The primary goal of BOSTON 400 is to anticipate the 400th Anniversary of Boston, Massachusetts by shedding light on how a relatively small group of individuals from Boston, Lincolnshire, and its surrounding villages played a pivotal role in establishing the Massachusetts Bay Company and Boston, Massachusetts.

For years, this story has been fragmented while well-documented dots of a larger picture begged to be connected. Connecting these dots sheds new light on Bostons: old & new and the Boston immigrants that helped found a new nation.

BOSTONS: OLD AND NEW – Podcast “A Tale of Two Bostons”

BOSTON 400 contains over 450 pages of content in eight areas:

  1. Boston, Massachusetts, USA and the buildup to Boston’s 400th Anniversary in 2030.
  2. Boston, Lincolnshire, England and those from the Boston area that migrated to Boston in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  3. The Ties between the two Bostons from the 1700s through 2021.
  4. The Massachusetts Bay Colony, its early development and how individuals from Boston, Lincolnshire and its surrounding area played a pivotal role in its founding.
  5. Migration from Lincolnshire, England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony between 1620 and 1640 and the profiles of 135 immigrants.
  6. Rev. John Cotton: his life, origins, ancestors, descendants and works.
  7. A Blog that highlights new content and research.
  8. A Podcast that provides stimulating and informative interviews from the UK and USA highlighting events from 1622 to 1630 and the founding of Boston in New England.

BOSTON 400 focuses on the 17th century (with the exception of TIES.)

BOSTON 400 is a collaborative aspirational work-in-progress that promotes public awareness of the upcoming 400th Anniversary of the founding of Boston in 2030.

BOSTON 400 regularly updates content to achieve this goal.


BOSTON 400 has been and continues to be a labor of love that necessitates painstaking research. Although I borrow generously from others, I am solely responsible for its content – including selection and posting of contributions from others.

BOSTON 400 hopes to reach across the Atlantic to better foster an understanding of the role those from the Boston area of Lincolnshire played in establishing what became America.

The peak years of The Great Migration were from 1630 to 1640 when approximately 20,000 immigrants from England sailed to America. During this ten year period, two hundred and thirty men, women, and children from Boston, Lincolnshire and its surrounding area migrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony where four of their number were repeatedly elected governor or deputy governor for fifty-two of the colony’s fifty-six-year-existence.

The four were Richard Bellingham, Simon Bradstreet, Thomas Dudley, and John Leverett. The role that immigrants from Boston, Lincolnshire, and its surrounding villages played in the founding of a new Boston is not widely known on either side of the Atlantic and only a few English historians have written on the subject.

There was probably no town in England that sent forth so many of its best citizens to the great work of colonising America, as this of Boston. The spirit of Puritanism appears to have been kept alive in this place, chiefly through the agency of the celebrated John Cotton. W. H. Bartlett as quoted by Pishey Thompson

Contrasting Bartlett’s view, 20th century Cambridge trained English historian, David Cressy, tells us that, for the most part, English historians have been indifferent to the Great English Migration.

The movement of people across the Atlantic has naturally commanded more attention in American than in English history. The thousands who sailed to New England in the 1630s, forming what Americans know as the ‘great migration‘, represented less than half of one percent of the population of England. Even among transatlantic migrants, they were outnumbered by those who went to the Caribbean and to the Chesapeake. Their departure mattered little and went mostly unnoticed.

This indifference to American affairs, has, to a large extent, been transferred to modern British historians. It is rare that one finds references to America, New England or Massachusetts in the indexes of modern texts and monographs about Stuart England. The English migrants, having disappeared from the shores of their homeland, seem also to have dropped out of English history. Their homeward leaning thoughts, their contacts with other Englishmen and their involvement in the major developments of the period 1630 to 1700 have largely been ignored.

Yet from an American perspective, the history of New England is of single importance. The early colonists transformed the landscape and shaped a new society. They brought with them English notions of political order, religious seriousness, moral righteousness, literature, commerce and ‘civilization’, and adapted them to local conditions. Their families increased and multiplied; their institutions survived and prospered. Notwithstanding the claims and contributions of other colonial areas, the society, culture, and religion of New England have been seen as the foundation for many American values, and even as the source of the American ‘identity’.taken from David Cressy’s introduction to COMING OVER.



William Henry Bartlett was a popular 19th-century English illustrator that was born in London in 1809 and spent much of his life traveling the world. In addition to his sketches of architectural antiquities of Great Britain, he sketched Syria, the Holy Land, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and the U.S.A. While in the U.S.A, it is likely that Bartlett befriended Pishey Thompson, the well-known historian of Boston, England, as Thompson was living in Washington D.C. at the time. In 1853, Bartlett published The Pilgrim Fathers; or, The Founders of New England in the Reign of James the First.
Pishey Thompson is the author of The History and Antiquities of Boston and the Villages of Skirbeck, Fishtoft, Freiston, Butterwick, Bennington, Leverton, Leake, and Wrangle, comprising the Hundred of Skirbeck in the County of Lincoln that was published in 1856. Pishey Thompson’s work has provided me invaluable insight into 17th century Boston, Lincolnshire, and its surrounding villages. From 1819 to 1846, he lived in Washington D.C. where he worked as a publisher and bookseller.
David Cressy was born and educated in England, received four degrees at Cambridge University, and is now a naturalized U.S. citizen. He taught at California State University, Long Beach, before joining the Ohio State University History Department in 1998. Before achieving Emeritus status, David served as Humanities Distinguished Professor of History and George III Professor of British History. His publications include Coming Over: Migration and Communication between England and New England in the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 1987); Bonfires and Bells: National Memory and the Protestant Calendar in Elizabethan and Stuart England (University of California Press, 1989); Religion and Society in Early Modern England (with Lori Anne Ferrell, Routledge, 1996); Birth, Marriage and Death: Ritual, Religion and the Life Cycle in Tudor and Stuart England (Oxford University Press, 1997); and Travesties and Transgressions in Tudor and Stuart England: Tales of Discord and Dissension (Oxford University Press,2000).

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