Great Gransden

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Great Gransden
Great Gransden Windmill - geograph.org.uk - 266418.jpg
Great Gransden Postmill
Church, Great Gransden, Cambridgeshire - geograph.org.uk - 332030.jpg
Church, Great Gransden, Cambridgeshire
Great Gransden is located in Cambridgeshire
Great Gransden
Great Gransden
 Great Gransden shown within Cambridgeshire
Population 969 (2001 Census)
OS grid reference TL276556
District Huntingdonshire
Shire county Cambridgeshire
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town SANDY
Postcode district SG19
Dialling code 01767
EU Parliament East of England
List of places
UK
England
Cambridgeshire

Coordinates: 52°11′02″N 0°08′35″W / 52.184°N 0.143°W / 52.184; -0.143

Great Gransden is a civil parish and village in the Huntingdonshire district of Cambridgeshire, England. In 2001, the population of the parish was 969 people. It is 11 miles (18 km) west of Cambridge. It is notable for the oldest post mill in England.

History[edit]

The village's name is derived from 'valley of a man named Granta or Grante'. It was spelled Grantandene in 973 and Grante(s)dene in the 1086 Domesday book.[1] Great Gransden was mentioned in 973 when its land was endowed to Thorney Abbey by Aethelwold, Bishop of Winchester. Its older centre is made up of cottages grouped around the 16th century church, although its tower dates from about 1390.[2] The continuing connection between the village and Clare College, Cambridge appears to date back to 1346, when the advowson for Great Gransden church was part of the original endowment of the college.[3][4]

Barnabas Oley[edit]

Barnabas Oley was first instituted to the vicarage in 1633. He was a Fellow of Clare College and editor of George Herbert's works. During the English Civil War, he was one of the university's most active Royalists. He was expelled from his fellowship and lodgings in 1644, but in 1660 they were restored to him. From 1664 he lived mainly at Great Gransden and left many benefactions.[5] He founded the village school in 1670 and it is named after him.[6] His life is celebrated every year on the school's Founder's Day, held in the parish church. Children leaving the school are presented with an 'Oley Bible' by a Fellow of Clare College.[7]

Governance[edit]

Great Gransden is represented on Huntingdonshire District Council by two councillors for the Gransden and the Offords ward[8] and on Cambridgeshire County Council by one councillor for the Buckden, Gransden and The Offords electoral division.[9] It is in the parliamentary constituency of Huntingdon, represented at the House of Commons by Jonathan Djanogly.[10]

Geography[edit]

Great Gransden parish is 11 miles (18 km) west of the county town of Cambridge, 10 miles (16 km) south-east of Huntingdon and 47 miles (76 km) north of London. It covers an area of 3,402 acres (1,377 ha).[5] The village stands on the B1046 road between Abbotsley, to the west, and Longstowe, to the east. Minor roads run south-west to Waresley and north-east to Caxton.

The parish ranges from 33 metres (108 ft), near its border with Abbotsley parish, to 75 metres (246 ft) above of sea level on the disused airfield.[11] The subsoil is Ampthill clay with Lower Greensand. Streams in the parish include Waresley Dean, College Dean, Vicars Dean, Mandean and Gransden Brook; Home Dole Brook marks the border with Little Gransden parish and Cambridgeshire.[5]

Demography[edit]

At the time of the 2001 census, Great Gransden parish had 969 inhabitants living in 363 households. 98.8% of people described themselves as White, 0.3% Asian or Asian British and 0.9% Mixed. 77.6 were Christians, 1.2% followed another religion and 21.1 were not religious.[12] In 1801, the parish population was 412 people; by 1851, it had increased to 665, but it had fallen to 396 in 1951.[5]

Landmarks[edit]

Great Gransden boasts the oldest post mill in England.[13][14] It was constructed around 1612 and has two storeys, with a flour dressing machine, inscribed 1774, on the second floor. The mill last worked around 1890, and was given to the county council in 1950.[15] In 1957 the post mill was classisfied as an ancient monument, following this, a restoration project was completed in 1984.[16] The mill still possesses the internal workings and retains its sails. It is available to view internally by arrangement.[17] A local legend tells that in 1867 a book of black magic entitled An Infidel's Bible was hidden in the mill, causing it to stop working. When the book was removed, the mill at once began to work again.[18]

There are 54 listed buildings in Great Gransden parish, including the remains of a churchyard cross, houses, barns and the post mill.[19] The brick vicarage, north-west of the church, was built by Barnabas Oley, probably between 1660 and 1685.[5]

A lychgate was built in the churchyard in 1920 to commemorate Great Gransden men who died in World War I.[20]

Church of St Bartholomew[edit]

The Grade I listed[21] parish church, dedicated to Saint Bartholomew, comprises a chancel with a 19th Century organ chamber, a vestry on the north side, nave, north aisle, south aisle, west tower and north and south porches. It was mentioned in the Domesday book but no remains from this time exist now. The tower was built in the late 14th Century, but the whole church was rebuilt in the 15th Century. The organ chamber and vestry were built, and the north porch entirely rebuilt in 1873.[5] A pulpit dating to 1600 and a rare clock whose chiming mechanism is said to date from 1683 are notable artifacts in the church.[3]

Recreation[edit]

Gransden and District Agricultural Society Annual Show has been held every year since 1891, with the exception of the years during World War II. It is held on the last Saturday of September and is one of the few remaining shows of its type still running in England.[22]

Great Gransden has one pub, The Crown and Cushion. It also has a lawn tennis club, bowls club and a football team called the Gransden Chequers. Ironically, the Chequers is a pub based in Little Gransden, but the team plays its home matches in Great Gransden.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Great Gransden at Wikimedia Commons