The tiny community founded in the fens by St Etheldreda in 672 and refounded as an abbey in 970 became one of the greatest monasteries in England: a community which owned much of Cambridgeshire and East Anglia as well as of the Isle of Ely itself, and which lived and worshipped in a set of buildings of which many are still standing.
'There is not perhaps, any one Fabrick in this Kingdom that exhibits a larger, more elegant, or a more magnificent display of what is called Gothic Architecture, than the Cathedral of Ely': so wrote James Bentham in his History and Antiquities of Ely in 1771. The present book is the first substantial history of the cathedral to be written since then, and covers the Church of Ely through each of its transformations - as early Saxon monastic settlement, as abbey, as cathedral priory (1109), and finally, after the Reformation, as cathedral governed by dean and chapter (1541). A final chapter looks at the present-day life of the cathedral and the changes and challenges produced by the new statutes of 2000.
Contents cover: Ely Abbey 672-1109; Ely 1109-1539, with Benedictine observance, Norman architecture and sculpture, the gothic cathedral, monastic buildings, library and archives; Dean and Chapter 1541-1836, with archives, fabric, music and liturgy; Ely Cathedral 1836-1980, with fabric, music, archives; Ely Cathedral 1980-2000.
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