Portland stone, the incisions being filled with coloured cement; the windows have been filled with stained glass by Mr. Wilmshurst:

The east window, representing the Baptism of our Lord, by John, after a picture by Bassans; given by the Rev. W.G. Townley, of Upwell, Norfolk, as a memorial of his brother, R.G. Townley, Esq., of Fulbourn, for several years one of the representatives of the county in Parliament.

The subject of the other window is from the words of our Lord, "Suffer little children to come unto me;" from a picture by Overbeck: the gift of Canon Selwyn.

We now proceed on our course, and enter

The Nave,

which is of ample dimensions, being 203 feet in length; it has a lighter appearance than many churches of Norman architecture, and may be considered a late specimen of that style, having been finished about 1174. The length originally comprised thirteen bays, one of which has been included in the plan of the Octagon; there are no single cylindrical columns as in many churches, but the pillars are clustered and alternate in size and pattern; the arches appear to be somewhat higher than semicircular, being stilted, or some little way rectilinear before they take the circular bend. Those of the second tier comprehend in each two smaller ones, supported by a much lighter column; each compartment in the upper tier is divided into three small arches, the middle one being larger and higher than that on either side of it. Over the whole aisle on each side runs a broad gallery usually called the "triforium," lighted by Perpendicular windows in the outer wall; and above is the "clerestory," or "clear-story," affording a narrow passage in the thickness of the main wall, lighted by the original Norman windows; thus the height is divided into three parts—ground-story, triforium, and clerestory; and the breadth into the same number—nave, north aisle, and south aisle; probably designed as a type of the Trinity, as it is thought by many that these symbolical considerations were used in the building of churches in early ages.

A new floor has been laid in the Nave[29] in a design which introduces several kinds of stone and marble, each bay in a pattern differing from the adjoining one; the large slab of marble which laid in the second bay from the east, and from which the memorial brass has long disappeared, remains in situ, it is not known to whose memory it was originally placed, but evidently to some dignified ecclesiastic. Towards the west the floor has been lowered so as to shew the bases of the columns which had for many years been hidden. A semicircular roof-shaft runs from the floor to the top of the wall between the bays, but the roof, until lately, was open to view from the floor to the rafters; a new painted ceiling has been executed,[30] which adds much to the grandeur of the building.

[Footnote 29: Bishop Turton by his will left the sum of L500 towards this object, and Bishop Harold Browne gave a like sum towards the completion of the paving of the Nave and aisles.]

[Footnote 30: A portion of the expense of this work was defrayed by a bequest by the Rev. G. Millers, a Minor Canon, augmented by the liberality of his Executors to L400.]

This ceiling was commenced in 1858, by Henry Styleman le Strange, Esq., of Hunstanton Hall, and the six western bays were designed and the chief parts executed by him, and finished in 1861; his lamented decease in the following year gave rise to some fears as to its completion, but his friend T. Gambier Parry, Esq., undertook to finish the work so ably begun, as a token of affection to his memory, and it now presents a beautiful series of pictures in compartments, forming, as it were, a carefully studied epitome of the sacred history of man as recorded in Holy Scripture; and exhibiting specimens of skill and taste executed by two gentlemen of independent fortune that may be almost considered marvellous.

It may be mentioned that the ceiling is upwards of 200 feet long, and is 86 feet from the floor, and the general size of the principal figures in the painting is nine feet.

The central subjects are arranged in chronological order from the west, each being surrounded by a border varying in form, and containing a legend; in the ten western bays the subjects are supported by figures which are for the most part representations of Patriarchs and Prophets, carrying scrolls[31] upon which are written words of their own, bearing more or less forcibly upon the coming of the Messiah. The eleventh subject has, properly speaking, no supporters, but the Shepherds and the Magi are so arranged as to carry on the artistic effect of a central group with conspicuous lateral figures. In the twelfth and last subject, the picture extends entirely across the ceiling; in the centre is the Lord Jesus in His glorified humanity, seated on a throne, round about which is a "rainbow like unto an emerald." Above His head is the choir of Seraphim, painted in prismatic colours, and reflected in the "sea of glass before the throne." On the right and left are the figures of the twelve apostles seated; beyond them, on the dexter side, are two archangels, St. Gabriel, "the angel of redemption," holding the standard of the cross, and St. Raphael, holding a sword with its point downwards, expressive of victory and peace; at their feet rise three figures, typical of the blessed received into glory. On the sinister side are also two archangels, St. Uriel holding his sword downwards, and St. Michael spearing the dragon, expressive of the condemnation of, and victory over, sin. The figure of our Lord is connected with the tree of Jesse by its last branches, which break into scrolls and golden fruit at His feet.

[Footnote 31: In the key to the ceiling as represented in the two following pages, we have placed the words of the legends under the principal subjects, and the contents of the scrolls under the names of the persons represented.]

The arch which separates the Nave from the Octagon has also been decorated, as well as the wall which connects the arch with the ceiling; the design contains the evangelistic symbols of St. Matthew and St. John, and the text "Blessed be the Name of His Majesty for ever, and all the earth shall be filled with His Majesty. Amen and Amen."

[Transcriber's Note: In the original book, the following text in brackets is placed sideways along the right and left sides of a box around the rest of the text. The top and bottom of the box are represented here by a line of asterisks.]

[The heads forming the border represent the human ancestors of our Lord, according to the genealogy in St. 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.]

* * * * *

"Non nobis, Domini, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam."



'I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.'



'Unto us a child is born: Gentiles shall come to thy light, and Kings to the brightness of thy rising.'

10. ST. MATTHEW. THE NATIVITY. ST. LUKE. 'The Word was made flesh, ST. MARK. and dwelt among us: full of ST. JOHN. grace and truth.' MALACHI. 9. ZEPHANIAH. 'The Sun of THE ANNUNCIATION. 'The Lord their God Righteousness shall 'A Virgin shall conceive and shall visit them.' arise.' bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel.' ZECHARIAH. NAHUM. 'I will bring forth my 8. 'Him that bringeth servant the Branch.' DAVID. glad tidings.' 'Of the fruit of thy body JEREMIAH. shall I set upon thy EZEKIEL. 'Unto David a throne.' 'My servant David righteous Branch.' shall be a Prince.' 7. JESSE. DANIEL. 'There shall come forth a HAGGAI. 'He shall confirm the rod out of Jesse, and a 'The desire of all covenant.' branch shall grow out of nations shall come.' roots.' 6. MICAH. THE MARRIAGE OF RUTH. ISAIAH. 'Out of thee, 'The Lord make the woman 'There shall come a Bethlehem, shall He like Rachel and Leah. Be rod out of the stem come forth.' thou famous in Bethlehem.' of Jesse.' 5. AMOS. JACOB'S DREAM. HOSEA. 'I will raise up the 'In thee and in thy seed 'O Grave I will be tabernacle of David.' shall all the families of thy destruction.' the earth be blessed.' 4. JONAH. ISAAC CARRYING THE WOOD. JOEL. 'Thou hast brought up 'Behold the fire and the 'I will pour out my my life from wood, but where is the burnt spirit upon all corruption.' offering? flesh.' 3. MOSES. NOAH'S SACRIFICE. NATHAN. 'The Lord shall raise 'I do set my bow in the 'I will stablish up a prophet like unto cloud, to be a token of the throne of His me.' covenant between me and the kingdom.' earth.' 2. JOB. THE FALL OF MAN. BALAAM. 'I know that my 'Her seed shall bruise thy 'There shall come a Redeemer liveth.' head, and thou shalt bruise star out of Jacob.' his heel.' 1. ABRAHAM. THE CREATION OF MAN. JACOB. 'My son, God will 'Which was the son of God.' 'The sceptre shall provide himself a not depart until lamb.' Shiloh come.'

"Sit splendor Domini Dei nostri super nos, et opera manuum nostrarum dirige super nos," &c.

* * * * *

Traces of early fresco work may be seen on some of the arches of the Nave, on both sides, and in all probability other parts were also decorated.

Before proceeding further eastward we will examine the

Nave Aisles,

commencing with that on the south, at the western end. We first observe a range of small semicircular arches running under the windows, with a chevron moulding over some of them; in the first bay from the west there is a row of intersecting arches over them. The vaulting is supported by semi-columns placed at the back of the pillars on one side, and on the other by wall-shafts between the windows, and forms a great contrast to the rich vaulting of the eastern portions of the Cathedral. Several traces of early fresco work may be observed in the vault of the tenth bay from the west, and in other places.

Under the fourth window is a doorway, which is, on the exterior, richly ornamented, filling all available space, the whole of the imposts, arch mouldings and capitals being thickly sculptured with interlaced carving. In the tympanum is a figure of the Saviour in an aureole (or 'glory' of a pointed oval shape), held up by two angels sitting, holding an open book surmounted by a cross in His left hand, His right being elevated in the act of benediction. The mouldings above, as well as the capitals, jambs, and pilasters, are enriched with running foliage, and with a series of medallions containing birds, animals, flowers, &c., some of which are very curious. This was formerly the Prior's entrance from the cloisters; it now opens into a private garden belonging to the Deanery.[32]

[Footnote 32: A new door, with scrollwork in iron, has been put in at the cost of the Bedfordshire Archaeological Society.]

Near this doorway stands a curious relic, deserving attention. It is the lower portion of a stone cross with a square pedestal, found some years ago at Haddenham, in the Isle of Ely, where it was used as a horse-block; the inscription on the pedestal is in Roman capitals, except the E, which is Saxon:


A translation of it is thus given by Mr. Bentham: "Grant, O God, to Ovin, thy light and rest. Amen." On reference to the history of St. Etheldreda, foundress of the monastery at Ely,[33] to which allusion was made in the introduction to this work, it will be seen that her steward bore the name of Ovin, and it is not improbable that the cross was erected either to his honour during his life, or to his memory soon after his death; probably in the early part of the eighth century: this would make it earlier by nearly four hundred years than anything else in the church. The Bissexcentenary, or twelve-hundredth anniversary of the foundation of the monastery at Ely by St. Etheldreda was commemorated by a grand Festival in October, 1873.

[Footnote 33: Bentham's History, i. 45, &c.]

The doorway at the east end of the aisle, under the last window, formerly the entrance for the monks from the cloisters, now the south entrance to the Cathedral, is also worthy of special observation; the head is trefoiled, and ornamented with figures holding pastoral staves; above, two dragons are represented with their necks entwined; the mouldings are rich and various, and the capitals and jambs are sculptured with grotesque ornaments. By some persons it has been thought that these doorways were insertions, as they do not accord with the lines of the adjoining wall, perhaps brought from some other building, and re-erected here when the cloisters were built.

On the second pillar from the east end of the Nave in both aisles, may be observed a niche with a canopy, indicating the position of the rood-screen at the western extremity of the original Choir, which extended eastward across and beyond the space now covered by the Octagon.

The windows of the aisles, as also those of the triforium, were originally Norman, but were altered at some subsequent period to a later style; those, however, of this aisle have, with one exception, been restored to their original form, and all are filled with stained glass. We will endeavour to describe them in their order, beginning at the western end of the aisle.

1st. The days of Creation; Adam expelled from Eden; the punishment of Mankind; the Offerings of Cain and Abel—executed by Messrs. Henri and Alfred Gerente, of Paris; the contributions of Visitors to the Cathedral.

2nd. The Building of the ark; the entry into the ark; the Flood; and Noah's Sacrifice—by M. Alfred Gerente: the gift of Mrs. Pleasance Clough, as a memorial of her aunt, Susannah, wife of John Waddington, Esq.

3rd. The Annunciation; the Salutation of Mary and Elizabeth; the Birth of Christ—by Mr. Warrington: his own gift.

4th. The Tower of Babel and the Confusion of tongues—by Mr. Howes: the contribution of various tradesmen connected with the Cathedral.

5th. Abraham visited by angels; the expulsion of Hagar; and the Blessing of Jacob—by Mr. Gibbs, his own gift.

6th. The institution of the Passover; the Death of the firstborn; and the Exodus of the Israelites—by Mr. Howes, his own gift.

7th. The fall of the walls of Jericho; the passage of the Jordan; and the return of the spies—by Mr. Wailes: presented by the Rev. G. Millers, as a memorial of his wife.

8th. Samson slaying the lion; Samson carrying away the gates of Gaza; and Samson destroying the Philistines—executed and presented by M. Alfred Gerente.

9th. The history of the Venerable Bede—by Mr. Wailes: his own gift.

10th. David anointed; David playing before Saul; David chosen king; and David reproved by Nathan—by Mr. Hardman: presented by the ladies of the (then) Dean and Canons.

11th. The Judgment of Solomon; the Building of the Temple; the Dedication of the Temple; and the Queen of Sheba's visit—designed and executed by the Rev. A. Moore, of Walpole St. Peter, Norfolk, at the cost of the Chapter.

We now turn our attention to the north aisle, and observe a range of arches similar to those in the south aisle, but with the line of chevron moulding in the eastern bay only; an intermission under one of the windows marks the place where probably was a doorway for communication with the church of St. Cross, but closed above two hundred years ago, when the Lady Chapel was given for the use of the parish of the Holy Trinity in lieu of that church which had become ruinous.

The windows in this aisle retain their altered form; and all have been recently filled with stained glass; in describing them we will commence at the western end, as the subjects are arranged chronologically.

1st. From the history of our first parents—Adam tilling the ground; Cain ploughing the earth, and Abel attending sheep; Adam and Eve discovering the body of Abel—by Mr. Cottingham: presented by Mr. Bacon, Clerk of the Works to the Dean and Chapter, as a memorial of his father.

2nd. From the history of Lot—Angels visit Lot; Lot entertaining angels; the multitude struck with blindness; Sodom destroyed; Lot's departure; Lot entering Zoar—by Mr. Preedy; as a memorial of the Rev. John Maddy, D.D., Canon of the Cathedral.

3rd. From the History of Abraham—the Death of Sarah: Abraham purchasing the cave of Machpelah; and the Burial of Abraham—by Mr. Preedy: designed as a memorial of Mr. Freeman; given by his family.

4th. From the Book of Judges—Gideon and the Angel; Gideon's present consumed; the Midianites put to flight—by Mr. Ward: subscribed for by some of Her Majesty's Judges who were educated at the University of Cambridge.

5th. From the history of Samuel—Hannah praying; Samuel presented to Eli; Eli blesses Elkanah and Hannah; Samuel praying; Samuel called; Samuel telling his vision to Eli—by Messrs. Ward and Nixon: as a memorial of H.R. Evans, sen., Esq., for many years Chapter Clerk; given by his family.

6th. David and the Minstrels; executed by Mr. Oliphant, from designs by W.R. Dyce, Esq., R.A.: the gift of Mr. Thomas Ingram, Professor of Music, formerly a Chorister and Pupil in the Cathedral.

7th. From the history of Elijah—Elijah feeds the prophets in a cave; Elijah praying for rain; Elijah visited by angels—by Mr. Wailes: presented by Colonel Allix, as a memorial of Dr. Peter Allix, a former Dean of Ely.

8th. From the history of Elijah—Elijah fed by ravens; Translation of Elijah; Elijah's burnt offering—by Mr. Wailes: presented by J.J. Rawlinson, Esq., as a memorial of the Rev. G. Millers, Minor Canon, and author of a "Description of Ely Cathedral."

9th. From the history of Elisha—Elisha healing the Shunamite's son—by Mr. Wailes: presented by the Rev. S. Smith and others, connections and legatees of the Rev. J. Griffith, B.D., many years Minor Canon of the Cathedral.

10th. Events from the history of Hesekiah—by Mr. Wailes; presented as a memorial of Thomas Archer, Esq., of Ely, by his family.

11th. From the history of Jonah—the People of Ninevah mourning; Jonah preaching; Repentance of the Ninevites—by Mr. Edgland; presented by C. Steggall, Esq., Mus. Doc., designed as a memorial of his wife.

12th. From the history of Daniel—Daniel interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's dream; Daniel before king Darius; Daniel in the lion's den—by M. Lusson, of Paris: designed to commemorate the establishment of a Savings Bank in Ely, in 1839, being the contribution of certain subscribers, assisted by a special contribution from Canon J.H. Sparke.

A tablet on the wall, near the eastern window of this aisle, bears the following inscription:—

"1676, Roger Clopton, Rector of Downham, Gave two hundred pounds, By which The greatest Part of the Nave of This Church Was paved."

The Nave and aisles do not now require a gift of this kind, having been recently paved at considerable expense, but the floor of the Octagon, South Transept, and Choir aisles will require a large sum to complete them, and if some kind friends will follow the example of Roger Clopton it will indeed be a timely benefaction, and now very much to be desired as an important step towards the completion of the work of restoration.

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