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Boston's newest Royal connection

The world is abuzz with news of the forthcoming Royal wedding - and Boston has a very special connection with the bride-to-be from America.

Meghan Markle's ancestor was Sir John Hussey, Lord Hussey, 1st Baron of Sleaford, who owned Boston's Hussey Tower.

Unfortunately he was beheaded on orders from Henry VIII

Lord Hussey was the great-great-great grandfather of Captain Christopher Hussey, who left England in the 1650s to become a founding father of Nantucket. Captain Hussey was 11 generations away from Meghan.

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There are also family connections with Richard Nixon and James Dean.

Lord Hussey was a direct descendant of King John. Henry VIII must have been a tough one to please - he locked Lord Hussey's wife, Lady Anne, away in the Tower of London for calling his daughter Mary a Princess when legally, after the divorce, she was not entitled to be called one. She lost her position as one of Mary's attendants and spent several months in the Tower before receiving the King's pardon.

The King favoured Lord Hussey until he was accused of conspiring to depose him, though his real crime was that of failing to act quickly and decisively enough to put down the Lincolnshire Rising.

Religion lay at the root of Lord Hussey's fall from grace. The King broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and established the Church of England. On October 2, 1536, thousands of Roman Catholics from Lincolnshire marched upon Lincoln to protest against the establishment of the Church Of England and the Dissolution of the Monasteries. This was known as the Lincolnshire Rising and is today celebrated as Lincolnshire Day.

The uprising was put down within two days and the leaders were rounded up and executed.

Lord Hussey was beheaded for treason in Lincoln in 1536 conveying the message that failing to put down a rebellion was as bad as participating in a rebellion yourself. 

Hussey Tower is all that remains to be seen today of the manor house that was originally built in the 1450's by Richard Benyngton, Boston's collector of taxes. The manor, thought to be influenced in style by the building of Tatershall Castle, comprised a great hall, kitchens, servants' quarters and stables. Lord Hussey bought the manor after Benyngton's death in 1475 and it is him who the manor and tower took its name from.

After Lord Hussey's execution his estate was confiscated by the Crown and Hussey's title was forfeited.

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(More information and facts about Lord Hussey and Hussey Tower can be found at the website of Heritage Lincolnshire https://www.heritagelincolnshire.org/learn/repair-of-hussey-tower )

Boston Guildall also has a small Hussey Tower display which includes the giant key to Hussey Tower. For information and opening times please visit www.bostonguildhall.co.uk .

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