Great Gransden

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Great Gransden
Great Gransden Windmill - - 266418.jpg
Great Gransden Postmill
Church, Great Gransden, Cambridgeshire - - 332030.jpg
Church, Great Gransden, Cambridgeshire
Great Gransden is located in Cambridgeshire
Great Gransden
Great Gransden
Great Gransden shown within Cambridgeshire
Population 1,023 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference TL276556
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town SANDY
Postcode district SG19
Dialling code 01767
EU Parliament East of England
List of places
CambridgeshireCoordinates: 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, increasing to 1,023 at the 2011 Census.[1] It is 11 miles (18 km) west of Cambridge. It is notable for the oldest post mill in England.


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.[2][3] Great Gransden was mentioned in 973 when its land was endowed to Thorney Abbey by Aethelwold, Bishop of Winchester. The village consisted of 33 households in 1086, and the annual rent paid to the lord of the manor was £30.[4]

Great Gransden's older centre is made up of cottages grouped around the 16th century church, although its tower dates from about 1390.[5] 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.[6][7]

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.[8] He founded the village school in 1670 and it is named after him.[9] 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.[10]


As a civil parish, Great Gransden has a parish council. The parish council is elected by the residents of the parish who have registered on the electoral roll; the parish council is the lowest tier of government in England. A parish council is responsible for providing and maintaining a variety of local services including allotments and a cemetery; grass cutting and tree planting within public open spaces such as a village green or playing fields. The parish council reviews all planning applications that might affect the parish and makes recommendations to Huntingdonshire District Council, which is the local planning authority for the parish. The parish council also represents the views of the parish on issues such as local transport, policing and the environment. The parish council raises its own tax to pay for these services, known as the parish precept, which is collected as part of the Council Tax. The parish council has nine councillors and the parish council normally meets on the first Monday of the month in the Reading Room in Great Gransden.[11][12]

Great Gransden was in the historic and administrative county of Huntingdonshire until 1965. From 1965, the village was part of the new administrative county of Huntingdon and Peterborough. Then in 1974, following the Local Government Act 1972, Great Gransden became a part of the county of Cambridgeshire.

The second tier of local government is Huntingdonshire District Council which is a non-metropolitan district of Cambridgeshire and has its headquarters in Huntingdon. Huntingdonshire District Council has 52 councillors representing 29 district wards.[13] Huntingdonshire District Council collects the council tax, and provides services such as building regulations, local planning, environmental health, leisure and tourism.[14] Great Gransden is a part of the district ward of Gransden and The Offords and is represented on the district council by two councillors.[15][13] District councillors serve for four-year terms following elections to Huntingdonshire District Council.

For Great Gransden the highest tier of local government is Cambridgeshire County Council which has administration buildings in Cambridge. The county council provides county-wide services such as major road infrastructure, fire and rescue, education, social services, libraries and heritage services.[16] Cambridgeshire County Council consists of 69 councillors representing 60 electoral divisions.[17] Great Gransden is part of the electoral division of Buckden, Gransden and The Offords[15] and is represented on the county council by one councillor.[17]

At Westminster Great Gransden is in the parliamentary constituency of Huntingdon,[15] and elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. Great Gransden is represented in the House of Commons by Jonathan Djanogly (Conservative). Jonathan Djanogly has represented the constituency since 2001. The previous member of parliament was John Major (Conservative) who represented the constituency between 1983 and 2001. For the European Parliament Great Gransden is part of the East of England constituency which elects seven MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.


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).[8] 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.[18] 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.[8]



In the period 1801 to 1901 the population of Great Gransden was recorded every ten years by the UK census. During this time the population was in the range of 412 (the lowest was in 1801) and 713 (the highest was in 1871).[19]

From 1901, a census was taken every ten years with the exception of 1941 (due to the Second World War).

Great Gransden 470 458 395 396 476 520 666 814 1019 1023

All population census figures from report Historic Census figures Cambridgeshire to 2011 by Cambridgeshire Insight.[19]

In 2011, the parish covered an area of 3,395 acres (1,374 hectares)[19] and so the population density for Great Gransden in 2011 was 192.8 persons per square mile (74.5 per square kilometre).

At the time of the 2001 census, Great Gransden parish had 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.[20]


Great Gransden boasts the oldest post mill in England.[21][22] 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.[23] In 1957 the post mill was classisfied as an ancient monument, following this, a restoration project was completed in 1984.[24] The mill still possesses the internal workings and retains its sails. It is available to view internally by arrangement.[25] 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.[26]

There are 54 listed buildings in Great Gransden parish, including the remains of a churchyard cross, houses, barns and the post mill.[27] The brick vicarage, north-west of the church, was built by Barnabas Oley, probably between 1660 and 1685.[8]

A lychgate was built in the churchyard in 1920 to commemorate Great Gransden men who died in World War I.[28]

Church of St Bartholomew[edit]

The Grade I listed[29] 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.[8] A pulpit dating to 1600 and a rare clock whose chiming mechanism is said to date from 1683 are notable artefacts in the church.[6]


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.[30]

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.


  1. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 18 July 2016. 
  2. ^ Mills, A.D. (1998). A Dictionary of English Place-names. Second Edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford. p159. ISBN 0-19-280074-4
  3. ^ Dr Ann Williams, Professor G.H. Martin, eds. (1992). Domesday Book: A Complete Translation. London: Penguin Books. p. 1350. ISBN 0-141-00523-8. 
  4. ^ Professor J.J.N. Palmer, University of Hull. "Open Domesday: Place – Great Gransden". Anna Powell-Smith. Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  5. ^ Huntingdonshire District Council: Great Gransden
  6. ^ a b 'Parishes: Great Gransden', A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 2 (1932), pp. 296–302.
  7. ^ 'The colleges and halls: Clare College', A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 3: The City and University of Cambridge (1959), pp. 340–346.
  8. ^ a b c d e GENUKI: Great Gransden
  9. ^ Barnabas Oley Church of England Primary School
  10. ^ Barnabas Oley Church of England Primary School: Rev. Barnabas Oley
  11. ^ "Great Gransden Parish Council: Councillors". Great Gransden Parish Council. Retrieved 6 February 2016. 
  12. ^ "Great Gransden Parish Council: Meeting Dates". Great Gransden Parish Council. Retrieved 6 February 2016. 
  13. ^ a b "Huntingdonshire District Council: Councillors". Huntingdonshire District Council. Retrieved 23 February 2016. 
  14. ^ "Huntingdonshire District Council". Huntingdonshire District Council. Retrieved 23 February 2016. 
  15. ^ a b c "Ordnance Survey Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 23 February 2016. 
  16. ^ "Cambridgeshire County Council". Cambridgeshire County Council. Retrieved 23 February 2016. 
  17. ^ a b "Cambridgeshire County Council: Councillors". Cambridgeshire County Council. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  18. ^ Ordnance Survey:
  19. ^ a b c "Historic Census figures Cambridgeshire to 2011" (xlsx – download). Cambridgeshire Insight. Retrieved 12 February 2016. 
  20. ^ Cambridgeshire County Council: Parish Census Profile
  21. ^ Images of England: Great Gransden Post Mill
  22. ^ Great Gransden Windmill
  23. ^
  24. ^ The Gransdens Society (2003) 'The Gransdens in old Picture Postcards', European Library, ISBN 90-288-60770
  25. ^
  26. ^ Ash, Russell (1973). Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain. Reader's Digest Association Limited. p. 264. ISBN 9780340165973. 
  27. ^ Images of England
  28. ^ Roll of Great Gransden
  29. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (395648)". Images of England. 
  30. ^ Gransden Show

External links[edit]

Media related to Great Gransden at Wikimedia Commons