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Special Interest Tour - The Life of a Mediaeval Monk in Ely

Various dates


Friday 14 June & Friday 12 July, 11.30am

What is it like to walk in another man’s shoes? Namely, a monk’s shoes. Come and find out how the Mediaeval Monks lived, worked and worshipped in Ely.

The Fen was a lonely, inhospitable and sparsely inhabited, marshy area, when in 673 St. Etheldreda founded a Double Monastery in Ely (the name Ely translates as ‘Island of Eels’) for men and women and became its Abbess. In 870 it was sacked by the Vikings, staying in the doldrums for one hundred years until it was refounded as a Benedictine Monastery in 970.

Over the years the Monastery and the Monks were central and key to the flourishment of the area, providing healthcare and pastoral care to the community. It is said, on a clear, still night, the singing and chanting emanating from ‘The Ship of the Fens’ filtered across the watery, reed choked landscape and could be heard for miles around.

On this Special Interest Tour you will:

  • Follow the daily itinerary of an Ely Mediaeval Monk as he goes about his daily life.
  • The Monks adhered to the Rule of St. Benedict – find out what this meant for the Monks.
  • See the old Infirmary site and visit the Herb Garden to learn about the medicinal properties of the herbs used by the Monks for healing and culinary purposes.
  • Sit or balance on the misericords in the 14thc Quire Stalls listening to the Monks’ chanting and soak up the atmosphere.
  • With your Guide’s help, free your imagination and travel back in time to experience the Mediaeval Monastery in Ely, now one of the great Cathedrals of the U.K.

What's included:
Admission to Ely Cathedral.
An hours guided tour.
Lunch at the Almonry Restaurant. (This is a 2-course lunch from the daily menu, either a soup starter and main course, or a main course and dessert. The daily menu can be found here. Please note this does not include the specials menu)

Tickets: £25 per person (for up to 8 people with a guide). Tickets must be pre-booked online up to the day before your visit, via the link on this page. This tour is not suitable for children.

Please meet your guide at the west end of the Nave, 5 minutes before your tour is due to start.