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 sits on the site of the London residence of the Bishops of Ely who regularly lived there from 1290 to 1772. The bishop's palace and surrounding land was then sold and redeveloped into Ely Place, with only the bishop's medieval chapel being preserved.


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. [1] 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. [1] 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. [2]

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 £549,752in 2020) 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. [1] Edmund Keene as Bishop of Ely commissioned a new Ely House, also built by Taylor, on Dover Street, Mayfair. [1]

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. The 13th-century crypt survived remarkably unscathed and is occasionally used for private functions. 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. [3] 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 northeast and Chancery Lane to the west.

Related Research Articles

Clerkenwell Human settlement in England

Clerkenwell is an area of central London, England.

Holborn Human settlement in England

Holborn is a district in central London, which covers the south-eastern part of the London Borough of Camden and a part, of the Ward of Farringdon Without in the City of London.

Christopher Hatton English politician and courtier (1540–1591)

Sir Christopher Hatton KG was an English politician, Lord Chancellor of England and a favourite of Elizabeth I of England. He was one of the judges 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. Her father was King Anna of East Anglia, and her siblings were Wendreda and Seaxburh of Ely, both of whom eventually retired from secular life and founded abbeys.

Hatton Garden Street and area in Holborn, London

Hatton Garden is a street and quiet commercial zone in the Holborn district of the London Borough of Camden, abutting the narrow precept of Saffron Hill which then abuts 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. For some decades it often went, outside of the main street, by alternative name St Alban's Holborn, after the local church built in 1861.

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. The ecclesiastical parish was St Peter, Saffron Hill, a daughter parish of Holborn, which is now combined with St Alban, Holborn.

Kensington Palace Gardens

Kensington Palace Gardens is an exclusive street in Kensington, west of central London, near Kensington Gardens and Kensington Palace. Entered through gates at either end and guarded by sentry boxes, it was the location of the London Cage, the British government MI19 centre used during the Second World War and the Cold War. Several foreign diplomatic missions are located along it.

Sir Robert Bell SL of Beaupré Hall, Norfolk, was a Speaker of the House of Commons (1572–1576), who served during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Bleeding Heart Yard

Bleeding Heart Yard is a cobbled courtyard off Greville Street in the Holborn area of the London borough of Camden. 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 inn sign showed the heart of the Virgin Mary pierced by five swords.

Elizabeth Hatton

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.

St Etheldredas Church Church in London, England

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 and 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.

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 (MP) to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

St Andrew Holborn (church) Church in London, England

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

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 Circus

Holborn Circus is a five-way junction at the western extreme of the City of London, specifically between Holborn and its Hatton Garden part. Its main, east–west, route is the inchoate A40 road. It was designed by the engineer William Haywood and opened in 1867. The term circus describes how the frontages of the buildings facing curved round in a concave chamfer. These, in part replaced with glass and metal-clad buildings, remain well set back.

Edmund Keene English churchman and academic (1714-1781)

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

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. 1 2 3 4 Richardson, J., The Annals of London, (2000)
  2. King Richard II Act 2, Scene 1
  3. 5 & 6 Vict. c.xlviii