Friday, October 16, 2015

A Day in Ely

I know, it's been a little quiet on this blog lately. I've spent most of my time this past week studying at the library (actually, multiple libraries), which isn't interesting enough to report.

My highlight of the week was taking a short day trip with my class. I, along with five other classmates, met our tutor in Ely to begin our first of many excursions that we will be taking throughout England and France this year. We spent hours in and around Ely Cathedral talking about the development of its design during the medieval period and speculating what the original layout of the cathedral might have been.

This was also my first taste at having class outside of a classroom. The main appeal of my graduate program was the fact that many of our discussions and seminars actually take place on site of whatever we are learning. This week, it was Ely Cathedral.

As you will see from the pictures, this cathedral is HUGE. It is practically impossible to take a full length picture of the fa├žades or the interior space. Regardless, I tried. Also, the interior pictures are a little grainy. I apologize.

Exterior views (from the top): looking at the West crossing from the South, two views of the West porch entrance, and then two views of the East end. 

Interior views (from the top): the nave from inside the West entrance, the North transept, and choir screen looking towards the East.

This view (which the picture does not do it any justice in showing how amazingly detailed the structure is) is underneath the octagonal crossing tower. It is actually the second tower that was built in this same spot, because the first one had collapsed. This tower, which was built in 1320s, is made out of wood to mimic the stone structure of the cathedral.  

Looking from the high altar to the choir, these choir stalls would have been where the monks sat during services. Also made out of wood. 

And now looking at the high altar in the East end. Behind that is the retro-choir, which allows access to the other chapels that sit at the far end of the church. 

Finally, here are some images of the Lady Chapel, which is attached to the North East end of the cathedral. By the way, those carvings are all in stone. STONE! They are so incredibly detailed it almost seems impossible to believe that this was all done by hand. 

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