Thursday, 6 August 2009

No 48 Boston Spa 13.07.2009

We decided that we could if we tried, also manage a quick visit to the town of Boston, the place from which the pilgrim father's set sale and who's names sake can be found on the East Coast of the United States. It is only 32 miles south-east of Lincoln, so after battling our way through Lincoln's traffic we finally made it there around 6pm. As with much of Lincolnshire, the area is just a few metres above sea level and regular flooding is only prevented by a system of drainage and sea defences.

It is an historic and attractive market town which is dominated by the 14th-century St.Botolph's Church whose 271ft high tower is a landmark for miles around.

The name Boston is believed to be a derivation of St.Botolph's Town. St.Botolph was a 7th-century monk who is alleged to have founded an abbey here in 645AD although there is little evidence to support this. The Port of Boston The Port was established in 1886 and has a long history of handling agricultural and timber products. From the early part of the 16th century, Boston gradually became a Puritan town and, by the early 17th century, a Puritan stronghold, electing the young, radical John Cotton as its vicar. In 1607, Captain John Smith (born in the village of Willoughby, about 20 miles NE of Boston) was the leading character in the expedition that founded Jamestown in Virginia. John Rolfe, who married the famous Indian princess Pocahontas, was born about 20 miles SE of Boston.

The town seemed very quiet, and slightly dirty and sadly neglected. maybe that was because we arrived at the time we did...

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

No. 49 - Lincoln 13.07.2009

At the last minute we decided to have a run out to Lincoln.

Lincoln, as the crow flies is not far away - well not really, it's only and hour or so away from Sheffield. However, it's not a place I have managed to find myself visiting.

As a girl on numerous coach trips to the coast ( my father was a coach driver) we passed on the outskirts, but we never actually stopped.

So Lou, I and the Shea ( the dog), decided that it seemed like a good place to go!. So at 11.30 am on the 13th July we just chucked a few things into the car, set the sat nav and headed off down the A1.

After negotiating the one way system, we finally managed to park the car not far from the city centre and headed in through one of the gates by the Cathedral .

The sun was shinning and there were students all over the place, some were sat on the grass having a picnic, under the gaze of the cathedral, while others were playing ball. Most of them sounded like international students enjoying the British Summer, i.e., sun and heavy showers! Lincoln has a thriving University, which is on the outskirts of the city, and which visited with my daughter, Emily, when she was thinking of going there to do her first degree. In the end she decided against it and ended up in Wales! - I think the flatness of the surrounding area spooked her!...

As we took pictures of the cathedral a crocodile of young children, all dressed immaculately in their school uniforms and walking in line so perfectly weaved their way passed us. Sadly, in this day and age, we felt that it would be unwise to take their picture; enough to say that it looked and felt so quintessentially 'English' and straight out of a Pathe film.

The Cathedral, otherwise know as The Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln, or sometimes St. Mary's Cathedral, was stunning, the architecture was so impressive...

a side door of the Cathedral

At another side entrance, though now closed - and a very small me and the dog, so you can see the scale.

'Lincoln Cathedral is one of the finest medieval buildings in Europe, which towers above Lincoln, a prominent landmark for miles around.'

By the side of the Cathedral there was a beautiful green surround by exquisite houses, not that I was drooling or anything like that ...

Looking up, - apparently it was reputedly between 1300-1549 said to be the tallest building in the world...

and the obligatory one of me saying where I am.

John Ruskin is said to have declared, "I have always held... that the cathedral of Lincoln is out and out the most precious piece of architecture in the British Isles and roughly speaking worth any two other cathedrals we have." And he was man who knew a thing or two! In 2005, the Cathedral was used as a stand -in for Westminster Abbey in the film The Da Vinci Code, as permission to film in the Abbey had been refused. It was also used again as stand-in in 2008, for the film The Young Victoria

As we came out of the grounds of the Cathedral we could see Lincoln Castle, sadly we didn't have time to go there an explore.. but we will next time.

We then went for a walk round the city, and so the next few pictures are of Lincoln City itself...

We walked up and down a very Steep Hill....yes that's what they call the road- very original, and believe you me it was very very steep!!

though there were some wonderful shops on the way to look of which is The Jews House and Jews Court

Dating from the mid-twelfth century, if you look closely you can see that part of the fa├žade survives; and that by the elaborately carved doorway, are the remains of two Romanesque double-arch windows and much of the stonework on the upper storey. A chimney is found above the front door; this originally rose from two fireplaces, one either side of the door.

In 1255, due to in part, the case of Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln, and the Anti Semitic hysteria which was spreading through out the land, and by 1290, the entire Jewish population of Lincoln and England was expelled from these shores. Jewish homes and property, including this house, were then seized from their Jewish owners.

In the case of 'Little Hugh', a Lincoln Jew named Copin (Jopin), is said to have confessed to his murder. He 'confessed' that it was custom of Jews to sacrifice a Christian child every year. The murder, interestingly coincided with Henry III selling his rights to tax Jews to his brother, Richard , Earl of Cornwall. So Henry, having lost a major source of his income ( Jews at the time were only allowed to be 'moneylenders' and as such were though by the populace to make great profits, the reality was that very few were professional moneylenders and very few made amassed a great fortune. The reason that Kings and the clergy had to turn to Jews to lend money was because Christians were not allowed by the Church to make profit out of lending money.) Henry decided that if Jews were convicted of crimes it was okay to take all of their possession.. what followed was a very English Pomgram - resulting in ninety Jews being arrested charged with involvement in the ritual murder. Eighteen of them were hanged for refusing to participate in the proceedings and refusing to throw themselves on the verdict of a Christian jury. The little boy, Hugh, was seen as a Christian martyr, and his murder became part of popular culture, and his story became the subject of poetry and folk songs, and is also mentioned in Chaucer's Prioress tale, in his Canterbury Tales.

There is a shrine to 'Little St Hugh' in the Cathedral.

As we walked down Steep Road we came across this delightful tearoom and teashop- which made me think of Rachel.

There was a variety of teas and tea pots, sadly as they would not let us bring the dog in we could not partake of refreshment there and so walked further down into town!

The coffee and the cake we finally had were absolutely too die for. The coffee shop we stopped at are the only independent coffee shop that we could find in the city. We managed to grab a table outside, the shop inside was small but their list of coffees and their cakes were not!.. The cafe was run by two great guys who knew lots about their products and were eager to offer advice as to what to have. Now i did have their web address and email , but I seemed to have missed placed it, but will have a good look for it and let you know as soon as I have found it.. as it was a place I would go highly recommend for real coffee lovers. We continued to have a wander round for a while, but realised we only had a limited amount of time left in the car park, so made our way back up the hill.

Here are few more pictures of the town as we acceded .... and one of Lou with his well deserved ice cream



did I made you Jump??? perhaps not.. just to say I am still here and have lots of pics to post.... I haven't forgot... we have had a few days out ... so there will be photo's to follow... We have managed to visit 4 more places so the total is going down... The question is though - will I make the 50 by the end of Nov??