1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Grantham

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GRANTHAM, a municipal and parliamentary borough of Lincolnshire, England; situated in a pleasant undulating country on the river Witham. Pop. (1901) 17,593. It is an important junction of the Great Northern railway, 105 m. N. by W. from London, with branch lines to Nottingham, Lincoln and Boston; while there is communication with Nottingham and the Trent by the Grantham canal. The parish church of St Wulfram is a splendid building, exhibiting all the Gothic styles, but mainly Early English and Decorated. The massive and ornate western tower and spire, about 280 ft. in height, are of early Decorated workmanship. There is a double Decorated crypt beneath the lady chapel. The north and south porches are fine examples of a later period of the same style. The delicately carved font is noteworthy. Two libraries, respectively of the 16th and 17th centuries, are preserved in the church. At the King Edward VI. grammar school Sir Isaac Newton received part of his education. A bronze statue commemorates him. The late Perpendicular building is picturesque, and the school was greatly enlarged in 1904. The Angel Hotel is a hostelry of the 15th century, with a gateway of earlier date. A conduit dating from 1597 stands in the wide market-place. Modern public buildings are a gild hall, exchange hall, and several churches and chapels. The Queen Victoria Memorial home for nurses was erected in 1902–1903. The chief industries are malting and the manufacture of agricultural implements. Grantham returns one member to parliament. The borough falls within the S. Kesteven or Stamford division of the county. Grantham was created a suffragan bishopric in the diocese of Lincoln in 1905. The municipal borough is under a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors. Area, 1726 acres.

Although there is no authentic evidence of Roman occupation, Grantham (Graham, Granham in Domesday Book) from its situation on the Ermine Street, is supposed to have been a Roman station. It was possibly a borough in the Saxon period, and by the time of the Domesday Survey it was a royal borough with 111 burgesses. Charters of liberties existing now only in the confirmation charter of 1377 were granted by various kings. From the first the town was governed by a bailiff appointed by the lord of the manor, but by the end of the 14th century the office of alderman had come into existence. Finally government under a mayor and alderman was granted by Edward IV. in 1463, and Grantham became a corporate town. Among later charters, that of James II., given in 1685, changed the title to that of government by a mayor and 6 aldermen, but this was afterwards reversed and the old order resumed. Grantham was first represented in parliament in 1467, and returned two members; but by the Redistribution Act of 1885 the number was reduced to one. Richard III. in 1483 granted a Wednesday market and two fairs yearly, namely on the feast of St Nicholas the Bishop, and the two following days, and on Passion Sunday and the day following. At the present day the market is held on Saturday, and fairs are held on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday following the fifth Sunday in Lent; a cherry fair on the 11th of July and two stock fairs on the 26th of October and the 17th of December.