Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

St Etheldreda and Ely

Today being the feast day of St.Etheldreda or Æthelthryth gives me an excuse to post some pictures of the successor of her abbey and her shrine church, Ely cathedral 

It is, to my mind, a breathtaking, wondrous building. Not only does it have a splendid Norman west tower, nave and transepts and a fine early English presbytery, but even more impressive is the curvelinear Decorated  fourteenth century octagon and choir replacing those parts destroyed by the fall of the central tower in 1322, the glorious Lady Chapel, the widest vault ever achieved in medieval England, but still bearing the evident scars of sixteenth century Protestant vandalism, and the lantern of the west tower. Fourteenth century Ely must have been a wonderful place to be when such works were being planned and created. Ely cathedral is a building that stays in the mind long after one has journeyed back from its Fenland Isle.


The west tower with the Galilee porch on the left and the south-west transept on the right



The view across the octagon,
with the choir on the left and the south transept on the right


The interior of the lantern with its central boss of Christ blessing

Image: farm4.staticflickr


The interior of the Lady Chapel.
The modern statue of Our Lady over the altar is rather unfortunate, but the building itself is superb.


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