City of Ely: The middle ages

Pages 33-40

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 4, City of Ely; Ely, N. and S. Witchford and Wisbech Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.

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There is archaeological evidence of prehistoric settlements in the neighbourhood of Ely, (fn. 1) and under Roman occupation an important road (fn. 2) passed through the later site of the city, but the history of Ely really begins with the religious settlement, traditionally about a mile from the present city, at a place called Cratendune, which gave its name to the later Cratendon field. (fn. 3) This church is said to have been founded by the Saxon King Ethelbert and to have disappeared before the onslaught of Penda, King of Mercia. The second attempt at religious settlement was that of Etheldreda, who eventually decided on a site nearer to the river and began her foundation about the year 673. (fn. 4) Almost from the outset a community of lay folk must gradually have gathered around the rising monastery, sharing its fortunes during the centuries which followed. Destroyed by the Danes in 870, it was refounded a century later and re-endowed by King Edgar. Threatened with Danish invasion again in 1010, Ely apparently held its own and a few years later welcomed King Canute in person. He revisited Ely on various occasions, treating the monks with peculiar favour; a period of marked prosperity followed. (fn. 5) The frequent visits of princes, noblemen, and statesmen to their abbot-kinsmen publicised the strategic and other advantages which Ely offered and helped to popularize the shrine of St. Etheldreda, thereby encouraging the growth of the city itself.

The part which Ely played as the last stronghold against the Norman invaders is discussed elsewhere, as is its important role during the tempestuous era of baronial and monarchical struggles in the 12th and 13th centuries. (fn. 6)

Whilst the geographical situation of Ely made it from the beginning a place of refuge, it was accessible enough to those who could command the approaches. Hence the care of the chief causeways was always of primary, concern to the. monastery-especially the causeway leading from the islet of Stuntney to the east of the main island on which the city stood, and the two causeways of Aldreth and Earith on the west. (fn. 7)

It would seem that the great political disturbances, of which Ely was repeatedly the vortex, were essentially baronial activities of outsiders and not initiated by the allegedly fierce fenmen themselves. (fn. 8) But prolonged experience of war and devastation must have toughened the fibre of Ely townsmen, though it also taught them to find protection beneath the shade of the monastery walls or behind the men at arms of warlike bishops. Certainly there was much to discourage initiative: the citizens were dependent on an abnormally powerful lordship, political as well as manorial, until well into the 19th century. Within the city and its environs organization was rigid compared with the northern part of the Isle, (fn. 9) though there were certain advantages enjoyed by the home manors: they suffered less continuously from absentee lordship than did those at a distance from the centre. Moreover, when marked distress existed at Ely it was within daily reach of the Almoner's aid-not slight aid in this monastery's heyday. (fn. 10) Extensive building activities, especially during the second quarter of the 14th century, spelt full, if arduous, employment for citizens, and more than one wealthy bishop went down to posterity as a munificent donor to the poor. (fn. 11) Moreover, the issue of indulgences to those who contributed aid at times of disaster did afford very real succour to the town. (fn. 12) It was the ecclesiastical authorities of Ely who organized roads, bridges, and primitive drainage, (fn. 13) and who provided an educational ladder (fn. 14) for the gifted few: in later ages such activities were even more marked. Feudalism so paternal could neither easily be outgrown nor overthrown. Citizens, moreover, were early accustomed to the outward and visible signs which gradually inspired respect for law and order-though they might later inspire resentment: at Ely were held manorial courts for the township itself, gatherings of officials from the distant manors, courts for the hundred and courts of justice for the whole Isle. The courts, indeed, carried on activities elsewhere the function of borough courts. (fn. 15)

Nevertheless Ely was not isolated from the normal disruptive influences of a growing money economy: these influences appeared fairly early. There were markedly prosperous citizens, frequent buying and selling of old property and of new assarts from the waste, and beginnings of commutation of payments in kind by the 13th century. (fn. 16) The Black Death hit the monastery with severity: (fn. 17) it would have been miraculous had the citizens escaped. An official note of 1350 records the many uncultivated lands of the city- propter ingentem mortalitatem hominum. (fn. 18) It may well be that in the years which followed, bishop and prior had to exert more than a little pressure to secure a continuance of the heavy service of earlier times. (fn. 19)

The Revolt of 1381 (fn. 20) saw Ely the centre of a far more violent uprising than in the rest of the shire. All the major motives existed here in concentrated form: the political power of great landowners, the oppressiveness of landlords, the growing economic control of administrators were personified in bishop and prior and their subordinates. The burden of the new Poll Tax set the tinder smouldering; the spark from risings elsewhere lit the flame. Robert Tavel of Lavenham provided a link with the wider movement, as did John Michel, an Ely chaplain who had been with Wrawe in Suffolk. The main leaders at Ely were local men- Richard de Leycester of 'Bocherisrowe', Robert Buk, a fishmonger, and Adam Clymme. (fn. 21) Clymme called upon the peasantry to refuse customary services and to behead lawyers, and made mysterious reference to the potency of the 'Great Society'. Leycester demanded the abolition of traitors to king and common folk- perchance here with some suggestion that episcopal courts usurped the powers of the Crown. On Saturday, 15 June, the revolt began: on Sunday Leycester, defying ecclesiastical authority, mounted the cathedral pulpit 'on behalf of the King'; on Monday the bishop's prison was the object of attack; the same day Leycester and Buk seized and executed Sir Edmund Walsyngham, a justice, placed his head over the town pillory and destroyed sundry rolls and documents. (fn. 22) From Ely bands of rebels moved on to other parts of the Isle. William Combe was appointed to hold the famous Stuntney Bridge, welcoming there Robert Tavel from Suffolk. On Tuesday the rebels marched to the abbey of Ramsey, there to meet their doom. Tavel was beheaded: the end of the rising was in sight. He was followed to scaffold or gallows by the principal leaders, but towards the rest a conciliatory policy prevailed.

There were sharp epidemics in the 15th century (fn. 23) and there were frequent floods, but no further serious unrest showed itself in medieval times. Ely citizens were aware of the prevailing crimes of lollardry and magic, but were duly warned: the victims of the law were outsiders. Their forced parade around the marketplace, bareheaded and barefooted, carrying the mystic plates and books and wand, (fn. 24) or bearing faggots and candles, (fn. 25) lent colour to the drabness of native virtue: Ely was not too deeply concerned.

Ely is fortunate in the preservation of medieval surveys. Those of 1086, 1251, and 1416 depict development at three significant stages. In 1087 the settlement is purely rural; in 1251 it is still largely rural, though with marked urban beginnings; in 1416 the city is laid out much as in modern times, yet with the early possibilities of normal municipal development unfulfilled.

In 1086 Domesday Book (fn. 26) recorded Ely as assessed at 10 hides, with land for 20 plough-teams: 5 hides were in the demesne, with 5 plough-teams and capacity for a sixth. There were 40 villeins, each holding 15 acres; they shared the 14 plough-teams. There were 28 cottars and 20 serfs. The fisheries rendered 3,750 eels, the tribute of fish amounting to 2s. 3d. There were adequate meadows and pasture for plough-teams and cattle. There were also 3 arpents of vineyard. (fn. 27) In all, the manor was worth £30; when received it had been worth only £20, though in the time of King Edward its value was £33.

Stuntney (fn. 28) appears in Domesday Book as a berewick of Ely, assessed at 1½ hide, with land for 3 plough-teams and the necessary meadow and pasture. It maintained 6 villeins, 5 cottars, and 3 serfs. Its great value to the abbot was its render of 24,000 eels and 18s. tribute in fish annually. Altogether the berewick was worth £10 14s.-over a third the value of Ely itself. At this date Little Thetford (Liteltedford) (fn. 29) was also a berewick of Ely, with 1 villein and 4 cottars there. Chettisham, the hamlet which, together with Stuntney, for long was and still is appendant to Ely, had not yet been assarted from the waste.

Including the abbot's servant, holding the little islet of Haneia, (fn. 30) and excluding the monastic inmates, there were 108 working members, or perhaps householders, recorded in the vill of Ely and its dependent settlements. There may have been unrecorded fishermen, but, on the analogy of the later medieval surveys of the city, other unspecified members of the community, such as swineherds and smiths, were almost certainly included in the cottar class.

The Survey of 1251 (fn. 31) begins with the manorial demesne land: much arable land and pasture had been won from the waste since 1086. There were 240 acres 'in the field called Gruntifen', and 60 acres in Cratendon. Eleven other fen areas are enumerated, concluding with 35½ acres in 'the new assart of Chettisham'. (fn. 32) The total area of plough-land is stated to be 1,524¼ acres. (fn. 33) Here 10 plough-teams were occupied. (fn. 34) Of meadowland 11 blocks are specified, providing a total of 260 acres, of which 33¼ were newly assarted; 6 acres were covered with thorn-bush and 9 were enclosed for vini-culture. (fn. 35)

Wide areas of marshland stretched beyond and between arable land and meadow. The bishop's wastes of Ely merged into those of other townships, much intercommoning being practised. Cawdle Fen and 'Cloggesmere', 'Cowfen', Grunty Fen, 'Blythinghalefen', Middle Fen, Padnal Fen, and 'Northfen' are enumerated. (fn. 36) Over specified fens the bishop, (fn. 37) and occasionally the prior, enjoyed exclusive privileges; the rest were commonable. Interesting features are the ditchinclosed holding of 'Brame' (Braham Farm), (fn. 38) in the Cawdle Fen area; the early settlement on the far side of the Ouse, between 'Cloggesmere' and the Great Bridge; and a part of 'Cowfen' held in severalty by the prior.

The seignorial stock at this date consisted of 500 sheep, 20 cows and 2 bulls, 100 pigs and 2 boars. The lord enjoyed fold of sheep of villein and even cottar tenants. There were 2 windmills, let at farm: (fn. 39) all rentpaying, customary tenants and cottars owed suit of mill. For fishing rights in 4 of the extensive stretches of mere and weir eel-renders had been commuted, (fn. 40) and partially so in the fifth. The total fishing rental amounted to 56s. 4d. in money and 14,500 eels per annum.

The tenants were classified as knights, free tenants, three grades of servile holders, and cottars.

There were 5 messuages occupied as knights' fees, (fn. 41) one of which, by gift of the bishop, was now held by the monks and was situated beyond their vineyard. These holders owed ward and suit of court and were required to notify the other knights within the bishop's liberty concerning the place and time where wardship was due. About 200 holdings were occupied by freemen or their sub-tenants: only 16 freemen held any appreciable amount of land. (fn. 42) Of the free holdings some 20 were mere stalls or booths, the beginnings of a shopping quarter, (fn. 43) mainly occupied by butchers; 12 other messuages and plots were held at the low rental of 4d. per annum; a further 13 very small holdings, rented at 2d. or 4d., lay 'across the water', (fn. 44) 30 town holdings were rented at 6d., 21 at 8d., 71 at 1s. per annum, and 19 at more irregular sums between 1s. and 2s. About a dozen messuages were shared by 2 householders; several were shared by more. (fn. 45) Some free tenants had, by 1251, built up considerable town property, composed of numerous messuages and plots. Agnes Fitzpayne and her 2 sisters thus held 10 messuages in different parts of the town, in addition to their own dwelling; they also held 18 'ware' acres of arable land, and portions of river meadow and newly assarted pasture. (fn. 46) Salomon, the famous goldsmith, (fn. 47) had 5 holdings in different parts of the town. The almoner, sacrist, and pittancer held between them 17 town tenements. (fn. 48) The educational ladder gave access to free tenure for Hugh the Chaplain, son of a city smith. Many of the lesser monastic and episcopal servants were city residents: the porter, gate-keeper, groom, the blood-letter, cook, and John of the refectory, also the bishop's baker and his surveyor of sedge-duties thus occupied freehold premises appurtenant to their respective offices. (fn. 49) Four freemen held messuages for service as coroners; (fn. 50) one for the hereditary duty navigandi episcopum. A larger holding was attached to the office of carrier of the bishop's equipage from Soham to Ely. (fn. 51) Other monastic employees, of higher status, had acquired independent property: Salomon the goldsmith was the most noteworthy. Both payment and receipt of money, for one purpose or another, were common among all tenant classes at Ely, as recorded in 1251. Strong seignorial pressure-easily increasable in periods of anarchy- could alone have obstructed widespread commutation here. Though all tenants paying money-rents were classified as freeholders in 1251, (fn. 52) the survival of very considerable seignorial claims upon them does seem to indicate an earlier status of villeinage.

By this date free holdings varied considerably not only in size, but in the liabilities attaching to the several small parcels of which some were composed. In certain instances it was categorically stated that a free tenant had acquired sundry formerly servile holdings which, though now rent-paying, still owed dues and services not universally demanded here. The prior held two messuages 'free from the service which had previously been owed'. Moreover, the considerable proportion of craftsmen who held at stereotyped rents of 6d., 8d., or 12d. per annum is perhaps indicative of earlier commutation. (fn. 53) About a quarter of the free holdings were liable for one day's digging in the bishop's vineyard; (fn. 54) a few gave 3 days' arable service annually and 3 days' carting; in one instance piece-work was required-tilling 3 acres of demesne annually; some free tenants paid marriage fines and heriot. Omnes censuarii et consuetudinarii owed multure; all free tenants owed suit of court. (fn. 55)

The diminutive size of many of the single holdings does not imply an impossible subsistence level. Apart from the fact that some tenants had more than one holding, most small freemen had a town messuage and plied a craft; others, as already stated, held some monastic or episcopal office.

Ely was better located for commerce than for industry but there were conspicuous rudimentary developments which might have led to the normal growth of guild organizations. In 1251 fishing and water-carriage employed many townsmen: the monastery was now purchasing a large part of its eel-supply. Moses, one of the hereditary fishermen, paid 3s. a year for his boat on the mere near Prickwillow and shared a tenement in the town; Henry, another fisherman, had a tenement across the river and a booth against the vineyard wall. William Mackerell, John the pilot, and John the steersman bore suggestive names. Still more interesting are glimpses of that suspect figure of medieval days, the 'mere merchant': Symon mercator et participes sui shared a messuage. Two other merchants had important tenements, whilst Reynold 'le seler' and William 'le achatur' were obviously traders. Other names show the variety of crafts already plied locally; in some cases there were several representatives of a craft-e.g. in the building, tanning, baking, and upholstery trades. The skilled cordwainer was even distinct from the humble cobbler. A whole row of 16 stalls appears under the heading 'the butchers' stalls'. (fn. 56) There was also a spacious marketplace. Most of the glass purchased by. obedientiaries still came from abroad even a century later, but there was a local glazier (fn. 57) in 1251. There was also a dealer in such foreign products as spices. Other trades mentioned are those of plumber, carpenter, quilter, tailor, sauce-maker, dyer, and webster. 'Master Alan of Swaffham' and 'Master Roger', two of the three masons, probably represent the highly skilled professionals brought in from a distance, but they were settled residents at this date. Nicholas and Everard Palmer recall the magnet which Ely proved to the pilgrim. Other townsmen bore place-names, indicative of the part played by immigration in the growth of this City of Refuge. It was ingress in the main from neighbouring regions.

The city survey mentions the fratres hospitalis Magdalene (fn. 58) and the Chantry-on-the-Green: (fn. 59) it also incidentally witnesses to the disappearance of the castle. (fn. 60)

As the record passes from free to villein and cottar tenantry, the atmosphere changes from mainly urban to rural. The two latter classes together formed less than half the working population of Ely. (fn. 61) There were 50 villeins, of whom 33 are graded as full holders of 18 acres; 13 as half-holders of 12 acres; 4 as holders of 6 acres each. There were also 95 tenants of cotlands, normally of 1 acre. (fn. 62) In this last group appear the plough-reeve, the two smiths, a swineherd, a webster, and that interesting figure the appleward-testifying to the early significance of fruit-growing here. (fn. 63) From the full holders 2 or 3 days' regular week-work was required, according to the season, but additional services, apart from boon-work, were numerous. There was much work in cutting, stacking, and carrying of sedge, digging and clearing of specified lengths of drain, (fn. 64) hurdle-making, sheep-washing and shearing, cutting, carrying, and malting of barley, and transporting by river and road. (fn. 65) Many of these labours formed no substitute for regular week-work. (fn. 66) When duties were nominally fixed by the day, the equivalent in piecework was often specified. Ale and food-one loaf and two herrings per man per day-were usually supplied only for boon-work. Fines and fees, both in money and kind, were exacted: tallage, leyrwite, merchet, heriot, and commuted geld. Suit of mill was enforced and the sale of male breeding-stock forbidden. Three hens at Christmas and 30 eggs at Easter were demanded from each full tenant. The common use of money (fn. 67) is noteworthy: 6 days' harrowing per team was required, but this was wage-paid service-12d. or one sheep, and 8d. or 2 cheeses per team. Moreover, all villein tenants were liable for the monetary levy of 3d. per annum towards plough-repairs. Half-holders were subject to a similar body of regulations, save that their services and dues were proportional to their holdings. One-acre cottars gave only 1 day's week-work, but even they rendered additional services and payments in money and kind, less in amount, but largely of the same nature as those of villein tenants; (fn. 68) they were, however, excused carrying service, but provided a substantial part of the labour required in the lord's vineyard. The whole township of Ely, 'whether doing service to the Prior or the Lord Bishop', was required to 'make and maintain two furlongs of the causeway of Alderheye'. (fn. 69)

The labour regulations suggest meticulous organization, adapted to fenland circumstances and to the heavy demands of a community of consumers and a powerful lord. The services were not light and the courts were active to enforce them. Even on the very doorstep of this stronghold of the church no feast-days were to be observed as holidays, save one day at Christmas, and then only if it fell upon a normal working day. This picture of feudal exaction, however, has another side. To all tenants, in time of sickness, unpenalized leave of absence was granted, up to one month if before August, or fifteen days if subsequently. (fn. 70) Widows, moreover, were encouraged to retain their husbands' holdings and were exempted from payment of heriot for 30 days. Bishop Hugh of Northwold was not above turning the episcopal screw, demanding that the whole villeinage of Ely should ditch and fence his park at Downham, without abatement of normal duties. But Eleans had become familiarized with the organs of law and order to some purpose: 'the jurors say that they have never done this, nor are they lawfully bound so to do'. (fn. 71) Even the bishop's court had two facets.

Approximate population statistics derived from the survey, omitting residents in the claustral precincts, show some 345 householders or tenement-holders, living in Ely in 1251-a threefold increase since Domesday.

In the interim between this survey and that of 1416 the Poll Tax returns of 1377 perhaps afford the most satisfactory demographical source of information for Ely. Some light, however, on the city's development half a century earlier is thrown by the returns for the Lay Subsidy of 1327, (fn. 72) recording the name of each tax-payer and the sum paid by him. Only 96 people in the city, together with 14 in Stuntney, paid this tax, (fn. 73) at a date when the number of tenement holders must have been more than three times this figure. Few cottars or humble craftsmen would have possessed the movable goods which even 7d., the lowest sum levied, implies. Indeed, remarkably few of the taxpayers bore occupational names, (fn. 74) compared with the citizens enumerated only 50 years earlier. Five people paid over 5s.: Agnes Springenhait paid 12s. 8d.-the highest sum of all; the master of St. John's Hospital paid 10s. 1¼d.; the two holders of demesne farms, Simon de Keten and John de Brame, paid 10s. 11½d. and 10s. 8d. respectively; Roger Mariner, also obviously prosperous, paid 10s. 9d. Of the rest, 11 paid between 5s. and 10s., 31 between 2s. 6d. and 5s., 9 between 2s. and 2s. 6d., 17 between 1s. 6d. and 2s., 23 between 1s. and 1s. 6d., and 15 paid under 1s. The total sum raised was £16 9s. 7½d. If these figures be compared with the corresponding groups at Wisbech, the higher percentage of Ely taxpayers in the wealthy and very prosperous groups and the much lower percentage in the very lowest group are noteworthy. (fn. 75) A comparison with a purely rural area- the hundred of Staploe (fn. 76) -reveals these distinctive features even more markedly. The total sum contributed by Ely amounted to over four-fifths of that paid by Cambridge and bore an even higher ratio to the contribution of urban Wisbech. (fn. 77)

The Poll Tax returns of 1377 (fn. 78) extant for Ely show only the total number of taxpayers, 1,722, and the total sum collected, £28 14s. (fn. 79)

The Survey of 1416 (fn. 80) depicts the medieval city, street by street, tenement by tenement, duly ascribing ownership to bishop or prior. (fn. 81) Upon a plan constructed on this data (fn. 82) could be superimposed one of the twentieth century with remarkable ease. Many of the medieval names are readily recognizable today.

The major gateways of the conventual enclosure and the walls of its buildings, above which towered the priory church, formed the most striking features of the narrow streets and tenements which huddled beside the precinct walls. Ely Porta, Steeple Gate, Sacrist's Yard Gate, Almonry or Monks' Gate, and a smaller gate in Broad Lane giving entrance to the monks' vineyard, (fn. 83) seemed integral parts of the city life. The little booths and tenements of this part of the town had increased in number since 1251, but the chief centre of activity had obviously moved to the wharves and quays and the streets leading thence to the higher ground of the older settlement. The focal point of this older part was St. Mary's church, built between 1198 and 1215. (fn. 84) To the north and north-east of the church lay the village green. (fn. 85) It was bounded by Highrow Street, (fn. 86) by the churchyard and the abbey precincts, (fn. 87) and by the western end of the abbey church. Upon this green the main roads converged. On it stood the 'chantry on the green', (fn. 88) as in 1251. A more striking landmark lay just to the west of St. Mary's church-the great Sextry Barn or grange, (fn. 89) in 1251 a fairly new structure. Here were stored the corn-tithes of the tenantry. A little farther along the road leading to the western outskirts of the town was the Hospital of St. John. (fn. 90) The whole conventual precincts formed a large enclosed area-the college and park of post-Reformation days. It was bounded on the east side by Fore Hill, which led up from the river to the market-place and continued thence under the name of Steeple Row (fn. 91) or High Street; reaching the village green at Kilby's corner. (fn. 92) The north-east boundary of the precincts, formed by Highrow Street, curved round to the Sextry Barn. This stood at the corner of 'Swalugh' Lane, or Walpole Lane, (fn. 93) which formed part of the western boundary of the enclosure, emerging into Back Hill. Broad Lane branched off at right angles to Back Hill, thus linking Back Hill and Fore Hill and completing the perimeter of the enclosure.

The newer part of the town consisted of a series of small streets running more or less at right angles to the river, between it and Broad Lane. Castle Hythe, (fn. 94) Monks' Hythe, Broad Hythe, and Stock Hythe were the most important of the medieval wharves. (fn. 95) Castle Hythe lay at the corner of Back Hill, some little distance from the river bank. (fn. 96) A continuation of Back Hill crossed the river by a bridge, becoming the famous causeway leading to the island hamlet of Stuntney and ultimately to Soham. (fn. 97)

In Broad Lane was a storehouse belonging to the monastery; (fn. 98) a better known storehouse, called 'Seg wyk', gave its name to a street near the river. (fn. 99) Another landmark was the Red Cross, (fn. 100) opposite Braye's Corner, (fn. 101) which formed the angle between Akyrman Street (fn. 102) and the Littleport Road.

The monks had retained their old vineyard and gardens within the precincts, but an extensive enclosure on the east of the city, entered from the south-east corner of the market-place, was cultivated as the bishop's vineyard. It was bounded to the north by Brayes' Lane, which led to the suburb of Newnham, in the Prickwillow direction. The bishop's home manor of Barton lay mainly on the western side of the town.

One well, in Broad Lane's End, was recorded in 1416, and there were probably others. (fn. 103) There were at this date two mills mentioned as being the property of the bishop. The 'old Mill' dominated the road leading from Newnham towards Turbutsey; the other mill stood between Broad Lane's End and the south gate of the priory. (fn. 104) The 'Bocherie' was a little to the north-west of the market-place, on the north side of which was the almoner's granary. In addition to. the stalls in the 'Bocherie' and along the wall of the priory vineyard, there were seven shops built against the almonry wall. (fn. 105) The market-place was now a prominent feature of town life, under episcopal control.

Particulars respecting the population and its housing, as given in 1416, are interesting but very ambiguous at times. There were apparently about 457 occupied premises in the city, outside the ecclesiastical precincts: 262 belonged to the bishop and 195 to the prior and monastic obedientiaries, of whom the almoner, sacrist, and infirmarian were the most considerable holders. These numbers seem to represent about 520 householders. (fn. 106) The size of certain tenements, gardens, and orchards suggests a considerable increase of very prosperous citizens since 1251. (fn. 107) On the other hand, overcrowding of the 'cotsetle' (cotsetella) class is obvious. Some 33 tenements (fn. 108) were shared by two or more families living 'under one roof (sub uno tecto): in 10 of these cases 3 or more householders were so sheltered. A larger share of this poor property belonged to the prior and obedientiaries than to the bishop. There were 18 'little cottages' occupied by single families. The various stalls or booths do not appear to have been residential. There were a dozen or so unoccupied premises.

The nomenclature of the citizens in 1416 does not reveal very striking developments since 1251, though the variety, some 333 different names, is noteworthy. Many persons still bore neighbouring place-names. David Llanlidan and three men named Morgan (fn. 109) represent a Welsh element. Some 60 names are occupational, a few of which are purely rural in connotation- Hayward, Herdman, Coherd, Oxherd, Schereman, Shepherd, Thresshere. The name Taillour is borne by 7 tenants, Smythe by 6, Barber 6, Chaloner 6, (fn. 110) Wryght 4, Mason 3, Miller 3, and Baker 3. There are 2 representatives of each of a number of other crafts. The fisherman and boatman still figure in various guise. Skilled monastic crafts are suggested by Brevetour and Orfreyser. (fn. 111) Glovere and Bladesmythe have now appeared; the Goldsmyth family is still in evidence; there is only one Mercator. Not all who bear a craft-name at this date actually follow that craft: John Plomer, for example, is a baker; but John Cut, the butcher, is surely happily named!

In the Middle Ages there was always much activity, both by road and river, connected with the transport of sedge, corn, eels, and fish from the ecclesiastical manors. Even by the 13th century the two latter commodities were finding their way first to the open market. (fn. 112) Fruit-growing had begun early: viniculture may have produced poor quality grapes, but it was sufficiently successful to encourage extension: the 3 arpents of 1087 had grown to 6 monastic acres in 1272. (fn. 113) In addition to the bishop's city vineyard, 9 acres of waste had been inclosed for this purpose before 1251. (fn. 114) The monastic vineyard produce was not marketed, but certain obedientiary gardens provided surpluses for sale. (fn. 115) Town gardens and orchards had increased by the 15th century: (fn. 116) Brayes' orchard was by then a landmark. Of other commodities coming to Ely buildingmaterials comprised the largest share. Luxury goods, too, were an early monastic demand and even to the townsman such products were familiar.

There were numerous sources of supply accessible to Ely. The important port of Lynn was but 30 miles by water. There were the fairs of Bury, Reach, St. Ives, and Stourbridge, as well as Ely's own fairs. From Bury and Newmarket came clothing-materials; from Reach, via the Ouse and its tributary, came clunch, flints, and 'skirt-land' timber. (fn. 117) From Barnwell Fair came wheels and other goods; from Boston large supplies of lead and wax; from St. Ives canvas; and from the great international fair of Stourbridge came a great variety of goods, including the products of the Far East. (fn. 118) Bricks, tiles, and pottery were early produced in and around Ely: (fn. 119) they were also brought from Wisbech, Wiggenhall, and Lynn. (fn. 120) Heavy stone came mainly by water: by river and coast to Lynn and thence by river to Ely. (fn. 121) Swaffham, Burwell, Reach, and the quarries of Peterborough supplied suitable clunch for internal sculpturing. Rubble was available locally. (fn. 122) Timber of many varieties reached Ely: oak came by water from Stourbridge and Reach and from Chicksands Priory, in Bedfordshire. Iron, steel, and lead came largely via Stourbridge, tin via Lynn, nails via Reach, Lynn, Newmarket, and even Derby. (fn. 123) Glass still came largely from abroad, through Yarmouth. (fn. 124) Rope-making was a local industry by the 14th century. (fn. 125)


  • 1. V.C.H. Cambs. i, 265-7, 302-3.
  • 2. Ibid. ii, 2, map 1.
  • 3. Anglia Sacra, i, 41-42; Wm. Camden, Britannia (ed. 1806), 232; Bentham, Ely, 54 n.
  • 4. See V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 199 et seq. for history of abbey and cathedral priory; ibid. 377 et seq. for polit. hist. See also J. Bentham, Hist. of Ch. of Ely (1791), 45-59.
  • 5. V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 200-1.
  • 6. In 11th century as Hereward's centre; in 1139 and 1142; in 1216 and 1265. See V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 381-97; also H. C. Darby, Medieval Fenland, 143-6.
  • 7. The fen narrowed at the eastern and western ends of the main isle (Darby, op. cit., map 107). Tracks and fords possibly crossed here early. Stuntney causeway was constructed in the time of Bishop Hervey, 1109-31 (Anglia Sacra, i. 618). This passage played a vital part in the successive struggles centring on Ely. In 13th century part of the rectory of Wentworth was allocated to the Sacrist for the upkeep of Stuntney causeway and bridges (Sacrist. R. ed. F. R. Chapman, i. 61, 112; ii, 27, 82, 91; D. J. Stewart, Archit. Hist. of Ely Cath., 155, 180-5). Aldreth causeway was traditionally built by Wm. I or by Bishop Hervey (Darby, op. cit. 110 & nn.). There was much activity about the fort of 'Alrehede' in Stephen's reign (Anglia Sacra, i, 629 et seq.). For the upkeep of this road Ramsey Abbey and various places in the Isle owed services, commuted by 12th century. On the home manor of the Bishop such services were still rendered in 1251 (see below, p. 37). The Earith road also suffered neglect in 13th and 14th centuries, despite the grant of manors to the Bishop for upkeep of both Aldreth and Earith causeways. These manors later passed to the Crown, whose grantees in 17th century proved neglectful of the roads (Darby, op. cit. 111-12). Episcopal initiative respecting drains, waterways, and roads was, however, often marked. Bishop Hervey (12th century) made a road from Ely to Exning (Camden, Britannia, ed. 1607, 216); Bishop Morton (15th century) gave his name to the famous 'learn'; Bishop Mawson (18th century) vigorously supported drainage schemes and the new turnpike road to Ely. (Beauties of Eng. and Wales, i and ii, ed. W. Brayley and J. Britton, 1801, 166.)
  • 8. V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 381-95. Pat. and Assize R. do not suggest lack of respect for law and order (Darby, Medieval Fenland, 143-6).
  • 9. Infm. Mr. E. Miller.
  • 10. Almoners' R. of 1344-5, 1374-5, 1375-6, 1377-8, 1384-5, 1449-50, and 1473-4 record large distributions in kind (cloth, &c.). Accts. of Serjeant of Almonry Grange (1327-31) record very large quantities of mixed corn granted to the poor (V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 206 & n. 3).
  • 11. Bishops Ridel (1174-89), de Fontibus (1220-5), Northwold (1229-54.), Hotham (1316-36), and Arundel (1376-88); in later times Bishops West (1515-33) and Laney (1667-75); Bishop Andrewes (1609-19) was also revered for his general kindliness (Bentham, Ely, 145 et seq.).
  • 12. e.g. in 1394 on behalf of a blind man (Ely Dioc. Remembrancer, 1900, 54); in 1490 for a poor blind man (ibid., 1908, 165).
  • 13. Above, p. 33, n. 71.
  • 14. V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 201, 206-7. Among the free tenants in 1251 was a chaplain, the son of a local smith.
  • 15. Infm. Mr. E. Miller.
  • 16. V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 206; 321-3.
  • 17. There were 53 monks just before the plague: 28 just after (Stewart, Archit. Hist. of Ely Cath., 207).
  • 18. A casual mem. (p. 89 of MS. 'Leases and Pattents' of Deanery of Ely in 1649), apparently copied from some then existing record of 1350 (Ely Cath. Libr.). 'The Manor Court Rolls of 23 Ed. III contain many incidental allusions to the ravages of the Black Death, as do the Rolls of the obedientiaries of the Priory; in one of these it is explained that no rent had come from a street in Ely, by reason of the houses being tenantless propter pestilentiam (Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep., App., viii and ix, 391). There was great mortality, if unequally distributed, in the diocese generally, necessitating the grant of papal indulgences (Bp.'s Mun., Reg. Lisle, f. 19b, 21). There were no fewer than 90 institutions in the diocese in 1349. At least 4 of the Chaplains on the Green died (V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 158-9). Bentham says 92 institutions (Ely, 161, n. 1).
  • 19. The services in 1251 were certainly heavy.
  • 20. V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 399-402.
  • 21. Leycester had a tenement with dovecot and two shops in 'Bocherisrowe', Ely, and goods valued at 40 marks. Buk had a messuage at Castlepath, four shops and other property in 'Walpolelane', worth £17 11s. 6d., and £4 in money. Fish were included among his goods (E 357/8, m. 26d.). The name Buk appears in 14th century Subs. R.; a Walter Buck led the Brabanters besieging Ely in 1216 (V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 390). Adam Clymme was possessed of property worth £10 19s. 5d. (E 357/8 m. 26d.). Other Ely rebels mentioned were John Shethe, a glover, Thos. Litster, Robt. Plumer, and John, son of Nich. Gunmeld. Edmund Galon, an Ely lawyer, was killed; John Fedder and John Whyte of Ely apparently escaped. Walsyngham had a residence at Eversley, Cambs. (E. Powell, Rising in East Anglia, 1896, 46-48).
  • 22. Not all pre-1381 Ely rolls were destroyed; some were evidently in existence in the 17th century (Bishop Wren's Note Book, f. 318, Bp.'s Mun., G 2).
  • 23. e.g. in 1458-9 plague was widespread, affecting the monastery seriously, as shown by Infirmarer's R. (T. D. Atkinson, Archit. Hist. Ely, 106).
  • 24. e.g. in 1457 three men from Cambridge, Chesterton, and Reach, were condemned for Lollardry and penalized thus (Ely Dioc. Remembrancer, 1907, 43).
  • 25. In 1466 a Babraham man was punished at Ely for practising magic (ibid. 95).
  • 26. The whole of the manor was in demesne. According to Inq. Elien. 119, the number of cottars was 18, and there were 75 non-ploughing cattle, 268 sheep, 38 pigs, and 4 horses (V.C.H. Cambs. i, 369 and n. 2).
  • 27. Approximately 3 acres; the French arpent, like the English acre, varied according to district.
  • 28. V.C.H. Cambs. i, 368. Inq. Elien., 117, records 6 villeins, each having 10 acres, 9 non-ploughing cattle, 10 sheep and 1 horse (ibid., n. 3). Traces occur of occupation at Stuntney in the later Bronze Age (V.C.H. Cambs. i, 279, n. 1).
  • 29. It was assessed at I hide and had land for I plough-team on the demesne. The villein's holding was but of 6 acres. Meadow and pasture were adequate. 500 eels and 4½d. tribute of fish were rendered. When received the berewick was worth 20s., T.R.E. 30s. (V.C.H. Cambs. i, 368). It was a hamlet of Stretham (q.v.) in 1327 (P.N. Cambs. (E.P.N.S.), 238).
  • 30. Consisting of ½ hide. It was part of Soham in 13th century (V.C.H. Cambs. i, 369 and n. 3).
  • 31. There are three copies of this survey, B.M. Cott. MS. Claud. C. XI, ff. 24-33, Caius Coll. Camb. MS. 485/489, ff. 19-29, and Bp.'s Mun. Ely, G 3 'Old Coucher'. The last two contain later insertions. The survey should be compared with that of 1222 (B.M. Cott. MS., Cott. Tib. B. II). Light is thrown on the subject by B. Dodwell, 'The Free Tenantry of the Hundred Rolls' (Econ. Hist. Rev., 1944, 163-71), and by D. C. Douglas, Medieval East Anglia. The figures recorded for Ely, in the extent of 1251, are simpler than for some manors, but a number of free tenants have more than one holding or messuage, in addition perhaps to garden plots, shops, or tofts, some of which are commonly sublet, possibly to landless 'anilepimen', who escape enumeration. In other cases tenements and messuages are shared, though for Ely the joint-holders are usually named. Occasionally women are recorded as co-tenants with husbands, sons, or sisters. A few servile tenants appear in more than one servile group, but these are easily traceable; moreover, free tenants, even when avowedly also holding former customary land, are here unequivocally classified as free.
  • 32. Only part of this area was newly assarted (cf. below-Manors).
  • 33. Two-thirds of the whole arable lands were in demesne. Division into two or three arable open fields at this date is not clear.
  • 34. Six were composed of 6 steers, 4 of 6 oxen and 2 steers.
  • 35. Eight of these acres were said to be used as pasture.
  • 36. The spelling of the fen names is not uniform in the survey.
  • 37. In 'Northfen' and Padnal Fen the bishop had inclosures for peat-digging. In 'Blythinghalefen' and Middle Fen the bishop had sole right of mowing, 'not even shared with the Lord Prior of Ely', but after the hay was harvested the pasture was thrown open.
  • 38. It appears as 'Bramewere' in 1086; as 'Brame' about 1200 (cf. below- Manors). Prior Salomon (1169-73), probably a relative, granted a rent-charge of 5 marks on the estate to Salomon the goldsmith, his heirs and successors, confirmed by Hen. II (Sacrist R., ed. Chapman, i, 151-66, App. C). The estate was one of those allocated to the sacrist (Bentham, Ely, 127; V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 204 & n. 2). In 1251. Salomon was said to hold the marshland of Brame in several, surrounded by ditches (B.M. Cott. MS. Claud. C. XI, f. 24b).
  • 39. One was let for 5 marks, the other for 6. In 1229 there was also a windmill in the priory grounds (Bentham, Ely, ii, 53).
  • 40. A century earlier, in the time of Bishop Ridel (1174-89), payment was still made in eels. Similar food-rents had been commuted before 1130 at Wells, on the Cambs.-Norf. border (H.C. Darby, Medieval Fenland, 31).
  • 41. Knights' fees had been created in place of the demesne knights quartered in the abbey buildings (V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 386, n. 87, quoting Lib. Elien. 274-5). The four knights, in 1251, were Philip de L'Isle, Ralph of Soham, Henry Pelerin, and Stephen of the Marsh.
  • 42. Most of these holdings with land had special services attached. One tenant held 36 'ware' acres; 6 held 18 such acres each (the Hosp. of St. Mary Magd. held this amount); 2 held 18 acres jointly; 1 held 12 acres; 6 held from 5 to 8 acres each. The 12-acre 'ware' unit is prominent. Half an acre of 'new feoffment', held with other property, exemplifies the assarting which provided for the growing town.
  • 43. There were four shops even a century earlier. J. I. Ladds, 'The Mon. of Ely' (Cambs. and Hunts. Arch. Soc. Trans. v, 75).
  • 44. This area was known as Babylon at least from the 17th century onwards: it is so named in many of the, documents relating to drainage schemes of that period.
  • 45. One was Bishop Northwold's chantry, occupied by four chaplains (see below, p. 82).
  • 46. From two of the properties a day's digging in the vineyard was required, 'from daybreak until nones', with no food supplied: it was not regarded as boon work.
  • 47. The names of Salomon and Alan were perpetuated down the centuries. The family had many wealthy branches in the city during the middle ages. One Salomon was prior in the 12th, another in the 13th century (V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 209). Prior Alan de Walsingham seems to have been the family's most distinguished member. (For an account of these hereditary goldsmiths, see Sacrist R., ed. Chapman, App. C.) There were other wealthy families in the city in the 13th and 14th centuries. In 1313 Joan Bray lent money to the monastery (ibid.).
  • 48. Nine houses were stated to be held by the prior himself, but his holdings were only mentioned when vacant.
  • 49. The services were in the nature of petty serjeanty. The sense of dependence upon the lord must have been increased by the presence of such citizens.
  • 50. Combined with attendance upon the bishop's steward, when he travelled to Cambridge for the ceremonial granting of the bishop's jurisdictional liberties (see V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 64).
  • 51. A city house was leased to a surgeon appointed by the monastery in 1272 (Hist. MSS. Comm., 6th Rep. (Leconfield MSS.), 290). In 1326 the bishop granted to his barber, Warin de Alnewyk, a place at the Steple (ibid., 295, quoted by Atkinson, Archit. Hist. Ely, 104. n.).
  • 52. There is no heading 'De Consuetudinibus Censuariorum' such as is common in the extent of 1222 (Douglas, Medieval E. Anglia, 73).
  • 53. Rather over half of the free holdings paid in addition to rent, 1d. per annum; a good many paid 2d.; some paid larger graded sums.
  • 54. Not commuted here, as was the case on the bishop's distant manors.
  • 55. It is possible, on the other hand, to argue that a degrading of former freemen or socmen had occurred at some period. This may perhaps be implied in the large proportion of acreages recorded as 'de ware' (cf. Douglas, Medieval E. Anglia, 96-116, 129). All the servile tenants of 1251, other than the cottar class, held standardized numbers of acres-18, 12, or 6-described as 'de ware', so did some of the free tenants. The graded sums paid annually, in addition to rent or services, would seem to represent commuted geld payments to the lord. It seems more likely, however, in the case of villein tenants for whose geld payments a lord was traditionally responsible, that, at Ely, the lord recouped himself by levying upon these tenants additional services or payments, originally assessed, as in the case of the free tenants, on an acreage basis. In such circumstances no degradation of status would be implicit in the term 'de ware'. Scandinavian influence is indicated here, as in East Anglia, in the 12-acre basis of the holdings, or some fraction or multiple of 12 (cf. Douglas, op. cit., 32-50). The joint geld-responsibility of the several villein tenants of such units appears clearly with respect to the 12-acre holders: whereas the 18-acre tenants pay 7d. per annum, in addition to giving service, all the 12-acre tenants pay two-thirds of this sum-4½d. and a third of 1d. 'in such manner that 3 such peasants give 14d.' (B.M. Cott. MS. Claud. C. XI, f. 31b.) The 6-acre holders pay 2½d.
  • 56. The 'bocherie' and Butchers' Row of later days.
  • 57. 'Le verer'.
  • 58. They held one of the stalls in Butchers' Row and also 18 acres of land.
  • 59. See below, p. 82.
  • 60. 'Toftum ... quod iacet juxta placeam cast' (Extent 1251, f. 25b); cf. above- Castle.
  • 61. 145 but of about 345.
  • 62. One 12-acre tenant also held an additional ½-acre, for which he paid 1s. yearly rent: he was not, however, classed as a free tenant. One cottar held 2 cotlands. Though the cotlands were very small, much casual agrarian, pastoral, and urban work, which received recompense, was obviously available.
  • 63. Grounds near the abbey were laid out as gardens and orchards under the first abbot 970-81 (Liber Elien., 168-9). The vineyard figured in Domesday Book: there was still nominally a vineyard in 1618 (D. and C. Leases, Ely Cath. Lib.), though decayed (Camden, Britannia (ed. 1607), 216). The built-up site of the bishop's vineyard is still known as the Vineyards.
  • 64. One day's work on new drains, to be cut 5 ft. wide and 5 ft. deep; one day's work clearing old drains.
  • 65. Especially by river to and from Lynn. Ale was an important Ely export to Lynn and Boston in 1319.
  • 66. Though certain services-e.g. specified amounts of sedge-cutting and carrying -did excuse one day's week-work.
  • 67. Or of estimation in terms of money: commutation here could obviously have occurred early but for the dominating lordship.
  • 68. Cottars shared the normal sick-leave arrangements; they paid 1d. yearly; they were liable for leyrwite, merchet, and tallage; they owed suit of mill and fold of sheep, when they had sheep.
  • 69. Aldreth. Works on the causeway due from Ramsey Abbey were already commuted in 12th century (Cartul. Mon. Rames. (Rolls Ser.) i, 437; ii, 187-9).
  • 70. A less generous arrangement than, e.g., on the lay manor of Eversden, Cambs., where if a tenant were ill for a year and a day, all works were excused (V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 65).
  • 71. B.M. Cott. MS. Claud. C. XI, f. 31a.
  • 72. E 179/81/6 (reprinted from E. Anglian, vols. x, xi, xii, 1903-4. Transcript by J. J. Muskett, preface by C. H. Evelyn-White). A list of Subsidy R. relating to Cambs., compiled by Dr. W. M. Palmer, was published in E. Anglian, vii and viii. See also W. M. Palmer and H. W. Saunders, Docs. relating to Cambs. Villages, No. 6 (1926). The 1327 tax was 1/20th of personal income, imposed on movables (cattle, crops, stock-in-trade, &c.). Goods, other than farming stock, &c., must have been scanty at this date.
  • 73. In Wisbech there were 126 taxpayers in the town and 66 in the hamlets.
  • 74. Mariner, Pistor, Ferour, Braciator, Roper, and Hayward. Michel and Climme were taxpayers who bore names prominent in the Rising of 1381.
  • 75. In Ely 16 per cent. paid over 5s.; in Wisbech 10.6 per cent.; in Ely 13.5 per cent. paid under 1s.; in Wisbech 36 per cent.
  • 76. Mr. E. Miller's calculation.
  • 77. Ely with Stuntney (Chettisham is not recorded) paid £16 9s. 7½d. (the figure given in Muskett's transcript is slightly incorrect); Wisbech (excluding the numerous scattered hamlets) paid £12 16s. 6¾d. (£20 2s. 11¾d., if hamlets be included); Cambridge paid £22 15s. 7¼d. A levy made apparently only a few years later (E 179/81/7) enumerates 157 taxpayers in Ely, including Stuntney and Chettisham. A larger percentage of small tradesmen was then assessed. The total sum raised was £33 1s. 6d.
  • 78. The enrolment has been published three times: J. Topham, Archaeologia, vii, 337 et seq.; C. Oman, Great Revolt of 1381, 163-5 ; R. T. Davies, Docs. illustrating Hist. of Civilisation in Medieval Engl., 274-6.
  • 79. In Cambridge there were 1,902 taxpayers.
  • 80. B.M. Harl. MS. 329 (4 Hen. V). A. transcript of this exists in D. and C., Mun., Ely: an indexed copy thereof, made by Archdeacon Seiriol Evans, is in his possession. Another version of the survey exists: B.M. Cott. MS. Vesp. A. xix, f. 76 et seq., varying considerably in detail. A somewhat abbreviated translation is published in Cal. Pat., 1416-22, 183-95. The title of this runs: 'Inspeximus and confirmation to John, Bp. of Ely, and Wm. Prior, and the monks of the cathedral church of Ely, of an arbitration of certain disputes between them-by Henry Ware, Keeper of the Privy Seal, Wm. Hankeford, the King's Chief Justice, and Roger Horton, one of the Justices of the King's Bench, on the feast of St Nicholas the Bishop, 1417, confirmed by the said Bishop on the Feast of the Conception of St Mary, and by the said Prior and Convent on the Feast of St Lucy the Virgin.'
  • 81. The wording of the survey at times makes it obvious that various city properties, not specifically mentioned at the earlier date, were in fact allocated to the prior at the division of 1109.
  • 82. See plan, p. 29.
  • 83. See below, p. 81, and Atkinson, Archit. Hist. Ely, 16.
  • 84. See below, p. 83.
  • 85. The remains still exist.
  • 86. Now St. Mary's Street.
  • 87. Now the Bishop's Palace.
  • 88. See below, p. 82.
  • 89. See below, p. 81.
  • 90. See above, p. 30.
  • 91. Stepil Rowe, so called from the steeple connected with one of the entrance gates of the priory, on south side of the street.
  • 92. Richard Kilby occupied a tenement at south-west corner of 'Stepil Rowe': the house is now the corner house in High St., opposite the Lamb Hotel (Stewart, Archit. Hist. Ely Cath. 201). Other tenement holders whose names were to be associated with the town down the centuries, were Robt. Brame, John Duke, John Mepsale, and Thos. Parsons.
  • 93. Sometimes so called because of the gateway completed in the time of Prior Walpole (1397-1401), now Silver St.
  • 94. Mentioned in 1295 (P.N. Cambs. (E.P.N.S.), 216).
  • 95. Farther down the river were Quaney and Turbutsey wharves.
  • 96. With which it was connected by Auntresdale lane-now Annesdale.
  • 97. The Gallery, which now runs between the cathedral and the palace, was not mentioned in 1416: it was apparently not part of the original city plan (Atkinson, Archit. Hist. Ely, 35). It was known as Paley's Lane or Galely Lane in the early 15th century. It probably took its name from the Galilee, or porch, of the cathedral (P.N. Cambs. (E.P.N.S.), 215).
  • 98. Possibly survives as an existing medieval building.
  • 99. Mentioned in Roscarius's R., 1392-4 (Atkinson, Archit. Hist. Ely, 13). Now leasehold property of D. and C. (Stewart, Archit. Hist. Ely Cath. 187).
  • 100. Later giving name to Red Cross Street, i.e. Schendeforth Lane in 1416.
  • 101. Braye's orchard was close to the site of the old cross. The property was a submanor with its own gateway. The family was wealthy enough to lend money to the monastery in 1313 (Sacrist R., ed. Chapman, i, 155). Ketenes Place, on south side of Walpole Lane, was also a sizeable estate (see below-Manors).
  • 102. Now Egremont St. Not the Roman Akeman St. (according to C. C. Babington, Ancient Cambs.' (Cambs. Antiq. Soc., Octavo publ. iii, 16), though the Roman road did pass through Ely and Littleport, on the way from Cambridge to Brancaster (Norf.). Potter's Lane, running at right angles to Back Hill, opposite Broad Lane, contained a tenement, in 1416, formerly occupied by a potter.
  • 103. The sites of several within the 'precincts' are known through ministers' accts. (Bentham, Ely, ii, 53). Defoe referred to the numerous wells early in the 18th century (below, p. 44.) The underlying boulder clay held the water, which came to the surface along the edges of the higher ground on which the city was built.
  • 104. There was also a horse-mill, mentioned in this survey, between the south gate of the priory and Broad Lane, held by Edmund Cotermonger; there was probably still a windmill on the old castle mound, as there had been in 1229 (P.N. Cambs. (E.P.N.S.), 216), and was in 17th century (see above, p. 30).
  • 105. Atkinson, Archit. Hist. Ely, 141.
  • 106. The two versions of the survey occasionally supplement one another, and it is sometimes inferable whether tenants are freeholders, cottars, or other servile tenants, but no computation of the relative numbers is possible. Moreover, it is not always clear whether the sharing of messuages refers to the actual residents or to the legal holders, though in many cases the number of householders 'under one roof' is stated. Sometimes a widow shares a tenancy with her son, but there is no indication respecting the residence also of younger sons and daughters. (Many more tenements are specified in the Harl. MS. than in the printed Cal. Pat.) Some cottagers hold directly from bishop or prior; others are sub-tenants. Minor monastic and episcopal servants still figure among the citizens. The number of shops had increased since 1251.
  • 107. The boundaries and measurements of properties are stated. There is a considerable increase also in moderately prosperous tradesmen, now holding several tenements: John Plomer, a 'bocher', holds 4; John Millere holds 2 cottages and 2 other tenements; a number of citizens have 2, 3, or 4 holdings. Henry, Richard, and John Smyth, 'bochers', have 7 tenements between them. Edmund Cotermonger has 8 tenements as well as a horse-mill.
  • 108. Not including the hospitals or the Chantry-on-the-Green.
  • 109. Philip Morgan was Bishop of Ely, 1426-35.
  • 110. Chalons-sur-Marne gave its name to a closely woven woollen fabric, known in England as chalons or shaloons. A chaloner was a maker of such fabric.
  • 111. Maker of gold-embroidered cloths.
  • 112. See above, p. 36.
  • 113. Quo Warranto Inquest, 1 Ed. I. (ref. given by Archd. S. Evans).
  • 114. They were already so inclosed in 1251. (MS. 485/489, ff. 19-29, Caius Coll., Camb.).
  • 115. Cellarer's Rolls (Atkinson, Archit. Hist. Ely, 157).
  • 116. There were seven specifically mentioned, apart from numerous plots.
  • 117. Sacrist, R. 1302-3, 1354-5. See also Atkinson, Archit. Hist. Ely, 37 et seq.
  • 118. Atkinson, op. cit., 38 et seq.
  • 119. Atkinson, Cambs. Antiq. Soc. Proc. xl, 46-47. They were to continue important industries for centuries.
  • 120. In 14th century for building new bridge over Ouse (Sacrist R. 1339-40).
  • 121. Fine quality Barnack stone probably travelled thus in early 14th century (Sacrist R. 1302-3, 1322-32).
  • 122. Atkinson, Archit. Hist. Ely, 42.
  • 123. Sacrist R. 1322-3; 1336-7.
  • 124. Custos Capellae, 1356-9.
  • 125. The name Roper figures in the Subsidy List of 1327 (E 179/81/6), and in later documents. Hemp was grown in the locality at various periods.