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St. Etheldreda 1350

Celebrating 1350 years of Ely’s Foundation

2023 marks 1350 years since St Etheldreda first established a monastery in Ely in AD 673.

To mark this significant occasion, we are celebrating the life and legacy of this remarkable Saxon Queen with a year-long programme of events, concerts, services and exhibits.

Highlights include a new guided tour focussing on Etheldreda’s time in Ely, a visual interpretation depicting the four key stages of her life from East Anglian Princess to Anglo Saxon Saint, and a live performance of a newly commissioned play.

In celebration of St Etheldreda’s Day in June the Archbishop of York joined us for a Diocesan service and a special floral display adorned her shrine area. Further commemorative services will be held in October as we mark the feast of the Translation of Etheldreda and the Cathedral Choir will perform alongside Britten Sinfonia for a gala concert of Handel’s Messiah.

Other events across the city will bring the community together to commemorate this historic anniversary year for Ely.

St Etheldreda 2023 event booklet


September - December: Events & Services

Mini Exhibition in St Etheldreda’s Chapel

Throughout 2023
A small-scale exhibition highlighting the four key stages of the life of St Etheldreda, founder of Ely - East Anglian Princess - Queen of Northumbria - Abbess of Ely - Anglo Saxon Saint.
Entry included with Cathedral admission ticket or pass.

Read more

Iceni Botanical Artists: Art Exhibition

Saturday 30 September - Friday 13 October
Celebrating the life of Queen Etheldreda: Herbals and Harvest
in the Lady Chapel

Read more

Handel's Messiah

Saturday 7 October, 7pm
Ely Cathedral Choir is joined by leading professional orchestra Britten Sinfonia to perform Handel’s timeless masterpiece.
Tickets: £15 - £40.

Book tickets

Sunday 15 October, 10.30am
Festal Eucharist - The Saints of Ely

Preacher: Professor Rosalind Love, British historian, medievalist and academic.

Monday 16 October, 5.30pm
First Evensong of the Translation of St Etheldreda

Choral Evensong sung by the Girl Choristers of Ely Cathedral. The Feast of the Saints of Ely is that of Seaxburh, Saint Etheldreda’s sister; Ermenilda, Seaxburh’s daughter; Werburga, the daughter of Ermenilda (all of whom were abbesses in Ely) and Withburga who is traditionally held to be a sister or kinswoman of St Etheldreda.

Tuesday 17 October, 5.30pm
Festal Evensong

Preacher: The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle MBE, Dean of Westminster.
Join the College of Canons of Ely Cathedral for this special Choral Evensong sung by the Boy Choristers.

From October onwards
St Etheldreda Banner Project

St Catherine’s Chapel

Explore the life of St Etheldreda through the eyes of children from throughout the Diocese of Ely. Schools and home educated children were invited to design panels showing key events in the life of St Etheldreda as part of an education project at the beginning of 2022. Twelve of these designs are being created into a set of hanging applique panels by the Ely Cathedral Broderers, thanks to generous sponsorship from the Cook family in loving memory of Rita and John McDermott and the Tann family.

The St Etheldreda Tour
A new guided tour for 2023 will focus on Etheldreda’s dramatic life. More information here

View an interactive map of churches and chapels dedicated to Etheldreda here

The St Etheldreda Trail

This trail highlights just some of the images of St Etheldreda in the Cathedral today. She is usually portrayed wearing a crown and nun’s robes, and holding an Abbess’ crozier (staff), a book or a model of a church.


St Etheldreda souvenirs are available from our online shop, including a pilgrim badge, books, bookmarks, hanging ornaments, coasters and magnets.

St. Etheldreda

The history of St Etheldreda

Find out more