Boston, Lincolnshire

Boston, Lincolnshire

Boston is a town and small port on the east coast of the county. It is the largest town of the wider Borough of Boston local government district and is a hub for shopping, history and socialising.

Boston's most notable landmark is St Botolph's Church, known locally as The Stump, one of the largest parish churches in England, its tower visible in the surrounding countryside for miles. The Domesday Book of 1086 does not mention Boston by name. However, the settlement of Skirbeck is covered, as part of the very wealthy manor of Drayton. Skirbeck had two churches and one is likely to have been that dedicated to St Botolph, in what was consequently Botolph's town. Skirbeck is now considered part of Boston, but the name remains, as a church parish and an electoral ward.

During the 11th and 12th centuries, Boston grew into a town and port of notable trade. By the 13th century, it was already significant in trade with the continent of Europe with the bulk export being wool and salt, produced locally on the Holland coast, grain, produced up-river and lead, produced in Derbyshire and brought via Lincoln, up-river. The wool export trade began to decline in the 15th century as the industry shifted to the value-adding business of weaving, which was conducted in other parts of the country, and Boston's wealth declined.

The town received its charter from Henry VIII during the 16th century and had two Members of Parliament. The following century saw much religous turmoil and dissent. John Cotton became the Vicar of St Botolph's and he encouraged those who disliked the lack of religious freedom in England to join the Massachusetts Bay Company. Later, he helped to found the city of Boston, Massachusetts, which he was instrumental in naming, and finally lived out his days there.

Modern Boston is a bustling, religous and culturally diverse town and a focal point of the county. There is the thriving Boston Outdoor Market, plenty of places to shop, eat and drink, with a number of local cafes and a large department store. Transport into the town can be made by train, bus, taxi and car with ample parking. There are pubs, a cinema and a ten pin bowling alley, the Boston Bowl. For a wide variety of musicals, plays and shows, for children and adults, keeping up to date with the Blackfriars Arts Centre is a must.

For a change of pace away from the shops, there is the Maud Foster Windmill, a fully restored and working early 19th century structure, with all seven floors open to the general public to marvel at a working mill. For parents and grandparents with younger children there is Playtowers, a huge indoor play area with tunnels, slides, a wibbly wobbly rope bridge and ball pools. There is also Pots of Fun where you can drop in with the children and paint ceramics for personalised gifts.

The town of Boston has something for everyone and few visit the county without stopping by.