Great Gransden Church history

The present church of the perpendicular period was built about 1460, the tower about 1360, but a church on this site is mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086.

The EAST WINDOW was erected in memory of T V Webb MA JP who died in 1885. He and his wife were great benefactors to the village, which included the building of the Reading Room.

Fragments of 15-16th century glass have been inserted into a window on the south side of the chancel.

The most recent window is by Glen Carter (1989) and commemorates the 405 RCAF PATHFINDER SQUADRON who were based at Gransden Lodge Airfield during WWII.

A memorial book rests close by detailing the names of the fallen.

On the south end of the Rood Screen is a door. It is believed that the gentry used this after entering the church via a door in the south wall of the chancel. Traces of the door can be seen from the outside. They would then enter theirown pew directly from the chancel.

The old carved PEWS are early 16th century. Various carvings of leaves, animals and fish can be seen when viewed from the crossing.

The hexagonal Jacobean oak PULPIT stands by the south pillar of the chancel arch. It is said to have been brought to the church in 1633 by Barnabas Oley from Great St.Mary’s Church Cambridge.

The carved head on the arch corbel above the pulpit is said to represent St. Bartholomew.

The FONT is 15th century (with modern cover and pedestal) and stands in front of our newest item, the TOWER arch screen.

The CHAPEL in the south aisle was dedicated on Wednesday January 21st 1948 by the Lord Bishop of Ely, Dr Edward Wynn, to our Lady as the church war memorial. The cost of the work was £200 and was raised by voluntary contributions. Mr William Lee of Huntingdon prepared the designs and M.J.Allen of Brampton carried out the work. The statue of Our Lady was presented by the Misses K & M Thompson in memory of the late Sister Clare who had adopted them in their infancy.

The ORGAN was built by Bishop & Son and installed in the organ chamber in 1888. In 1988 after 100 years of service the organ was fitted with a second hand Trumpet Stop and in 1997the organ was cleaned and overhauled by Norman Hall & Sons, Cambridge.

On the west wall of the south aisle is a stone memorial to THOMAS DE NEUSUM, Rector 1301—1328. It was placed here during the restoration of the tower in 2000 but has had several other resting places. The slab bears the impression of what could have been a brass and the surrounding inscription can still be read: HIC JACET THOMAS DE NEVUSM CONDAM RECTOR ISTIUS ECCLESLE CUJUS ANUMÆ PROPICIETUR DEUS (Here lieth Thomas De Neusum, formerly Rector of this church: on whose soul may God have mercy).

On the south wall of the chancel is a stone in memory of BARNABAS OLEY, Vicar 1633-1685. F Christmas JP of Rectory Farm erected this in 1910. Barnabas Oley was also President of Clare College, Cambridge, and Archdeacon of Ely. He founded the village almshouses in 1670, and established a school that was located on the small roundabout at the bottom of Middle Street (both now demolished).

He also built the Vicarage (now privately owned). Today’s village school still carries his name, and children leaving to go onto secondary education receive a leaver’s bible funded by his charity.

The Tower Project Phase I was completed in 2000 and included repairs to the tower masonry, re-tuning 5 of the 6 bells and rehanging them in a new metal frame lower in the tower. A new third bell was cast and donated by bellringers. The old third bell still remains in situ in the old frame at the top of the tower. The CLOCK & CHIMING APPARATUS were refurbished and re-sited. The clock was made by Thomas Power of Wellingborough in 1683, possibly to celebrate Barnabas Oley’s Jubilee. The chimes play one of the five tunes for five minutes every three hours. The tune is changed every week.

In 2005 Phase II of the project was completed with the installation of a new ringing floor, tower arch screen with toilet and kitchen facilities now available on the ground floor.