Ely Cathedral's historic 'octagon tower' being repaired after rainwater leaked onto altar

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Matthew Hudson

Ely Cathedral stands tall, billowing out of the flat landscape. It has done so for hundreds of years.

Its stark contrast to the rest of the area gives it the name locally as the ‘Ship of the Fens’, but nobody wants a leaking ship. 

Over the past few years water has been making its way into the building through a leak in the Cathedral’s famous Octagon (Lantern) tower. 

A drone was used to survey the extent of damage Credit: ITV Anglia

In February 1322 a storm caused the original Norman tower of the cathedral to collapse. It was so loud that the monks thought there had been an earthquake.

Described as a medieval masterpiece the current tower took 18 years to build using basic tools and wooden scaffolding. 

Now modern technology is used to assist in repairs, with a drone being used to survey the extent of damage and cranes needed to move scaffolding into place.

Inside the Octagon Tower Credit: ITV Anglia

It costs around £1.4million a year to look after the cathedral in a normal year, but repairs to the tower have needed extra funding.