What’s in a name ?

The Fenlands

Fox Boat owner Chris shares his thoughts on Fenland names throughout time.

What’s in a name ?

Fenland has been described by many nicknames over the years – and each one sheds a different light on various aspects of its history..

In the Medieval times the area had a number of major ecclesiastical establishments, including Crowland, Ramsey, Chatteris and Thorney Abbeys, as well as Ely and Peterborough Cathedrals. Reflecting this ample provision for the Spiritual, the name The Holy Land of the English was applied.

Prior to Vermuyden’s draining of the Fens, the area was often times referred to as The Great Eastern Swamp, or The Old Drowned Lands.

Vermuyden’s first drainage scheme was intended to provide relief from flooding during summer months and gave rise to the description The Summer Lands.

During WWII the productive rich black soil of the Fens was put to use feeding the Country, which was in danger of going hungry as the German blockade of shipping tightened. The area acquired the deserved nickname The Breadbasket of Britain.

The flat countryside, devoid of hills, with its great panoramic landscapes has given rise to the name The Land of the Three-quarter Sky.

And because it is home to Fenland’s only service marina, which builds the best boats, and hosts the only hire fleet, us boaters also call it Fox Boat Country !


If you enjoyed this post consider reading Five Things You’ll Love about teh Middle Levels

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