Ely Place

History

Running parallel to gold, silver and diamond wealth of Hatton Garden lies our offices in the historic location of Ely Place which was built in 1772 by Robert Taylor. This peaceful cul de sac was formerly the site of Ely Palace or Ely House which was the Bishops of Ely's residence in London between the years 1290 to 1772. The estate was sold to the Crown in 1772.

Shakespeare

The grounds of Ely Palace are famously referred to in Shakespeare's play, Richard II. What is arguably one of the greatest and best known orations in the English language was said to have taken place at Ely House when Shakespeare had John of Gaunt (Duke of Lancaster, son of King Edward III and father of Henry IV) say,

"This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle,
This Earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-Paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This blessed plot, this Earth, this realm, this England."

St Etheldreda's Church

Ely Place also houses St Etheldreda's Church, the oldest Catholic Church in England. It dates back to around the mid-thirteenth century when it was the private chapel of the Bishops of Ely. It happens also to be the last surviving building in London from the reign of Edward I (1239-1307). In medieval times, St Etheldreda's was situated within a palace of sizeable grounds which included gardens that were celebrated as having the finest strawberries in London. This is recounted in Shakespeare's Richard III, when the Duke of Gloucester says to the Bishop 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."

In fact, Ely Place continues to hold a Strawberry Fayre along its street every June.

 

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