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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 were held in October as we marked the feast of the Translation of Etheldreda and the Cathedral Choir performed alongside Britten Sinfonia for a gala concert of Handel’s Messiah.

St Etheldreda 2023 event booklet


Son et Lumière
Please note, this event originally scheduled for November will now take place in 2024. Confirmed dates and more information to follow soon.

A beautiful and exciting sequence of music sung by the Cathedral Choir, recounting the story of the Cathedral over more than a millennium, combines with atmospheric light effects in a darkened building.

November Events

Mini Exhibition in St Etheldreda’s Chapel

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

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