Ely Cathedral Ely, England

Nicknamed the "Ship of the Fens" for its sturdy presence in the ancient marshland, Ely Cathedral is a unique building. Built primarily in a 12th-century Norman style, it also has some interesting later additions, including the famous Octagon tower.

West Front
Holly Hayes

Facts & Stats

Best Known As
Ely Cathedral
Full Name
Ely Cathedral
Also Known As
Cathedral of the Holy Trinity
52.398629° N, 0.263404° E  (map)
{"id":4410502,"subject_id":249263,"detail":"height","val":"43","unit":"m","updated_at":"2015-06-30 22:47:44"}

Contact Info

+44 (0)1353 667735


Listed Building Description



Revision Number: 2

Cathedral of the Holy Trinity 1082 TL 5480 1/1 23.9.50 TL 5479 2/1 GV 2. The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity was begun in 1083 by Simeon, a Kinsman of William the Conqueror and was virtually completed in its present form by 1350 after which no further major building took place. The nave and transepts have exceptionally fine C12 work, the chancel and west porch are C13 and the central crossing, lantern and the Lady Chapel are C14. The inner porch has some C15} work. Considerable restoration work was done by Sir Gilbert Scott in the mid C19. The Lady Chapel was begun in 1321 and a year later the Norman crossing tower fell. The Octagonal tower which replaced it was designed and built under the sacrsit Alan of Walsingham and the timber-framed lantern which crowns it was built under the direction of William Hurle, one of the most famous carpenters of his age and Chief Carpenter of the King's Works. The masonry of the Cathedral is almost entirely of ashlar faced Barnack limestone. The splendid architecture of the Cathedral and College is the dominating influence of the small scale, mainly C18 and C19 town which clusters closely around it.

The Cathedral of The Holy Trinity forms the focal point connecting the following four distinct groups of buildings collectively known as The College.

Group of the North:- The Almonry, Wall to the gardens of the Almonry and Painted Chamber, the Sacristy Gate and Goldsmith's Tower.

Group to the South West:- The Great Hall (Bishop's residence), the Queen's Hall (Headmaster's House), Wall to the gardens of the Bishop's residence, Guest Quarters of the Monastery, Walls to the Guest Quarters of the Monastery and Ely Porta, Prior's House (Boarding House of The King's School), Prior Crauden's Chapel, Walls to the gardens of the Prior's House and Guest Hall, Ely Porta, Barn and Storehouse of the Monastery, Wall to the Barn and Storehouse of the Monastery.

Group to the South West:- The Dark Cloisterm Powcher's Hall, the Painted Chamber (Walsingham House) the Chapel of the Infirmary, the Black Hostelry and Cellarers Chamber, Cellarers House.

Group to the West:- Bishop's Palace, Walls of the Bishop's Palace.

Listing NGR: TL5404680281

Further Resources

  1. The National Heritage List for England: 1331690, /resultsingle.aspx?uid=1331690. Historic England.
  2. Official Website of Ely Cathedral. Official source.