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Ely, England

The Isle of Ely, a hill once surrounded by marshes near the river Ouse, was a wedding gift from King Tonbert to his bride, Etheldreda (Audrey), in 649. In 673, the isle became the home of a double-monastery, which the widowed Etheldreda founded and administered. On her death, six years later, the monastery became a place for pilgrims, who sought favors and solace at the tomb of St. Etheldreda. Danes destroyed the original monastery in 870, and a century later, Bishop Ethelwold of Winchester and King Edgar of England established a male monastery on the site. In 1070, Ely was the refuge of Hereward the Wake, who, with a band of Danish settlers, resisted William the Conqueror. Construction of a new church (now the cathedral) began in the same year. The See of Ely was carved from the bishopric of Lincolnshire in 1109. Although Ely had much distinctive architecture, it was not known as a center of learning until the XVI Century, after the Dissolution.

Karen Rae Keck


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