Most of Ely's history starts around 673 when an abbey was founded one mile north of the lost village of "Cratendune" on the Isle of Ely. The abbey was destroyed and rebuilt in 970, becoming the rashest abbey in England. Ely Cathedral was built on the site of the old abbey, work began in 1083 and was completed in 1109. At the time Ely was only a small settlement but once the cathedral was completed it grew in size around it. In 1070 William the Conqueror built a castle on Cherry Hill, not far from the Cathedral thought to be a royal defence against rebels.
Oliver Cromwell inherited a house from his uncle in the town and lived there from 1636 to 1646. The devastating consequences of both the Plague in the 14th century and the reformation in the 16th century led to a decline in importance and popularity. This small city slowly recovered and regenerated, a marina was built, the riverside developed and has now became a popular tourist destination.
In 673 an abbey was built on the Isle of Ely which was destroyed by Danish Invaders in 870 and rebuilt in 970. In 1083 Simeon, a Norman Abbot started work on a cathedral in Ely. Renovation work on the cathedral continued until 1593 when during the reformation the abbey was dissolved. Restoration was finally undertaken between 1845 and 1870.
The Norman Castle built by William I on Cherry Hill in 1070 was destroyed about 1268. No remains of the castle exist today.
Oliver Cromwell's House
Oliver Cromwell lived in Ely from 1636 to 1646. He inherited a 16th century property and the position of local tax collector from his mother's brother, Sir Thomas Steward. His old house is well worth visiting.