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The Harry Potter Canon

"Shrewd Slytherin, from fen"
- Sorting Hat (GF12)

Fen

Definition

An alkaline marsh, distinguishing it from a bog which is always acidic.

 

The Fenland is an area of low-lying, very flat land (some of it below sea-level) in eastern England. Although nearly all of it is now drained and is a very fertile agricultural area, historically it was a place of marshes extending as far as the eye could see and well beyond. The counties included in the Fenland are: Cambridgeshire (almost all of it), Huntingdonshire (all of it), Norfolk (parts in the western area), Lincolnshire (south); and Bedfordshire (parts of the northern area). Historically, Oliver Cromwell was known to the people of Cambridgeshire as "the Lord of the Fens" for his efforts on their behalf early in his career in Parliament. Famous works of fiction set in the Fenland include Dorothy L. Sayers' The Nine Tailors.

Drainage has resulted in shrinking of the soil, to the extent that some rivers, notably much of the Norfolk part of the Great Ouse, flow well above the surrounding land and are contained only by massive earthen embankments. The Isle of Ely, miles from the sea, is so-named because it was an island in the surrounding miles of fens.

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Tags: British geography