Saturday, 1 June 2019


Boston England; not Boston Massachusetts USA.  It’s interesting to realise how migrants from the UK kept nostalgic links to their mother country by naming locations after places where they had originated.  Today we went through a small village named Burnham.  Many year ago we lived in Burnham, NZ.  NZ also has an Oxford and Cambridge.  There are many other examples.

In 2016 we cruised up the Trent taking a detour to visit Lincoln.  At the time we discussed continuing on to Boston eventually deciding to forgo it with the idea we might return one day to cross the Wash.  That never happened and instead we visited Boston by road.

It’s a small medieval market town and we probably got it wrong visiting on a Saturday as it was market day making finding parking very difficult.  The land around here is very flat and featureless with the land to the east of Boston almost at sea level.  Because of this the area was prone to flooding.  Efforts to combat this problem commenced in the 11th century with so drains being dug.  In the late 18th century the engineer John Rennie (of canal fame) was commissioned to investigate the problem and write a report.  Acts of Parliament followed in 1801 and 1803.  Eventually this resulted in the current Witham Navigable Drains.  250 years ago the area would have been very marshy with Fenmen residing there living by fishing, fowling and cutting reeds.  Today it appears to be mostly market gardening.

The tide was obviously out during our visit

I had intended to attempt to climb to the top of the ‘Boston Stump’ and take panoramic photos of the surrounding countryside. That didn’t workout as the Stump is undergoing renovation.

The Boston Stump is actually the name of the tower of St Botolph’s Church,Boston.  The church has one of the tallest towers in England and because the land is so flat it can be seen for miles.

Who was St Botolph?   I’d never heard of him but Wikipedia suggest he was Botwulf of Thorney, an English Abbot and Saint who died around 680AD.  Apparently up to 71 churches were named after him and the name of the town (Boston) is a derivative of his name. I couldn’t find anydirect link between him and Boston.  But then if you believe what allegedly happened to his remains after his death then anything is possible.

Botwulf is supposed to have been buried originally at his foundation of Icanho, but in 970 Edgar I of England gave permission for Botwulf's remains to be transferred to Burgh, near Woodbridge, where they remained for some fifty years before being transferred to their own tomb at Bury St Edmunds Abbey on the instructions of Cnut. The saint's relics were later transferred again, along with those of his brother Adulf, to Thorney Abbey, although his head was transferred to Ely Abbey and various body parts to other houses, including Westminster Abbey. [Wikipedia]

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