10-Sep-2009 -- Continued from 52°N 1°W.
We spent four weeks in the United Kingdom visiting cousins. As well, we managed to visit eight confluence sites to add to those we've visited back home in Canada and some in the United States. This is the second of eight visits in the UK.
Because we have visited several confluences on the 53rd latitude in Canada, we decided to visit confluences along the 53rd in the UK. With cousins Gerald and Joyce Fox we headed for the Fens in the Boston area of Lincolnshire to visit 53°N on the Prime Meridian. The Fens are primarily agricultural lands lying within a few feet above or below sea-level. Similar to the Netherlands, this area of wetlands has been drained and is protected from flooding by drainage banks, canals and pumps. One such drain runs close to the confluence. Grains and vegetables are grown in this region.
With Gerald as our driver and guide we began our day touring the region around the confluence. At Tattershall Castle, about 12 miles from the confluence, we read a "Tattershall Castle and the Founding of America" information board explaining the significance of this region to the founding of the United States by the Pilgrim Fathers. This castle had been a meeting place for the promoters of the Puritan movement and the founding of the Massachusetts settlement. Gerald then drove us to "Havenside Country Park" on the banks of The Haven where the Pilgrim Fathers' Monument is located, 4 miles from the confluence. We ate the delicious picnic lunch that Joyce had prepared then looked at the monument. It reads: "Near this place in September 1607 those later known as the Pilgrim Fathers were thwarted in their first attempt to sail to find religious freedom across the sea." We then drove the short distance into Boston where we visited beautiful St. Botolph's Church. Founded in 1309, the Church has had a number of celebratory events this year to honour their 700th Anniversary. It's steeple, nicknamed "The Boston Stump", is visible from the confluence. In the church gift shop I purchased an informative brochure, "Boston and the Foundation of the United States of America". We seemed to be developing a theme here ...
Firstly, it seems that due to Captain John Smith, who came from this Boston area of Lincolnshire, Jamestown was founded in Virginia in 1607 and became the first successful English settlement in North America. Secondly, many of the Pilgrim Fathers were from this area of Lincolnshire. As Pilgrim Fathers monument notes, they first tried to sail from here to America in 1607. After their arrest and time spent in jail they eventually regrouped to sail to America aboard The Mayflower in 1620. They established a settlement which they named Boston, after their Lincolnshire town. A memorial stained glass window in St. Botolph's Church shows their Vicar, Rev. John Cotton, bidding farewell to his parishioners on The Arbello as they set sail for Boston, Massachusetts in 1630. He then followed on a future sailing. People from this part of Lincolnshire and St. Botolph's Church dominated the new colony in America. These Puritans were Massachusetts' first Governors and its leaders in education with the foundation of the Boston Free Latin School. They were also amongst the founders of what was to become Harvard University. The Pilgrim Fathers are remembered annually at the end of November when the United States celebrates their Thanksgiving Day. A group of women from south Lincolnshire were remarkable as well with their fight for woman's rights and one, Anne Bradstreet, become the new country's first published poet. She is also memorialized in a stained glass window in St. Botolph's Church.
Whereas the Pilgrim Fathers sailed off to new land, many fathers stayed in Lincolnshire raising fine families, our ancestors. Three hundred years after the Pilgrim Fathers sailed to America, a father from Lincolnshire sailed to Canada with his wife and three sons to start a new life farming in Saskatchewan. It was 1926 and the 17 year old son was Alan's father. His cousin, Gerald's father, stayed in Lincolnshire and continued life in Britain. Now these two second cousins are together in Lincolnshire searching for this confluence.
We were able to park at a pull-off near a house on Sibsey Road close to a bridge over Cowbridge Drain, which flowed along the edge of the confluence field. A man was fishing on the bank of the drain. We walked west for one-fifth of a mile on the north side of the drain. Thistles with a few new blooms and many that had gone to seed grew along the banks. Eventually, Alan and Gerald, each with their GPS crisscrossed the cultivated field, doing confluence "dance", until they had their zeros. From the confluence the sails of Sibsey Trader Mill, a working windmill that grinds flour, can be seen to the north. St. Botolph's steeple is visible to the south.
We all had a very enjoyable day together. Another confluence has been visited and we have had a history lesson as well!
Next we visited 54°N 1°W