2006 Letter from Boston: On Tuesday we drove the first leg of our journey from Lincoln, and stopped at a campground near Boston. By the time we got there it was afternoon, and we decided to wait until the morning to visit the city. So next morning we were standing outside the reception area, waiting for the bus. A permanent resident of one of the mobile homes in another part of the campground was talking to us when a car pulled up to offer her a ride. Then the lady who was driving asked if we’d like a ride as well. We thanked her and got into the car. That was an unexpected bonus.

She left us in central Boston, whose church, St Botolph’s (not a cathedral), is known as The Stump! Why? We asked lots of people and got a shrug for an answer. We were interested in Boston not only because of the name but because we were told that many of the Puritans who founded the Massachusetts Colony in the New World came from this Boston. In fact, John Cotton, who was among the most improtant figures in the Massachusetts bay colony, had been the preacher at St. Botolph’s Church for some years before coming to America. The church’s distinguishing feature is a very tall bell tower that can be seen for miles around. It also is a lovely church – and very ornate. In fact, the pulpit from which John Cotton preached (apparently for four hours at a time!) was very prettily carved and gilded. What a difference between that church and the plain style of New England churches!

On a wall in the church are the family shields of many American families under a sign saying that the families listed had helped the church with some repairs in the 19th century. Many of the names listed would be very familiar to most Americans and indeed include distinguished families who played very important roles in American history – Cotton, Lowell, Adams, Quincy, Warren, Eliot and Sears, among others. As we walked around we found references to America’s first English colonists! We were told that some of these men returned to England to fight with the army of Parliament in the English Civil War. Never heard that before!

Another American-related tourist site in Boston was the prison in which the American Pilgrims were held before they left first for Leyden in Holland, long prior to their leaving for America aboard the Mayflower. We didn’t get to see it because the city government is fixing it up, but we understand that most of the leaders were there because, as Puritans, they were not Church of England friendly.

The Stump owns quite an extensive library of old books and they had some books in cases against the wall. One of them was a copy of "The Canterbury Tales" published in 1598. It was in a different type of English so it was hard to make it out!

After walking through the old part of the city, reading our e-mail at the library, and checking out the shops, we were tired. We decided to have a cup of coffee in the church shop. This was in the most beautiful part of the city. We enjoyed our day in Boston, so far from home.

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