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news | 25 July 2019

Magdalene Visit Ely Cathedral

One week into the Cambridge Advanced Studies Programme, we all headed out to nearby Ely, home to the iconic Ely Cathedral which dates back to 1083. Our previous excursions had taken us to the busy streets of London and Brighton, so Ely – a small cathedral city – presented a nice change, while still offering a decent range of shops and interesting sites for the students to explore.

First off, we visited the stained glass museum which is home to a range of beautiful artwork, both medieval and modern. The students had the opportunity to learn about the history of stained glass production, and to see real tools of the trade on display.

Next, we had a detailed and engaging guided tour of the cathedral itself, and were particularly lucky that our visit coincided with a rehearsal from a visiting choir from Tucson, Arizona, who sang some beautiful melodies in preparation for their evening performance.

Our guides shared many interesting details of the Cathedral’s rich history, which saw the building, and the nation as a whole, switch repeatedly between allegiance to Catholicism and Protestantism, carrying huge implications for the building’s design. Although the Cathedral’s initial construction dates back almost 1,000 years, repeated developments have constantly altered its appearance, corresponding to the changing fashions and ruling ideologies of the time. Inside, gothic design mingles with medieval and classical structures, creating a particularly unique place of worship.