Ely Old Bishops Palace

Has been described as a Certain Palace (Bishop)

There are major building remains

NameEly Old Bishops Palace
Alternative Names
Historic CountryCambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely
Modern AuthorityCambridgeshire
1974 AuthorityCambridgeshire
Civil ParishEly

Claustral buildings of Ely Cathedral dating from C12. Features include the Bishops Palace, the Deanery. the Almonry and the Prior's House. Bishop's Palace, which stands on the south side of Palace Green to the west of the Cathedral, was originally built in the C15 by Bishop Alcock (1486-1501). The only surviving part of Alcock's palace is the east tower and the lower part of the west tower. The upper part of the west tower and the west wing, facing Palace Green was built by Bishop Goodrich in 1550 and the recessed centre part and the block facing south to the garden was built by Bishop Laney (1667-75) who demolished the major part of Bishop Goodrich's palace. The Great Hall, or Guest Hall was built in the mid C13 and was remodelled in the early C14. (Derived from PastScape and listing report)

Gatehouse Comments

The C12 history may also relate to the Cherry Hill motte.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTL540801
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Martin Keegan All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image

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  • Meadows, P. and Ramsay, N. (eds), 2003, A History of Ely Cathedral
  • Emery, Anthony, 2000, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 2 East Anglia, Central England and Wales (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 154
  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 175
  • Pugh R.B. (ed), 1953, 'City of Ely: Monastic buildings and palace' VCH Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely Vol. 4 p. 77-82 online transcription
  • Morewood, Caroline C., 1910, 'Introductory Chapter' in Rait, R.S. (ed), English Episcopal Palaces (Province of Canterbury) (London; Constable & Co) p. 34-6 online copy



  • Hussey, C., 1928, 'Ely Palace, Cambridgeshire' Country Life Vol. 63 p. 850-7


  • Cambridgeshire Extensive Urban Survey: Ely. Draft Report 17/01/2001. online copy
  • Payne, Naomi, 2003, The medieval residences of the bishops of Bath and Wells, and Salisbury (PhD Thesis University of Bristol) Appendix B: List of Medieval Bishop's Palaces in England and Wales (available via EThOS)
  • Alexander, M., 1997, Excavations at the Old Bishops Palace, Ely [online copy > http://hbsmrgateway.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/ImagesAndFiles/LibraryLinkFiles/2217.pdf