Boston, Lincolnshire: The Pilgrims and the Thread to America

Free entry and running from now until 2021 and beyond. 

New exhibitions…

Boston is known as the port and market town where, in 1607, a group of separatists famously attempted to escape to the Nertherlands, only to be betrayed and arrested.

A new exhibition at Boston Guildhall, Boston: The Pilgrims and the Thread to America, shares a complex and compelling tale of intrigue and influence. Exploring Boston’s role in the Pilgrims’ story and also the later founding of Boston, Massachusetts, in 1630.  The thread that links the story of the Pilgrims in Boston to the puritans, who left for America in 1630, is a Boston cloth dealer, Leonard Beetson.   

Beetson, arrested with known Pilgrims, never joined them in their eventual escape, instead remaining in Boston, England.  Beetson went on to become a Boston councillor and knew John Cotton, the charismatic and influential vicar of St. Botolph’s Church.  Beetson passed away before the Cotton Congregation began their movement in 1630 from Boston, UK over to Boston, America.  Cotton himself settled in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1633.  Famous characters linked to the exhibition include Pilgrims William Brewster, William Bradford and their friends and accomplices.

The exhibition is supported by original documents on loan from the Lincolnshire Archives, which have never been on public display together before, and that help tell these stories. Built in the 1390s, Boston Guildhall is the very building where the Pilgrims were tried and held. Visitors can walk in the footsteps of these characters, view the prison cells and stand in the court room where they were tried. 


Thursday 5th March 2020

The Mind Reader Fundraising Night with Dean Odell

Doors open from 6:30pm with the evening beginning from 7pm.

Join us for a fantastic fundraising evening from Heritage Lincolnshire here at Boston Guildhall Museum on Thursday 5th March 2020 from 7pm with Dean Odell.

The Mind Reader is a live interactive show where Dean will use his skills of psychology and magic to seemingly tap into your minds and read your thoughts at will!
Dean wants to put mystery back into your life, so put your phone away and spend an evening in the company of a mind reader!
You will take part in a number of seemingly impossible mental feats which will leave you amazed.

Dean Odell is a psychological illusionist, he uses his skills of psychology and magic to seemingly tap into people’s minds, influence their decisions and read their thoughts at will!

Tickets are £12 for Heritage Lincolnshire Members, and £14 for non-members, and they can be purchased online ready for Christmas presents, or a night out!  Please find the link on our Facebook page for tickets. Boston Guildhall Museum

For more information please email or call 01529 461499

Sunday 15th March

Boston Guildhall Wedding Fayre!

10:30am – 3:30pm

Free Admission

Boston Guildhall would like to invite you to attend our Wedding Fayre on Sunday 15th March 2020!

Come and join us from 10:30am through to 3:30pm when you can view the building and find out more about our packages, visit stands and think of ideas for your special day.

With a pop up cafe on site to offer refreshments while you browse, there will be lots of time to relax and enjoy Boston Guildhall as you think about your special day.

We will be available to answer any of questions, and I am sure that the other wedding services who join us will be more than happy to discuss your day with you too.

All of the businesses standing at this event will be shared on this event post and on our website so please keep taking a peep at who will be with us.

If you are a business and would like to join us at this event please contact for an application form.

Photographs courtesy of Haydn Huston

Saturday 28th March

Neil Wright Talk – The Waterways and Canals of Lincolnshire

Seats to be taken for 1pm.

£5 per person on the door, complimentary tea or coffee on arrival.

Neil Wright is joining us for three more talks this spring and the Waterways and Canals of Lincolnshire will be the first topic discussed and shared.

Boston built it’s fortunes during the medieval period and thanks mostly to the waterways that the town of Boston sits on… but the main rivers of Lincolnshire have been transport routes for centuries, and in the 18th century they were improved, and new canals were created to extend this transport system to other towns. Old canals included the Fossdyke and the Stamford Canal, and if the promotes had acted more quickly then the Louth canal could have been the first canal of the Georgian Canal Mani.

Saturday 11th April

Pilgrim Family Day

10:30am – 3:30pm, last admission 3pm.

Free Admission but please be aware that there is a £5 per person fee for the 1pm Neil Wright Pilgrim talk.

Come and join us on Saturday 11th April when we will be sharing a day of family fun here at Boston Guildhall Museum.

With face painting, crafts, promenade performances, a talk from Neil Wright and a pop up café – we invite you to visit us to discover more about our exhibitions and Boston’s links to the Pilgrims and Boston’s wider American Connections…. With a Pilgrim trail to follow through the building for our younger audiences alongside costume and archaeological find boxes to explore.

Step into the cells, stand in the court room and walk through the building where many stories can be discovered.

Free admission but please be aware that there will be a £5 per person charge to attend Neil Wrights talk which will be delivered at 1pm in the Banqueting Hall and will include a complimentary tea or coffee on arrival.


Saturday 25th April

Neil Wright Talk – Swineshead and other Cistercian Monasteries of Lincolnshire

Seats to be taken for 1pm. 

£5 per person on the door, complimentary tea or coffee on arrival.

Our second talk, or third if you join us at our Pilgrim Family Day, from Neil Wright this season – Swineshead and other Cistercian Monasteries of Lincolnshire.

Boston’s medieval wool trade and our ability to export the wool through Boston Port saw Boston take the Wool Staple from Lincoln in 1369… less than 30 years before the beautiful Boston Guildhall was built… But what were the monasteries in Lincolnshire like?

Swineshead and other Cistercian Monasteries of Lincolnshire – The Cistercian monks created monasteries in areas of difficult terrain, which they then mastered, and we have classic examples of this in the former monasteries of Revesby and Swineshead in the fens. All Cistercian monasteries followed the same layout, and their Lincolnshire abbeys, also including Louth, Kirkstead and Vaudey (next to Grimsthorpe Castle) can be reconstructed from surviving fragments elsewhere. These monasteries were an important part of life in Lincolnshire for over 400 years. Come and see what these important buildings looked like in their heyday, and hear what life was like for the monks and lay brothers. Did the monks of Swineshead really kill King John?


Saturday 9th May 2020

Boston Model Fairground Show

10:30am – 3:30pm, last admission 3pm.

Free Event, donations welcome.

Come and join us as Boston Model Fairground Show joins us for a forth year here at Boston Guildhall.

With miniature delights and ‘all the fun of the fair’ these creations give you an insight into some of the larger rides that you’ll see at the Boston Mayfair this year plus some that have been in years gone by.

The individuals who make these models do so for pleasure and look forward to sharing them with you – we have seen year on year increased visitor numbers at this event and the exhibitors try to offer new layouts throughout the building when they join us.

Why not stop and relax with a cup of tea and a slice of cake at the pop up café, draw your own design for a fairground ride and maybe, if you’re feeling brave…. step out into Boston Market Place and have a ride on the real thing!

Saturday 23rd May

Neil Wright Talk – Engineering Firms of Victorian Lincolnshire

Seats to be taken for 1pm.

£5 per person on the door, complimentary tea or coffee on arrival

Some of these business names will be familiar we are sure….

Engineering Firms of Victorian Lincolnshire – Engineering in Lincolnshire started with small firms in Boston and Grantham in the early 19th century, but from the 1840s giant engineering firms were established in Lincoln and Gainsborough as well. Clayton and Shuttleworth of Lincoln, Hornsby of Grantham and Marshalls of Gainsborough came to dominate their towns, and were comparable with the greatest in Europe or America at the time, right up to the First World War. Lincoln also had other great firms, seeking to emulate Claytons’, founded by Ruston, Robey, Foster and others, and Stamford had a major company that changed its ownership and name several times. Why did these firms grow so big in Lincolnshire, and what happened to them?

Boston Guildhall is available for Private Hire & is a Licensed Venue for Weddings.

If you would like to know more please contact

Wedding Venue, Meeting Hire, Corporate Functions, Conferences, Wakes, Tours, Afternoon Tea, Paranormal Investigations, Exhibitions, Museum Collections, School Trips, Presentations and more….  01205 365954

Boston Guildhall, South Street, PE21 6HT

Our normal opening hours are Wed, Thurs, Fri & Sat 10:30am – 3:30pm