November 20, 2006

A day in Ely

Filed under: architecture, England, travel — podtourz @ 5:09 pm

Off to Ely to research a podtour. I already knew the cathedral well – so I thought.

But I obviously didn’t know the town. There are some lovely medieval buildings tucked away around the cathedral, all part of the monastery in the Middle Ages, and many now part of the King’s School. I hadn’t given them a glance before.

Prior Crauden’s chapel is a particularly nice building. It’s tiny – well, compared to most churches. And it’s beautifully delicate; a narrow, high box, with turrets, buttresses, and the most lovely traceried windows. A perfect miniature which feels just as if it’s come out of a medieval manuscript.

Then there’s the Great Hall.  Boring, I thought, looking at it from the front – a classical frontage, probably seventeenth or eighteenth century. Go the other side, though, and you can see the original medieval fabric. As so often, appearances are deceptive!

I think for me that’s the fascination of touring in Europe. Sometimes you do come across a building perfectly ‘of its age’ – Versailles, for instance, or Chartres Cathedral. But more often, you find layers upon layers of history.  Rome, in particular, is a city like an onion – peel off one skin and you find another layer underneath.

Anyway, I now have to write up and record the Podtour. It should appear on http://www.podtours.co.uk towards the end of this year.


1 Comment »

  1. Forgot to mention; Prior Crauden’s Chapel is not open regularly, but you can ask for a key at the south door of the cathedral. It’s worth the hassle, I think.

    Comment by podtourz — November 20, 2006 @ 5:32 pm

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