Margery Kempe at Ely
The city of Ely is mentioned only once
(Ch. 55) in a chapter describing Margery Kempe's travels from London back
to Lynn. She had journeyed to London to obtain the Archbishop of
Canterbury's letter that approved her and her husband's chaste marriage
and granted her dispensation for frequent reception of the Eucharist.
She mentions that three miles outside of Ely she and her husband John were
stopped by "a man" who intended to imprison the pair, but after reading
the letter "spoke handsomely and kindly to them," allowing them to progress
towards the city. Although Margery does not mention Ely at length,
it would be uncharacteristic if she did not visit the cathedral, especially
the Lady Chapel, which was a lavish separate building. Many of the
buildings at Ely, especially Prior Cruden's Chapel, give some sense of
the luxury of prominent ecclesiastics, and the private spaces often referred
to in The Book of Margery Kempe.