Ely Place

Last updated

Coordinates: 51°31′7″N0°6′25″W / 51.51861°N 0.10694°W / 51.51861; -0.10694


The beadles' gatehouse Gatehouse Ely Place.jpg
The beadles' gatehouse

Ely Place /ˈli/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ) is a gated road of multi-storey terraces at the southern tip of the London Borough of Camden in London, England. It hosts a 1773-rebuilt public house, Ye Olde Mitre, of Tudor origin and is adjacent to Hatton Garden.

It is privately managed by its own body of commissioners and beadles.

Ely Place is sometimes claimed to have been an exclave of Cambridgeshire due to that county containing the medieval abbey at Ely, and Ely Place having been the site of the London residence of the Bishops of Ely who regularly lived on the site from 1290 to 1772.[ citation needed ] However, Ely Place was never formally part of the county of Cambridgeshire, or outside the Metropolitan Police area, and had no special status beyond being an extra-parochial area. [1]


An 18th-century plan of Ely House Ely House 1704 Anonymous.jpg
An 18th-century plan of Ely House


Ely Place stands on land that had been the site of Ely Palace or Ely House, the London townhouse of the Bishops of Ely from 1290 to 1772. [2] Land in the Holborn area was bought by John de Kirkby in 1280. He was appointed Bishop of Ely in 1286 and on his death in 1290, he left the estate to the see of Ely. [2] In medieval times, bishops of Ely frequently held high state office requiring them to live in London; Ely Palace was the bishop's official residence.

References to Ely Palace grounds occur in Shakespeare’s plays. It was at the house that in King Richard II, the Bard had John of Gaunt – who was living there in 1382 – says his "This royal throne of Kings, this sceptre’d isle" speech. [3]

Ely House and St Ethedreda's chapel in 1772, wood engraving of 1878 after an old drawing Ely House 1772.png
Ely House and St Ethedreda's chapel in 1772, wood engraving of 1878 after an old drawing

On 17 October 1546, James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond, a powerful Munster landowner who had served in the household of Cardinal Wolsey in his youth, and who had crossed the quarrelsome Lord Deputy of Ireland, Sir Anthony St Leger, was visiting London with his household. They were invited to dine at Ely Palace, where Ormond was poisoned along with his steward and 16 of his household, it was widely assumed, at the instructions of St Leger.

The estate was granted to Sir Christopher Hatton in 1577 after a commission was set up by Queen Elizabeth I, headed by John Aylmer (Bishop of London) to investigate the claims that Sir Christopher Hatton should be granted the freehold of the land after he acquired a 21 years lease on the estate and spent a sum of the £1,887 5s 8d (equivalent to £541,687in 2019) on renovations and repairs. The commission declared in June 1577 that Ely Place should stay with Bishop Cox if he could reimburse Sir Christopher Hatton in whole for the outlay but he could not. A new lease was drawn up giving Sir Christopher Hatton control of the property freehold. He gave his name to Hatton Garden which occupies part of the site.

The estate was sold to the Crown in 1772. The cul-de-sac was constructed in 1772 by Robert Taylor. [2] Edmund Keene as Bishop of Ely commissioned a new Ely House, also built by Taylor, on Dover Street, Mayfair. [2]

St Etheldreda's Church

St Etheldreda's Church in Ely Place is the former private chapel of the Bishops of Ely. It is one of two surviving buildings in London from the reign of Edward I (1272–1307) although it was badly damaged during World War II. St Etheldreda, a seventh-century queen and founding abbess of the monastery at Ely, was the saint in whose name Ely Cathedral was dedicated. The gardens of St Etheldreda were said to produce the finest strawberries in London and a Strawberry Fayre is held here every June. In Shakespeare’s Richard III, Gloucester tells the Bishop of Ely: "My Lord of Ely, when I was last in Holborn, I saw good strawberries in your garden there. I do beseech you, send for some of them".


Ely Place in the sixteenth century. Ely Place.jpg
Ely Place in the sixteenth century.

In 1842 a local Act of Parliament established a body of commissioners for paving, lighting, watching, cleansing and improving Ely Place and Ely Mews, Holborn, in the County of Middlesex. [4] While the commissioners have lost most of their powers to local authorities established under the Metropolis Management Act 1855 and later legislation, they retain their "watching" duties, with a beadle discharging these duties.


To the east is Farringdon Road and to the south is Holborn Circus. To the north is a gate leading to Bleeding Heart Yard. The nearest underground stations are Farringdon to the north-east and Chancery Lane to the west.

Related Research Articles

Holborn Human settlement in England

Holborn is a district in the London boroughs of Camden and City of Westminster and a locality in the ward of Farringdon Without in the City of London. The area is sometimes described as part of the West End of London.

Christopher Hatton 16th-century English politician

Sir Christopher Hatton KG was an English politician, Lord Chancellor of England and a favourite of Elizabeth I of England. He was one of those who found Mary, Queen of Scots, guilty of treason.

Æthelthryth Abbess of Ely

Æthelthryth was an East Anglian princess, a Fenland and Northumbrian queen and Abbess of Ely. She is an Anglo-Saxon saint, and is also known as Etheldreda or Audrey, especially in religious contexts.

Hatton Garden Street and area in Holborn, Camden, north London

Hatton Garden is a street and commercial area in the Holborn district of the London Borough of Camden, close to the boundary with the City of London. It takes its name from Sir Christopher Hatton, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, who established a mansion here and gained possession of the garden and orchard of Ely Place, the London seat of the Bishops of Ely. It remained in the Hatton family and was built up as a stylish residential development in the reign of King Charles II.

Saffron Hill

Saffron Hill is a street in the south eastern corner of the London Borough of Camden, between Farringdon Road and Hatton Garden. The name of the street derives from the fact that it was at one time part of an estate on which saffron grew.

Bleeding Heart Yard

Bleeding Heart Yard is a cobbled courtyard off Greville Street in the Farringdon area of the City of London. The courtyard is probably named after a 16th-century inn sign dating back to the Reformation that was displayed on a pub called the Bleeding Heart in nearby Charles Street. The sign showed the heart of the Virgin Mary pierced by five swords.

Elizabeth Hatton English noblewoman

Elizabeth, Lady Coke, was an English court office holder. She served as lady-in-waiting to the queen consort of England, Anne of Denmark. She was the daughter of Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter, and Dorothy Neville, and the granddaughter of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley. She was the wife of Sir William Hatton and later of Sir Edward Coke.

Carlton House Terrace Grade I listed building in City of Westminster, United Kingdom

Carlton House Terrace is a street in the St James's district of the City of Westminster in London. Its principal architectural feature is a pair of terraces of white stucco-faced houses on the south side of the street overlooking St. James's Park. These terraces were built on Crown land between 1827 and 1832 to overall designs by John Nash, but with detailed input by other architects including Decimus Burton, who exclusively designed No. 3 and No.4.

St Etheldredas Church Church in London

St Etheldreda's Church is a Roman Catholic church in Ely Place, off Charterhouse Street in Holborn, London. The building is one of only two surviving in London from the reign of Edward I, and dates from between 1250-1290. It is dedicated to Æthelthryth, or Etheldreda, the Anglo-Saxon saint who founded the monastery at Ely in 673. It was the chapel of the London residence of the Bishops of Ely.

James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond Irish peer

James Butler, 9th Earl of Ormond and 2nd Earl of Ossory, known as The Lame, was the son of Piers Butler, 8th Earl of Ormond and Margaret Fitzgerald, Countess of Ormond. He was created, in 1535, Viscount Thurles, and was confirmed by Act of Parliament, 6 November 1541, in the Earldom of Ormond, as 9th Earl with the pre-eminence of the original earls. His death by poisoning in London has remained an unsolved mystery to this day.

Holborn (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom, 1885-1950

Holborn was a parliamentary constituency centred on the Holborn district of Central London. It returned one Member of Parliament to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

St Andrew Holborn (church) Church in London

The Church of St Andrew, Holborn is a Church of England church on the northwestern edge of the City of London, on Holborn within the Ward of Farringdon Without.

Old Hatfield Human settlement in England

Old Hatfield, sometimes called Bishops Hatfield, is a historic village in Hertfordshire, England. It is in the town of Hatfield.

Bourne Estate housing estate in London Borough of Camden, UK

The Bourne Estate is an Edwardian housing estate in the Holborn district of Central London. It is bounded by Clerkenwell Road to the north, Gray's Inn Road to the west, Leather Lane to the east and Baldwins Gardens to the south. It is also intersected by Portpool Lane, which forms part of the estate itself.

Holborn District (Metropolis)

Holborn was a local government district in the metropolitan area of London to the north west of the City of London from 1855 to 1900.

Holborn Circus junction of five highways in the City of London, on the boundary between Holborn, Hatton Garden and Smithfield.

Holborn Circus is a junction of five highways in the City of London, on the boundary between Holborn, Hatton Garden and Smithfield. It was designed by the engineer William Haywood and opened in 1867. The term circus describes the way the frontages of the buildings surrounding the junction curve round in a concave chamfer.

Edmund Keene English churchman and academic

Edmund Keene was an English churchman and academic, who was Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge and later served first as Bishop of Chester, then Bishop of Ely.

St Andrew Holborn was an ancient English parish that until 1767 was partly in the City of London and mainly in the county of Middlesex. Its City, thus southern, part retained its former name or was sometimes officially referred to as St Andrew Holborn Below the Bars.

Saffron Hill, Hatton Garden, Ely Rents and Ely Place

The Liberty of Saffron Hill, Hatton Garden, Ely Rents and Ely Place became a civil parish in the metropolitan area of London, England between 1866 and 1930. It was part of the ancient parish of St Andrew Holborn.

The Old Court House house located off Hampton Court Green in Richmond upon Thames

The Old Court House is a Grade II* listed house located off Hampton Court Green in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames; its origins date back to 1536. The architect Sir Christopher Wren, who lived there from 1708 to 1723, was given a 50-year lease on the property by Queen Anne in lieu of overdue payments for his work on St Paul's Cathedral. The lease passed from Wren's son to his grandson. It was purchased from the Crown Estate in 1984.


  1. ianvisits.co.uk/blog/2019/05/27/londons-alleys-ely-place-ec1/
  2. 1 2 3 4 Richardson, J., The Annals of London, (2000)
  3. King Richard II Act 2, Scene 1
  4. 5 & 6 Vict. c.xlviii