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The Sculptures of the Lady Chapel, Ely Cathedral

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Vicki Harley.

The early 14th century sculptures of the Lady Chapel were intended to be a definitive statement of what a devotee of the Blessed Virgin Mary should know. They were badly damaged during the 1540s in attacks on the images and practices of traditional religion. They were covered with thick whitewash for over three hundred years while the Chapel was in use as a parish church. Campaigns of cleaning, repair and conservation since the 1850s have restored the sculptures to our sight but not necessarily to our understanding: their mutilated state makes it difficult to read and appreciate them, the non-scriptural narratives that they illustrate are quite unfamiliar to many people. Even today they can be an uneasy reminder of England’s Catholic past and of its violent end. The talk will identify of some of the sculptures and describe how the tide turned from condemnation to conservation. Jonathan Rogers is a specialised Guide at Ely Cathedral and the author of ‘Ely Cathedral: The Sculptures of the Lady Chapel’ published in 2015 by The Ely Society. ALL WELCOME

This talk is part of the Fen Edge Archaeology Group series.

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