& the Isle of Ely


Note: All entries in this colour cover other areas as well as Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely and can be regarded as general historic information.






After 1300 the monarchs of England chose the bishops of Ely very carefully ensuring that they were men close to the royal cause.

By 1300 the south-eastern forest of Cambridgeshire had been reduced to isolated patches of woodland. Existing forest edge villages, such as Brinkley and Dullingham. more than trebled in size, sprouting hamlet colonies within these newly cleared lands. Numbers in Cambridgeshire had doubled between 1066 and 1300.


7 Feb 1301

Prince Edward of England (later King Edward II) created Prince of Wales.



Robert Orford made Bishop of Ely


7 Jul 1307

Edward I's reign of England ends.


8 Jul 1307

Edward II becomes King of England.



John Ketton made Bishop of Ely



John Hotham made Bishop of Ely



Recognition of Cambridge as a University by the Pope.



Under Bishop John Hotham and his subordinates, Prior Crauden and Sacrist Alan of Walsingham, Ely Cathedral Lady Chapel was completed in 1321. The central tower collapsed a year later and, rather than reconstructing, Alan of Walsingham constructed an octagonal lantern bridging the entire hole, the lifesize carving of Christ contained within was by John of Burwell. Alan of Walsingham also built the Prior Crauden's Chapel.



Full scale assault by the townspeople of Cambridge on student hostels.



Chancellor of the Exchequer, Hervey de Stnton, founded Michaelhouse college, Cambridge.


24 Jan 1327

Edward II, King of England, forced to abdicate.


1 Feb 1327

Edward III becomes King of England.



The siltlands of the fens had passed south Cambridgeshire and population density and intensive farming. Villages such as Leverington and Tydd St. Giles grew to serve the area. Peat fens still lay outside the normal economic system of Cambridgeshire. Some settlement had taken place along the fen edge and islands. The islands themselves had seen the same populationn increase as upland Cambridgeshire but this marginal reclamation left most black fens untouched.



Edward II founded King's Hall college, Cambridge. This housed 32 scholars and was the first college to admit undergraduates.



Simon Montacute made Bishop of Ely



A university house in Milne Street was converted into Clare Hall, a colege, part of Cambridge University.



Edward, the Black Prince, created Prince of Wales.


23 Apr 1344

Order of the Garter founded by King Edward III at Windsor.



'Nonarum Inquisitones', a list of war taxes paid by each parish, showed land abandoned throughout Cambridgeshire. The worst hit areas were Eltisley, Kingston, Madingley, Bourne Horseheath, Weston Colville, Westley Waterless, Borough Green, Croxton and Dullingham who reported up to half their fields returned to waste. Guilden Morden faced almost extinction. Bassingbourn lost 400 acres and Impington 300 acres. Flooding made 1,000 acres in Newton in the Isle and Tydd St. Giles unusable.



Thomas de Lisle made Bishop of Ely



Two new colleges founded in Cambridge, Pembroke, founded by the Countess of Pembroke, and Gonville, by the scholar Edmund Gonville.



King Edward III founds Military Knights of Windsor.



The Black Death claims almost 1 million lives in England.
Cambridge, with its developing university, the rat infested hovels and streets was to lose a third of it population to plague in the next forty years. At Dry Drayton, Cottenham and Oakington the mortality rate was as high as 50% over a 20 year period. Of the diocese's 650 clergy roughly 350 perished. At Soham and Fen Ditton records show that tenements fell vacant and labour services ceased because no-one was left to do the work.
Alan of Walsingham died of plague.


circa 1350

Trinity Hall college founded.



The largest and richest college of this era was Corpus Christi which was founded by the people of Cambridge through the wealthy guilds of Corpus Christi and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Corpus Old Court is the oldest surviving university building in Cambridge and established a pattern for colleges closely resembling manor house designs. It would be a further 70 years before another college was founded.



Outbreak of plague in Cambridge. Shelford, which had survived the outbreak in 1348 was decimiated by attacks of plague. Elsworth and Bottisham were the lightest hit. In all and estimated one-third of the Cambridgeshire population had died from plague or famine.



Simon Langham made Bishop of Ely



John Barnet made Bishop of Ely



Justices of the Peace established by statute.
Outbreak of plague in Cambridge.



Thomas Arundel made Bishop of Ely



First recorded Speaker of the House of Commons chosen.


8 Jun 1376

Edward III reign of England ends.


22 Feb 1377

Parliament votes in Poll Tax.


16 Jul 1377

Richard II becomes King of England.



The Cambridgeshire population stabilises at a reduced level after the years of plague and famine.


Jun 1381

The Rising of 1381 - the so-called Peasants' Revolt - provided a short-lived opportunity for the people of Ely to assert their independence. While the revolt inflamed much of East Anglia, the main leaders of the rebellion in Ely were local men - Richard de Leycester of 'Bocherisrowe'; Robert Buk, a fishmonger; and Adam Clymme. Corpus Christi and Great St. Mary's colleges in Cambridge were sacked, the university chest was rifled, its records burned, the chancellor was forced to renunciate university privileges and take an oath to follow borough customs. A thousand men broke into Barnwell Priory demolishing walls which stood around former common lands.

The Bishop of Norwich, Henry Despenser, took swift action to quell the discontent leading an armed column through Cambridgeshire, hanging and burning.


12 Jun 1381

Riots in London over the Poll Tax.



First English Bible produced.



Fire sweeps through Cambridge destroying 100 houses. A new Cambridge was built from the ashes with its own Guildhall by the market square.



John Fordham made Bishop of Ely

Cambridge declared a filthy maze of alleys according to an Act of Parliament.


30 Sep 1399

Richard II's reign of England ends.


13 Oct 1399

Henry IV King of England.
The Duchy of Lancaster merged with the Crown when the Duke of Lancaster became King Henry IV


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