St. Botolph's Church is affectionately called The Stump
by the residents of Boston. I will never forget the first time I saw St. Botolph's Church up close. We had eaten dinner at Moon Under the Water and were walking back to our lodging. We crossed the bridge and turned a corner to find ourselves looking at the church with the setting sun behind it. The building itself was dark with sunlight coming through the windows from the other side of the building. The lights on the tower were already on. I definitely had a WOW feeling. I still get that feeling now sometimes when I am shopping in the market and glance up to see that beautiful huge building and I stand there looking at it for a few moments taking it all in.
St. Boltoph's Church or The Stump is located on a site where an older Norman church once stood. Christians have been worshipping here for 1,000 years. Building of the present church began in 1309. The tower was not completed until about 1510-1520. It is one of the largest parish churches in England.
A church of this size usually takes much longer to build because of lack of funds but Boston was very prosperous at that time through the wool trade. The tower is 272 feet and it is the tallest non-cathedral tower in England. It is thought that the original plans were to add a spire. This never happened and that may be the reason it is called "The Stump".
One of the most importent church libraries in England is in St. Boltoph's Church. The books and manuscripts were recently catalogued and we now know there are 1,689 titles with the oldest being a 12th century manuscript.
The library can be visited by appointment only except during the two or three days a year that it is open to the public. If you wish to visit the library, contact the parish office to arrange for a guide. Tel: 01205 362864.
Some of the stained glass windows were damaged by rioting puritans in 1612. Another note of interest is that Boston, Massachusetts was given its name by a former priest of St. Botolph's, John Cotton, after he immigrated to the colonies.
There is a peal of 10 bells and four quarter bells in the tower. The inscription on the tenor bell reads:
"All men that heare my mourneful sound repent before you lie in ground." There are two shields, one with the Union Flag and one with the Star Spangled Banner along with the words, "This peal of ten bells was cast from the former peal of eight at the joint expense of the people of Boston, Mass, USA and Boston Lincs."
Boston parish is currently raising funds for restoration work for The Stump. A building of this age needs a lot of maintenance and repair. The goal is to raise �3,000,000. You can help by visiting the gift shop and purchasing a piece of St. Botolph's stone that has been saved from previous restorations. The price of the stones depends on the size--�3.00 to �120. Or, if you wish, simply make a donation to the restoration fund. Any amount will be greatly appreciated and you will have contributed to the maintenance of English heritage.
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