It was a miserable morning again and the cloud was so low the top of 'The Stump' was obscured. We sallied forth despite the rain as it was market day and we wanted to see if they had a few things we needed. The Market Place is large and pedestrianised. There is a statue to Herbert Ingram who was born in Boston and founded the London Illustrated News. He and his son lost their lives in a shipping incident on the Great Lakes in America.
Herbert Ingram 1811 - 1860.
The Tourist Information office was at the Guild Hall so after picking a map and a couple of leaflets we had a look around. The Guildhall was built for the Guild of the Blessed St Mary in 1390. The Guild was a sort of insurance policy for the rich of Boston for getting into Heaven. The subscription ensured that prayers were said everyday by the poor of the town to ensure you were viewed generously when arriving at the Pearly Gates. The traders made fortunes out of wool and wine and other trading and Boston was the largest port in the country other than London. They enjoyed unrivaled riches and this set the basis for the richness of the architecture and the size of the town left today. All went well until Henry VIII and the dissolution of the monasteries. Guilds survived but Henry's son Edward VI wanted more money so he shut down the Guilds, of which there were many, and they were very rich. Fortunately Henry had given a them a letter that stated that they could retain their riches. There fore they were able to argue that all the riches and building should be given to the Council of the Town and so the Guild Hall became the Town Hall.
The Banqueting of the Guild Hall.
It became the local lock up and the petty assizes and as such it is said that the Pilgrim Fathers were locked up here after being prevented from fleeing from the country the first time in 1607. There were many lovely buildings around the town and there were loads of little alleys and ten foots. Maybe it is fanciful but it reminded me of all the little alleys in Venice!
The Exchange building was built in 1772 by the Boston Corporation as a fish market with rooms above.
Exchange Building on West Side of the Market Place.
The White Hart Hotel near Town Bridge. It was built in 16th Century and extended in 19th Century. The original White Hart Hotel was knocked down to make way for the road to the new Town Bridge and this building was actually called The Unicorn.
St Botolphs Church can be seen from just about everywhere in the town.
We originally thought that this was an old railway hotel as it was opposite the station but the Old Swan House was actually a feather processing factory erected in 1877. It was built for F.S Anderson who was a woman unusually. Geese had been reared on the fens for many years. They were plucked twice a year and the feathers brought here to be cured by heat before being used to stuff pillows. The factory continued in use until about mid 1950's, latterly run by Fogarty and Son.
Despite the large number of swans found on the River Witham I don't think that any swans were plucked but the emblem is splendid.
The weather is supposed to be better tomorrow so we will have another look around before moving off.