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Boston, Lincolnshire.


Boston, Lincolnshire

This town was one of the major ports in mediaeval times and greatly influenced the importance and growth of Lincoln. This of course was when the coastline was much closer to Boston than it is now. In 1205, the levies on Boston, which was more than any other port, was a little less than London but by 1279 to 1289 Boston was paying a third more than the capital city. In 1353 the wool staple was removed from Lincoln to Boston. - The wool staple being the right to collect all taxes on any wool leaving the country. The mediaeval street pattern remains at Boston and several important mediaeval buildings still remain but usually covered up with later facades. There were 4 lots of friars settled in the town The Black Friars, Grey Friars, The Austin Friars and the Carmelites, The only sect to have left any remains are the Black Friars. New churches were built during steady growth of the 19th century Holy Trinity in Spilsby Road built in 1846-1848 by Sir George Gilbert Scot. The stained glass here comprises the East window is by Willement and the south transept window by Wailes in 1856.

St James in George Street built in 1861-64 but was demolished in the 1970’s.

St Thomas’ in is an early 20th century church by Temple Moore in 1912 but the chancel in 1933. Over the porch doorway is a carving in Portland Stone of St Thomas kneeling to the risen Christ. 1956 by Philip Pape

St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Horncastle Rd built in 1826 and given an extension in 1974.

The Centenary Wesleyan Chapel is in Red Lion Street and the Baptist Chapel in the High Street just preceded the Roman Catholic Church by about 7 years.

Church of St. Botolphs (Boston Stump)

The main and oldest church however is that of St Botolphs, much better known as Boston Stump. A very large church started in 1309 which up to the 14th century it had been a chapel of ease for Skirbeck. It was not completed until about 1390 and then without the tower. Soon after this the nave was re roofed and an extension built on the Chancel to help stabilise the nave piers which were leaning to the east The tower was begun in about 1425-30 and completed in 1510-520 of Barnack stone. 1845-47 Sir G.G.Scott carried out "essential repairs" and in 1851 G. G. Place re-pewed the church and then went on to carry out a major restoration program. By 1853. Sir G. G. Scott did some more restorations in 1857 and in 1928-1933 Sir Charles Nicholson carried out some more. The latest major renovations were carried out from 1980 onwards by Ron Sims of York.

The east window was one of Places introductions, the font was one of E. W. Pugin’s given in 1853 by Beresford Hope and the reredos was by W. S. Weatherly in 1890 but not completed until 1914. The Pulpit is genuine 1612 but the finest items are the misericords under the seats of the 1390 stalls the canopies of which only date from 1853-60.

The misericords are particularly fine and comprise the following subjects, an owl, a bear playing an organ, 2 of St George, a knight and griffin, a pelican and a couple in their kitchen, a baboon, a fox, a stag, a man catching a lion, a pair of antelopes, a virgin and unicorn two eagles, a knight on a horse, a lion a dragon and a griffin, Sir Yvain’s horse cut in two by a portcullis, a mermaid and sailors, a helmet, a wreath and mantle, bear baiting a rose bush, and a woman chasing a fox.

In the lower stalls there are:- two swans, a schoolmaster birching a boy, two jesters with cats, a hunter with a knife, a man with an axe, a buck in between, trees, a hunter with bow and arrows chased by his wife, hunter and stag, a wolf (More likely a fox?) preaching to hens, a wild man fighting with a lion, a man eaten by wolves, the Pillar of Christ’s Flagellation, the crowning of a queen, a bird on a tree, poppy heads with faces affronted and addorsed excellently composed animals, a pair of tumblers. The elbow rests too are decorated with bear baiting, hare and hound, beggar and dog, cat and mouse, a fox eating a chicken, a swan, a beggar, a woman with bellows, men and dog, fox as a priest. In all some of the most beautiful and attractive wood work of its type to be seen anywhere.

Even the doors are mainly original and the door knockers and ironwork.

There are ten hatchments under the tower to Richard Fydell Died 1780, Thomas Fydell 1812, Elizabeth Fydell 1816, Samuel Fydell 1868, there are also two to members of the Smith family, one to Henry Butler Pacey 1785, one to a member of The Michell family, one to Thorpe of Boston1631 and last but not least one to Richard Smith 1626.

The monuments too are quite a good and varied selection. One 1312, an incised slab of Tournai marble (Really a black limestone?) to Wisselus de Smalenburgh of Munster, described as a Hanseatic merchant, a praying figure 6 foot long which came from the Greyfriars Church.

There is a large brass one each side of the altar, a 4 foot figure brass to Walter Pescod (died 1398) and his wife under triple canopies and one of a priest circa 1400 with figures of saints on the orphreys. There is a civilian and two wives in the south aisle with only partly preserved 12 inch figures.

Also in the south aisle is an effigy of a Knight 15th Century and of alabaster on the front of the tomb chest under flat ogee arches stand four angels with shields. There is also an alabaster female, 15th century who has puppies nibbling at her dress. There is a piece of a large brass in the nave floor also, about 1500.

In all there are about ten various wall tablets and an 1857 memorial brass to the Rev John Cotton.

The stained glass (which has recently been coming under attack from a moronic element of the local youth) is quite a varied selection, the East window is by M & A O’Connor 1853. The south aisle east window is by the studio of Charles Eamer Kempe 1889. The first and second from the east by Hardman, 1883 and 1876 and the third from the east is by Powells 1894, finally the fourth from the east is also by Kempe & Co Ltd.1926.

In the north aisle:- the east window of 1868 and the window above the north door 1872 are both by Hardman. The first and second from the east are by Harry Grylls of Burlison and Grylls of about 1944 which tell the history of the church as are the 4th from the east with two small 17th century panels.

The Cotton Chapel west window 1938 is by Harry Grylls, the first 1879 and third 1877 from the west are also by The second from the west is said to make an interesting contrast and is 1858 by James Ballentine.

I make no apology for the length of this article as I wish to reassure you that this church is a must for an extended visit.


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