Grantham
Belton House garden and church, Grantham
Grantham is a large market town in south western Lincolnshire, situated on the River Witham. The church of St Wulfram has a spire reaching 282 feet, making it the 6th highest in England. Just outside Grantham is the stately home of Belton House, while Belvoir Castle is only 6 miles away.

History

The name Grantham probably comes from Old English meaning Granta's homestead, so we can safely assume the settlement began as a farmstead created by a man named Granta. There is, however, a much less credible creation story; the Chronicles of Raphael Holinshed, written around 1577, say that Grantham was built by the mythical British king, Gorbonianus around 282 BC.

We sare on safer ground with the Domesday Book of 1086, which recorded Grantham by its present name. The Domesday Book mentions that Queen Edith, wife of Edward the Confessor, had a hall at Grantham. The manor was later granted to Edmund, 1st Duke of York, in 1363, but it was not until 1463 that the town received an official charter of incorporation.

Sir Isaac Newton was a student at the Grammar School in Grantham, and grew up at nearby Woolsthorpe Manor. A much more recent famous person associated with the town is Margaret Thatcher, who was born here in 1925.

St Wulfram's Church

The parish church is dedicated to St Wulfram. It boasts the 6th tallest spire of any English church, reaching 86 metres in height. The first public library in England was launched at St Wulframs in 1598. The library was the brainchild of Francis Trigg, who gave £100 to create a chained library for the clergy and 'literate laity' of Grantham. Two hundred and fifty of the original 16th century books still remain and are housed in a parvise chamber over the south porch.

The church was begun sometime before 1180, on the site of a much earlier Saxon church. The Norman church burned down in 1222 and was rebuilt and extended directly over the medieval market place. Look for medieval mason's marks on the nave piers and belfry stairs. There are two 14th century tombs against the south wall.

The Angel & Royal Hotel in Grantham was originally established as a hostel by the Knights Templar; what would they have made of the 18th century landlord of the Angel who bequeathed money to pay for an annual service preaching against drunkenness?

Grantham House

The finest historic building in Grantham apart from the church is Grantham House, built in 1380 and subsequently remodelled during the reign of Elizabeth I to create a beautiful example of a Tudor town house. The house is owned by the National Trust and there are regular guided tous of the historic interiors.