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town, East Cambridgeshire district, administrative and historic county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies on an "island" of rock that rises above the alluvial Fens and, prior to their draining (1630-52), was a place of refuge. The Isle of Ely is 7 miles (11 km) long and 4 miles (6 km) wide. The town itself is situated on the Isle's eastern side on the west bank of the River Ouse