Ely ( ) is a cathedral city in Cambridgeshire, England.
It is 14
miles (23 km) north-northeast of Cambridge.
Ely has been informally accounted a city by virtue of being the
seat of a diocese
. Its status was confirmed
by Royal Charter
in 1974, when the
single civil parish
that makes up Ely
was formed during a reorganisation of local government
population of 15,102 in 2009 , Ely is the third smallest city in
England after Wells in Somerset and the
London, and the sixth smallest in the United Kingdom with
David's, Bangor, and
Armagh also smaller.
It is said that Ely derives its name from 'eel' and '-y' or '-ey'
meaning island. This may be true, due to the position of Ely, an
island in low-lying fens that were historically very marshy and
rich in eels
. It has even been claimed that,
during the 11th century, monks of the town used eels as currency to
pay their taxes.
origins lay in the foundation of an abbey in 673 AD , a mile
(1.6 km) to the north of the village of Cratendune on
the Isle of
Ely, under the protection of St Ethelreda, daughter of King Anna.
The abbey was
destroyed in 870 by Danish
invaders and not
rebuilt for over a hundred years. The site was one of the last
holdouts in England to the rule of William I
, its leader Hereward the Wake
until his surrender in 1071. Following William's defeat of Hereward he
commissioned the construction of Ely Castle.
It was demolished some time in the 13th century
lived in Ely for
several years after inheriting the position of local tax collector
in 1636. His former home dates to the 16th century and is now used
by the Tourist Information Office, as well as being a museum with
rooms displayed as they would have been in Cromwell's time.
Cromwell was one of the Governors of the Thomas Parson's
Charity,which dates back to the sixteenth century and was granted a
Royal Charter by Charles I. The Original Charter and copies of the
Minute Book containing Oliver Cromwell's handwriting and signature
have recently been loaned to the Ely Museum. The Charity still
provides Grants and Housing to deserving local applicants.
Historical documents relating to Ely, including Church of England
parish registers, court records, maps and photographs, are held by
Archives and Local Studies
at the County Record Office in
Ely retains many historic buildings and winding shopping streets.
There is a market on Thursday and Saturday each week. The city is on the
Ouse and was a significant port until the 18th century,
when the Fens were drained and Ely ceased to be
The river is a popular boating area with a large marina.
Cambridge rowing team has a boathouse on the bank of the
river and trains there for the annual Boat
Race against the University of Oxford.
The 1944 Boat Race was raced on the River
Great Ouse near Ely, the only time it has not been held on the
River Thames, when it was won by Oxford.
Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity is known as the
"Ship of the Fens", a name inspired by the distant views of its
towers that dominate the low-lying wetlands called The Fens. The diocese of Ely was created in 1108 out of
the see of
Lincoln, and a year later the bishopric of Ely was
The cathedral was started by William I in 1083,
suffered the collapse in 1322 of the main tower, which was rebuilt
as an octagon, and was completed in 1351. The city took part in the
the nearest cathedral city to Cambridge, which lies within the same diocese but does not
have its own cathedral.
The diocese covers 1507 square miles
(3900 square kilometres) and holds 610,000 people (1995) and 341
churches. It includes the county of Cambridgeshire, except for Peterborough and
three parishes in the south which are in the diocese of Chelmsford; the western part of Norfolk, a few parishes in Peterborough and Essex and one in Bedfordshire.
station, situated on the Fen Line,
is a major train hub with direct trains to Cambridge and London, as well as
much of the rest of East
Midlands and The
A10 road skirts the city to the west on its
way from London to King's Lynn.
Proposed southern bypass
A proposal for an Ely southern bypass of the A142 is included in
the major schemes of the Cambridgeshire Local Transport Plan
. The proposed
route would be a single, two lane carriageway and would include
1.9km of new road construction between new roundabout junctions on
Stuntney Causeway and Angel Drove. It is intended to reduce
congestion in Ely and to avoid the low bridge on the Ely to Kings
Lynn railway line, which has the third highest vehicle strike rate
in the country. The scheme has an estimated cost of £15m and an
estimated construction date of 2009 - 2011. However, as of July
2009 the proposal is still in the planning stage. A transport model
for Ely which assessed the impact of the proposed bypass was
released in June 2009.
Ely City F.C. is a football club that was established in 1885 and
joined the Eastern
Counties Football League in 1960.
In the 1997-98 season,
they reached the 3rd round of the FA Vase
For the 2007-08 season, they are members of the Eastern Counties Football
Division One. They play at the Unwin Sports
Twin cities and towns
in Ely include The King's School, Ely and Ely Community College.
People from Ely
The former RAF hospital based in Ely meant that many children of
serving RAF parents were born in the city, such as rugby union
player and Rugby World Cup 2003
with England national
rugby union team
, Sir Clive
, and actor Simon MacCorkindale
world record holder Ken Wallis
was also born in Ely. Other notable
people from Ely include The Sisters
singer Andrew Eldritch
journalist Chris Hunt
, and The Dark Knight
Kevin De La Noy
. Folk singer
and crime writer
both currently live in
Image:UK Ely.jpg|Signpost in ElyImage:Ely_PG.jpg|Ely Cathedral and Palace Green
File:Ely Winter.jpg|Ely on a
winter morningFile:Ely The Gallery.jpg|The Cathedral viewed from
The GalleryFile:Ely Market Place.jpg|The Market Place, ElyFile:Ely
French market.jpg|Lots of produce at the French marketFile:Ely
French market 2.jpg|A stall on the French marketFile:Eel day
parade.jpg| Eel day parade down Fore HillFile:Ely Oliver Cromwell
House.jpg|Oliver Cromwell's house, tourist information and
museum.File:Ely quay 1.jpg|The river quayside (Quai
D'Orsay)File:Ely quay 2.jpg|The River Great Ouse, ElyFile:Ely quay
4.jpg|The quayside and river Great OuseFile:Ely frog.jpg|Canal
boats moored on the riverFile:View from St Mary's
churchyard.jpg|View from St Mary's
churchyardImage:Meadows_ely.jpg|Ely Cathedral seen from the
parkFile:The Gallery and 14th century Porta at dusk.jpg|The Gallery
and 14th century Porta at duskImage:Cutter inn ely.jpg|Looking back
towards the riverside Cutter Inn
- "Eels could be slipping away from city’s
river", Ely Standard Web Editorial, July 13, 2007. Accessed December 12, 2007.
- Diocese of Ely website
- British History Online
- British Civil Wars, Commonwealth and Protectorate
- Ely Cathedral website