Piece No.
1841 H.O. 107 / 616
1861 R.G. 9 / 2344
1871 R.G. 10 / 3351
1891 R.G. 12 / 2580

Church History

  • The Anglican church is dedicated to St. Andrew.
  • The church was originally built in early Saxon or Danish times. That building was torn down and rebuilt by the Normans and various portions have been rebuilt over the centuries.
  • In 1904 the church was thoroughly restored.
  • The church seats 110.
  • Richard CROFT has a photograph of the Cranwell Cross on Geo-graph, taken in February, 2008.
  • Here is a photo of the church, taken by Ron COLE (who retains the copyright):



Church Records

  • The parish register dates from 1560. The I.G.I. contains entries from 1561 - 1834. For those searching the I.G.I. online, the batch numbers are: C027702 for 1561-1751 and C027701 for 1752-1834.
  • The Lincolnshire FHS has a Loan Library service which has the parish registers on microfiche for Baptisms from 1560 to 1813 and Marriages from 1564 to 1811.
  • Shelley CLACK has made a list of the monument inscriptions in the churchyard. You can download her "Cranwell Churchyard file. It is a Rich Text File which should open in any word processor.
  • Parish registers are on file at the Society of Genealogists, covering only 1650 - 1696.
  • The LFHS has published several marriage indexes for the Lafford Deanery to make your search easier. Cranwell is part of the Leasingham group of that deanery.
  • Check our Church Records page for county-wide resources.

Civil Registration

  • The parish was in the Leadenham sub-district of the Sleaford Registration District.
  • Check our Civil Registration page for sources and background on Civil Registration which began in July, 1837.

Description & Travel

Cranwell is both a village and a parish 4 miles north-northwest of Sleaford. Brauncewell parish lies to the north, North Rauceby to the south and Fulbeck to the west. The parish covers just over 2,520 acres.

Parish boundaries have changed over the last two centuries. Go here to find the West Lindsey ward (modern parish) boundaries.

The village of Cranwell is small and lies mostly on the north side of the road that runs through the parish. If you are planning a visit:

  • Take the A15 trunk road north out of Sleaford and turn west at the Cranwell turnoff onto the B1429 that runs out to the RAF base.
  • Ken BROCKWAY has a photograph of the village centre at Geo-graph, taken in 2007.
  • Accommodations can be found at the Byards Leap Cottage, Cranwell, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, NG34 8EY. Tel/Fax: 01400 261537.
  • Visit our touring page for more sources.
You can see pictures of Cranwell which are provided by:





  • Are you one the descendants of Richard Prentice (c1560 - aft1602) of Cranwell?

Historical Geography

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


Land & Property

  • In 1871, Sir John C. THOROLD owned all the land except one parcel. A farm was owned by St. John's College, Cambridge.
  • In 1913, Sir John Henry THOROLD of Syston Park owned all the land except the one parcel belonging to St. John's College, Cambridge and the vicar's 245 acres of glebe (land belonging to a church).


  • Cranwell manor was held by the THOROLD family for over three centuries. It was taken down in 1816 and a large farm house was built on the site.


  • See our "Maps" page for additional resources.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference TF033499 (Lat/Lon: 53.036412, -0.460893), Cranwell which are provided by:


Military History

  • During World War One, Cranwell was the site of a Royal Naval Air Station which opened in April, 1916. The base was named "HMS Daedalus." Aircraft were scrambled on several occasions to deal with Zeppelin raids.
  • In 1920, the Royal Air Force College was established at Cranwell. The main building was crafted of stone-dressed red brick by Sir James Grey West in 1931. It now also houses the Air Warfare Centre and The Air Cadet Organisation.
  • In 1941, the field was the site of the first test flight of a UK jet aircraft. The craft was designed by Lincoln-area engineer Frank WHITTLE.
  • The Lincolnshire Film Archive has a 16mm colour with sound film from 1967 depicting most aspects of life at the Royal Air Force College, both formal and informal.
  • In the 1980's, the Red Arrows aerobatic team was stationed at Cranwell.
  • Ian PATERSON has a photograph of a pilot returning from a circles and bumps training flight at Geo-graph, taken in 2007.
  • Richard CROFT has a photograph of the War Memorial at Geo-graph, taken in February, 2008.

Names, Geographical

  • The origin of the name Cranwell is Old English cran+wella, for "spring or stream freqeunted by cranes". It appeared in the 1086 Domesday Book as Craneuuelle.
    [A. D. Mills, "A Dictionary of English Place-Names," Oxford University Press, 1991]

Names, Personal

  • Here's a partial list of surnames from White's 1871 Directory: BANKS, BRISTOW, BULL, FOSTER, LORD, SARDESON, SMITH and THOROLD.
  • Kelley's 1913 Directory lists these surnames: BANKS, BRISTOW, BROWN, HARRINGTON, KIRK, MAYFIELD, SARDESON, SMITH and SUTHERLAND.

Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient parish in Lincoln County and became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • The parish was in the ancient Flaxwell Wapentake in the North Kesteven division of the county, in the parts of Kesteven.
  • In April, 1901, this Civil Parish was merged with Byards Leap to create a new Civil Parish of Cranwell and Byards Leap, covering 2,793 acres.
  • For today's district governance, see the North Kesteven District Council.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Sleaford petty session hearings every Monday.
  • In 1682, Sir William and Lady Anne THOROLD left a charity that gave about £8 and 2 shillings per year for the poor.
  • The parish also received £15 a year to apprentice four boys through the will of Lady Margaret THOROLD.
  • After the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act reforms, the parish became part of the Sleaford Poor Law Union.


The population soared in 1921 after Byards Leap parish was merged and the RAF college opened.

Year Inhabitants
1801 88
1811 102
1841 230
1861 233
1871 219
1881 206
1891 188
1895 188
1901 138
1911 184
1921 2,191


  • In 1682, Sir William and Lady Anne THOROLD left a charity that gave about £3 per year for the education of poor children.
  • The first true school was built here in 1850 by subscription. It held up to 35 children.
  • Visit the current Cranwell Primary School website or contact them by post: Cranwell Primary School, Sleaford, NG34 8HH, tele: 01400 261271.
  • For more on researching school records, see our Schools Research page.