Flooded Boston Stump faces huge repair bills

by
13 December 2013

by Richard Vamplew

© Stephen DanielS

Underwater scene: the centre of Boston, Lincolnshire, on Thursday of last week

Underwater scene: the centre of Boston, Lincolnshire, on Thursday of last week

THE parish church with what is believed to be the tallest tower in the UK faces a repair bill of thousands of pounds after it was hit by a tidal surge that struck the north and east of the country on Thursday of last week.

The surge was said to be the biggest since 1953, when more than 300 people died, and 24,000 homes were flooded. This time, Lincolnshire and Norfolk were worst hit.

St Botolph's, Boston, known locally as "the Stump", was among 300 buildings that were flooded in the Lincolnshire market-town. Although up to a foot of water got into the 700-year-old building, the Team Vicar, the Revd Christopher Wedge, opened its doors three days later for a Sunday-morning service.

He has also offered the church as a place for those affected to come to pray. "It is very important that we are open so people can come here to pray, light candles, and speak to people - either me or my colleagues," he said.

The fund-raising manager for the church, Andrew Coleman, described the damage as "very depressing". "The water . . . covered the whole church, and anything that was on the ground has been damaged. . . Worst of all, we had 12 feet of water in the cellars, where the boilers are. It looks like they are beyond repair."

Local authorities estimate that the town faces a £4-million repair bill after water surged up the River Haven into the town centre, peaking at about 7.30 p.m. on Thursday of last week.

The Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue service made 44 rescues from 210 flooded properties after deploying ten rescue boats, ten rescue rafts, and 12 pumps across the town. The Mayor of Boston, Paul Kenny, said that more than 1000 homes and businesses in the town had been affected.

Dozens of volunteers took part in the clean-up operation. Mr Kenny said: "I have lots of people wanting to help with the clean-up. We want to get Boston ready for Christmas."

Minutes after being hit by the tidal surge, dozens of homes in the town were flooded in low-lying areas around the River Haven, and the floodwater eventually reached the market place. Council offices, the local newspaper offices, and assembly rooms were also flooded, together with dozens of shops and restaurants. Most of the water receded overnight.

Assessors for Ecclesiastical Insurance said that they had received a number of claims for damage caused by the storm surge, and that both vicarages and churches experienced flooding, and falling masonry from the high winds. A spokeswoman said that no figures had yet been put on the claims, but the damage would amount to thousands of pounds.

Forthcoming Events

5 September 2019
Church Times Cricket Cup Final
Join us at the Walker Cricket Ground in London for the Cricket Cup Final.  More details

8-10 September 2019
The Festival of Preaching
Tickets have now sold out.  Join the waiting list

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read five articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)