The Gallery

Peterborough Cathedral was founded as a monastery in 655 by King Penda of Mercia soon after he was converted to Christianity. It was destroyed by the Danes in 870 and refounded a hundred years later by King Edgar. Destroyed by fire in 1116 the building of the present church began two years later using Barnack stone. The Nave has a magnificent original wooden painted ceiling dating from around 1230 - 1250, the only one of its type surviving in Britain today. Katharine of Aragon was buried here in January 1536, as was Mary Queen of Scots in 1587 but her body was removed to Westminster Abbey in 1612.

This was my first visit to Ely Cathedral - and what a gem! Dominating the Fens' flat horizon it is a magnificent spectacle both inside and out. At its heart stands Etheldreda, a Saxon princess converted to Christianity. She heard God's calling and rejected the conventions of her time, leaving her political marriage to found a religious community on the remote Fenland Isle of Ely. The long Nave (537 feet) also has a spectacular painted wooden ceiling; the octagon and lantern with beautiful fan vaulting and delicate tracery making it a highlight of English architecture. What a privilege it is to play in such a place.