From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Greatworth Church - - 338690.jpg
St Peter's parish church
Greatworth is located in Northamptonshire
Location within Northamptonshire
Population890 (2011 Census)
OS grid referenceSP5542
• London72 miles (116 km)
Civil parish
  • Greatworth
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townBanbury
Postcode districtOX17
Dialling code01295
AmbulanceEast Midlands
EU ParliamentEast Midlands
UK Parliament
WebsiteGreatworth Parish Council
List of places
52°05′N 1°11′W / 52.09°N 1.19°W / 52.09; -1.19Coordinates: 52°05′N 1°11′W / 52.09°N 1.19°W / 52.09; -1.19

Greatworth is a village and civil parish about 4 miles (6.4 km) north-west of Brackley, South Northamptonshire. The parish includes the hamlet of Halse. The 2011 Census recorded the parish population as 890.[1]


The parish includes the deserted medieval village of Stuchbury, about 2 14 miles (3.6 km) northeast of Greatworth village. Halse, about 2 12 miles (4 km) southeast of Greatworth village, is also the site of a deserted medieval village as well as a modern hamlet.[2]

Greatworth Manor House burned down in 1793, and only its ornate gatepiers remain.[3]

Parish church[edit]

The Church of England parish church of Saint Peter was built in the 13th century. The chancel retains Early English features including a priests' door and two lancet windows in the south wall and a trio of stepped lancets in the east wall. The west tower was added in about 1300. The nave has 17th-century features including two north windows, two south windows and the south door, and the polygonal pulpit. The chancel arch was rebuilt in 1882 under the direction of the architect H. R. Gough.[3] It is a Grade II* listed building.[4]

The west tower has a ring of six bells. A member of the Newcombe family, who were associated with bell-foundries in Bedford, Buckingham and Leicester, cast the tenor bell in about 1599. The fifth bell was also cast in about 1599 but the identity of the founder is unknown. Robert Taylor, who had foundries at Loughborough and Oxford, cast the fourth bell in 1825. The Whitechapel Bell Foundry cast the treble, second and third bells in 2004.

St Peter's churchyard has a notable array of historic headstones. 20 of them in are Grade II listed, and two late 17th-century English Baroque headstones are Grade II* listed.[5]

St Peter's parish is a member of the Chenderit Benefice, which includes the parishes of Chacombe, Marston St. Lawrence, Middleton Cheney, Thenford and Warkworth.[6]


In 1847 Parliament passed a bill for the Buckinghamshire Railway to build a branch through Buckingham to Banbury. It was built through the south of Greatworth parish and opened in 1851. The nearest station was Farthinghoe, which was not at Farthinghoe but 2 miles (3 km) southwest of Greatworth on the main road between Brackley and Middleton Cheney.

The Northampton & Banbury Junction Railway was incorporated in 1863 and built through the parish, joining the Buckinghamshire Railway at Cockley Brake Junction 0.5 miles (800 m) south of the village. It opened in 1872 and became part of the Stratford on Avon and Midland Junction Railway in 1910. In 1951 British Railways closed the Northampton line to all traffic and the Banbury line to passenger traffic. BR closed the Banbury line to freight traffic in 1963.

RAF Greatworth[edit]

In 1949[7] the Air Ministry bought land from Balliol College, Oxford[8] to create RAF Greatworth,[9] which was an RAF radio communications station from early in the 1950s until 1988.[10] In 1973 the station had a selection of high frequency (HF) radio transmitters, including the Marconi HS31 (6 kW), HS51 (30 kW), HS71 (12 kW) and the Marconi MST (Marconi Self Tuner) 1200 (30 kW). There was also a selection of Racal Speedrace transmitters, one of which offered remote control of frequency and aerial parameters from Systems Control. The aerial farm had steerable log periodic antennae, dipoles, rhombics and bicones – all types of HF antenna. A 24-hour watch system, each consisting of an RAF sergeant, a junior technician (JT), a senior aircraftman (SAC) and a civilian radio technician was maintained which carried out preventive and corrective maintenance and also re-tuned the transmitters and their drive units as directed by Systems Control at RAF Stanbridge in Bedfordshire.

After closure the site was leased to the USAF until it was handed back to the Ministry of Defence in February 1992.[11][12] The site is now Greatworth Park trading estate, for which the original RAF buildings have been retained and extended.[13]


The Inn, Greatworth

Greatworth has one public house, The Greatworth Inn,[14] which is an independent freehold.

Greatworth has a post office, a social club and a primary school.[15]


  1. ^ "Area: Greatworth (Parish): Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  2. ^ RCHME 1982, pp. 64–70.
  3. ^ a b Pevsner & Cherry 1973, p. 239.
  4. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Peter  (Grade II*) (1192679)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  5. ^ Historic England. "Pair of Headstones approximately 5 metres south west of south porch of Church of St Peter  (Grade II*) (1371828)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  6. ^ Archbishops' Council (2015). "Benefice of Chenderit". A Church Near You. Church of England. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  7. ^ It has been established by Bletchley Park, that RAF Greatworth was in service from 1939 and operated throughout the Second World War as transmitters for Bletchley Park. Details are required for the land acquisition over this period of discrepancy 1939–49. Does this mean it was leased for ten years and then purchased?
  8. ^ "Documents relating to Culworth, Greatworth, and Sulgrave, Northamptonshire, in the archives of Balliol College, Oxford: MBP 88 box 2.6". Balliol College Archives & Manuscripts. Balliol College, Oxford. Retrieved 26 December 2009.
  9. ^ "Introduction to RAF Greatworth". Royal Air Force Greatworth, Number 962 Signals Unit. 2009.
  10. ^ "RAF Greatworth". Hansard. 11 November 1988. Retrieved 26 December 2009.
  11. ^ "United States Bases/Forces". Hansard. 23 February 2004. Retrieved 26 December 2009.
  12. ^ "United States Bases". Hansard. Retrieved 26 December 2009.
  13. ^ "How it looks now". RAF Greatworth, 962 Signals Unite. 2009.
  14. ^ The Inn, Greatworth
  15. ^ Greatworth Primary School