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Mazes and Labyrinths

52 53 In 1870 this labyrinth was laid in the pavement under the west tower of Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire. As in the case of the medieval labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral see page 56 the length of the winding pathway is the same as the length of the cathedral. The design is peculiar to Ely and was the work of Sir Gilbert Scott, another member of the Arts and Crafts movement see page 38. A fivecircuit dynamic square with protruding three circuit octagons, it bears little obvious similarity to any known medieval labyrinth but again refers to a connection between five and eight see pages 4 22. The tradition of having labyrinths in the west end of cathedrals is prevalent in France where priests would dance their way to the centre Jerusalem, three steps at a time, having first formed a chain. The dean went first, occasionally throwing a large ball to priests caught elsewhere in the labyrinth who would then throw it back to him. The ball seems to have symbolised the Sun, or possibly the Moon, both newly hidden behind huge stone buildings. British monks also walked mazes and labyrinths, but more often as penances, or allegorical pilgrimages. Ely CATHEDrAl a dragon coiled up five by eight
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