Brithnoth lies in one of the most beautiful cathedrals in England. It was originally founded as a monastery in 673 by St. Etheldreda, a Saxon princess whose shrine lies in front of the High Altar. The monastery was destroyed by the Danes in 870, and refounded as a Benedictine community in 970. Work on the present cathedral started in about 1080, and the church became a cathedral in 1109.
A distinctive feature of this cathedral is the lantern or octagon which replaced the Norman tower which collapsed in 1322. Eight huge pillars support 200 tons of timber, lead, and glass which seem to hang in space, a major engineering feat.
The transepts form the oldest part of the cathedral still standing, and date from about 1090. Ely is also famous for its stained glass, and there is a Stained Glass Museum within the cathedral.