Ten fascinating facts about Boston

I was born in Boston and as my birthplace tends to get a rough ride in the press, I felt it was time to stick up for the old town. So here are ten “fascinating” facts about Boston.

1. Long before they set sail on the Mayflower, the Pilgrim Fathers made an abortive attempt to leave England from Boston. Therefore, my home town is famous for people leaving it.

2. The Pilgrim Fathers probably kept quiet about their stay in Boston because they spent most of it banged up in the town gaol. They were arrested for attempting to leave England without the permission of the king. It was a case of three strikes and you’re in (the Nick).

3. Boston is named after the Anglo-Saxon saint Botolph (or Botulf). It was originally called ‘Saint Botolph’s Town’. St Botolph fought against spirits from the underworld. A monk and an exorcist, he purged demons from the surrounding marshes.

Me with Boston Stump in the background (all marsh demons were purged earlier)

Me with Boston Stump in the background (all marsh demons were purged earlier)

4.The main church in the town is officially known as St Botolph’s Church, although everybody calls it ‘The Stump’. It is the tallest Medieval Parish Church in England. With 365 steps to the top, you can see the surrounding Fens for miles around. There are also Masonic symbols scoured into the stairwell. Make of that what you will.

5. After that hoo-hah with his fellow poet Arthur Rimbaud, the French author Paul Verlaine fled to Boston where he worked as a French teacher. You can see their story in the film Total Eclipse, which contains many scenes of gratuitous nudity, but none featuring Lincolnshire.

6. For many years Boston held the title of most obese town in England with over a third of the population morbidly overweight. We have now sadly lost our title to Copeland in Cumbria.

7. The town’s most famous son is the Protestant writer and theologian John Foxe, who wrote Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

8. People in Boston and around the county will call you ‘duck’ as a term of endearment. Do not be alarmed. This is considered normal.

9. Boston was a member of the Hanseatic League. The League was a late medieval federation of merchant guilds who bonded together to protect their trade. Based in Germany, the Guild’s German name ‘Hansa’ lives on in organisations like Lufthansa, the national airline (Luft means air in German).

10. There is another Boston in the United States. It’s in Massachusetts, apparently.

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5 responses to “Ten fascinating facts about Boston

  1. Words cannot express how happy I am to see the Hanseatic league mentioned in a blog…it gets less coverage than it deserves. It’s interesting to note that a lot of the most obese places in the country and northern…I believe that is because we have our whippets do all our running for us.

    I walked around America with an ayup mi duck t-shirt on and was not once asked what it meant…where is the humanity I ask.

    • Eee ducky, what a disappointment. They’ve forgotten their midlands roots in the Big Apple, then.
      I reckon the Hanseatic league weren’t real friends of Boston. They were only after our cotton, or perhaps our mackerel. They’re not around any more anyway.
      Now we need 10 facts about your home town!

      • I have a whole blog post, mostly finished slating it to the ground…I may publish it when either when I’m safely out of the country or when I wish to make life more dramatic for myself.

      • I want to see it, preferably with photos! Don’t flee the country. Just close the curtains for a week and don’t tell the milkman. People will think you’ve hightailed it. Oh wait, there aren’t any milkmen any more …

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