SNIPPETS OF BRITISH HISTORY: ‘ Liber ‘ Book of Ely ‘ Written in Latin Became the Cathedral of the Newly formed Bishopric 1109 ‘

#AceBritishHistoryNews – August 23 – The Liber Eliensis ("Book of Ely") is a 12th-century English chronicle and history, written in Latin.


Composed in three books, it was written at Ely Abbey on the island of Ely in the fenlands of eastern Cambridgeshire. Ely Abbey became the cathedral of a newly formed bishopric in 1109.


The Liber covers the period from the founding of the abbey in 673 until the middle of the 12th century, building on a number of earlier historical works. It incorporates documents and stories of saints’ lives and is a typical example of a kind of local history produced during the latter part of the 12th century.


The longest of the contemporary local histories, it describes the devastation caused by the disorders during the reign of King Stephen, as well as the career of Nigel (Bishop of Ely 1133–69) and his disputes with the king.


The two surviving complete manuscripts of the work are complemented by a number of partial manuscripts.

A printed version of the Latin text appeared in 1963 and an English translation was published in 2005.

The Liber Eliensis is an important source of historical information for the region and period it covers, and particularly for the abbey and bishopric of Ely.

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