St Etheldreda’s Church

Nuggets – bite size chunks of London


St Etheldreda’s Church, Ely Place

 
The Bish­op of Ely’s ‘place in Lon­don’ was a man­sion that stood in and beyond what is now Ely Place, Hol­born. Though the bish­ops and their pala­tial Lon­don home are long gone, their pri­vate chapel has sur­vived from the late 13th cen­tu­ry. It is the old­est Roman Catholic church in Eng­land. Since 1874 the church has been in the care of the Insti­tute of Char­i­ty (the Ros­min­ian Fathers).

Mass is cel­e­brat­ed here dai­ly and the church is open to vis­i­tors from 8am to 5pm Mon­day to Sat­ur­day and from 8am to 12.30pm on Sun­days.

St Ethel­dreda’s web­site has an excel­lent his­to­ry of the church and a brief biog­ra­phy of Ethel­dre­da, the vir­gin queen of East Anglia.

The Bless­ing of Throats is a cer­e­mo­ny con­duct­ed annu­al­ly at the church. Ethel­dre­da is a patron saint of throat and neck ail­ments but the bless­ing is specif­i­cal­ly asso­ci­at­ed with St Blaise, a 4th-cen­tu­ry Armen­ian bish­op who leg­en­dar­i­ly saved the life of a boy who had a fish­bone stuck in his throat and was in dan­ger of chok­ing to death. The ser­vice takes place on or imme­di­ate­ly after St Blaise’s Day, 3 Feb­ru­ary.
 
St Etheldreda in stained glass backlit