Cratendune Controversy!

Read The Search For Cratendune

Local Revelation of the millennium...?

Ely On-Line has had men in the field checking out the inside story on the so called "Lost Saxon City of Cratendune" and have uncovered more than they bargained for...

It would seem that as well as finding an Anglo Saxon settlement dating from around the 7th century and onwards to the Mediaeval 14th century, the find goes back further still and includes Roman remains, and finds dating way back to the iron age. c pre 400 BC.

Furthermore, and this statement will "cause heads to roll" (or so reckons our "man in the field")...
"Earlier this year 25 Round Houses dating to the iron age were discovered close to the present site. Full archaeological recording however could not be carried out because hasty planning permission allowed a new reservoir to completely cover and destroy the site. The whole saga has been hushed up, but this has not stopped angry archaeologists from "spilling the beans" to's intrepid journalists..."

Ely On-Line of course was searching for Cratendune before it became fashionable! Remember our intrepid
"Search For Cratendune"
feature? Two local lads went off in search of the lost village - and found it - or was that a "bounty"?.
Read it again here!
Friday 5th November 1999 - Cratendune has been found.

The BBC's news site stated: Tuesday, November 2, 1999

Anglo-Saxon village uncovered

Archaeologists say they have made a major discovery by unearthing the remains of an Anglo-Saxon village. Experts believe the settlement found near Ely, Cambridgeshire, was the village of Cratendune, known to have existed in the 11th Century.
The discovery was made during routine excavations for a new housing development.

Cratendune is listed in records housed in Ely Cathedral and is thought to have been a significant settlement. For a longer report see here:


The Cambridge NewWork said:

Archaeologists find lost Cambs village
Release date: 04 Nov 1999 00:00:00

The lost village of Hereward the Wake has been unearthed nearly 500 years after disappearing from history.

Cratendune existed only in legend and 12th century records -until builders began working on a new housing estate earlier this year. Excited archaeologists swarmed over the site, keeping it secret for eight months while they uncovered its historic treasures.
Cratendune was home of Hereward the Wake, the hero and rebel against William the Conqueror.
Legend had it that he lived in the area around Ely, Cambridgeshire, in 1070, exactly when the newly discovered village would have been at its height.
Medieval documents put Cratendune a mile south of Ely, but the new discovery shows that it was, in fact, just to the west of the city. Scientists from the Archaeology Unit at Cambridge University carried out a fingertip search of the site, in West Fen Road, Ely.
They uncovered 50,000 artefacts, including a massive quantity of pottery.
A myriad of intercut ditches with a 'spaghetti junction' like webwork were found, indicating a dense population.
Archaeologists also found the remains of a number of Saxon halls. They will now try to establish why the village ceased to exist and disappeared. The 16 acre site of the village was part of the 80 acre site being developed for 760 homes by the Ashwell Group. Simon Kaner, senior architect for Cambridgeshire County Council, praised the developers for their patience during the secret eight month excavation.
He said it would now take several months to evaluate what had been found, before any artefacts would go on public display.
Paul Thwaites, chairman of the Ashwell Group, said: 'We are privileged to be associated with such a fascinating historical find and we did everything in our power to give the team of archaeologists every facility to investigate this aspect of our national heritage.'


Whilst the Cambridge Evening News reported:

Lost village is unearthed. TIME detectives believe they may have unearthed the lost village of Fenland hero Hereward the Wake. Today, the site, on the edge of Ely, is thought by some experts to be the village of Cratendune, which disappeared from history in the 1500s, was described as one of the largest and most important Anglo-Saxon settlements in the country. It was discovered on an 80-acre site earmarked for 760 homes.


Maybe it is a shame that the Cratendune will soon be covered in houses, but as we suggest at the end of "Search For" feature - maybe we should capitalise on this ancient mysterious village - our very own Atlantis - build the Cratendune Theme Park now! Jousting tournaments, merry minstrels, archery and Living History. Does Ely have the vision?

Read The Search For Cratendune