A Fen is a marsh or moor – the word in Old English is fenn: mud, dirt, moor, marsh – and the word has its origins in proto-Germanic. The Fens are an area in eastern England; originally wetlands, much of the area was drained for use as agricultural land. Parts of the Fens are now being restored. Dye-plants like woad, weld (gaude), meadowsweet, fennel and the evocatively named purple loosestrife grow in the Fens.

Beauty product junkies who like Borghese Active Mud, fango is the Italian and Spanish word for mud, and has the same origins.


(Image: Venitian ceiling / Chris Reddaway)