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Boston > Indian Queen
The Indian Queen was situated at 4
Dolphin Lane. This pub has been demolished and rebuilt several times over
the centuries, the latest incarnation being called The Indian Queen and
Three Kings, which closed in the 2010s.
Originally it was called The Three
Kings of Cologne, the name relating to the shrine to the biblical wise men
or kings of the nativity story. The golden reliquary containing the bones of
the kings has been kept in Cologne Cathedral since the middle of the 13th
century. This may point to the influence of German Hanseatic merchants
visiting or resident in Boston, or Boston merchants who had visited or
traded with Cologne, in establishing or naming the original inn on this
site. Perhaps this is a legacy of the International trading links and
cosmopolitan atmosphere of medieval Boston?
In earlier times, pub name signs were of pictorial form as most patrons were
illiterate. The picture of the three kings must not have shown them as very
saintly in appearance, indeed it portrayed three fanciful party-going masked
figures, so the inn became popularly known as The Three Merry Devils!
Perhaps that is why a name change was inevitable, especially during Puritan
times one wonders?
The name of The Indian Queen refers to the Native American chieftain's
daughter, Pocahontas, and the choosing of this name has been thought by some
to have been due to local connections with her.
There is a widely told story that Pocahontas saved the life of
Lincolnshire-born Explorer Sir John Smith, as she threw herself over his
body to deter her father from executing him. In 1613 Pocahontas married
English settler and Tobacco Plantation Pioneer John Rolfe, who came from
Heacham in West Norfolk. When the couple and their baby son came to England,
Pocahontas was seen as an exotic curiosity and would have been well known
throughout the land and perhaps especially in the Wash Ports.
Descriptions of the early building have it looking similar to the building
next door which still survives and is occupied by a café, but it was rebuilt
in about 1750 or 1760. Apparently there was a large black mahogany bust of
the Indian Queen which stood on a shelf between two windows in the Bar area
for generations but sadly disappeared at some point when a tenancy changed.
In 1892 The Indian Queen was sold and in 1894 demolished and rebuilt to suit
'more modern requirements'. In the old building workmen discovered a late
18th century painting of Boston but the whereabouts of the Bust of the
Indian Queen remains a mystery.
visitoruk.com (January 2021)
There is, at this time, a public-house
in Boston, Lincolnshire, called The Indian Queen; it probably took its name
from some fancifully dressed figures which I well remember were painted on
its ancient sign-board. There were three figures, and these were so uncouth,
and unlike anything known at that time, that the house had borne the name of
The Three Merry Devils. This tavern originally bore the name and sign of The
Three Kings Of Cologne, but the sign faded, and the title became obsolete,
and the medieval designation of the house was desecrated and degraded as I
From 'Notes & Queries', published 1860
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