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Southwest Lincolnshire Country Houses
by Michael Ford, Country House Editor
BostonDay 3 - We started off early for Boston across the open fen lands. The land is very flat and low-lying and has deep drains cut across it to allow it to be cultivated. The whole area inland from the Wash used to be sea but has silted up. Although the Romans attempted to drain the fens it was not until 1807 that the task was complete. The roads are very straight as they lie alongside the drains.
Boston is dominated by the 'Stump', the 272ft tower of St. Botolph, considered to be the largest parish church in England. The building dates from 1309. The interior of the church is magnificent with beautiful stained glass windows and much else to see. The view up the inside of the tower is surprising and for a small fee the 208-stepped spiral staircase can be climbed to an outside parapet half way up the tower. The view is stunning and well worth the climb.
In the 13th century Boston was the leading trading port in England. The town was granted its charter in 1545 and became a borough. In the 17th century many Bostonians left to take up a new life in Massachusetts where they exerted a powerful influence over the development of the colony which took its name from here.
Today it is still an important port and still retains the original medieval street pattern and some of the medieval buildings, mostly behind later facades. Interesting buildings in the town include the ruined, brick built, 15th century Hussey Tower, the one time home of Lord Hussey, the substantial timber-framed Shodfriars Hall and the mid-15th century Guildhall. Fydell House is the grandest house in the town, built for the Jackson family in the 18th century. It is now used as the Pilgrim College of the University of Nottingham. Parts of Blackfriars, founded in 1288, Boston's only surviving medieval friary can still be seen.
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