London Inn of the Bishop of Ely 2

Has been described as a Certain Palace (Bishop)

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameLondon Inn of the Bishop of Ely 2
Alternative NamesEly House; Ely Place in Oldborne
Historic CountryLondon and Middlesex
Modern AuthorityLondon Borough of Camden
1974 AuthorityGreater London
Civil ParishCamden

London Inn of the Bishop of Ely. Ely house in Holborn, site given by John Kirkby (1286-90) but built by Bishop Thomas Arundel in C14. Plan made by Grose before demolition showing two-storeyed chapel on north side of a cloister with hall and ancillaries on its south side. Only the chapel survives.

At any early date the bishops had a house in the Temple, and in 1290 Bishop Kirkeby bequeathed an 'inn' or town house, called 'Le Bell,' and nine cottages in Holborn to his successors, on condition that a requiem Mass should be celebrated on the anniversary of his death. John Hotham, who was consecrated in 1316, added to this property. He played a leading part in State affairs during the troublous reign of Edward II., and was entrusted with the Great Seal when Edward III. was proclaimed king in 1327. About this time he bought a house and several parcels of land near his manor in Holborn in the suburb of London, consisting of a vineyard, kitchen garden, orchard, and enclosed pasture, all of which he settled on the see of Ely. By the sixteenth century it was a "handsome and commodious mansion," standing in twenty acres of ground, with the chapel, dedicated to St. Etheldreda, in an adjoining field. (Morewood, 1910)

John de Kirkeby, bishop of Ely from 1286 to 1290, left the land that Ely house is built on to his successors. William de Luda donated more land (1290 to 1298) & the chapel was built by 1303 (GLHER ref 201785). the house itself wasbuilt by 1320. in 1336, bishop John de Hotham added six messuages (a house & lands), two cellars & 40 acres of land. In 1373, bishop Thomas Arundel became bishop. he extended the house, building the cloisters & a gatehouse. The bishops used this building themselves until 1576, when they leased part to Sir Christopher Hatton for his use as a town or manor house (GLHER ref 082091). Used during the Civil War as prison & later a hospital

Substantial remains have been found in watching briefs by department of Greater London Archaeology 1990 at 31-32, 33 & 34 Ely Place. (Greater London HER)

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 ReferenceTQ313816
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  • Goodall, John, 2011, The English Castle 1066-1650 (Yale University Press) p. 446
  • Emery, Anthony, 2006, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 3 Southern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 233
  • Thompson, M.W., 1998, Medieval bishops' houses in England and Wales (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing) p. 175-6
  • Schofield, J., 1995, Medieval London Houses (Yale University Press) p. 191-2 No. 106
  • James, T.B., 1990, The Palaces of Medieval England (London; Seaby) p. 23, 103
  • Lobel, M.D. (ed), 1989, The City of London from prehistoric times to c.1520 British Atlas of Historic Towns Vol. 3 (Oxford University Press) p. 73 online copy
  • Weinreb, Ben and Hibbert, Christopher (eds), 1983 (rev edn 1993), The London Encyclopeadia (Macmillian) p. 727
  • Prockter, A. and Taylor, R., 1979, The A to Z of Elizabethan London (London Topographical Society) p. 7
  • Mee, A., 1972, The King's England: London North of the Thames (London: Hodder & Stoughton) p. 60
  • Aston, M., 1967, Thomas Arundel: a Study of Church Life in the Reign of Richard II (Oxford)
  • Pevsner, N., 1952 (1969 reprint), Buildings of England: London, except the cities of London and Westminster Vol. 2
  • Williams, E., 1927, Early Holborn and the Legal Quarter in London (Sweet and Maxwell) Vol. 1 p. 349, 352-3, 386-9
  • RCHME, 1925, Inventory of Historic Monuments in London Vol. 2: West London (HMSO) p. 44-5 online transcription
  • Brewer, H.W., 1921, Old London Illustrated (The Builder) plate 14
  • Morewood, Caroline C., 1910, 'Introductory Chapter' in Rait, R.S. (ed), English Episcopal Palaces (Province of Canterbury) (London; Constable & Co) p. 36-9 online copy
  • Thornbury, W., 1873, Old and new London : a narrative of its history, its people, and its places (London: Cassell, Petter, & Galpin) p. 514-26 online copy [online transcription >]
  • Murray, T.B., 1840, A notice of Ely chapel, Holborn: with some account of Ely palace (London: John W. Parker) online copy
  • Grose, Francis, 1785 (new edn orig 1756), Antiquities of England and Wales (London) Vol. 3 p. 133-140 online copy



  • Richarson, Beth (ed), 1986, 'Excavation Round up 1985' London Archaeologist Vol. 5.6 p. 158 online copy
  • 1986, 'Medieval Britain and Ireland in 1985' Medieval Archaeology Vol. 30 p. 137 online copy
  • Kingsford, C.L., 1916, 'Historical Notes on Medieval London Houses (Part 1)' London Topographical Record Vol. 10 p. 44-144
  • Keene, C.R., 1881, 'Remarks on Ely Palace, Holborn' Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society Vol. 5 p. 494-503 online copy
  • Waller, J.G., 1875, 'The "Hole-bourne"' Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society Vol. 4 p. 118 online copy

Guide Books

  • Nibbs, Rosemary, 2003, St Etheldreda's, Ely Place: A Pitkin Guide (Norwich: Jarrold Publishing)
  • Jarvis, S.E., 1911, A history of Ely Place: of its ancient sanctuary and of St. Etheldreda, its titular saint: a guide for visitors 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)
  • Berber, B. and Pitt, K., 1990, Archaeological Excavations at 33 Ely Place (DGLA report)
  • Honeybourne, M.B., 1929, The extent and Value of the Property in London and Southwark Occupied by the Religious Houses (including the prebends of St Paul's Honeybourne, M.B., 1929, The extent and value of the property in London and Southwark occupied by the religious houses (including the prebends of St Paul's and St Martin's le Grand), the inns of the bishops and abbots and the churches and churchyards, before the dissolution of the monasteries (University of London: MA Thesis) p. 349, 352, 386-9