About the Gransdens

The Gransdens are a pair of villages, one each side of what used to be the border between the counties of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire:

Great Gransden

extracts from the Wikipedia entry for Great Gransden:

Great Gransden is a civil parish and village in the Huntingdonshire district of Cambridgeshire, 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, although its tower dates from about 1390. 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.

Great Gransden boasts the oldest post mill in England. 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. In 1957 the post mill was classified as an ancient monument, following this, a restoration project was completed in 1984. The mill still possesses the internal workings. 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.

There are 54 listed buildings in Great Gransden parish, including the remains of a churchyard cross, houses, barns and the post mill. The brick vicarage, north-west of the church, was built by Barnabas Oley, probably between 1660 and 1685. A lychgate was built in the churchyard in 1920 to commemorate Great Gransden men who died in World War I.

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 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. A pulpit dating to 1600 and a rare clock whose chiming mechanism is said to date from 1683 are notable artefacts in the church.

Little Gransden

extracts from the Wikipedia entry for Little Gransden:

Little Gransden is a civil parish and village in South Cambridgeshire, England. Little Gransden village evolved as an offshoot of Great Gransden. The church and manor house of the abbey of Ely face Great Gransden across the low-lying land along Home Dole Brook; the village grew southwards from a street alongside the brook.

There were 56 inhabited houses in 1666, but the number had dropped to 38 by 1801. By 1961 there were 84 houses. Due to its isolated location, there were no inns in the village until 1800, though by the 1840s there were four (the Sun in Church Lane, the Chequers, the Double Chequers at Mill Hill and the Hardwicke Arms). In 1834, the overseer of the poor considered that an excess of beer-houses may have been partly responsible for recent problems. Only the Chequers was left after 1967.

Despite the heaviness of the soil, most of the parish land has been used mainly for arable farming. It was cultivated in three open fields until parliamentary inclosure in 1814. High, flat land in the east of the parish was hard to drain before mechanisation and was usually used for pasture and as the village common. In 1940, after the outbreak of World War II, the area was made into an airfield, called Gransden Lodge Airfield. It was in operational use from 1941 to 1946 but was unoccupied after 1948 and then sold off. Since October 1991 it has been the home of the Cambridge Gliding Centre.

The parish has two airfields: Little Gransden Airfield, located at Fuller's Hill Farm, which holds an air and car show every summer; and Gransden Lodge, a former Royal Air Force station which saw active service in World War II, but is now a gliding site, its three paved runways having been removed.

A cross in the churchyard commemorates Little Gransden men who were killed in World Wars I and II. There are 16 listed buildings in the village, including the Old Rectory, the parish church and various houses. The parish church, dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, was built from stone in the 13th Century and comprises a chancel, nave of four bays aisles and an embattled western tower containing three bells. In 1858 the chancel was restored and its east end rebuilt; a stained window was put in by the Rev. Alfred Newby, a former rector, in 1875. The church was restored in 1885-8 at a cost of £700.

Whilst the villages are in separate district councils and separate parliamentary electoral wards, most clubs and organisations draw their members from both villages, and many residents consider themselves as living in 'The Gransdens'.