The Ship of Ely Fen

A beautiful virtual tour of Ely Cathedral.

The fires of the Great Army
That was made of iron men,
Whose lights of sacrilege and scorn
Ran around England red as morn,
Fires over Glastonbury Thorn—
Fires out on Ely Fen.


The Earls of the Great Army
That no men born could tire,
Whose flames anear him or aloof
Took hold of towers or walls of proof,
Fire over Glastonbury roof
And out on Ely, fire.
Chesterton would have looked on it, and doubtless thought of it while composing those lines, but Alfred would not have. This particular cathedral was built by Norman kings some years after Alfred broke the great army that no man yet had tired.


douglas said...

Maybe so, but there was something there to burn-
"Etheldreda left him and became a nun at Coldingham under her aunt Ebbe (672) and founded a double monastery at Ely in 673. (from FARMER, David: The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, 3rd ed. OUP, 1992.)

Etheldreda restored an old church at Ely, reputedly destroyed by Penda, pagan king of the Mercians, and built her monastery on the site of what is now Ely Cathedral. "

Anonymous said...

It really is a lovely church. And interestingly, not too far away is/was (last I heard they were having money problems) the house museum with information about Oliver Cromwell's early life and his family.