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"The Isle of Ely is a historic region around the city of Ely now in Cambridgeshire, England but previously a county in its own right. Its name is said to mean "island of eels", a reference to the creatures that were often caught in the local rivers for food. This etymology was first recorded by the Venerable Bede.Until the 7th Century, the area was literally an island surrounded by a large area of fenland, a type of swamp. It was coveted as an area difficult to penetrate, and was controlled in the very early medieval period by the Gyrwas, a Saxon tribe. Upon their marriage in 652, Tondbert, a prince of the Gyrwas, presented Æthelthryth (a Saxon princess and later St. Æthelthryth) with the Isle of Ely. She afterwards founded a monastery at Ely, which was destroyed by Viking raiders in 870. The Fens were ultimately drained using a network of canals designed by Dutch experts." -Wikipedia