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Markets and Fairs

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Boston was an extremely important and wealthy town and port in the medieval period with large, busy markets and internationally important fairs. Trade between Boston merchants and the Hanseatic League (from Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltic States) made the town second only to London in economic importance.

Fortunes were made by merchants based mainly on their export of wool and import of timber and luxury goods including furs, wines, spices, glass, silk and dried fruits. These rare, exotic and expensive imports were sold at Boston's fairs and markets attracting widespread attention.

The Boston Fair began in 1125 and became one of the most popular in Europe. It was so important even Law Courts in London closed so their members could attend. During the Fair, a 'Pie Powder' Court existed to settle disputes immediately.  If you were caught selling bad or underweight goods you could face punishment by being placed in the stocks and pelted with rotten vegetables or something less pleasant!


In 1308, Boston was granted a charter for weekly Wednesday and Saturday markets which are still held today in the wonderfully striking medieval Market Place.  The Boston Fair has now become an annual event called the 'May Fair'; one of the largest in the East Midlands. Boston's weekly markets and annual funfair in its historic heart continues to maintain links to its medieval past.

Boston: A Short Introduction

The Pilgrims in Boston

The Reverend John Cotton and Boston's American Legacy

The History of St Botolph's Church

Boston and the Water

 

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