Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire
- Original hand pulled screen print
- 6 colours
- 30 x 40 cm
- Heritage White 315 gsm. paper
- Edition of 100
Ely Cathedral has origins dating back to AD 673 when St Etheldreda built an Abbey Church. The present building dates back to 1083, and was granted Cathedral status in 1109.
Etheldreda restored an old church and built her monastery on the site of what is now Ely Cathedral. However the original buildings were reputedly destroyed by Penda, pagan King of the Mercians. Following its restoration by Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester from 963 to 984 and one of the leaders of the tenth-century monastic reform movement, Ely was re-founded as a Benedictine community and became the richest abbey in England except for Glastonbury.
Work on the present Cathedral began in the 11th century under the leadership of Abbot Simeon, and the monastic church became a cathedral in 1109 with the Diocese of Ely. The Cathedral is built from stone quarried from Barnack in Northamptonshire purchased for 8000 eels a year and transported along the river. Several decorative elements are carved from Purbeck marble from Dorset and a local limestone, clunch.
As with all Cathedrals, the plan of the building is cruciform (cross-shaped). The building work took years to complete and it is rumoured that 365 men died during the construction. The design had many similarities to Winchester, a cruciform plan with central crossing tower, aisled transepts, a three-storey elevation and a semi-circular apse at the east end. It was one of the largest buildings under construction north of the Alps at the time.
The monastery at Ely was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539. Ely suffered less than many other monasteries, but even so, statues were destroyed together with carvings and stained glass. Much of this destruction is in evidence today. St Etheldreda's Shrine was also destroyed.
The Cathedral was re-founded three years later in 1541 with a Chapter of eight canons as was the Kings School.
For the sky background I have used the three keys symbol. The three keys were the arms of Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester (912-984) who was instrumental in re-founding Ely as a Benedictine Monastery in 970. The the three keys emblem is now gold keys on a red background. However, the Arms were originally used by the Priors of Ely, when the background was gold with three blue keys.
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