Excursion Reports 2015

Boston – Lincolnshire

On Thursday 23rd April 2015, several members of the Society met at Sudbury Bus Station for a day trip to Boston. The Society had hired a Chambers coach and at the start of the journey our driver, Gary introduced himself, and his wife Jackie, who was accompanying us for the day. He then acquainted us with the layout of the coach and went through the itinerary for the outward leg of the trip. He said as it was a long drive he was making a short stop in Swaffham so we could stretch our legs. We set off promptly at 9.00 am for the day out to Boston.

The sky was cloudy and there was a chill in the air, but as we travelled, the skies began to clear. As we approached Thetford, the driver was aware of road works and diverted from Barham and thereafter our journey was quite traffic free and very picturesque, travelling through rural countryside not normally visited by coach parties. After a drive of just over the hour we stopped at Swaffham for half an hour and eventually arrived at Boston at about noon. We debussed in the town market square and were informed that the coach would be leaving at 4pm. The weather was by this time in clear sunshine and continued to get warmer as the day progressed.

Most directed their attention to St. Botolph’s church locally known as “The Stump” on account of it’s tower (272 feet high) which appears to be incomplete and instead of ending in a tall spire, has a sort of coronet at it’s summit. For a local parish church it is enormous, almost cathedral like, due to the wealth of the merchants of the time and their involvement in the wool trade and with the convenience of the local port. There are intricate carvings throughout the church showing the skills of the medieval wood craftsmen (see below) which have been preserved in good condition in spite of the ravages of the Puritans whose activities can be seen along the length of the nave, where the brasses have been removed. There were also some beautiful stained glass windows and a very impressive font. Some members went up the tower , but the number of stairs (over 200) put a lot of people off.
Outside on either side of the footpath to the south of the church there are twelve stones representing the men and women John Cotton’s congregation who sailed for the New World between 1630 and 1634. A further stone by the river portrays the ‘Puritan Vision’. It is believed that there is no other memorial in this country celebrating their achievements and influence in the New World.
The next port of call was The Guildhall. Built in the 1390’s, this building demonstrates the wealth and influence of the Guild of St Mary at a time when Boston’s power as a centre of trade was second only to London. It was also involved in the international trade with the Hanseatic League, the foundation of the Corporation of Boston and the famous trial and imprisonment of the Pilgrim Fathers who were apprehended while trying to leave England illegally to go the Holland where they could follow their religion without fear of persecution from the Church Authorities.

The next place of interest was the port of Boston which was built in the 13th century and is still active today.
You can then go into the town centre where there are some good examples of Georgian architecture amongst others. You can also do some retail therapy, or just sit on one of the many seats in the town centre and let the world pass you by.

Many people from Eastern Europe are now in Boston and when local people were asked about how they felt about it, they indicated they had made the town more vibrant as they were starting their own businesses and this is good for the local economy.
It was now approaching 3.50pm so we went back the coach and at 4.00 pm we started our homeward bound trip to Sudbury arriving back at 6.30 pm.

St. Boloph's 'The Stump'
St. Boloph’s ‘The Stump’
St. Boloph's Interior
St. Boloph’s Interior
View from 'The Stump' looking towards the Norfolk coast
View from ‘The Stump’ looking towards the Norfolk coast

Other outings planned for 2015 were:

28th MayCanterburyCanterbury
2nd JulyWalthamstowQueen Elizabeths Hunting Lodge at Chingford and Wm. Morris Museum
31st JulyNorwichNorwich
23rd Sept.TwickenhamStrawberry Hill House (TBC)
29th Oct.London, South KensingtonYour choice of Museum or place to visit

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