Ely and its magnificent cathedral have dominated this area of Cambridgeshire for centuries, and today it is a thriving and rapidly growing city. Much has been written about Ely's rich historical past but in this book local historian Michael Rouse explores the lesser-known episodes of the city's history, covering its beginnings as a collection of houses surrounding the medieval abbey and cathedral on an island in the Fens; its local economy, which was also based on the River Ouse and the surrounding fenland; medieval and modern-day fairs; local inhabitants, including Oliver Cromwell; and visitations by the plague, along with many more stories that even most locals don't know.
With tales of remarkable characters, unusual events and tucked-away historical buildings, Secret Ely will appeal to all those with an interest in the history of Ely, and to all those who wish to learn more about this fascinating and historical corner of Cambridgeshire and the Fens.
Ely-born Michael Rouse specialises in local history books, especially photographic collections, of which he has put together a great number including Ely in Old Postcards and A View in Cambridgeshire. He edited the official guide to the city of Ely for some 20 years, and has written numerous freelance articles for magazines. After some years teaching at Soham Village College, he now does storytelling at Ely Museum and takes photographs for Viva Youth Theatre in Soham. He also acts as a local councillor for Ely.