Talk:St Botolph's Church, Boston

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Looks a good article, so graded as a C as lacks inline refs which would make it a B candidate. Good work every one BulldozerD11 (talk) 23:23, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

Strictly Incorrect[edit]

The article implicitly, but correctly, contradicts itself. The Stump is the name of the tower of St Botolph's Church, Boston, not the church itself, although common usage refers to the Church by the name of its tower, in a similar way to that in which "Big Ben" correctly refers to a bell, but is used to refer to the tower in which it is hung ("The tower of the great clock of Westminster" or something like that). I am not sure how best to edit the article to reflect this, if at all.

I've amended it but the amendment might be made a little more concise if you can see a way of compressing it. (RJP 10:39, 4 October 2005 (UTC))
That looks fine. --SMeeds 10:58, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

Props to Gothicform for nice job on The Stump[edit]

I almost didn't recognise it compared to earlier versions. Good job! --JanesDaddy 20:47, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

thanks. i have more to add to it... perhaps even a 3d model floorplan. i get a lot of visits for my sites from wikipedia so i thought id give something back and do a really in depth article.--Gothicform 21:23, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

Light in the tower[edit]

The latest alteration to the text would be true provided the light were a reality. That is not, so far as I am aware, a demonstrable fact. (RJP 21:14, 5 February 2007 (UTC))

I assume you are referring to the sentence "Not only did the tall tower serve as a landmark during the day, but a light hung there at night provided a helpful guide to travellers and boats alike." Whe I saw that the word "hung" had been added I to was concerned. Referring to Pishey Thompson (1856) , he mentions in a footnote "The lantern, no doubt, was intended to be lighted at night for a sea-mark". This is a supposition rather than a fact, and he goes on to explain how other churches with similar towers are supposed to have had lights, and that some still had hooks where lanterns may be hung.
I would suggest that the offending sentence should be hedged: "Not only did the tall tower serve as a landmark during the day, but a light may have been placed there at night...". Note that I have also replaced the word "hung" which is definitely too specific. Perhaps "may" is too vague and could be accused of POV, so perhaps "it has been suggested" might be more appropriate, with reference to Pishey Thompson? SMeeds 12:41, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
I started this thread when someone changed the hedged version of the story to a flat statement. I do not know the building well enough to know that there is no history of a light in the tower. A negative is always difficult to prove. However, there are clear reasons to suspect that it did not happen. The term lantern is used generically for the design of the structure which is at the top of Boston's tower. Ely is the obvious example. It has by no means, a necessary connection with any use as a mounting for a light. Also, to be of any practical service, the light would need to be large. This would make it expensive to maintain and above all, dangerous. Any wooden part of the structure would be very vulnerable in what is just like a factory chimney. The vault visible from ground level is quite modern. Any mistake with the necessarily large, burning light or in getting the correspondingly large supply of fuel up there, would soon turn the tower into a furnace.
The lighthouse idea is a lovely one but, on the face of it, impractical.
I suggest that the idea would be best dealt with by discussing it in the article, rather than trying to gloss over it. If we don't do that, someone will follow up again and turn it into an assertion of 'fact', or at best, go away thinking of it as 'fact'.(RJP 12:24, 7 February 2007 (UTC))
RJP, I'll leave it up to you exactly what is done (unless anyone else wants to get involved in the discussion). I think your suggestion of discussing the matter in the article is a good one. Here is the full quotation from Pishey Thompson (1856), which is widely considered the definitive history of Boston, but on this matter can't be said to be authoritative.
"The lantern, no doubt, was intended to be lighted at night for a sea-mark. The church of All Saints at York has a lantern very much resembling this of Boston; 'and tradition tells us that anciently a large lamp hung in it, which was lighted in the night time, as a mark for travellers to aim at, in this city. There is still the hook of the pulley on which the lamp hun in the steeple.' - Drake's York, p 292. And Stow tells us that the steeple had five lanterns; to wit, one at each corner, and 'It seemeth that the lanterns on the top of this steeple were meant to have been glazed, and lights in them to have been placed nightly in the winter; whereby travellers to the city might have the better sight thereof, and not miss their way.' - Survey, p542."
This extract is actually in a footnote to Pishey Thompson's, "History and Antiquities of Boston..." and is attributed to Mr Britton, the editor of the Linconshire Churches, in the Division of Holland. I am sending a message to someone interested in The Stump's history to see if he has any more current theories in this matter, and I will let you know via this Talk page if I hear anything. SMeeds 23:58, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Following my last note I have received a reply from my contacts in Boston. I will attempt to apply them to the article. SMeeds 16:58, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
I have now added a subsection "Significance of the tower". I hope it is OK. Please feel free to copyedit it. SMeeds 17:29, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Well I originally wrote about the tower being a lantern tower after I visited the church and asked (my photos are on this page too and most of the article is my work). The people at the church seemed to think that the tower was used as a lighthouse for the port... Oh and it says too about less than half a dozen surviving examples in the UK. I know of only three surviving medieval churches with lantern towers in the UK. Others like Newcastle Cathedral aren't actually lantern towers, they are crowned spires. Also the Boston Stump is the tallest parish church to ROOF in the UK, it is not the tallest parish church.

--Gothicform 14:45, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Claims of Superlative[edit]

It would be helpful to see a measurement in the claim (under Dimensions and Statistics) that the church is the "tallest to roof" of any parish church in England.

The article on St. Bartholomew's[1] in Brighton is a good example of how such a claim can be presented, while preserving NPOV. That church, which has no tower, claims the tallest nave of any English parish church at 135 feet plus another 9 feet for the cross.

Such superlatives are worth noting in an article, but do not seem encyclopedic without stating a measurement. Monomoit (talk) 02:09, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Much confused by tallest to roof which smacks of special pleading. Tallest_church_tower says tallest parish church tower (as opposed to spire) in England but lacks cite. --Alastair Rae (talk) 13:15, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
[2]: … and Salisbury Cathedral, of course, and Freiburg Minster, and St. Peter's of Rome … (talk) 16:43, 16 May 2015 (UTC)

History Inaccurate[edit]

The article states: "For approximately the next 20 years, theological determination was disputed between the crown, nobility and clergy in England. Political turmoil from these events led to the Hundred Years War and the eventual formation of the Church of England as we understand it today."

The first question, is "20 years" from when, to when? Second, it is inaccurate to say that the Hundred Years War resulted in the formation of the Church of England. There are far more direct precursors, including Luther and Henry VIII's dispute with Rome over the annulment of his marriage to Cathrine of Arragon. The fact remains that unlike the rest of Europe that turned Protestant during the 16th Century, England's foray into Protestantism was both hesitant and the result not so much of popular protest and conversion from below, but rigorously enforced policy from above. The North in particular reacted strongly against these policies, resulting in the Pilgrimage of Grace. While it's impossible to say, therefore, that the Hundred Years War played no role in the formation of the Anglican Church (after all, most everything is connected on some level), its contribution was at most indirect and subtle, and more properly suited for a scholarly article than encyclopedic entry.

My recommendation is to remove the quoted text, which is not a good fit for the section in any case.Mikhelos (talk) 13:51, 10 April 2011 (UTC)


This is a very good article, and I would like to grade it B and nominate for GA. But it still needs more in-line refs for that, Most sections are entirely unreferenced. I don't think it is unfactual, just not Wikipedia:Verifiability compliant. Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Lead section and When and why to create sources are jolly helpful too.

I enjoyed reading this article.--Robert EA Harvey (talk) 11:14, 31 March 2013 (UTC)


The statement that the library contains "a 1585 Baskerville Bible with its revolutionary type-face" is an impossibility. If it is a 1585 Bible it is probably an edition of the Bishops' Bible (or perhaps a Geneva Bible); if it is a Bible printed by John Baskerville it dates from 1763. Being unable to determine whether either or both are correct in the case of Boston, I have deleted the statement entirely; perhaps someone with local knowledge can provide a correct version. Camboxer (talk) 09:44, 3 December 2014 (UTC)

Dimensions section[edit]

Didn't understand: "The walls of the tower are 40 feet (12.2 m) 40 feet (12.1 m)". It can't be thickness, so guessing "40 feet square" is probably what is meant. Please can someone who knows correct it :-) Taliska (talk) 00:55, 5 January 2015 (UTC)