Ely: Bishops and Diocese, 1109-2009

November 2010
16 colour, 32 black and white, 24 line illustrations
406 pages
24.6x18.9 cm
ISBN: 9781843835400
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press

Ely: Bishops and Diocese, 1109-2009

Edited by Peter Meadows

Despite its size, Ely has always been one of the most wealthy and important dioceses in the country. The essays here focus on the careers of its bishops, with additional chapters on its buildings and holdings.
The diocese of Ely, formed out of the huge diocese of Lincoln, was established in 1109 in St Etheldreda's Isle of Ely, and the ancient Abbey became Ely Cathedral Priory. Covering at first only the Isle and Cambridgeshire, it grew immensely in 1837 with the addition of Huntingdonshire, Bedfordshire and West Suffolk. The latter two counties left the diocese in 1914, but a substantial part of West Norfolk was added soon after.
Until the nineteenth century Ely was one of the wealthiest dioceses in the country, and in every century there were notable appointments to the bishopric. Few of the bishops were promoted elsewhere; for most it was the culmination of their career, and many had made significant contributions, both to national life and to scholarship, before their preferment to Ely. They included men of the calibre of Lancelot Andrewes in the seventeenth century, the renowned book-collector John Moore in the eighteenth, and James Russell Woodford, founder of the Theological College, in the nineteenth.
In essays each spanning about a century, experts in the field explore the lives and careers of its bishops, and their families and social contacts, examine their impact on the diocese, and their role in the wider Church in England. Other chapters consider such areas as the estates, the residences, the works of art and the library and archives. Overall, they chart the remarkable development over nine hundred years of one of the smallest, richest and youngest of the traditional dioceses of England.

Peter Meadows is manuscript librarian in Cambridge University Library.

Contributors: Nicholas Karn, Nicholas Vincent, Benjamin Thompson, Peter Meadows, Felicity Heal, Ian Atherton, Evelyn Lord, Frances Knight, Brian Watchorn

Table of Contents

Foreword by the Bishop of Ely
Editor's Preface - Peter Meadows
The Twelfth century - Nicholas Karn
The Thirteenth century - Nicholas Vincent
The Fourteenth century - Benjamin Thompson
The Fifteenth century - Peter Meadows
Bishops of Ely, 1486-1559 - Felicity M Heal
Bishops of Ely, 1559-1667 - Ian J Atherton
Bishops of Ely, 1667-1748 - Evelyn Lord
Bishops of Ely, 1748-1864 - Peter Meadows
Bishops of Ely, 1864-1956 - Frances Knight
The late Twentieth century - Brian Watchorn


The administrative and political histories of the diocese set out in these chapters will make the book remarkably useful. JOURNAL OF ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY

A fine contribution and it is likely to prove an enduring one. ANTIQUARIES JOURNAL

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