Birthday party to celebrate 900 years of priory

The Mayor of Boston Coun Paul Kenny and Council Leader Peter Bedford cutting Freiston Priory's anniversary cake.
The Mayor of Boston Coun Paul Kenny and Council Leader Peter Bedford cutting Freiston Priory's anniversary cake.

The priory at Freiston has celebrated 900 years since it was founded with an event attended by religious and local dignitaries.

The Archdeacon of Boston Dr Justine Allain Chapman, the Mayor and Mayoress Paul and Pam Kenny, borough council leader Peter Bedford and his wife gathered at St James’ Church recently to celebrate the occasion.

They were joined by members of the community and following a short address by Coun Kenny, he and Coun Bedford cut a cake celebrating the founding.

Mr Kenny said: “I was really delighted to be able to go to St James so it could celebrate it’s 900th anniversary. It so delightful to have a church with that kind of history within Boston.

“One of the other nice things was that when we cut the cake we sang happy birthday to the church.”

It followed a week of celebrations including a visit by Butterwick Primary school year five and six classes to Crowland to re-enact the founding ceremony, pancake races on Shrove Tuesday, a coach party to Crowland for members of the congregation and a ‘messy church’ for children within the local parishes.

To leave a legacy for future generations, The Boston Guild of Embroidery decorated four new altar cloths for the church which were dedicated by Justine Chapman.

Organisers said there was ‘outstanding craftsmanship’.

The cloths show the cross with the scallop emblem of St James in black and gold, a purple cloth of crosses including a crown of thorns emblem, a green cross with a gold cup and a red cloth with a dove over flames.

The priory was founded in a ceremony at Crowland Abbey in 1114. The Norman Baron Alan de Croun and family gave lands and the churches in Freiston, Butterwick, Fishtoft and Burton Pedwardine for the founding of a priory.

More than half of today’s Freiston Church includes the nave of the Norman priory project that started 900 years ago.

Organisers said “The church has a rich heritage that has been well cared for by the people of Freiston for all that time.”

Future events will include a pilgrimage walk from Crowland to Freiston on April 12 and 13, a monastic weekend of medieval life in the Priory on May 17 and 18, and a grand summer fete on July 20 to mark the festival of St James.