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City of Ely
Ely Cathedral
Ely Cathedral
Coordinates 52 ° 24 '  N , 0 ° 16'  E Coordinates: 52 ° 24 '  N , 0 ° 16'  E
OS National Grid TL5379
City of Ely (England)
City of Ely
City of Ely
Residents 20,256 (as of 2011)
surface 60 km² (23.17  mi² )
Population density: 338 inhabitants per km²
Post town ELY
ZIP code section CB6, CB7
prefix 01353
Part of the country England
region East of England
Shire county Cambridgeshire
District East Cambridgeshire
British Parliament South East Cambridgeshire
Website: eastcambs.gov.uk
John Speed: Ely 1610
Oliver Cromwell House

Ely (pronunciation: [ ˈiːli] ) is a town in eastern Cambridgeshire in East Anglia , England . The capital of the Isle of Ely has 20,256 inhabitants (as of 2011) and is the seat of the Anglican diocese of Ely .


Ely is situated on a hill in the southern Fens on the Great Ouse River , about 25 km northeast of Cambridge . The city was an important port until the 18th century.


The city was founded in 673 by Saint Æthelthryth , daughter of King Anna of East Anglia, by founding an abbey in the north of the town of Cratendune in the Isle of Ely. Queen Æthelthryth of Northumbria was on the run from her husband Ecgfrith , whom she refused to camp for twelve years in order not to break a vow of chastity. Ten years after her death, her body is said to have remained unchanged. She was placed in a marble sarcophagus, which was described as miraculous and attracted many pilgrims.

When the Normans invaded England under William the Conqueror in 1066, Ely was a refuge for the Anglo-Saxons . These defended themselves successfully under Hereward the Wake , until the clergy surrendered the Isle of Ely to the king in 1071 on the condition that they could keep all the rights and privileges they had enjoyed since the time of Edward the Confessor . A diocese of Ely was founded as early as 1109 . The most famous bishop is William of Longchamp , Lord Chancellor and Archbishop of York (see List of Bishops of Ely ). In 1559 the diocese became Anglican.

The drainage of the marshland around the city began in the 17th century, but it was not until the invention of steam-driven pumps in the 19th century that the final drainage made possible.


The bus manufacturer Marshall Bus was founded in Ely in 1992 . Ten years later, the bankrupt company was acquired by MCV Bus & Coach , a subsidiary of the Egyptian commercial vehicle manufacturer Manufacturing Commercial Vehicles . Since then, eVolution models have been manufactured there for the British market.



Ely is at the intersection of the national roads A10 ( London - King's Lynn ) and A142 (Chatteris - Newmarket ).


Ely station is a railway junction of several regional and national lines.



The abbey was destroyed by the Danish invaders in 870 and was not rebuilt for more than 100 years.


The banks of the Great Ouse

The construction of the Cathedral of Ely (popularly " Ship of the Fens " = " Ship of the Fens ") began in 1083 by William I on the site of an earlier building and was completed in 1351, although the square Romanesque crossing tower collapsed in 1322 - he was rebuilt with a larger octagonal floor plan. Based on documents, it is almost certain that the idea for this famous octagon of the crossing goes back to the sacristan of the cathedral, Alan of Walsingham, who thus found its way into architectural history.

The cathedral dominates the field of vision from all corners of the city and is also visible from afar in the flat surroundings. The nave is 170 meters long and very wide with cross arches from the Norman period. The wooden ceiling spans a space of almost 15 meters. The oldest parts of the church are the transepts. The east window shows precious stained glass.

The Marienkapelle ( Lady Chapel , construction began in 1321), around which there are seats with stone canopies, is considered the epitome of decorated style .

On the gallery of the cathedral is the Stained Glass Museum (= museum for glass painting ), which shows exhibits from 700 years.

Cathedral House

In the immediate vicinity of the cathedral is the Cathedral House, a Georgian house with a garden that once belonged to the cathedral. The Cathedral House is now part of King's School Ely, a private school, and is used as a boarding school. The school also includes the Porta (the gate that leads to the cathedral), which houses the school library, and the Monastic Barn, a medieval barn with an impressive beamed ceiling that now serves as the school canteen.

Oliver Cromwell House

The Oliver Cromwell House documents the life of Oliver Cromwell , who lived in this half-timbered house with his mother, wife, two sisters and six children for several years in the 1630s after the Huntingdon- born politician inherited land here. Parts of the house are 750 years old.

Ely Museum

The Ely Museum in the 700 year old Old Gaol (= Old Prison) describes the origins of the Fens and the lives of their residents.


Daughters and sons of the city

People related to the city

  • Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658): The later Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell lived in Ely for a few years after inheriting the position of local tax collector in 1636. Today a museum has been set up in his house.
  • William of Longchamp († 1197), Lord Chancellor of England, was Bishop of Ely from 1189 to 1198.
  • Anthony Russell (* 1943), Anglican clergyman and Bishop of Ely in the Church of England since 2000
  • Christopher Tye (1505–1572), composer and organist, was choirmaster at Ely Cathedral from 1543 and organist there from 1559.

Town twinning

Ely is through a twinning connected to the Danish town of Ribe in Jutland .

Web links

Commons : Ely, Cambridgeshire  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Ely  - travel guide