The Fens, also known as the Fenlands, are a coastal plain in eastern
England. Despite being a natural marshy region, most of the fens were
drained several centuries ago, resulting in a flat, dry, low-lying
agricultural region supported by a system of drainage channels and
man-made rivers (dykes and drains) and automated pumping stations.
A fen is the local term for an individual area of marshland or former
marshland and also designates the type of marsh typical of the area,
which has neutral or alkaline water chemistry and relatively large
quantities of dissolved minerals, but few other plant nutrients.
Fenland primarily lies around the coast of the Wash; it reaches into
four ceremonial counties: Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire,
Norfolk and a
small area of Suffolk, as well as the historic county of
Huntingdonshire. In whole it occupies an area of nearly
1,500 sq mi (3,900 km2).
Most of the
Fenland lies within a few metres of sea level. As with
similar areas in the Netherlands, much of the
consisted of fresh- or salt-water wetlands, which have been
artificially drained and continue to be protected from floods by
drainage banks and pumps. With the support of this drainage system,
Fenland has become a major arable agricultural region in Britain
for grains and vegetables. The
Fens are particularly fertile,
containing around half of the grade 1 agricultural land in England.
Fens have been referred to as the "Holy Land of the English"
because of the former monasteries, now churches and cathedrals, of
Crowland, Ely, Peterborough, Ramsey and Thorney. Other
significant settlements in the
Fens include Boston, Cambridge,
Spalding, and Wisbech.
1 Background: historical flooding and drainage
2 Formation and geography
3.1 Pre-Roman settlement
3.2 Roman farming and engineering
3.3 Early post-Roman settlements
3.4 Early Middle Ages and Middle Ages
3.4.1 Royal Forest
4 Draining the Fens
4.1 Early modern attempts to drain the Fens
4.2 Modern drainage
5 Modern farming and food manufacturing in the Fens
9 In popular culture
10 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
Background: historical flooding and drainage
A windpump at Wicken Fen
Fens are very low-lying compared with the chalk and limestone
uplands that surround them – in most places no more than
10 m above sea level. Indeed, as a result of drainage and the
subsequent shrinkage of the peat fens, many parts of the
Fens now lie
below mean sea level. Although one writer in the 17th century
Fenland as entirely above sea level (in contrast to the
Netherlands), the area now includes the lowest land in the United
Fen in Cambridgeshire, at around 2.75 metres below sea
level. Within the
Fens there are a few hills, which have
historically been called "islands" as they remained dry when the
low-lying fens around them were flooded. The largest of the
fen-islands is the Isle of Ely, on which the cathedral city of Ely was
built: its highest point is 39 m above mean sea level.
Without artificial drainage and flood protection, the
Fens would be
liable to periodic flooding, particularly in winter due to the heavy
load of water flowing down from the uplands and overflowing the
rivers. Some areas of the
Fens were once permanently flooded, creating
small lakes or meres, while others were only flooded during periods of
high water. In the pre-modern period arable farming was limited to the
higher areas of the surrounding uplands, the fen islands and the
so-called "Townlands", an arch of silt ground around the Wash where
the towns had their arable fields. Though these lands were lower than
the peat fens before the peat shrinkage began, the more stable silt
soils were reclaimed by medieval farmers and embanked against any
floods coming down from the peat areas or from the sea. The rest of
Fenland was dedicated to pastoral farming, fishing, fowling and
the harvesting of reeds or sedge for thatch. In this way, the medieval
and early modern
Fens stood in contrast to the rest of southern
England, which was primarily an arable agricultural region.
Since the advent of modern drainage in the 19th and 20th centuries,
Fens have been radically transformed, so that today arable farming
has almost entirely replaced pastoral, and the economy of the
heavily invested in the production of crops such as grains, vegetables
and some cash crops such as rapeseed and canola.
Drainage in the
Fenland consists of both river drainage and internal
drainage of the land between the rivers. The internal drainage was
organised by levels or districts, each of which includes the fen parts
of one or several parishes. The details of the organisation vary with
the history of their development, but the areas include:
The Great Level of the
Fens is the largest region of fen in eastern
England: including the lower drainage basins of the
River Nene and the
Great Ouse, it covers about 500 sq mi (1,300 km2). It
is also known as the Bedford Level, after Francis Russell, 4th Earl of
Bedford, who headed the so-called adventurers (investors) in the
17th-century drainage in this area; his son became the first governor
of the Bedford Level Corporation. In the 17th century, the Great Level
was divided into the North, Middle and South Levels for the purposes
of administration and maintenance. In the 20th century, these levels
have gained new boundaries, and include some fens which were never
part of the jurisdiction of the Bedford Level Corporation.
The South Level lies to the southeast of the
Ouse Washes and surrounds
Ely, as it did in the 17th century.
The Middle Level currently lies between the
Ouse Washes and the Nene,
but historically lay between the
Ouse Washes and Morton's Leam, a
15th-century canal which runs north of the town of Whittlesey.
The North Level now includes all of the fens in
Lincolnshire between the Nene and the River Welland, but originally
included only a small part of these lands, including the ancient
parishes of Thorney and Crowland, but excluding most of Wisbech
Hundred and Lincolnshire, which were under their own local
Deeping Fen, in the southern part of Lincolnshire, lies between the
River Welland and the River Glen with its tributary the Bourne Eau.
Black Sluice District, much of which was known as the Lindsey
Level when it was first drained in 1639, extends from the Glen and
Bourne Eau to Swineshead. Its water is carried through to the Haven at
The above were all redrained at one time or another after the Civil
The Witham Commission Fens:
First District: from
Second District: Blacksluice – Holland Fen
Third District: north of the
River Witham above Bardney
Fourth District: East, West and Wildmore
Fens and the Townland from
Boston to Wainfleet
Fifth District: Kyme Eau to
Sixth District: Blacksluice – Helpringham Eau to Kyme Eau
These were drained in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Formation and geography
At the end of the most recent glacial period, known in Britain as the
Devensian, ten thousand years ago, Britain and continental Europe were
joined by the ridge between
Friesland and Norfolk. The topography of
the bed of the
North Sea indicates that the rivers of the southern
part of eastern
England flowed into the Rhine, hence through the
English Channel. From the
Fens northward along the modern coast, the
drainage flowed into the northern
North Sea basin. As the ice melted,
the rising sea level drowned the lower lands, leading ultimately to
the present coastline.
These rising sea levels flooded the previously inland woodland of the
Fenland basin, and over the next few thousand years led to extensive
development of both saltwater and freshwater wetlands.
Silt and clay
soils were deposited by marine floods in the saltwater areas and along
the beds of tidal rivers, while organic soils, or peats, developed in
the freshwater marshes.
Fenland water levels peaked in the Iron Age;
earlier Bronze and Neolithic settlements were covered by peat
deposits, and have only recently been found. During the Roman
period, water levels fell once again, and settlements were possible on
the new silt soils deposited near the coast. Though water levels rose
once again in the early medieval period, by this time artificial banks
protected the coastal settlements and the interior from further
deposits of marine silts, though peats continued to develop in the
freshwater wetlands of the interior fens.
The wetlands of the fens have historically included:
Washes: these are places such as tidal mud flats and braided rivers,
which are sometimes exposed and at other times covered with water.
Salt marsh: this is the higher part of a tidal wash, on which
salt-adapted plants grew.
Fen: this is a broad expanse of nutrient-rich shallow water in which
dead plants do not fully decay, resulting in a flora of emergent
plants growing in saturated peat.
Moor: this developed where the peat grew above the reach of the land
water which carried the nutrients to the fen. Its development was
enabled where the fen was watered directly by rainfall. The slightly
acidic rain washed the hydroxide ions out of the peat, making it more
suitable for acid-loving plants, notably
Sphagnum species. This is
exactly the same as bog, but the word moor was applied to this acid
peatland occurring on hills. These moors disappeared in the 19th
century, and it had been thought that the
Fenland did not have this
kind of peat, until archeological and documentary evidence
demonstrated that it did until the early 19th century.
Waters: these have included:
tidal creeks, which reached from the sea into the marsh, the Townlands
and in some places, the fen, and seem to have been named only if big
enough to be regarded as havens
meres, or shallow lakes which were more or less static but aerated by
many rivers, both natural and (from Roman times on) artificial
Major areas for settlement were:
the Townlands, a broad bank of silt (the remains of the huge creek
levees that developed naturally during the Bronze and Iron Ages), on
which the settlers built their homes and grew their vegetables
the fen islands: areas of higher land which were never covered by the
the fen edges: uplands surrounding the fens
In general, of the three principal soil types found in the Fenland
today, the mineral-based silt resulted from the energetic marine
environment of the creeks, the clay was deposited in tidal mud-flats
and salt-marsh, while the peat grew in the fen and bog. The peat
produces black soils, which are directly comparable to the American
muck soils. A roddon, the dried raised bed of a watercourse, is more
suitable for building than the less stable peat.
Since the 19th century, all of the acid peat in the
disappeared; drying and wastage of peats has greatly reduced the depth
of the alkaline peat soils and reduced the overall elevation of large
areas of the peat fens.
Drainage Mills in the Fens, Croyland, Lincolnshire. John Sell Cotman
There is evidence of human settlement near the
Fens from the
Mesolithic on. The evidence suggests that
Mesolithic settlement in
Cambridgeshire was particularly along the fen edges and on the low
islands within the fens, to take advantage of the hunting and fishing
opportunities of the wetlands.
Roman farming and engineering
The Romans constructed the
Fen Causeway, a road across the
link what later became
East Anglia with what later became central
England; it runs between Denver and Peterborough. They also linked
Cambridge and Ely, but generally their road system avoided the Fens
except for minor roads designed for exporting the products of the
region, especially salt, beef and leather. Sheep were probably raised
on the higher ground of the
Townlands and fen islands, then as in the
early 19th century. The Roman period also possibly saw some drainage
efforts, including the
Car Dyke along the western edge of the Fenland
Peterborough and Lincolnshire, but most canals were
constructed for transportation.
How far seaward the Roman settlement extended is unclear owing to the
deposits laid down above them during later floods.
Early post-Roman settlements
The early post-Roman settlements were made on the Townlands. It is
clear that there was some prosperity there, particularly where rivers
permitted access to the upland beyond the fen. Such places were
Wisbech, Spalding, Swineshead and Boston. All the
were laid out as elongated strips, to provide access to the products
of fen, marsh and sea. On the fen edge, parishes are similarly
elongated to provide access to both upland and fen. The townships are
therefore often nearer to each other than they are to the distant
farms in their own parishes.
Early Middle Ages and Middle Ages
After the end of Roman Britain, there is a break in written records.
It is thought some of the
Iceni may have moved west into the
avoid the Angles, who were migrating across the
North Sea from Angeln
(modern Schleswig) and settling what would become East Anglia.
Surrounded by water and marshes, the
Fens provided a safe area that
was easily defended and not particularly desirable to invading
Some[who?] believe that the names of West Walton,
Walsoken and Walpole
hint at the native British population, the Wal- coming from the Old
English walh, meaning "foreigner". However, the villages are in
close proximity to the old Roman sea wall, so the wal- element is more
probably from wal or weal, meaning "wall". Walton is generally
believed to mean "wall-town",
Walsoken to mean "the district under
particular jurisdiction by the wall" and Walpole to mean simply
"wall-pole" (Old English wal and pal) or perhaps "well pool" (Old
English welle and pol).
When written records resume in Anglo-Saxon England, the names of a
number of peoples of the
Fens are recorded in the
Tribal Hidage and
Christian histories. They include North Gyrwe (
Crowland), South Gyrwe (Ely), the Spalda (Spalding), and Bilmingas
(part of south Lincolnshire).
In the early Christian period of Anglo-Saxon England, a number of
Christians sought the isolation that could be found in the wilderness
Fens had become. These saints, often with close royal links,
include Guthlac, Etheldreda, Pega, and Wendreda. Hermitages on the
islands became centres of communities which later became monasteries
with massive estates. In the Life of Saint
Guthlac – a biography of
the East Anglian hermit who lived in the
Fens during the early 8th
century – it is stated that Saint
Guthlac was attacked on several
occasions by people he believed were Britons living in the
that time. However, Bertram Colgrave, in the introduction to one
edition, doubts it because of the lack of evidence of British survival
in the region and the fact that British place names in the area are
Monastic life was disrupted by Danish raids and settlement, but was
revived in the mid-10th-century monastic revival. In the 11th century
the whole area was incorporated into a united Anglo-Saxon England. It
remained a place of refuge and intrigue. It was here that Alfred
Aetheling was brought to be murdered and here where Hereward the Wake
based his insurgency against Norman England.
Fenland monastic houses include the so-called
Fen Five (Ely Cathedral
Priory, Thorney Abbey,
Ramsey Abbey and Peterborough
Abbey) as well as Spalding Priory. As major landowners, the
monasteries played a significant part in the early efforts at drainage
of the Fens.
During most of the 12th century and the early 13th century, the south
Lincolnshire fens were afforested. The area was enclosed by a line
from Spalding, along the
River Welland to Market Deeping, then along
Car Dyke to
Dowsby and across the fens to the Welland. It was
deforested in the early 13th century. There is little agreement as to
the exact dates of the establishment and demise of the forest, but it
seems likely that the deforestation was connected with the Magna Carta
or one of its early 13th-century restatements, though it may have been
as late as 1240. The forest would have affected the economies of the
townships around it and it appears that the present
Bourne Eau was
constructed at the time of the deforestation, as the town seems to
have joined in the general prosperity by about 1280.
Though the forest was about half in Holland (Lincolnshire) and half in
Kesteven, it is known as
Draining the Fens
Lincolnshire from a mid-17th-century atlas, showing unsettled
areas within undrained fens
Early modern attempts to drain the Fens
See also: Twenty, Lincolnshire
Though some signs of Roman hydraulics survive, and there were also
some medieval drainage works, land drainage was begun in earnest
during the 1630s by the various investors who had contracts with King
Charles I to do so. The leader of one of these syndicates was the Earl
of Bedford, who employed
Cornelius Vermuyden as engineer. Contrary to
popular belief, Vermuyden was not involved with the draining of the
Norfolk in the 1630s, but only became
involved with the second phase of construction in the 1650s. The
scheme was imposed despite huge opposition from locals who were losing
their livelihoods based on fishing and wildfowling. Fenmen known as
Fen Tigers tried to sabotage the drainage efforts.
Two cuts were made in the
Fens to join the River Great
Ouse to the sea at
King's Lynn – the
Old Bedford River
Old Bedford River and the New
Bedford River, the latter being known also as the Hundred Foot Drain.
Both cuts were named after the Fourth Earl of Bedford who, along with
some gentlemen adventurers (venture capitalists), funded the
construction and were rewarded with large grants of the resulting
farmland. The work was directed by engineers from the Low Countries.
Following this initial drainage, the
Fens were still extremely
susceptible to flooding, so windpumps were used to pump water away
from affected areas. The Company of Adventurers were more formally
incorporated in 1663 as the Bedford Level Corporation.
However, their success was short-lived. Once drained of water, the
peat shrank, and the fields lowered further. The more effectively they
were drained, the worse the problem became, and soon the fields were
lower than the surrounding rivers. By the end of the 17th century, the
land was under water once again.
Though the three Bedford Levels together formed the biggest scheme,
they were not the only ones. Lord Lindsey and his partner Sir William
Killigrew had the Lindsey Level inhabited by farmers by 1638, but the
onset of the Civil War permitted the destruction of the works until
Act of Parliament
Act of Parliament that led to the formation of the Black
Stretham Old Engine,
alongside the River Great Ouse
Many original records of the Bedford Level Corporation, including maps
of the Levels, are now held by
Cambridgeshire Archives and Local
Studies Service at the County Record Office in Cambridge.
The major part of the draining of the
Fens was effected in the late
18th and early 19th century, again involving fierce local rioting and
sabotage of the works. The final success came in the 1820s when
windpumps were replaced with powerful coal-powered steam engines, such
as Stretham Old Engine, which were themselves replaced with
diesel-powered pumps, such as those at
Prickwillow Museum and,
following World War II, the small electric stations that are still
Prickwillow Museum, the changing face of the
Fens and the story of
The dead vegetation of the peat remained undecayed because it was
deprived of air (the peat being anaerobic). When it was drained, the
oxygen of the air reached it, since then the peat has been slowly
oxidizing. This, together with the shrinkage on its initial drying and
the removal of soil by the wind, has meant that much of the
below high tide level. As the highest parts of the drained fen are now
only a few metres above mean sea level, only sizeable embankments of
the rivers, and general flood defences, stop the land from being
inundated. Nonetheless, these works are now much more effective than
Fens today are protected by 60 miles (97 km) of embankments
defending against the sea and 96 miles (154 km) of river
embankments. Eleven internal drainage board (IDB) groups maintain 286
pumping stations and 3,800 miles (6,100 km) of watercourses, with
the combined capacity to pump 16,500 Olympic-size swimming pools in a
24-hour period or to empty
Rutland Water in 3 days.
Modern farming and food manufacturing in the Fens
As of 2008, there are estimated to be 4,000 farms in the
in agriculture and horticulture, including arable, livestock, poultry,
dairy, orchards, vegetables and ornamental plants and flowers. They
employ about 27,000 people in full-time and seasonal jobs. In turn,
they support around 250 businesses involved in food and drink
manufacturing and distribution, employing around 17,500 people.
Over 70% of the
Fens is involved in environmental stewardship schemes,
under which 270 miles (430 km) of hedgerow and 1,780 miles
(2,860 km) of ditches are managed, providing large wildlife
corridors and habitat for endangered animals such as the water
In 2003, the Great
Fen Project was initiated to return parts of the
Fens to their original pre-agricultural state. The periodic flooding
by the North Sea, which renewed the character of the Fenlands, was
characterised conventionally by the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica as
"ravaged by serious inundations of the sea". The modern approach is to
allow a little farmland to be flooded again and turned into nature
reserves. By introducing fresh water, the organisers of the project
hope to encourage species such as the snipe, lapwing and bittern.
Endangered species such as the fen violet will be seeded.
Fens Waterways Link is a scheme to restore navigation to some of
the drainage works. It is planned to bring the South Forty-Foot Drain
and parts of the
Car Dyke into use as part of a route between Boston
The logo of the
England Bandy Federation, which is based in the Fens
Fens is the origin of English bandy and speed skating. It is the
base of Great Britain Bandy Federation and in Littleport there is
a project in place aiming at building an indoor stadium for ice
sports. If successful it will have the largest sheet of ice in the
country with both a bandy pitch and a speed skating oval.
Many historic cities, towns and villages have grown up in the fens,
sited chiefly on the few areas of raised ground. These include:
Boston, port and administrative centre of the Borough of Boston
Chatteris, a market town
Crowland, one of the
Fen Five monasteries; also a medieval triangular
Ely (meaning "Isle of Eels"), whose cathedral – one of the Fen
Five monasteries – is known as the "Ship of the Fens";
administrative centre of the East
Cambridgeshire District Council
Holbeach, a market town
Littleport, a large village approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) north
Little Thetford, settled on a boulder clay island within the fens
since the Bronze Age, 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Ely
Long Sutton, a market town and home to UK's largest food cannery
March, a market town and administrative centre of the
Market Deeping, a market town
Peterborough, the largest of the many settlements along the fen edge
and sometimes called the "Gateway to the Fens"; its cathedral is one
Fen Five monasteries; administrative centre of the Peterborough
Ramsey, a market town; one of the
Fen Five monasteries
Soham, a market town
Spalding, a market town, administrative centre of South Holland, and
famed for its annual Flower Parade
Thorney, one of the
Fen Five monasteries; later model village and
agricultural estates of the Dukes of Bedford
Whittlesey, a market town; annual Straw Bear Festival
Wisbech ("capital of the fens"), a market town
Ancient sites include:
Flag Fen, a
Bronze Age settlement
In popular culture
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Some authors have featured the
Fens repeatedly in their work. For
John Gordon, adolescent fiction writer and author of The Giant Under
The Snow, drew inspiration for many of his supernatural fantasies from
the Fens. His books with
Fenland themes include: Ride The Wind, Fen
Runners and The House On The Brink, which was based on Peckover House
Peter F. Hamilton
Peter F. Hamilton sets a number of his science fiction novels in the
Mindstar Rising and A Quantum Murder.
M. R. James set several of his ghost stories in the fen country.
Jim Kelly set The Water Clock, The Moon Tunnel and The Funeral Owl in
Philippa Pearce, a children's author, set many of her books in the
Fens, for example Tom's Midnight Garden.
Gladys Mitchell, prolific writer of detective fiction, took her
eccentric sleuth, the psychiatrist Mrs Lestrange Bradley, to the Fens
in several books, notably The Worsted Viper, Wraiths and Changelings
and The Mudflats of the Dead.
Robert Louis Stevenson's The Black Arrow has several chapters set in
Nick Warburton wrote a series of radio plays entitled On Mardle Fen,
one of the longest running series of plays on
Susanna Gregory's Matthew Bartholomew chronicles' title character is a
fictional physician living in 14th-century Cambridge.
G. A. Henty's book Beric the Briton mentions some sections in the
Norah Lofts features a character called Ethelreda Benedict, who comes
from a small island in the
Fens in the 17th century, in the second
book of her "House" trilogy, The House at Old Vine.
J.K. Rowling's character Salazar Slytherin, in the Harry Potter books,
was reputed to have come from the Fens.
Louis L'Amour's "To The Far Blue Mountains", the central character
Barnabas Sackett from "Sackett's Land" returns to his home in the Fens
one last time in the opening chapter.
The following novels, or substantial portions of them, are set in the
Sabine Baring-Gould: Cheap Jack Zita
Hal Foster: Prince Valiant
Martha Grimes: The Case Has Altered, set in and around Algarkirk,
Georgette Heyer: A Civil Contract
Charles Kingsley: Hereward the Wake
Louis L'Amour: Sackett's Land
Dorothy Sayers: The Nine Tailors
Gregory Maguire: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister
Graham Swift: Waterland (made into a film, listed below)
Robert Westall: Futuretrack 5
Eric Flint & Andrew Dennis: "1635: A Parcel of Rogues"
Philip Pullman: Northern Lights
Lesley Glaister: Honour Thy Father.
P. D. James: Death of an Expert Witness
Constance Heaven: Lord of Ravensley
Paul Kingsnorth: The Wake
S. Pitt: Fen-wolf, Four Wonders, Cromwell's Promise
Some films have large portions set in the Fenlands:
Dad Savage (1998), starring Patrick Stewart, was set and filmed around
King's Lynn area.
Waterland (1992), directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal, is based on Graham
Swift's book with the same title. Many of its scenes were filmed at
Marsh on the edge of the Wash.
Look and Read
Look and Read series Cloud Burst was set and filmed in the
Fens. The episode Three Miles Up of the 1995
BBC series Ghosts was set
in the Fens.
At least one video game has been set in the Fens:
"The Bedford Level" appears in the video game
Tom Clancy's EndWar
Tom Clancy's EndWar as a
The Lost Crown: A Ghost-Hunting Adventure is set in a fictional town
called Saxton, located in the Fens.
Prickwillow Museum, the changing face of the Fens, including restored
Fen skating, a sport for which the
Fens are famous
Gilbert Heathcote's tunnel, a drainage project in the 1630s
Hereward the Wake, who led the English resistance to the Norman
Conquest from the fens
High Fens, between
Belgium and Germany
Fen Country, a symphonic poem by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Pinchbeck Engine, a museum of fen drainage based around the
longest-working beam engine and scoopwheel
Somerset Levels, a similar area of wetlands in the southwest of
Wicken Fen, one of the few remaining undrained fens, owned by the
Fen, a British post-metal band
Devil's Dyke, Cambridgeshire, a long straight ditch and bank
The Broads, the navigable waterway system which crosses the fenland of
Norfolk and Suffolk
^ After Lindley, Keith (1982).
Fenland riots and the English
revolution. Heinemann Educational Books.
^ It is debated whether this area includes the fen areas of north
Lincolnshire, such as the Isle of Axholme. Some scholars, such as
Keith Lindley, include the
Isle of Axholme as part of the
it has the same kind of environment and a similar environmental and
social history. However, it is not contiguous with the rest of the
East Anglian Fenland, nor was its drainage ever jointly organised with
that of any of the main
Fenland drainage areas.
^ Wise, John; Noble, W. Mackreth (1882). Ramsey Abbey: Its Rise and
Fall. Huntingdon: Ellis & Cooper. ISBN 0-904701-10-7.
^ Christian, Anne Hait (1984). The Search for Holmes, Robson, Hind,
Steele and Graham Families of Cumberland and Northumberland, England.
La Jolla, CA: Search. p. 7. ISBN 0-9613723-0-3.
^ H. C. A discourse concerning the drayning of fennes and surrounded
grounds in the sixe counteys of Norfolk, Suffolke, Cambridge, with the
Isle of Ely, Huntington, Northampton and Lincolne. London: 1629.
Reprinted in 1647 under title: The Drayner Confirmed, and the
Obstinate Fenman Confuted.
^ "UK's lowest spot is getting lower". BBC. 29 November 2002.
Retrieved 26 March 2010.
Isle of Ely
Isle of Ely at WheresThePath.com
^ "An Act for settling the Draining of the Great Level of the Fens
called Bedford Level", 1663, reproduced in Samuel Wells, The History
of the Drainage of the Great Level of the
Fens called Bedford Level,
(London, 1830), Vol.2, pp.383ff.
^ Bedford Levels information from Ordnance Survey 1:50 000 First
Series Sheets 142 (1974) and 143 (1974).
Lincolnshire information from
Wheeler, W.H. A History of the
Fens of South
Lincolnshire 2nd edn.
(1896) facsimile edn. Paul Watkins (1990) ISBN 1-871615-19-4
^ a b c David Hall and John Coles,
Fenland Survey. An essay in
landscape and persistence. Archeological Report 1. English Heritage,
^ Christopher Taylor. The
Cambridgeshire Landscape. Hodder and
Stroughton, London, 1973. p30.
^ Hall, David; Coles, John (1994).
Fenland survey: an essay in
landscape and persistence. English Heritage.
^ Simon Young, AD500 p.245 (Notes & Sources) references Life of
Cambridge University Press 1956), pp. 108–11.
^ a b A Popular Guide to
Norfolk Place-names: by James Rye: Published
by Larks press, Dereham, Norfolk, 2000 ; ISBN 0-948400-15-3
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Fens.
Prickwillow Museum the changing face of Fenland
Fen Archaeology Trust official website
Fen Project official website
Coordinates: 52°29′18″N 0°13′52″W / 52.48838°N