Reader letter: Political intrigue

Thank you Mr Heading for the informative comments concerning the eradication of the ancient Isle of Ely title at the time of the boundary changes.

In its most ancient geographical beginning, the Isle related soley to the highest “island” in the Fens with its capital Ely and island parishes subjected by the major Church at Ely founded in 673AD by Queen Etheldreda (saint).

As centuries progressed, the Church at Ely, acquisitively governed by a succession of abbesses, abbots and from the 12th Century bishops, became a law unto itself and legally took into possession a tremendous amount of off-lying Fen occupied by the Fenmen water people.

Stamping their authority on acquired areas, succeeding bishops, leaders of the self-governing palatinate, built large palaces at Wisbech, Doddington, Little Downham (of which fragments remain), Somersham and Ely. They resided at these buildings at certain times of the year and administered in undisputable manner. They added to their principality in extending into Suffolk and were represented at London.

As is nearly always the case, the authority behind the boundary changes had no feeling for the Isle’s notably famous past and I still think that the Isle of Ely might have survived in some distinctive way other than adding its name to a modern highway. I agree with Mr Heading, political intrigue formed the heart of the change. It was shameful.

Trevor Bevis

March