Boston, borough and district (1991 pop. 26,495), E central England, on the Witham River. Boston's fame as a port dates from the 13th cent., when it was a Hanseatic port trading wool and wine. Having recovered from a decline in the 18th and 19th cent. caused by silting, Boston now exports coal, grain, agricultural machinery, potatoes, and cattle; it imports timber, grain, fruit, vegetables, and fertilizers. It is also a shellfishery center and a market for a rich lowland farm area. There are food-processing plants and other light industries.

Puritans under John Cotton sailed in 1633 from Boston to Massachusetts Bay (renamed Boston). St. Botolph's Church is on the site of a 7th-century monastery, founded by St. Botolph, for whom Boston is named (Botolph's tun, or town). The 288-ft (88-m) tower (called the Stump, because it does not come to a point) is a landmark. The guildhall, begun in 1545, was restored in 1911 and is now a museum.

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