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Lancaster bomber (Glenn Carter, 1989) | by Simon Knott
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Lancaster bomber (Glenn Carter, 1989)

St Bartholomew, Great Gransden, Cambridgeshire


From Abbotsley I was headed for a curiosity. Ahead of me were the villages of Great Gransden and Little Gransden. They are intertwined, enfolding each other across the infant River Granta. The churches are a couple of hundred metres apart on opposite banks of the river. The curiosity is simply that, until 1974, Great Gransden was in Huntingdonshire and Little Gransden was in Cambridgeshire. They are still in separate District Council areas. I freewheeled down through Great Gransden across the river to the other side, and Little Gransden's church of St Peter and St Paul. An exceptionally tall tower with a sweet 15th century aisled church to the east of it. The interior is a riot of colour, and it was obviously very Anglo-catholic at the start of the 20th Century. The medieval roodscreen was painted and gilded at the time, but it is so splendid it is hard to wish it hadn't been. On reflection there was nothing of any great significance, but it was one of those immediately likeable churches, a pleasing place to visit on a sunny day.


From outside the churchyard a footpath runs down over a footbridge across the river and emerges in the churchyard, a couple of hundred metres off, of Great Gransden's church of St Bartholomew. A splendid church, a tremendous sight across the river with its great tower competing with its neighbour. The interior is also splendid, one of the best collections of 20th Century glass in Cambridgeshire. The church reflects its village, which must be just about the richest village in the county, the sort of place footballers and soap actors live, a millionaires' row of vast houses with triple garages. Despite being a rich people's bolt hole, the village is not without interest, as its street form a grid, uniquely in the county, suggesting a new important settlement here in the early Norman period. Perhaps they found the remains of the Roman Ermine Street convenient.

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Taken on March 7, 2015