Great Gransden Postmill
Church, Great Gransden, Cambridgeshire
|Population||1,023 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
Great Gransden is a civil parish and village in the Huntingdonshire district of Cambridgeshire, England. In 2001, the parish population was 969, which increased to 1,023 at the 2011 Census. It lies 11 miles (18 km) west of Cambridge. It contains 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. 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.
Great Gransden's older centre is made up of cottages grouped around the 16th-century church, whose tower dates from about 1390. The 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.
Barnabas Oley, Vicar from 1633, 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 they were restored to him in 1660. From 1664 he lived mainly at Great Gransden and left many benefactions. He founded the village school in 1670, which is named after him. His life is celebrated every year on the school's Founder's Day, held in the parish church. Leavers are presented with an "Oley Bible" by a Fellow of Clare College.
In order of birth:
- Anne Dutton (1692–1765), religious tractarian and poet, and her clothier husband Benjamin, a Baptist minister, moved to the village and paid for a chapel to be built there.
- James Plumptre (1771–1832), dramatist, served as the vicar of Great Gransden church from 1812 until his death.
As a civil parish, Great Gransden has a parish council elected by the residents. The parish council has nine councillors and normally meets on the first Monday of the month in the Reading Room in Great Gransden.
Great Gransden was in the historic and administrative county of Huntingdonshire until 1965. From 1965, it was part of the new administrative county of Huntingdon and Peterborough, and then, under the Local Government Act 1972, Great Gransden became a part of the county of Cambridgeshire in 1972.
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. Great Gransden is a part of the district ward of Gransden and The Offords, and represented on the district council by two councillors. For Great Gransden, the highest tier of local government is Cambridgeshire County Council which has administration buildings in Cambridge. It consists of 69 councillors representing 60 electoral divisions. Great Gransden is part of the electoral division of Buckden, Gransden and The Offords and is represented on the county council by one councillor.
Great Gransden is in the parliamentary constituency of Huntingdon,. It has been represented in the House of Commons by Jonathan Djanogly (Conservative) since 2001. The previous member was Prime Minister John Major (Conservative), from 1983 to 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). 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 sea level on the disused airfield. 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 South Cambridgeshire.
Between 1801 and 1901 the population of Great Gransden according to the ten-yearly censuses ranged between 412 (1801) and 713 (1871).
All population census figures from report Historic Census figures Cambridgeshire to 2011 by Cambridgeshire Insight.
In 2011, the parish covered an area of 3,395 acres (1,374 hectares), giving it a population density in 2011 of 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.
Great Gransden boasts the oldest post mill in England, constructed around 1612. It has two storeys, with a flour dressing machine, inscribed 1774, on the second floor. The mill ceased operation in about 1890. It was presented to the county council in 1950 and classified as an ancient monument in 1957. A restoration project was completed in 1984. The mill still possesses its machinery and sails, and can be viewed inside by appointment. A local legend claims a book of black magic entitled An Infidel's Bible was hidden in the mill in 1867, causing it to stop working. When the book was removed, the mill began to work again.
There are 53 other listed buildings in Great Gransden parish, including houses, barns and the remains of a churchyard cross. The brick vicarage, north-west of the church, was built by Barnabas Oley, probably between 1660 and 1685.
Church of St Bartholomew
The Grade I listed 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 of that time survive. The tower was built in the late 14th century, but the whole church was rebuilt in the 15th. The organ chamber and vestry were built and the north porch entirely rebuilt in 1873. A pulpit dating from 1600 and a rare clock, whose chiming mechanism is said to date from 1683, are notable artefacts inside the church.
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. The Chequers is a pub in Little Gransden, but the team plays its home matches in Great Gransden.
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Media related to Great Gransden at Wikimedia Commons