A short history of Grantham
Grantham appears to have grown from the sixth century, although there have been earlier archaeological finds scattered around the town. By the time of the Domesday Book (1086) the population had reached 1300, and the name Grantham was already established in its present form.
Grantham was becoming increasingly wealthy through the wool trade. In about 1140 the church of St Wulframs was founded, it’s spire at 282ft is the sixth highest in England.
Granthams growth continued through its location on the Great North Road. Although the road originally followed the route of the Roman Ermine Street, just north of the town, the route passed through Grantham by early medieval times. Grantham was one of the 12 stops made by Edward I when he transported the body of Queen Eleanor from Lincoln to London for burial after her death in 1290. The Eleanor Cross that he erected at Grantham was destroyed during the civil war.
In 1463 Grantham was granted the status of a town through a Royal Charter, as a reward for its support for the Yorkist cause during the Wars of the Roses.
By the time of the Civil War, Grantham was an important town on the Great North Road, giving it great strategic importance. In March 1643 a Royalist force captured Grantham, then beat off a Parliamentary army at Ancaster Heath the following month.
Oliver Cromwell defeated the Royalists at Belton and Gonerby Moor, and from Great Gonerby planned a successful attack on Grantham as well as the training of the New Model Army.
After the civil war Grantham continued to develop as a staging post on the Great North Road. By the peak of the stage coach, 12 were arriving at Grantham every day. Of the major inns, the Angel and Royal is still thriving and The George has been converted to a shopping centre.
The age of the stage coach was also the age of the Highwayman. Great Gonerby, just north of Grantham, is on the first significant area of high ground for stage coaches travelling north. The views of the road made it ideal territory for Highwaymen.
After the age of the stagecoach came the age of the railway. Grantham developed as a railway and industrial centre.