What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
Boston and the Pilgrim Fathers
=How to get there.=–Train from King’s Cross. Great Northern Rly. =Nearest Station.=–Boston. =Distance from London.=–107-1/4 miles. =Average Time.=–3 hours.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 15s. 4d. ... 8s. 11d. Return 30s. 8d. ... 17s. 10d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"Peacock and Royal,” “Red Lion" Hotels, etc. =Alternative Route.=–None.
The English Boston, which gave its name to the great American seaport, was at one time–although it is hard to believe–of as relatively great importance as its mighty namesake of to-day. In the time of Edward III. it was considered the third most important town in England, for during that reign it contributed no fewer than seventeen ships to the great fleet which was raised by Edward III. But Boston declined through its river–the Witham–becoming scarcely navigable for more than small ships, and after a time was placed on the list of decayed seaports. At the present time it should be mentioned that its trade is steadily reviving.
The town has a quiet, old-fashioned aspect, and many of its houses date from the days when the Pilgrim Fathers made their first attempt to leave England. The very first effort failed, through the treachery of the captain of the vessel in which they were to take passage. They suffered a month’s imprisonment, but shortly afterwards made another attempt to get away from the coast on a Dutch ship. This was only partially successful, for William Brewster and a few others only, reached Amsterdam, the women and the rest of the party having fallen into the hands of a detachment of soldiers. Brewster, however, by untiring efforts got all the rest over to Holland.
It was in 1620 that the Pilgrim Fathers finally set out on their voyage to America. (See Index, Plymouth.) The greatest glory of Boston is “The Stump,” the highly unsuitable name given to its magnificent church tower, 300 feet high, and a landmark all over the surrounding fen-lands and even out at sea. It seems strangely slight when one is standing within the tower and notices that no floor breaks the great sweep of walls for a great height. The large perpendicular windows also help to give an impression of frailty. The foundation stone, however, was laid as long ago as 1309, and the structure is not so many years younger.
[Illustration: BOSTON, LINCOLNSHIRE.
From whence the Pilgrim Fathers sailed in the Mayflower.]