Boston – Where East Meets West – part 8

Boston and the Maud Foster Mill

According to legend, Boston is named after St Boltoph. It is said he came to the area in the 7th Century, and built a monastery and church next to an existing settlement. The settlement was renamed St Boltoph’s Tun (Town) and contracted to Boston.

Boston was not named in Domesday of 1086, but probably grew into a town in the 11th or 12th Century. At that time, international trade was booming, and Boston was well situated to trade with Europe, and became a busy port. It became a focal point for the villages around Lincolnshire, and slowly grew as the population expanded.

Once the church and tower (known locally as the “Stump”, was completed in the 15th to 16th Century it was a local landmark and used by sailors to find their way to the coast, and the town.

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It was the wool trade that made Boston important – and with a Royal Charter to hold a market – it became the place to see, and be seen.

The wool trade had almost stopped by 1500, but Boston continued to be an important trading town, with the import of spices and other goods.

In the mid 16th Century, work was started on the Maud Foster Drain.  Why this drain has this name is not entirely clear.

In History and Antiquities of Boston, Pishey Thompson states (p201) “Maud Foster herself  has ceased to be a myth, for we find frequent mention of her in the Corporation Records. But we cannot connect this person with the Drain, so as to discover any reason why it should bear her name. Tradition asserts, that Maud Foster was the owner of the land through which the new cut would pass, and that she gaved consent to its passage on very favourable conditions, one of which was that it should bear her name. Our readers must take this tradition for what it is worth, as we cannot strengthen it by any facts.”

The Mill was not built till 1819.

When we visited the windmill in February of this year – there was some construction work going on in front of it, but the current miller was talkative, and I was able to purchase some of the flour, ground there.  He sells a good variety, and I purchased both seed and plain strong bread flour – since made into a loaf.  You can also purchase porridge oats.

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I appreciate that there has been quite a jump from the last location to this one – and I intend to fill in the gaps as time goes on.

On the same day that we visited Boston, we also went to East Kirby Airfield, which houses not only the Lancaster ‘Just Jane’, but a stone which deliniates the East West Meridian.

I think that East Kirby deserves a post all to itself, but I think I need a return visit for more photographs.

Author: Diane Seddon ARPS AFIAP CPAGB BPE3* - D Seddon Photography

I am a retired freelance photographer, based in Louth, Lincolnshire.

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