Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Boston Stump


Although Noel Coward once wittily declared, 'Very Flat Norfolk', in fact large tracts of Norfolk are slightly undulating in landscape and even downright hilly in places. Surely the much-loved Norwich poet and performer Timothy Sillence (1944-2002) conveyed a much deeper understanding of the intimate and mystical nature of the Norfolk landscape when humorously writing-  

Norfolk
is a flat land
within easy reach 
of the Himalayas.

Recently on a rare excursion out of the county of  'bootiful Norfolk', I had the pleasure to travel through the Fens, the geographical region of England which is definitely 'Very Flat'. The Fens are a vast expanse of fertile agricultural land situated predominately in the counties of Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire. Travelling through the many square miles of low-laying land effectively drained and reclaimed from the sea by Dutch engineering in the seventeenth century, one senses how much the Fen landscape with its huge domed skies must have affected the psychology of its inhabitants. This thought is reinforced once arriving at Boston in Lincolnshire and viewing the enormous tower of Saint Botolph's. Long known as Boston Stump or just The Stump, the medieval architects of the extraordinary Perpendicular style tower utilized the flat landscape of Lincolnshire to make their House of God into a bold, enduring statement. Like the so-called 'Ship of the Fens', Ely Cathedral, Boston Stump dominated the landscape during the Middle Ages and was visible from great distance.

The 202 steps and 83 metres which lead up the Boston Stump collectively and discreetly enquire  upon one's assumed fitness, but the views are well worth  the effort !


The windmill (centre) was working with its sails rotating. Its said that from Boston Stump with good visibility and powerful binoculars one can  see the back of one's head ! ( Actually it's claimed one can see over thirty miles from the tower).


The river Haven stretches into the distance. Boston was a thriving sea-port during the Middle Ages until access to the port silted-up over the centuries. As with much of Fenland, Boston is home to a network of rivers, canals and  inter-connecting drainage conduits.

Wiki -link   St. Botolph's Church Boston 
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