DEN Project

Brief History of a Market Town – 1086 onwards

By the time the Doomsday book was produced in 1086, Grantham had a population of over 1000 people.

During the Medieval period the local wool trade thrived and provided the wealth on which the town was built.  The size and beauty of St Wulfrum’s Church, built largely in the 13th century is testament to this wealth.

During the 16th and 17th centuries Grantham continued to be prosperous through the wool trade, but also because of the quality of the agricultural land in the area and the sale of produce at market.  The town suffered in the Civil War, fought over by both Royalist and Parliamentarian forces and was eventually taken over by Oliver Cromwell’s army.

The 18th century saw the advert of the stage coach. The Great North Road was the main coaching road from London to the north of England and passed through the centre of Grantham.  It brought huge prosperity to all of the towns on its route.

At the height of the coaching boom, 12 stage coaches a day passed through Grantham. The fastest coach to London took 16 hours. Many coaching inns opened to provide overnight accommodation, and a whole service industry grew up to meet the needs of the travellers.

In the 19th Century, Grantham joined the industrial age and the town saw huge expansion. The town was situated on the main north – south rail line which opened in 1852. The arrival of the railway encouraged the development of large scale industry in the town. Firms such as Hornsby’s Ironworks flourished and became a major employer in the town

The 20th Century saw the expansion of the town away from the confines of the early settlement area around the church and the market place. A new urban area sprang up around the Hornsby works in Spitalgate to house many of the industrial and railway workers in this area.

In 1871 after the arrival of the railway, the population of Grantham was 13,325. The cenus records of 2001 records a population of 33,918 and more recent records puts the figure at 36,800.

 
 

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