Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ely Cathedral

On this, my final Sunday in Cambridge, I visited St. Andrews Street Baptist Church with my friend Barry, who attends the church. There are two matters of interest in the church. One is a cane-bottom chair used by William Carey in Serampore, India. The other is the stained glass window in the front of the sanctuary. It features three characters from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress: Valiant-for-Truth, Christian, and Faithful.

Following the worship service, Barry and I drove to Ely to tour Ely Cathedral and grounds. What a massive and majestic cathedral it it! We took the Octagon Lantern tour. We climbed narrow, I mean extremely narrow, spiral staircases up two different towers. The first tower is situated on the northwest corner of the main transept. It brought us up to a catwalk overlooking the main transept where we saw the huge base organ pipes. Above us, in the center of the transept, was the octagon lantern designed by Alan of Walsingham following the collapse of the original square tower in 1322 that had stood for two centuries. That same tower brought us up to the interior where we could observe the massive oak beams that support the octagon lantern tower structure and open the panels to view the up close. The beam structure shown was put in place in 1322-1328 when the lantern tower was rebuilt as an octagon to replace the former square structure that had collapsed.

Ely Cathedral is immense and impressive. Its length
is 537 feet. For other dimensions, click here. The present cathedral dates from the 11th century.

After touring the cathedral we took a tour of Oliver Cromwell's house which is just west of the cathedral.

Below is a floor plan of the cathedral and a view from the west. Observe that there is no north (on the left) transept and tower off the west tower. It separated from the main structure, due to shifting soil, and had to be dismantled during medieval times.