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The Height of Boston Stump
(Hotly-debated topic that it is!)
Boston Stump is the tallest parish church tower in England.
Or is it? Well, at 272 feet it's quite big, but it's definitely NOT the tallest ecclesiastical building in the UK! There are cathedrals which are bigger, and there are some parish churches which have higher steeples. I am reliably informed by a connoisseur of church towers and steeples that Louth church has a steeple which is 295ft high, which is 23ft higher than Boston Stump. And Coventry's St Michael is 299ft and before 1918 wasn't officially a cathedral! So, why do the people of Boston so proudly claim Boston Stump to be THE BIGGEST or THE TALLEST in some way? It's down to definition. Boston Stump is the tallest parish church (excluding other types of religious sites such as cathedrals, temples, and sacred pagan mountain-tops) (and also excluding other high buildings such as the Telecom Tower and Canary Wharf etc) TOWER (excluding steeples, and also excluding flagpoles, radio masts, and other altitude-enhancers) in England (excluding Scotland, Wales, Ireland, the rest of the UK, and the rest of the world). Now of course you read into this what you will. Clearly Boston does not have the highest church in England, but by careful choice of definition it has claim to a specific title. Also, however it's phrased, Boston Stump is quite big, especially in proportion to the size of the town of Boston. In a way, you can see something very typical of the town by virtue of the fact of this and the way the claim to tallness is phrased. Boston is a place that is very proud!
Thankyou to the person who pointed out the error which was on the page about Boston Stump on a previous issue. All constructive comment is welcome. ("To err is human. To stick with a mistake once it's been pointed out is ignorant.")
If you have anything to say about any of this, please e-mail
Someone has commented: "Dear Stumpy, I was recently browsing the web following my interest and passion for church spires. Boston is the tallest parish church in England???!"?£?$??"!???????????? I think you'll find that Louth, "Capital of the Wolds" has a church spire which is 295 ft high, I make that 23ft taller than Boston stump."
And further to that, another correspondent writes: "Coventry's St Michael's tops Louth by 4 feet (299ft) being the Third highest medieval spire in England, www.skyscrapers.com/english/worldmap/building/0.9/125436/index.html after Norwich and Salisbury Cathedrals. Now St Michael's was elevated to Cathedral status in 1918 but was built and conceived of as a parish church. The planning rules in Coventry declare that nothing must go higher than its parapet at 225ft. there is some similarity in design to the stump but the octagon is surmounted by a spire. If the stump had a spire it would undoubtedly be taller."
Plus, another good comment: "Just to set the record straight. The second highest steeple in England, after Salisbury Cathedral, is St. Walburge's in Preston, at 309 feet"
And on the boast of being "The tallest parish church tower in England", a friendly contributor tells me this is a claim made also by Holy Trinity, Hull.
Plus, we are also reliably informed: "The spire at Lincoln Cathedral was 524ft high and blew down in a great storm of 1548. It was the tallest church structure in Europe. The tower is now a mere 271ft high."
And in addition to that, a friendly contributor adds: "I believe that St Wulfram's Parish Church, a stone's throw away in Grantham, has a spire that is 282ft tall, just to add to the list. You can probably see it from the top of the stump! (just kidding, I know there is a hill or two in the way)"
Plus: Hi there! Nice site! In relation to the ongoing discussion about the tallest Cathedrals/Churches in England, I think the list below is correct! It includes spires/towers/domes and just about anything else!
Cathedral - 404ft
2. St Paul's Cathedral - 366ft
3. Liverpool Anglican Cathedral - 330ft
4. Norwich Cathedral - 315ft
5. St. Walburges, Preston - 309ft
6. Coventry Cathedral - 299ft
7. Louth Parish Church - 295ft
8. St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol - 292ft
9. Liverpool Catholic Cathedral - 290ft
10. Westminster Cathedral - 284ft
11. St. Wulfram's, Grantham - 282ft
12. St. Elphin's, Warrington - 281ft
13. Chichester Cathedral - 277ft
14. Boston Stump - 272ft
15. Lincoln Cathedral - 270ft
I hope this is of interest!
Another good list of the world's highest church towers can be seen at www.arthistoryclub.com/art_history/List_of_tallest_church_towers
Plus, here we see an interesting review with considerable tongue-in-cheek irony...
From: Simon Kenneally
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2003 2:20 PM
Subject: The Mighty Stump
I'm disgusted and dejected about the information on Boston stump. How can anyone not hold the belief that the stump is not the tallest parish church in England. I have been proudly telling this to everyone I meet during my university, and legal career, and now all my hopes and dreams of a utopian future for the people of Boston, lead by the beacon of The Mighty Stump (that's right, capital T, capital M, capital S) have been dashed in an instant.
I hope you are happy with this anti-stump propaganda, and the misery it brings to all us Boston ex-pats. I will be shortly be taking out an injunction to have such lies removed from the internet, and will make it my personal campaign to promote the stump as the definitive building in the whole of the UK.
The story could run and run, but here's a comment which could solve the question once and for all:
The truth about Boston Stump is that it is the tallest LANTERN tower in the uk.
Well, is this the answer? Is Boston Stump specifically the tallest LANTERN tower in the uk? Sounds plausible doesn't it?
Then again, James of Skyscraper News.com writes: "Boston Stump isn't the tallest lantern tower in the uk either. Liverpool Catholic Cathedral is taller and is a lantern tower. The Boston Stump is however the tallest parish church to *ROOF* in the uk. It's also the largest in terms of length and gross floorspace"
A Real Dark Knight writes: Chalk and Cheese !? The Boston Stump claim is " The tallest PARISH CHURCH, TOWER " ! It's a CHURCH not a cathedral, there is a difference and a TOWER is not a spire ! Again Chalk and cheese. By the way I don't live in Boston !?
Wikipedia, in 2008, described it as "...the tallest non-cathedral church tower in the world to roof (not spire)".
Also, before a particular date (which was not that long ago), Boston Stump had the highest floored flat roof of any building in the world. Or is that not so?
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