~~ The Boston Stump ~~
We were halfway through our holiday week and decided to take a wonder around Boston town and to visit the 14th century St Botolphs Parish Church the famous Boston Stump.
The parish church was first built in 1309 making it nearly 700yrs old, the work on the tower started a century later at around 1425-1430 and was not completed until 1510-1520, so you will notice a slight difference in the architectural design.
It is speculated that the name Boston Stump came about because it originally should have donned a spire, but instead it has a stump appearance, but in fact where the name originated from no-one knows.
This is still a working church holding regular services, weddings, funerals, christenings etc. Talking of christening, the font is spectacular and was given to the church in 1853, it is decorated with elaborate leaf carvings which were designed by Pugin who is also known to have carved detail in the Houses of Parliament in London.
What surprised me on my research of the Stump was the stained glass windows which are beautiful to at, but for some reason I expected them to be a lot older than they are as they date from 1853 right up to 1948 which makes them extremely modern compared to the rest of the church.
The tower is 272 ft and the total area of the church is more than 20,000 sq feet making this the largest parish church in England. If you are able bodied you can climb the tower for a small cost of £2.50 for adults and £1.00 for children. The stone steps are very narrow, old and worn so be careful, due to the narrow passageway there is a one way up and one way down system in operation, so once you start your journey there is no turning back. Due to health and safety issues you can now only climb up to the first level which is 145ft up and approx 209 steps to climb with no resting on the way up. If you can make the stairs it would be worth it for the view as Boston is in the middle of the Fens which is miles and miles of flat land, so you can just imagine how far you would be able to see and the views you would have, you could probably see Lincoln Cathedral it is only 30 miles away. Sadly I am unable to climb that many stairs in one go, as I need to rest after climbing just a few steps. If you do get to visit and climb the tower please drop me a line telling me all about it.
The church is also thought of as the Calendar Church, why? I hear you ask, well there are 365 steps that take you to the very top of the tower, to depict the days of the year. 12 pillars representing the months of the year that support the roof, 52 windows representing the weeks of the year and 7 doors for the days of the week. You would think it would stop there but no the designer did not agree so we have 24 steps to the library for the hours in the day, on either side of the Chancel you have 60 steps taking you to the roof representing the minutes and the seconds, all these things combined make St Botolphs Church a Calendar in Stone.
As you approach the church which stands proud in the middle of a busy town you cannot help but be impressed by its beauty and its size, it is surrounded by a small courtyard with benches for you to rest on and a statue of St Botolph looking out over the town of Boston which was named after him. Boston is a shortened version of Botolphs Stone or Botolphs Town St Botolph is said to have founded a monastery in Boston in 654.
The church opens its doors to the public daily, Mon-Sat 9am- 4.30pm and 1pm 4pm on Sundays during the summer months, but as this is a working church at times of weddings etc, they do ask that these times are respected to the families that have hired the church.
As you walk through the doors you are once again greeted by a vast array of space and beautiful architecture, fighting its way to match the cathedrals of the country. It was beautiful and worth taking the time to soak up the atmosphere and history of the church, marvel in the craftsmanship and the labour of the workforce it took to build this magnificent structure.
The church is wheelchair friendly and there is a small gift shop and café for you to rest and enjoy looking around you, these are very basic, but a nice chance to have a little rest. You are allowed to take photos inside the church at no extra cost.
We really enjoyed our visit, even though we had to stay on ground level, I would definitely recommend here for a visit if you get to the Boston area.
There is no expensive tour guides to buy here, but they do have some paper booklets for around 30p each which give you a little information about the history of this beautiful church.
~~ Location ~~
St Botolphs Church
Boston is off the A52 through Lincolnshire.
Thank you for reading
Inspired by Trayo’s opinion of Boston ("Land of the Pilgrims") and finding the children and myself at a loose end during half term we decided it would interesting to have a go at climbing the Boston Stump The Boston stump is the tower of St Botolph’s Parish Church and at 272 ½ feet is the tallest church tower in England. The highest point you can climb to, the main balcony is 145 feet (209 steps). The church is quite easy to find the tower being visible form most parts of the town and is within easy walking distance form the main shopping area (opposite ‘Marks & Spencer’s’). The children were quite keen to go up and I was relived to see the sign saying ‘come and climb the tower – Open now’. The door to the tower is to the left as you go in the church. We were charged £3 for my 8-year-old son and me; my 6-year-old daughter went up ‘on the house’. We had a couple of shopping bags, which the little old man on the desk suggested we leave with him, which was very helpful. If you suffer from claustrophobia or vertigo badly don’t even bother trying to go up. I suffer from both, but like to try anything. The spiral staircase (there is one to go up and one to come down) is very steep, narrow and basically goes straight up with no breaks to the top; which took us about 15 minutes. Once at the top the views, on a clear day (which it was when we went up), are spectacular. Apart from the immediate views of Boston and the surrounding area, Lincoln Cathedral (35 miles away) and Hunstanton across the wash (25 miles away) can both be seen. At the top my son decided, for the first time in his life that he suffered from vertigo, so we did not have much time to enjoy the view. They both wanted to get down fairly quickly, which we did and then spent a little while admiring the interior of the church itself. Both children said they would do it aga
in, now they know what to expect and I’m sure it will give them something to talk about when they get back to school.