Bourne Archive: Boston: Boundary Commission      Latest edit 2 May 2010.   

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The Parliamentary Boundary Commissioners’ Report on Boston Borough, 1831.


Report on the Borough of Boston.

[REPORT ON THE]                          BOROUGH OF BOSTON                             [page] 97


THE Borough of Boston extends over the whole Parish of Boston : There are several; patches of extra-parochial Land within the outline of the Parish, but whether they share in the privileges and burthens of the Borough, is at this time a matter of dispute, and, we believe, under legal investigation. There are several large insulated Tracts at a considerable distance from Boston, which, upon the inclosure of certain Fens, have been adjudged to the Parish, and are consequently within the Borough. These are purely agricultural.

The Town lies chiefly within the Borough, and close upon the Eastern Boundary. The Parish extends far beyond the Town on the West. In answer to an application for the number of £.10 Houses, &c. we were informed that there are about 910 qualifying Houses, &c. within the Borough.

Particular attention must be paid to the following Boundaries; viz. Bargate Drain, or Maude Foster’s Drain, on the East, and South Forty-foot Drain on the South.

These Boundaries are not the actual Boundaries of the Borough ; they coincide, however, so nearly with them, and are so much better defined, that we think an alteration to this extent  may be assumed as certain.

By assuming the South Forty-foot Drain for part of the Southern Boundary, in lieu of the Old Hammond Beck, an old and continuous portion of the Town, which is at present excluded, will be brought into the Borough, a better contour is obtained, and a superb straight Canal substituted for an insignificant crooked ditch.

We should therefore recommend, instead of following the course of Old Hammond Beck from the point where it intersects the South forty-foot Drain (E) to the River Witham (H) that a line should be drawn from the first mentioned point (E) along the South Forty-foot Drain until it falls into the Witham (F).

The present Eastern Boundary* may be considered as identical with Bargate Drain, and we feel considerable difficulty in recommending another and more extended limit.

The Population certainly shows a tendency to extend itself to the East of Bargate Drain, and there are several Houses on the Spilsby Road, and again near the Main Ridge Bridge, which must be deemed part of the Town of Boston, though without the present limits of the Borough.

[page] 98                                 REPORT ON THE      [BOROUGH OF BOSTON]            


In favour of the ancient Boundary, it may be urged, that it is distinct and strongly marked, and advantage which cannot be obtained for any new arbitrary line ; that the present Borough is very large and populous ; and finally, that the increase of the Town in this direction is supposed to arise from a wish to escape the burthens of the Borough, as there is undoubtedly much open building ground within its limits.

On the other hand, the Houses on the East of the Drain are, from their situation, a portion of the Town, and the Inhabitants are for the most part now actively engaged in trade, or retired from it. If this should appear sufficient motive for extending the Borough on the East, then we recommend the new boundary line to be drawn as follows :

From the Hospital Foot Bridge (A) in an Easterly direction along the Hospital Bridge Lane, to the point (B) where the said Lane meets the Highway from Boston to Spilsby ; thence, in a Southerly direction, to the Easternmost corner (C) of a Cottage in the Low Road to Frieston [sic] , now in the occupation of William Scotney, also called the first of Cave’s Cottages, on the Low Frieston Road ; thence in a southerly direction to the Eastern Gable of  the Chancel of Skirbeck Church, and to be prolonged in the same direction, to the Haven or River Witham (D).

This Line appears to us to be, upon the whole, the least liable to objection, and the  simplest that we can discover. There are three or four pretty good Houses upon the Spilsby Road left out, but it would be difficult to take them in and stop short of Burton Corner, evidently too remote and too much insulated to be considered a part of the Town.

It may be stated that the agricultural ground thus included is rich pasture, in the occupation of non-residents.

The Number of qualifying Houses, &c. within the Boundary thus extended, is 63. The amount of Assessed Taxes, £.76. 12. 9.

It appears to us to be one of the difficult cases which is rather to be determined by what is done in similar instances, or by the wishes and feelings of the parties interested (a consideration not within our province) than upon any obvious showing of its own, and we are upon the whole inclined, though with great doubt, to propose the Bargate Drain for the eastern Boundary, in preference to the extended and arbitrary line ; and we therefore recommend the following Boundary for the future Borough of Boston.

From the Easternmost point (E) at which Old Hammond Beck leaves South Forty-foot Drain, Eastward along South Forty-foot Drain to the Easternmost point (F) at which the Boundary of the Parish of Boston leaves the same ; thence, Eastward, along the Boundary of the Parish of Boston to the point (K) at which the same meets the Drain called Bargate Drain or Maude Foster’s drain ; thence, Northward, along Bargate Drain or Maude Foster’s Drain to the Northernmost point (A) at which the Boundary of the Parish of Boston leaves the same ; thence, Westward, along the Boundary of the Parish of Boston to the point first described.

                                                      R. Sheepshanks.

                                                      Wm Edwd Tallents.


*Several patches of Land, too small to be distinguished on the Map, on the West of Bargate Drain, are in the Parish of Skirbeck, the Drain being of later date than the division of the Parishes. On the South-west, the present boundary is a disused watercourse, called Old Hammond Beck.

[Plan of the Boundaries of the Parishes of Boston (green) and Skirbeck (beige) and the Boundary Proposals for Boston Borough (red).]

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Larger, high resolution version of the map.

Detail of the parts of the boundary which the report discusses more fully.

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[REPORT ON THE]                         BOROUGH OF BOSTON                             [page] 99



SUMMARY of all the Information relative to the Borough of Boston, laid before Parliament since March 1831.


1. – Limits :   The same as in the Population Returns, 1821*.                                                                  Parl. Ret 106.

2. -- Population :                                             In 1821.                       In 1831.

Of the Borough       -           -           -           -           10,373             -           11,240                                     Parl. Ret. 65.362.

3. – Number of Houses :                                                                  Taxed at                  Worth

                                                                  1821.               1831.               £10/year & up          £10/year & up

In the Borough        -           -           -           2,231               2,631               446                  910                  Parl. Ret. 65. 74. Parl. Rep. vi. Rep.

Within the extended Southern Boundary      -           -           -           -           -           -           27                    Rep.

Within the extended Eastern Boundary        -           -           -           -           -           -           63                    Rep

4. – Amount of Assessed Taxes Paid:

                                                                  1828.                           1829.                           1830.

                                                               £.      s.   d                 £.      s.   d.                     £.      s.   d.

By the Borough                               -    3,064  13  6  -        -  2,979  1  6H  -          -      2,953  6  7           Parl. Ret. 325.

Within the extended Southern Boundary      -           -           -           -           -           -         45  0  4              Rep.

Within the extended Eastern Boundary        -           -           -           -           -           -         76 12  9             Rep.

5. – Greatest Number of Electors polled within the last 30 Years :                                        Parl. Ret. 106.

                              Five Hundred and Three, in 1830.

6. – Right of Voting :

Mayor, Aldermen, Common Councilmen, and Freemen resident, paying Scot                                              Parl. Rep. Abs.


* Parish of Boston, and extra-parochial Parts.      Pop. Ret.

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