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Help and advice for Grantham

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"Grantham is a market town and borough, both corporate and parliamentary, in the parish and soke of its name, parts of Kesteven - 110 miles N by W from London, 24 SSW from Lincoln, 21 NW from Stamford, and 14 SW from Sleaford. It is situate on the River Witham, and on the ancient Roman road called Ermine Street; and the great north road from London to York passes through it. Grantham, during the parliamentary war, was an object of interest with the contending parites, and the scene of the first advantage gained by Cromwell over the royalists. The town consists of three distinct sections, the Borough, Spittlegate and Little Gonerby, each having its own regulations, but so united as to form one compact well-built town, the aspect of which is busy and respectable, and its environs exceedingly pleasant: within the last five or six years the number of buildings and inhabitants has increased very considerably."
["Directory of Lincolnshire," PIGOT & Co., 1841]



  • The parish was in the Grantham sub-district of the Grantham Registration District.
  • In 1891, the district was re-organized and the parish was assigned to the Grantham North sub-district of the Grantham Registration District.
  • Check our Census Resource page for county-wide resources.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Year LDS Film/Fiche No. Piece Numbers LFHS Surname Index
1841 0438760 H.O. 107 / 625 Fiche
1851 0087732 H.O. 107 / 2102 thru 2103 Booklet
1861 0542958 R.G. 9 / 2350 Fiche
1871 0839360 R.G. 10 / 3358 & 3359 Booklet or Fiche
1881 1341770 R.G. 11 / 3229  
1891 6097694, 4 fiche R.G. 12 / 2582 &2584 Booklet or Fiche
1901   R.G. 13 / 3055  


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Grantham area that are recorded in the GENUKI church database. This will also help identify other churches in nearby townships and/or parishes. You also have the option to see the location of the churches marked on a map.

Church History

  • The Grey Friars had a house here in Grantham Grange in 1290, but the order was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1540 and no trace remains.
  • The parish church is dedicated to St. Wulfram. (There are many variations on the spelling in the old records.)
  • Here is a photo of Saint Wulfram's Church, taken by Ron COLE (who retains the copyrights).

Saint Wulfram's church

  • The Anglican church in New Somerby township was dedicated to Saint Anne. It was erected as a mission church in 1884 and built from iron. It seated about 350.
  • A Mission Church, dedicated to Saint Saviour, was built from brick in Little Gonerby township in 1884. It seated about 150.
  • Saint John the Evangelist Church was built from stone in Spittlegate township in 1840-41. It seated about 1,100.

Church Records

  • Grantham has been in the Lovenden Wapentake and is currently in the Soke of Grantham. It lies in the Grantham Deanery for which the Lincolnshire Family History Society has some indexes available to aid in your search.
  • Registers exist from 1562. The parish church is dedicated to Saint Wulfram. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City has the parish register on microfilm covering 1562 - 1990, as well as register copies for the Wesleyan Methodist chapel and others, all on microfilm.
  • Registers for Saint John the Evangelist Church exist from 1842.
  • Check the LFHS publications for Grantham Deanery to see which indexes exist to help your search.
  • We have a handful of entries for the ANDREWS family in our parish register extract.
  • There was a Catholic Church, dedicated to Saint Mary, erected in 1832 in Little Gonerby township. For information and assistance in researching these chapels, see our non-conformist religions page.
  • Check our Church Records page for county-wide resources.

Civil Registration

  • The parish was in the Grantham sub-district of the Grantham Registration District.
  • In 1891, the district was re-organized and the parish was assigned to the Grantham North sub-district of the Grantham Registration District.
  • Check our Civil Registration page for sources and background on Civil Registration which began in July, 1837.

Correctional Institutions

  • The old Gaol here was closed in 1878 in accordance with the "Prisons Act" of 1877. The prisoners were transferred to Lindsey County prison in Lincoln.

Description and Travel

Grantham is an ancient parish, borough and market town in the west of the county, 24 miles south-west of Lincoln and 110 miles north of London on the old Great North Road. The parish covers about 5,000 acres and includes the hamlet of Walton.

The River Witham flows through the town in a northerly direction. If you are planning a visit:

  • Grantham is at the junction of the A1 trunk road and the A52.
  • Visit our touring page for more sources.
You can see pictures of Grantham which are provided by:


A number of commercial directories exist for Grantham. The most commonly known directories are White's, Pigot's, Kelly's and the Post Office Directory. The town's entry will normally include:

  1. A town history, location and current status & facilities, postal services, coaches, trains, schools, churches, etc.
  2. The dates of annual fairs and the day of the week for "market day".
  3. A list of Trades, and within each classification, the tradesmen.

Whites's and Pigot's directories can be found for the early 1800's. Kelly's Directories begin in the latter part of the 1800's.

  • Rod Neep has reproductions of some Directories on CD, available for purchase at his Archived CD Books site. For example:
    1. 0090 - Lincolnshire 1835 Pigot's Directory
    2. 0011 - Lincolnshire 1841 Pigot's Directory
    3. 0091 - Lincolnshire 1876 Kelly's Directory (2 CD set)
    4. 0120 - Lincolnshire 1913 Kelly's Directory (2 CD set)
    5. 0033 - Nottinghamshire 1869 Morris & Co. Directory with Grantham, Chesterfield and Gainsborough.
  • Another excellent source is the Lincolnshire Library's list of Directories.
  • The Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City has directories for 1846, 1869, 1897 and 1903.

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Grantham has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.


Grantham was visited twice by King John. The last time was in 1213.

Grantham has a connection with the wife of Edward I, Queen Eleanor. Grantham was the first place that her body rested after her death in 1290.

Grantham received its first corporate charter from Edward IV in 1463.

History credits Grantham as being the place where Cromwell first had success against the Royalists in May of 1643.

The town used to hold a number of fairs for farm animals and agricultural products up until the early 1900's. More recently, Margaret Thatcher has written about Grantham as her girlhood home.

Grantham tripled its population between 1801 and 1871, primarily because of the completion of the navigation canal to the Trent River. Find out more about this canal at Grantham Canal Org.

Available from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City is Edmund TURNOR's 200 page "Collections for the history of the town and soke of Grantham," publ. 1806, which is available on microfilm no. 990118, item #1. They also have a copy of Malcolm KNAPP's "Grantham : a pictorial history," publ. 1990 by Biddles, Ltd., but only in book form. Call no. is 942.53/G5 H2.

Grantham was a center for entertainment for the surrounding communities. The Empire Theatre was one of many popular places in the late 19th century. Here's a photograph taken around 1965 of the building:

Empire Theatre

Grantham was the first place in the world to recruit and use women police officers in 1915. Mrs. Edith SMITH was sworn in by Grantham magistrates and given full powers of arrest.


  • See our Maps page for additional resources.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK910360 (Lat/Lon: 52.913705, -0.648154), Grantham which are provided by:

Medical Records

  • The Grantham Hospital was on Manthorpe road, about a half mile north of the town. It was built in 1874-75 and was opened by the Lady Brownlow in early 1875. A childrens' ward was added in 1888. It is unknown if any records of patient admissions or care remain.

Military History

  • In the south aisle of Saint Wulfram's Church is a monument to Captain William CUST, RN, killed in an attack on Port Louis. Directories give the date as 8 March 1747, but other sources give the year as 1748.
  • Pam SHEPHARD tells us: Militia Barracks built 1858 and extended 1872 for Royal South Lincolnshire Militia - there are some photos in "The Book of Grantham" by Michael HONYBONE, ISBN 0 86023 425 8, including a picture of "Convalescent troops in the Red Cross Hospital at the Barracks" so it was also used for that purpose. Now used by Grantham College.
  • In 1881, the 4th Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regt. of Militia consisted of 26 officers and 872 privates. It was headquartered in Grantham in Harrowby township. Colonel Earl BROWNLOW, commandant; Lieutenant-colonel MOORE; Majors Charles J. PARKER and A. JEBB. The Regiment was embodied in 1759 for the Seven Years' War (and records prior to that have been lost). The regiment had been in Sleaford in 1832 and moved to Grantham in 1852.
  • Harrowby township, in 1900, held the barracks of the Royal South Lincolnshire Militia (otherwise known as the 4th Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regt.). The first building of the barracks was erected of blue stone in 1858 and the second in 1872.
  • In 1881, the Third Lincolnshire (Grantham) Rifle Volunteers, which formed in 1859, consisted of 120 men. John F. BURBRIDGE was the captain commandant; James HUTCH, captain; Arthur HUTCHINSON, lieutenant; and John Bernard SCHOFIELD, second lieutenant.
  • In 1896, the Royal South Lincolnshire Militia (also known as the 4th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment) was at its barracks in Harrowby. Col. Lord William CECIL, commanding; Lieut.-Col. E. B. BURNABY and Lieut.-Col Sir J. de HOGHTON assisting. And the 2nd Volunteer Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment were headquarted at the Drill Hall on Wharf road.
  • In 1900, Grantham was the headquarters of the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regt.
  • In 1915, a Machine Gun Corps training facility was set up at the army base in Belton Park.
  • During World War I there was a military hospital established at the army base at Grantham Camp. The hospital had 670 beds.
  • RAF Grantham was a military facility, but not an airfield. The local RAF airfield was in Spitalgate. RAF Grantham, also known as RAF Grantham St. Vincent's, was the headquarters of Bomber Command No. 5 Group from October, 1937, to November, 1943. In November, 1943, it became the HQ of Troop Carrier Command.
  • In 1944, Grantham was awash in servicemen preparing for the invasion of Europe. Sometimes their behavior became news fodder when the locals were offended.

Military Records

Compliments of Chrissie WALTON:

"Local Men who are Serving King and Country"

  1. Father and five sons, Robert SHERRIFF, senr. Mine-Sweeping, Will SHERRIFF, Mine-Sweeping, George Ernest SHERRIFF, R. SHERRIFF, junr. Mine-sweeping, Joe. SHERRIFF, Mine-Sweeping, Jack SHERRIFF, Mine-Sweeping.
  2. Ptr. E.A. WELTON, Army Service Corp. On active service.
  3. Emerton Walter
  4. Hickman Frederick
  5. Kisington Mark
  6. Mears Laurence
  7. Napping William
  8. Saxelby Charles
  9. Saxelby Walter
  10. Waltham Horace
  11. S.H. BROOKES, junr. H.M.S. Cornwallis
  12. Drvr. S.S. BEE, 2nd. 1st N.M.B., R.F.A.
  13. Pte. W. BROWN, 1st Leicesters
  14. Sergt. J.W. IMISON 1st N.M.B.
  15. - ELLIOTT, H.M.S. Iron Duke
  16. John GIRLING, 5th Lincolns
  17. Ptr. H. FINCH, Royal Marine L.I. died of wounds received in GALLIPOLI
  18. W. ROWLEY, 1st N.M.B. R.F.A. On active service
  19. G. ROWLEY 5th Lincolns, on active service
  20. C. ROWLEY, Wireless telegraphist, H.M.S. Roxburgh
  21. N. BALL, Mine-sweeping
  23. JACK FOLEY, R.N.
  24. George FOLEY, R.N.
  25. Driver SMITH R.F.A. (of Immingham)
  26. S.H. BROOKES, senr. Mine-Sweeping
  27. Drvr. J. DIMBLEBY, R.F.A.
  28. Ptr. F.W. MOWFORTH., Army Service Corps
  29. W. ROBERTS, R.F.A. On active service
  30. Wilfred LAMIE, Mine-Sweeping (married Elsie IMISON)
  31. W.C. JAY, 1st Class Stoker, H.M.S. Princess Royal
  32. J. AKID, H.M.S. Achilles
  33. Gnr. ALLINGTON, R.F.A.

Michael PECk records these names from the South African War Memorial at St. Wulfram:

  1. T. A. BAKER, Corporal
  2. C. B. THOMPSON, Private
  3. A. A> ROYCE, Private

Names, Geographical

  • The origin of the name is uncertain, probably Old English Granta+ham for "Granta's village", and appeared in the 1086 Domesday Book in its present form of Grantham.
    [A. D. Mills, "A Dictionary of English Place-Names," Oxford University Press, 1991]
  • In Middle English the name would be pronounced as "Grant-Ham". In Modern English we have "smoothed" the name to "Gran-Tham".

Names, Personal

  • Thomas PAINE, the American revolutionary and essayist, was appointed as an Excise Officer here in Grantham in December, 1762. In August, 1764 he was tranferred to Alford.

Politics and Government

  • The parish was in the ancient Loveden Wapentake in the Soke of Grantham in the South Kesteven division of the county, in the parts of Kesteven.
  • The Soke of Grantham was a separate liberty under the borough magistrates until 1826.
  • For today's local governance, contact the South Kesteven District Council.
  • The parish is divided into five townships: Grantham, Harrowby Within, Manthorpe (with Little Gonerby), New Somerby and Spittlegate Within. Spittlegate is in the Winnibrigs and Threo Wapentake.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Grantham petty session hearings held at the police station at 11am on Saturdays.
  • The Rev. Thomas HURST endowed several almshouses in 1671.
  • Bradley's Almshouses, built in 1874 in High Street, burned down in 1875 and were rebuilt. They were used by six females aged 63 or older who were members of the Church of England.
  • As a result of the Poor Law Reform Act of 1834, the parish became part of the Grantham Poor Law Union.


Year  Inhabitants
1801 4,288
1821 6,077
1831 7,427
1841 8,691
1851 10,870
1861 11,121
1871 13,225
1891 16,746
1901 17,593
1911 20,070


  • Isaac NEWTON attended the Grammar school here.
  • The Grantham Technical Institute opened in February, 1898.
  • For more on researching school records, see our Schools Research page.