City plays host to moving tale

PUBLISHED: 12:25 21 June 2007 | UPDATED: 12:35 04 May 2010

ETHELDREDA S story will be told in a colourful procession from the river to her shrine, on Saturday. Musicians and singers in medieval dress will take part in the event which will begin at 10.30am in Jubilee Gardens. Etheldreda will arrive by boat with he

ETHELDREDA'S story will be told in a colourful procession from the river to her shrine, on Saturday.

Musicians and singers in medieval dress will take part in the event which will begin at 10.30am in Jubilee Gardens.

Etheldreda will arrive by boat with her father to meet her husband, Tondberct, who presents her with the Isle of Ely.

On the path at Cherry Hill players will recreate Tondberct's death and Etheldreda announces that she wants to become a nun. Instead, she is married to Prince Ecgfrith, of Northumbria.

Her journey to Northumberland is recreated and the wedding takes place.

On the East Lawn, the story moves on 10 years to when Etheldreda goes into the monastery and takes her vows under the tutelage of St Wilfred.

The story tells how Etheldreda runs away to Ely, pursued by Ecgfrith.

In the Ely Cathedral Octagon, she is installed as Abbess by Bishop Wilfred and the foundation of the community is celebrated as Ely becomes a place of importance.

Finally, at Etheldreda's shrine, the players will tell of her illness and death and the beginnings of pilgrimages to Ely.

The performance will be led by the Ely Cathedral Octagon Singers and will include a mix of secular/religious music, some of which will ­encourage the audience to join in.

For those who wish to stay there will be Eucharist in the Lady Chapel, at 12.30pm.

Canon Alan Hargrave from Ely Cathedral, who will be involved in the ­procession, said: "Before the reformation - and ­currently in many Catholic countries across Europe - religious processions had great popular appeal.

"We are hoping that this will be the beginning of a re-discovery of that sort of event.


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