Notes on the Geography of The United Kingdom: Ely Cathedral and St. Andrew's, Isleham: Photo 1
The cathedral is on a hill for the very good reason that Ely lies in the fens. Access was by boats until the 19th century and its railways. A concession was made in 673 to St. Etheldreda. A monastery was soon built. It had jurisdiction over the seven manors of the Isle of Ely, which were recorded in Domesday as having 40 villeins, each with 15 acres, and all together a total of 20 plow teams. The ground was so wet, however, that the major resource was the sale of eels, from which came the name Ely, originally Elge. The manorial income ceased with an act of 1836 "for the extinguishing of the secular jurisdiction of the archbishop of York and the bishop of Ely in certain liberties."
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