Ely is the nearest cathedral city to Cambridge. Cambridge does not have its own cathedral and is within the Diocese of Ely. The diocese covers 1507 square miles and holds 610,000 people (1995) and 341 churches; it includes the county of Cambridgeshire (except for three parishes in the south which are in the diocese of Chelmsford) the western part of Norfolk, a few parishes in Peterborough and Essex and one in Bedfordshire.

History It is said that Ely derives its name from 'eel' and '-y' or '-ey' meaning island, i.e. an island where there were a lot of eels. This may be true due to the position of Ely, an island in low lying fens, which were historically very marshy and rich in eels. The city's origins lay in the foundation of an abbey in 673, a mile to the north of the village of Cratendune on the Isle of Ely, under the protection of Saint Ethelreda, daughter of King Anna. The abbey was destroyed in 870 by Danish invaders and not rebuilt for over a hundred years. The site was one of the last holdouts in England to the rule of William I: Hereward the Wake did not surrender until 1071. The magnificent cathedral of Ely, the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, is known as the "Ship of the Fens" for the distant views of its towers that dominate the low-lying wetlands called the Fens. The diocese of Ely was created in 1108, out of the see of Lincoln. The cathedral was started by William I in 1083 and completed in 1351, despite the collapse of the main tower in 1322, which was rebuilt as an octagonal tower. The bishopric of Ely was founded in 1109. The city took part in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. Oliver Cromwell lived in Ely for several years after inheriting the position of local tax collector in 1636. His former home dates to the 16th century and is now used by the Tourist Information Office as well as being a museum with rooms displayed as they would have been in Cromwell's time. Article Sourced from Wikipedia Ely