The banks of the River Cam at Grantchester
Grantchester shown within Cambridgeshire
|Population||540 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
Grantchester is a village on the River Cam or Granta in Cambridgeshire, England, close to Cambridge. It is listed in the Domesday Book (1086) as Grantesete and Grauntsethe. Grantchester is mentioned briefly in book IV, chapter 19 of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. John de Grauntsete, a lawyer who had a highly successful career as a judge in Ireland, was born in Granchester c.1270.
Grantchester is said to have the world's highest concentration of Nobel Prize winners, most of these presumably being current or retired academics from the nearby University of Cambridge. Grantchester has been home, since 1969, of the sculptor Helaine Blumenfeld OBE.
Students and tourists often travel from Cambridge by punt to picnic in the meadows or take tea at The Orchard. In 1897, a group of Cambridge students persuaded the owner of Orchard House to serve them tea in its apple orchard, and this became a regular practice. Lodgers at Orchard House included the Edwardian poet Rupert Brooke, who later moved next door to the Old Vicarage. In 1912, while in Berlin, he wrote a poem of homesickness entitled "The Old Vicarage, Grantchester". The house is currently the home of the Cambridge scientist Mary Archer and her husband, Jeffrey Archer.
The footpath to Cambridge that runs beside Grantchester Meadows is nicknamed the Grantchester Grind. Grantchester Grind is the title of a 1995 comic novel written by Tom Sharpe. Further upstream is Byron's Pool, named after Lord Byron, who is said (by Brooke, at least) to have swum there. The pool is now below a modern weir where the Bourn Brook flows into the River Cam. Byron's Pool is a Local Nature Reserve.
Grantchester is the subject of Grantchester Meadows, a song by Pink Floyd, composed and performed by band member Roger Waters. The village is also the setting for James Runcie's sleuth novels The Grantchester Mysteries, which are currently being turned into an ITV drama titled Grantchester which is to be shown in the UK in autumn 2014.
An underground passage is said to run from the Old Manor house to King's College Chapel two miles away. It was said that a fiddler who offered to follow the passage set off playing his fiddle; the music became fainter and fainter, until it was heard no more and the fiddler was never seen or heard of again. This story is told of many supposed tunnels. On a 17th-century map of Grantchester, one of the fields is called Fiddler's Close.
The Barrel Race
Every year on Boxing Day (26 December) Grantchester holds an inter-village barrel race which is around 40 minutes long and ends with a hog roast at the Rupert Brooke pub. This tradition dates back to the 60s.
Panoramic photo gallery
- "Byron's Pool". Local Nature Reserves. Natural England. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
- "Map of Byron's Pool". Local Nature Reserves. Natural England. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
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