That’s one theory of how the name Ely came about. Ely is set on a ridge of clay making it slightly higher than the surrounding fenland, like an island and along with the tradition of eel fishing here brought about the name of Ely (ee.lee).
Ely is a cathedral town which has had city status since the 1970s. It is one of England’s smallest cities.
Approaching Ely the cathedral dominates the skyline from a long way off, giving it the nickname ‘Ship of the Fens’.
Up close and you realise how magnificent the Norman building really is.
Inside, we arrived after 5pm, when there is no admission fee, and in time for Evensong led by the choristers of the cathedral and joined by the boys’ choir from Phoenix, Arizona for the service. We shared the service from the elegant, carved choir stalls, actually rather comfy too.
looking up at the fan ceiling of the lantern tower.
Outside again the cathedral close has some very old buildings, the old palace is now part of the King’s School an independent co-ed boarding school given royal charter by King HenryVIII.
Some more of the interesting buildings around the city.
The Railway Mission Hall, used by the Olive Tree Fellowship now. And Alms houses provided by Thomas Parsons a 15th century benefactor to the city.
Oliver Cromwell’s House, or at least where he lived as a child. Now also the Tourist Information Office.
St. Mary’s Church, the parish church and house dated 1550, very close to the cathedral.
Back by the river, and the old Maltings building is now a theatre,
and we watched the arrival of nb Petrel, which tied up behind us. Petrel is a Fellows, Morton and Clayton boat built in 1914, with a Bolinder engine.
We travelled on, from Ely to St. Ives yesterday, a long journey with not much to see except high banks and the occasional cattle at the rivers edge.