Click on any of the images above for information on the four parishes in our benefice.
A benefice is a grouping of parishes that worship together under a single Church of England priest, known as the incumbent. Before the 20th century, all four of our parishes had their own priest. In 1928 the parishes of Great and Little Gransden were united into a single benefice, and in 1999 they joined with Abbotsley and Waresley to form our present benefice.
Below is a map of the four civil parishes that form our benefice and the location of the church in each. Civil parishes differ from ecclesiastical parishes. See below for a description of what that means.
In medieval times, there was only one type of parish: the ecclesiastical parish, corresponding to the area governed by the parish church. From the late 19th century, with parishes now beginning to be run by parish councils, some parishes were split or merged, leading to these administrative "civil parishes" differing from the churches' "ecclesiastical parishes".
Waresley, whose parish council was created in 1972, was merged with Tetworth parish in 2009, which had until then not had a parish council, to form the civil parish officially called Waresley-cum-Tetworth.
Similarly in 2010 the civil parish of Eynesbury Hardwicke was dissolved, with the land split between Abbotsley and St Neots.
Great Gransden and Little Gransden, however, have remained unchanged for probably 1000 years.
Thus (outside of towns and cities at least) if you want planning approval for an extension then you need to know what civil parish you live in. However, for weddings (particularly the reading of banns) and funerals then it's important to know which ecclesiastical parish you are part of. Parish boundaries are also important as part of the ceremony of beating the bounds. This ancient rite involves walking around the perimeter of a parish on Rogation Sunday to reaffirm its borders. The map of the ecclesiastical parishes for the four churches of our benefice is below.