3 - The Village of Great Gransden

DRAFT VERSION - last revised 20 May 2021. The full Character Assessment (of which this page forms part) is also available in PDF form. The sections of the character assessment are:
  1. Introduction 
  2. The Parish of Great Gransden 
  3. The Village of Great Gransden (this section) 
  4. Cherished views of Great Gransden and the surrounding countryside 
  5. Directory of listed buildings 
  6. Social Hubs 
Please give us some feedback! Email your comments to gg.2020vision@gransdens.org.

The history of the village

The village appears in the Domesday Book (1086) with the name Grantesdene, one of the 25 parishes in the Toseland Hundred, within the County of Huntingdonshire. The Domesday Book record for Great Gransden lists twenty-four tenant farmers and eight cottagers or labourers holding land under the lord of the manor. There was a church on the same site as the present church but sadly none of the structure of this Saxon or Norman church now remains. It is not until 1283 that we see the first mention of the name Great Gransden as such (as Great Grantesdene).

In the early fourteenth century, the church patronage passed into the hands of the Clare family. Lady Clare, the sister of the last Earl of Clare, founded Clare Hall (later Clare College) at Cambridge University and made generous gifts sufficient to rebuild the college and further legacies upon her death. Lady Clare assigned responsibility for the upkeep of the Great Gransden Rectory and the appointment of the Rector to the Master and Scholars of the College which, in the case of the appointment, is still formally the case today. Clare Hall also acquired a good deal of land in the village to support the Church and assumed responsibility for its upkeep. It is believed that a member of the Clare family funded the rebuilding of the church in the late fifteenth century, most likely the then Duchess of York.

The Reverend Barnabas Oley was a significant figure for the village in the seventeenth century. Originally from the West Riding of Yorkshire he was admitted to Clare Hall in the University of Cambridge and subsequently appointed to the Vicarage of Great Gransden. As a fervent supporter of the King, Oley lost his Fellowship of Clare for a period of sixteen years during the Civil War and the Commonwealth and had to flee the parish. Barnabas Oley took the Clare College silver to King Charles in Nottingham but redeemed some of it with his own money and by tradition buried it in the Rectory duck pond until he could restore it to Clare. He returned in 1659 or 1660 and regained his Fellowship and the Living of Great Gransden. He was a great benefactor to the village, building the first school and the alms houses and establishing various charities. The village school still bears his name today.

A third major benefactor to the village was Theodore Vincent Webb, who built the new Barnabas Oley School and the Reading Room and carried out the extensive restoration of St Bartholomew’s Church. T V Webb founded the Gransden Agricultural Society, which launched the annual Ploughing Match, which continues to this day as the Gransden Show on the same field once owned by the Webbs. The Webbs were major landowners and T V Webb and his wife lived first in Audley House (built c.1750), the name of which almost certainly derives from the family of Henry Audley, Knight, who was granted the manor of Great Gransden by Henry VIII. They then moved into Gransden Hall, a mid-seventeenth century mansion.

The oldest residence in the village is Rippington Manor (15th/16th Century), which, in the 19th century, was part of an agricultural estate, purchased by T V Webb’s father, William Webb, Master of Clare College. At an earlier date it was occupied by the Caesar family, having been purchased in 1631 from the Audleys by Sir Charles Caesar, son of Sir Julius Caesar, Master of the Rolls to King James I. This mediaeval manor was previously connected with Repton Priory in Derbyshire, from which the name Rippington is derived.

The Census of 1801 shows the population of the village as 412. It grew during the first half of the nineteenth century then declined over the next hundred years as people moved away from such villages due to the increasing mechanisation of agriculture. Post-war expansion of the village took place steadily over the succeeding decades, reaching 1023 by the time of the 2011 census.

For most of its history the village has been an agricultural community and many farmsteads were located within the village itself. For centuries much of the surrounding countryside was occupied by the medieval system of three great open fields, typical of much of Eastern England and the East Midlands. These persisted up until enclosure in 1856. There were also extensive hay meadows alongside the Gransden Brook (bordering what is now still called Meadow Road) and large areas of commons grazing on the higher ground to the East, on Cow Common and Walland Common, where the World War II airfield was later built.

The community was largely self-sufficient in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with many shops, including a butcher and a bakery, a windmill for grinding corn, a blacksmith, a post office and many pubs. Spiritual needs were met by the Parish Church and the Baptist Chapel and there was entertainment in the Reading Rooms and sport on the cricket field in the summer.

World War II was a significant period in the village. Gransden Lodge Airfield, built in 1941-42, was the base for the No. 405 Royal Canadian Airforce Squadron between 1943 and 1945. They operated as a Pathfinder squadron, flying ahead of the bombers to mark their targets. They flew over 4000 sorties and took part in the raid against Hitler’s retreat at Berchtesgaden in 1945. A stained-glass window in St Bartholomew’s Church in Great Gransden commemorates the squadron’s presence in the village and their courageous contributions and huge sacrifice (801 died) to help win the war. The airfield is now the home of the Cambridge University Gliding Club. Queen Marie of Yugoslavia and her son King Peter lived in the Old Mill House and another nearby house during the war years following the German invasion of their country in 1941.
[top]

Great Gransden Today

In spite of the addition of many small to medium-sized housing developments over the last 60 years, the village has retained much of its character as a delightful rural settlement with many thatched roofs and other traditional building features. There are 52 listed buildings (60 listings altogether), the majority of which are located within a designated Conservation Area that embraces much of the historic heart of the village. Gransden Windmill, situated on a prominent hill spur to the east of the village, is recognised as an Ancient Monument and Grade II* Listed Building and is one of only seven surviving open-trestle post mills in England. There has probably been a windmill on this site since the 13th century and some of the timbers in the existing structure date back to at least 1628.

Great Gransden is a very attractive place to live and is well served by the school, the village shop, the Reading Room and the pub among other facilities. Although deep in the Cambridgeshire countryside it is within easy reach (barring congestion) of Cambridge, St Neots and, by train, to London and the north. Major road and rail improvements, although temporarily disruptive, will improve this connectivity still further. There are a number of small and micro businesses in and around the village and many people work from home for all or part of the week.
[top]

The Conservation Area

SOME PHOTOS TO BE ADDED

Listed buildings in Conservation area
Map 2: the conservation area, with listed buildings marked. Click on the map to see a larger version.

A Conservation Area is an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. Designation of a Conservation Area creates a precautionary approach to the loss or alteration of buildings and/or trees in a clearly defined geographic area; as such, it has some of the legislative and policy characteristics of Listed Buildings and Tree Preservation Orders. The current relevant legislation in England and Wales is the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

The Conservation Area in Great Gransden was first designated in June 1972 but its boundary was significantly extended in 1983 in line with the recommendations of the 1981 Great Gransden Village Study (HDC 1981), when a large number of additional listed buildings were also recognised and subsequently designated. There are 60 listed buildings and structures in the parish of Great Gransden, the majority (50) located within the central part of the village. (See Table XX below for a full Directory of Listed Buildings in the parish).

In the Victoria County History (Page W, Proby G and Inskip Ladds S, 1932) Great Gransden is described as “structured around an irregular four-sided figure with the principal part of the village at the south-east angle of this figure “where stands the fine 15th century Church.” However, the surviving shop, pub and Reading Room are some distance from the Church, elsewhere around this rectangle of streets. Thus, whilst it is true that the heart of the village is focussed around this rectangular-shaped “grid-iron” pattern of streets, there is no single defined village centre. It has been suggested that this unusual street pattern may well have its origins from a consolidation over the centuries of various streets relating to the four medieval manors of the parish: Rippington Manor (in the SE), Mannocks Manor (in the North), Berristead Manor (in the South) and Baldwins Manor (to the West). The rectangular “grid-iron” pattern is formed by West Street, Fox Street, East Street, Church Street and Crowtree Street, linked centrally by Middle Street.

Four monumental trees originally marked the key junctions of this grid pattern but being mostly elms they suffered greatly from the Dutch Elm Disease outbreak from the 1960s onwards. At least one such marker tree (at the junction of Middle Street and East Street) was removed during the Second World War to enable munitions-carrying vehicles to navigate the village streets to reach the airfield to the east. Today, only the sucker-regrowth of one of these elms is still present (on the triangle opposite the Crown and Cushion) but replacement trees have been planted on at least three of these key junctions.

There have also been some recent housing developments within the current conservation area, through infill between properties around the central rectangle of streets or through small-scale developments in the large gardens and enclosed meadows, such as Baker’s Court, Whittet’s Close, Webb’s Meadow and extensions to Middle Street.

The street scenes today throughout most of the conservation area are bedecked with trees and hedges, such that the overall impression is of a series of ancient houses tucked into the foliage, interspersed with modern additions that largely blend well.

The 50 listed buildings located within the boundary of the current Conservation Area are an eclectic mix and include a 15th century church, a chapel, a village hall, a public house, 2 barns, 3 boundary walls, a medieval cross and a 20th century telephone box! The rest are domestic houses of varying scale, ranging from historic manor houses, country houses, farmsteads and former public houses to half-timbered houses and cottages. Some are of early Victorian vintage, but the majority (37 buildings) date back to the period from the early 17th century to mid-18th century. However, some are even earlier, with a few of them being at least 500 years old, dating from the late 15th century and early 16th century. Of the 46 listed buildings in Great Gransden that are houses, 24 have thatched roofs and all lie within the Conservation Area. There is only one house in the village that has a partly thatched roof but which is not a listed building (Chapel Cottage, 2 Sand Lane), although it does lie within the Conservation Area.

Thatched cottages in Conservation area
Map 3 - conservation area, with thatched cottages marked. Click on the map to see a larger version.

St Bartholomew’s Parish Church is the only Grade I Listed Building in the village. The Parish Church has been the centre of focus since the early days of the village in the 10th century. There was a church located on the same site as the present one during both Saxon and Norman times, but sadly none of these early structures has survived. Nonetheless, the present Church still contains the oldest surviving part of any building in the village, with the West Tower dating back to the latter part of the 14th century. The whole of the rest was re-built in the second half of the 15th century, including the chancel, nave, north and south aisles and the south porch. A few fragmentary links to earlier times survive, including an indented brass on a slab against the north wall in the tower to Thomas Neusum (who was rector here from 1301 – 1328) and also the remains of a 13th century medieval ornamental cross in the churchyard. Various repairs of the church have been undertaken over the last few hundred years, including major restoration work in 1873, for which Mr T V Webb again acted as benefactor.

There are four Grade II* listed buildings: Rippington Manor, Barn to East of Old Barn Farmhouse, the Post Mill and Marley’s Cottage. No 24 Middle Street, the timber-framed and plastered Marley’s Cottage is considered a particularly fine example of “a diminutive early 16th Century hall house with a northern aisle and a brick chimney (dated 1676)” (O’Brien and Pevsner et al 2014); on account of this it is listed as Grade II*.

Three-quarters of the 46 listed domestic houses are timber-frame structures (34 properties), of which 30 have plastered walls, 2 rough render and 2 with brick casing. The oldest surviving houses of this type in the village are probably Manor House (formerly Orchard Dene) (10 Manor Lane off West Street) and Marigolds/Rose Cottage (No 16 and No 18 on Middle Street), both of which are Grade II and thought to date back to the late 15th century.

When the boundary of the Conservation Area was amended following the recommendations of 1981 Great Gransden Village Study, it widened the protection it provided to cover not only the built heritage but also certain important historic landscapes of the village. The conservation area thus extends way beyond the core of the old village where the majority of the listed buildings are located and embraces important landscape features including the parkland landscape of Gransden Park in the West and stretching along the valley of the Gransden Book between Waresley Road and Little Gransden Lane and continuing upstream along the Home Dole Brook, past the old fishponds below Rippington Manor and almost as far as Mandean Bridge on Mill Road. The Conservation Area thus also links the built focus of the village to important neighbouring designated sites such as the Waresley and Gransden Woods SSSI and Nature Reserve (and the views across to this from the village), to other nearby small copses that are also remnants of ancient woodland (such as Squirrel’s Grove and Jackson’s Hill Coppice) and to significant grassland areas like the large hayfield north of Gransden Wood.

The area of Gransden Park within the Conservation Area also contains a medieval or post medieval homestead moated feature (still containing water) at its western end close to Waresley Road by Brown’s Bridge. It is registered as a recognised site on the Heritage Gateway (Hob Uid: 366016) but to date has not been archaeologically investigated and thus its age and/or significance are not yet understood. One possibility is that it was linked to or may have been the location of one of the earlier medieval manor houses (Baldwin’s Manor Farm was close by just to the north).

Outside the Conservation Area, the listed buildings elsewhere in the parish include early Victorian brick and slate farmhouses and barns at North Farm and Moor Farm and a barn and stables at Hardwicke Farm, all of which were built around 1844, immediately following the implementation of the 1843 Enclosure Act. However, a timber-frame and weatherboards barn at Leycourt pre-dates this somewhat, being late C18 or early C19. Also 2 surviving milestones on the B1040 are Listed, which were originally erected by the Bury & Stratton Turnpike Trust in the 19th century. The only designated scheduled monument in the parish is Great Gransden Windmill (also a Grade II* Listed Building - Post Mill) and it lies outside the Conservation Area, on the parish boundary with Little Gransden to the East, at the junction of Mill Road and Primrose Hill.
[top]

Development of the village since 1940

Since the 1940s there has been a steady flow of new developments in Great Gransden. These have generally been on infill sites or adjacent to the development boundary of the village. The main developments and their characteristics are summarised by decade below:

Map showing housing developments since 1960's
Map 4: Housing developments since 1960's.
Click on the map to see a larger version. BETTER MAP TO BE USED

Key to Developments:
  1. Mandene Gardens
  2. West Street east side
  3. West Street west side
  4. Winchfield
  5. Mill Road NE and SW sides (5a and 5b)
  6. Church Street SE side
  7. Church Street NW side
  8. Whittet’s Close
  9. Middle Street west side loop
  10. Webb’s Meadow
  11. Baker’s Court
  12. Audley Close
  13. Lavender Barns
  14. Sand Road north side to East St
  15. William’s Close
  16. Sand Road north side
  17. Poplar Close
  18. Manor Close
  19. Meadow Road north side
  20. Meadow Road south side
  21. Baldwin’s Manor
  22. Hall Farm Lane
  23. Eltisley Road (west side)
  24. Eltisley Road
  25. Sand Road 2018 - new development in progress
  26. Kingspan site - planning permission approved

Housing developments since the 1940s:SOME PHOTOS TO BE ADDED

Name Topography, setting and views Build style and materials Green Landscaping
1940s/50s
Mandene Gardens Cul-de-sac development of 28 houses built post-war 1948-55 by the local authority. Mainly now owner occupied with some rented accommodation. The road dips down to Mandean Brook at the bottom where a small play area and garage site remain, awaiting redevelopment. Mandene Gardens was situated adjacent to extensive countryside including meadows and hedgerows alondside Sand Road. A new housing development is in the process of being constructed on the adjacent field. A mix of semi-detached and terraced 2, 3 and 4-bedroom houses. Most have off-street parking but a few are dependent on street parking. Consistent in style with rendered elevations. All houses are 2 storeys with a range of window types. The house designs vary but there is symmetry along the length of the road. Steeply pitched roofs of red concrete pantiles. There are two street lamps. There are front gardens to all the properties and mature trees and shrubs along Mandean Brook at the far end of the road and in some rear gardens.
Mill Road The West end of Mill Road lies within the conservation area, and the road runs eastward downhill to Mandean Brook, then up to the Old Mill House and the Windmill (listed and classed as an ancient monument). Beyond the mill the road extends over a broad, flat ridge leading past hedged fields  and a warehouse (used mainly for self-storage) to Gransden Lodge airfield, which is home to the Gransden Airfield and Gliding Club.  The post-war dwellings built on farmland are all detached and set back from the road; most are on sloping ground.

The post-war dwellings built on a farmyard and farmland are all detached and set back from the road; most are on sloping ground.  There is a grass verge on both sides of Mill Road as far as the mill.

There is a grass verge on both sides of Mill Road.
There are two adjoined listed buildings at the west end of the road, built with local red brick, and a listed thatched cottage with white plaster walls. Opposite are two single storey red brick houses on the site of an old brewery. The stretch of Mill Road west of the Mandean Brook (previously known as Mandean Lane) has been gradually infilled post-war. Four of the dwellings are similar, but the rest are all of different styles. The common theme is that all are single-story or 1.5-story buildings. Some have extra bedrooms in the roof spaces and four have garages underneath to work with the slope of the land. Brook House is a red brick and tile house, built in the '40s as a guest house for the nearby Mill House. The other dwellings are built of Cambridge rubbers (a local brick) and all have clay or concrete plain tile or pantile roofs. The Old Mill House has been extended many times in the twentieth century and now has roofs of clay tiles, with concrete tiles used for the 80’s extension.
There are two street lamps.
The land west of the brook is suburban in feel with mainly large well-planted front gardens including trees. East of the brook lies the garden of Brook House, a 1-acre paddock, the 1-acre house, stables and gardens of Old Mill House, and then a further paddock before the windmill. On the south side there is another paddock. The paddocks are hedged with native hedging and trees, and there is only a limited view of the paddocks from the road. Beyond the windmill Mill Road leads through open countryside  to the airfield.
1950s/70s
Sand Road Ribbon development along a stretch of a minor road leading from the village centre to a junction with Caxton Road. Housing ends at the Sand Road Industrial Estate beyond which is the village sports field and Tennis Club and open countryside with fine views towards Bourn from Sand Road and the sports field Three houses are within the Conservation Area as is the Grade II listed Providence Baptist Chapel (1734) set behind Chapel Cottage and Chapel House. Chapel Cottage and Chapel House are older properties with white rendered or painted-brick walls. The cottage has roofs of thatch and pale clay pantiles and the house has a slate roof. The third house within the conservation area is a 1970s house of sand coloured brick with a steep pitched roof and dormer windows. Above Chapel House there are two pairs of semi-detached former council houses, each rendered and painted with pitched tiled roofs. These houses are part of the same development as Mandene Gardens and are a mixture of privately owned and rental properties. On the left side of the road there are three chalet bungalows built in 1950s and 1970s – red brick with more recent dormer-windowed loft conversions, then four detached houses of red/cream brick, part of the Williams Close development. Beyond this are two bungalows and a chalet bungalow constructed of red or pale brick with concrete roof tiles, one of which is a later build. There are four street lamps along the road. All but Chapel Cottage with front gardens, some large, with lawns, shrubs and beds. Rear gardens vary in size from small to large.
Poplar Close This is a quiet no-through road built in 1970 on land belonging to Manor Farm with houses and bungalows arranged round a key-shaped close. The site is flat although the houses on the north side of the close are raised because of the incline of the main road. Some houses are gable-end to the close, which creates a varied aspect to the development. The fields at the rear of this development are a landscape view from the popular Riddy walk.
The house in West Street opposite the entrance/exit from Poplar Close is a listed cottage recently restored after fire.
A mix of six chalet bungalows and six traditional bungalows providing a range of houses for different sizes of household. Extensive use of brown brick and white painted brick and masonry. Roofs are of brown concrete pantiles with plain brick chimneys. There are flat-roofed garage attachments to the houses.
At night it is lit by two standard street lights.
The close has a green appearance because of small front lawns and planting with plenty of shrubs and ornamental trees. Few mature trees except in north-side gardens.
Middle Street nos. 9-15 Small development built in 1974 of 5 large, detached houses set back from Middle Street. Built on flat ground along a private road. Large, detached houses built mainly of red brick with some render. No two the same but consistent in design and materials. Generally 2-storey with a range of window types. Pitched roofs with clay tiles. Clay pantiles on large, mainly double garages.
There are no street lamps.
A private gravel road runs through the development.
Green verges and a single mature tree on entry to the street.
Whittets Close Small development of 8 large, detached houses built in 1974 set back from Middle Street. Built along a private gravel driveway. No two houses are the same but are consistent in design and materials, built mainly of red brick with black feather-edged board facades and some render. All two-storey dwellings with pitched roofs of clay tiles. Most houses have double garages. There are no street lamps. Open green setting in the centre with several mature trees retained in some of the gardens.
1970s/80s
Eltisley Road West 9 houses along the left-hand side of the minor road running north out of the village to the B1040 and the village of Eltisley. One of the properties is separated from the others by the Kingspan/Potton site which is due to relocate away from the village.
The road is a gentle gradient down into the village at this point. The old houses sit slightly higher than the road. There is private set-aside land between 15 and 19 and a popular public right of way, Park Riddey, between 23 and the Potton site which runs down to the Waresley junction on the B1046.
There are two listed properties opposite on either side of the corner of Fox Street. There is also a corner green space at this junction.
The newer houses stand back slightly from the road and have well-planted front gardens and parking areas/garages. A terrace of three houses and a double-fronted detached house are Victorian. The newer houses were individually constructed in the 1970s and 80s and vary in design.
These newer properties include 3 detached houses with 4/5 bedrooms, a large chalet bungalow, and an extended bungalow with a two-storey gable end of timber and render. They are all mainly brick built in shades of yellow, red or mottled. Roofs are clay or concrete flat tiles or pantiles. The last house is located beyond the Kingspan/Potton site and was built in about 1980 by a farmer. It has views out to open countryside.
The Victorian terrace is three smaller dwellings, one of which is currently a holiday let. They are built in a traditional Great Gransden style – old red brick with corner blond bricks, some black timber and white render and a roof of traditional blond and red clay tiles with double chimneys. Beyond this terrace there is a double-fronted house with a traditional central porch with benches. This was built in 1901 (stone plaque above the door) of pale brick and slate roof.
Well-planted gardens and mature trees give this side of the road a green aspect and partially disguise the newer houses. The houses below the Kingspan site back onto fields and the tree-lined footpath. No 25 is on an open site with trees on one side and fields on the other; there are workshops and small businesses to the rear of the property.
Winchfield Built in 1977/8 and 1984 this was the first substantial development of new privately-owned houses in the village since the Second World War.
It is a medium-large development totalling 31 houses in two distinct phases and three house types. Fairly secluded and with no through traffic as it forms a cul-de-sac adopted road.
A small group of red-brick terraced houses on Caxton Road at the entrance to Winchfield have their garages and rear entrances within Winchfield.
The site is flat with a loop-shaped road around a central green space plus one side-branch. Mostly open-fronted gardens, without dividing fences or hedges.
The only road and foot access is from Caxton Road along the adopted road that runs the full length of the development. There is no public access from the end of the cul-de-sac onto Fox Street or Eltisley Road, even though the SW corner is only a short distance away. Future developments should ensure good pedestrian access through the village.
The development was built on an old grass meadow (“Craddock’s Meadow”). Air-raid bunkers were built here during WWII and their remains survived through to the 1970s. A large old farm pond was retained in the back garden of one house on the south side of the development backing onto the garden of the Old Fox.
The development is adjacent on the north side to the much-valued Showground Field, a fine example of ridge and furrow grassland.
21 properties are medium-sized, two-storey, 3 or 4-bedroom detached houses, the majority built in pale-yellow brick (3 have since been rendered), but 4 are in red brick; these stand at the entrance to Winchfield. All have steep-pitched grey concrete pantile roofs. Built in 1977-78 to typically simple 1970-style design. Originally with painted wooden window and door frames but now all replaced with mostly white plastic double-glazing, but one house with dark grey frames.
A group of six 1970s-style detached red-brick bungalows stand at the blind end of the road. Also built in 1977-78.
A group of 4 timber-framed two-storey, 4-bedroom, detached houses were built by Potton Timber in 1984 to one of their characteristic designs on a small side cul-de-sac off the main loop of Winchfield. Black timber-framing exposed in white rendered walls; red pantiled roofs.
Most Winchfield houses also have single or double separate small brick-built garages with pantile roofs.
Many of the houses have been altered and extended in various ways over the last 40 years and all are well maintained.
There are 6 low street lamps.
The large open green space in the centre of site contains nine mature tall trees and gives a green aspect to the whole development. An oak and a birch also stand in nearby front gardens. These trees are probably a surviving part of the original meadow as is the good population of cowslips in spring. This green area is part-managed as a wildflower meadow.
The houses have small to medium-sized gardens to the rear.
The back gardens of properties on the south side abut the large gardens of the Old Fox, Magpie Cottage and Discher’s Pond, collectively forming a significant green space (albeit all privately owned) within the heart of the village. This green space contains four old village ponds and includes surviving small stands of elm woodland and some ancient woodland indicator wild plants.
Meadow Road Meadow Road is a continuation of the B1046 which runs from Little Gransden. It starts in the centre of Great Gransden at the intersection between West Street and Crow Tree Street. The section up to the Waresley Road has historically also been known as Lady’s Hill but beyond this it runs out for a mile to the junction with the B1040. It is at the lower end of the village in the valley of Gransden Brook which it skirts all the way out to the B1040. There is some sparse roadside development beyond the Waresley Road junction but this only extends to the village boundary. The first building is the imposing red brick barn at the seventeenth century Old Barn Farm. This forms the character for a number of properties along Meadow Road. Old Barn Farm is built of traditional red brick as is the Barn itself. The latter has attractive ventilation slits on all sides. Traffic around the corner has frequently caused damage to the Barn. The house roof is slate with a pair of triple red brick chimneys and the barn roof is made of traditional Cambridgeshire red and gault clay plain tiles. There are three smaller barns along this stretch of the road now belonging to three different properties; these have Norfolk pantile roofs.
Old Barn Farm and its barn are two of the four listed buildings on Meadow Raod within the conservation area; the other two are Gransden Hall and Elm Cottage. Elm Cottage on the corner with Waresley Road is timber-framed with walls of red brick or pale plaster and a thatched roof; it may date as far back as the late 16th century. Gransden Hall is originally mid-17th century but underwent remodelling in the 18th and 19th centuries. It has three bays on the front and two wings. It is built of red and gault (cream) bricks and has slate roofs. It is set in parkland of which there is a fine view from the opposite hillside (Hay Field). The more modern houses between Old Barn Farm and Gransden Hall on the south side of Meadow Road were built on land belonging to one or other of these properties in the late twentieth century. The houses adjacent to Old Barn Farm are built in red brick with black feather-edged boarding and pantile roofs and those closest to Gransden Hall are built in buff brick reflecting the gault brick of parts of the Hall.
The houses on the north side of the conservation area section of Meadow Road are individually designed detached houses and are set above the road. These houses were built on farmland in the second half of the 20th century. There are two white bungalows. Otherwise, most of these houses have steep pitched roofs and dormer windows or skylights to the second floor which, together with significant tree and shrub planting, reduces their impact in the landscape; most houses are barely visible. Walls are brick and roofs are slate or pantiles. Hall Farm House opposite Elm Cottage and Baldwin’s Manor is an older house of cream-painted brick and render and slate tiles.
Along the further stretch of the road beyond Elm Cottage there is one Victorian house – Kiln Farm – and a terrace of farm cottages now two dwellings. Other houses are post-war, built of brick, and two white bungalows.
These are roadside dwellings either in an historic setting (Old Barn Farm to Gransden Hall and Elm Cottage, south-side) or in well-planted secluded sites (north-side). Beyond Elm Cottage the setting is Gransden Brook and semi-woodland (south-side) and farmland (north-side).
West Street West Street slopes down to Meadow Road at the lower end of the village. Most houses are setback from the road but the 4 large redbrick houses are on a tight site and two of them are close to the road. The bungalows and the similar two-storey house are on elevated sites.
With the exception of three of the redbrick houses, all are built facing the road.
10 bungalows, 6 of which are similar build of pale brick, with some wood, tile of render detail on front elevations and concrete pantiles. There is a two-storey house opposite these bungalows built of the same materials. 2 similar bungalows are semi-detached and have bay windows. Another pair of semi-detached bungalows on the opposite side of the road are cream render with plain tiles.
There is a separate and distinct small infill development of 4 large redbrick detached houses with double garages and feather-edged boarding or tile detail on the front elevations. Some have cantilevered stairwells. The roofs are Norfolk/Fenland clay pantiles.
A third infill development consists of two large, detached chalet bungalows in buff brick with red brick detailing and double-height gable end windows.
Most of these houses have good-sized front and rear gardens with some mature trees and shrubs.
Webbs Meadow A small close of 10 houses accessed via a short road off West Street. The detached houses are arranged asymmetrically with three grouped around a small pond. Some plots are elevated. Webbs Meadow is named after the prominent Victorian Gransden benefactors. 6 large, detached houses and 4 smaller houses owned by a Housing Association. The houses are built in mottled brick of buff, blue-grey and red with clay pantile roofs. There are small clapboard features to some of the large houses. Woodwork is painted or stained brown. The large houses have good-sized gardens to the front and rear. Webbs Meadow is well-planted and has its own pond.
1990s
Church Street Houses set well back from the road, elevated on the west side. Church Street is on a slope providing communal views from the road towards Rippington Manor, Old Dixie’s and the church on the descent. On the ascent the view is of a distinctive thatched cottage. 6 large, to very large, red brick detached houses (one was built earlier, in the 1970s) Some timber detailing. Double garages. 3 with clay pantile roofs (Norfolk/Fenland style), 1 plain clay tiles and 2 slate roofs Good-sized gardens front and back. Many mature trees and shrubs.
Williams Close Small development of five large, detached houses around a private close built in 1986/87. The site is flat and the layout is T-shaped An alleyway joins Williams Close to Audley Close, providing a footpath route from Sand Road through to Caxton Road and the centre of the village including the school.
Built on land which was originally a haulage yard and named after the owner – William Merrill, a member of a local family.
Large, detached houses of 4/5 bedrooms built in two designs; one design has dormer windows and the other a large arched window. Three of the houses have been extended. They are built of pale yellow or red brick with some detail in the reverse colour. All frontal windows are leaded. Roofs of grey concrete pantiles.
There is one street lamp, centrally positioned.
No trees in front gardens. Two houses have made front gardens into small vegetable plots. Small to medium sized rear gardens.
Bakers Court A flat, secluded site developed in 1990-92. The land belonged to the village bakery, hence its name. The original bakery stands at the entrance and is now a private home. The house adjacent to the old bakery on Fox Street was also built on the bakery’s land (completed in 1989). The layout of Baker’s Court is U-shape round a private road. The approach is via a driveway leading from Fox Street.
The view out from the common central space is to the listed Old Fox on the opposite side of Fox Street.
A small development of 5 large, detached houses up to 6 bedrooms set back from Fox Street. Consistent in style, materials and colour but variations in the particular house designs. 2-storey appearance but some have loft rooms with rooflights. Redbrick with some modest brick detail round the windows. The brick is of a similar hue to older red brick houses in the vicinity, eg The Old Bakery. Some houses have black or brown feather-edged boarding on the facades, reflecting traditional rural architecture. All window frames/doors are the same shade of dark brown. Steeply pitched roofs of grey concrete pantiles.
There are 5 low lamps.
The setting is green with open front gardens featuring small lawns, trees, shrubs and beds. There is a semi-wild green verge to the driveway entrance, which is owned and maintained by no.5.
Small to medium-sized rear gardens, some with ornamental and fruit trees visible from the Bowling Green and playground.
Hall Farm Lane This is a small development of six houses along a private no-through, unsealed road that slopes downhill to Hall Farm and the Riddy. The Riddy footpath runs along the back of gardens 2-5. The name refers to Hall Farm and Hall Farm House which stands at the bottom of this road facing Meadow Road. No. 1 is in the Conservation Area and is of a 2-storey Potton design. Nos 2, 3 & 6 are 2-storey 4-bedroom detached houses of traditional construction. These houses were built in 1993-95. Nos. 4 and 5 are older 3-bedroom semi-detached houses that were formerly farm cottages for Hall Farm. External areas comprise gardens to the front and rear.
The houses are built mainly of red brick; No. 1 has some rendered mock Tudor sections. They have a range of window types to the second storey – traditional, dormer and Velux/rooflights. The roofs are steep-pitched with clay tiles.
There are no street lamps in spite of the tree cover.
This is a very green setting alongside Riddy Park. Many mature trees and shrubs are retained in gardens. Most of the properties face the ditch and the Riddy footpath at the rear and have views out across farmland. Property boundaries are provided by hedgerows.
Audley Close One of the larger developments in the village consisting of 32 houses built in 1998-2000 as a private no-through road off Caxton Road, 21 of which are large, detached houses and 11 are built as a terrace of smallr affordable houses. Most properties are not visible from Caxton Road. Vehicular access to Lavender Barns. Footpath access to Williams Close.
Built on land originally owned by Audley House.
Large detached 4 to 6-bedroom houses. Two storey appearance but some have 2 ½ storey bedrooms with rooflights (Velux style). Red and buff coloured brick, some with bay windows, some with dormer windows. Some also have small sections of brown feather-edged boarding. Steep-pitched roofs of red concrete pantiles.
There are 7 street lamps.
Well planted in the public areas with trees, shrubs and lawns. All front gardens planted with hedging and trees, alongside small lawns, shrubs and beds. Small to medium sized rear gardens.
Small tree lined green centrally situated plus smaller green with tree near the access road.
Manor Lane Detached houses half-hidden behind hedges/fences along a descending no-through road to a wooded backdrop, Hall Farm Lane and Riddy Park. Built on the land of Manor Farm. The houses are secluded behind hedges or fences. Manor Lane is a no-through road, so is very quiet. The Manor Lane exits onto West Street and faces two listed thatched cottages on West Street and a footpath, Little Lane, leading to the school and Middle Street. The Manor House which stands on the right at the entrance to Manor Lane is late 15th century and Grade II listed. Most of the new houses were built in 1997/98 but two houses at the entrance (left-hand side) were built in the late 1970s. Manor Barn was converted into a house circa 2000. The houses are each a different style and detached, all large or very large with 3-5 bedrooms set in extensive gardens. One is a bungalow, otherwise the houses are two-storey built mainly of red brick with brick chimneys. The exceptions are the earlier houses built in yellow brick or white stucco/render. Manor Barn is black feather-edged boarding. The new houses have concrete roof tiles, flat or pantile. Most roofs are steep and the Manor House roofs are extensive and constructed of mixed red and buff clay tiles with decorative elements at the front. Octagon house at the entrance to Manor Lane is a unique house in the village – octagonal with rendered walls and a slate roof. This is a very private development, a single no-through road with no street features except grass verges and high hedges/fences. Many mature trees have been retained in gardens and these are visible from the lane.
2000s
Lavender Barns A flat site, laid out on three sides of a rectangle with approach road on fourth side. Private roadway and secluded.
The approach driveway is from Audley Close and also allows access to Audley House. These houses were built on land formerly owned by Audley House. Originally they were intended to be a conversion of existing farm buildings but became complete new builds in a rural style when problems were encountered.
Aspect to the front is old Victorian farm buildings owned by Audley House. To the rear is the main housing development on the same land - Audley Close
Small development of 4 3-bedroom attached bungalows. Consistent in style and materials - all red brick (some of it recovered) with black feather-edged boarding. Pitched roofs of red concrete pantiles. Two bungalows with integrated garages, two with parking loggias.
There are no street lamps but small carriage-style lamps on parking loggias.
There are small front gardens with lawns, shrubs and beds and small gardens to the rear. Shrubs planted along the approach driveway.
Baldwins Manor A sloping site leading off Waresley Road. The layout is U-shaped around the private approach road. This small development was built in 2001-02 on the stables that belonged to Gransden Hall. The development is named after a former Great Gransden family which dates back to the 14th century. The development consists of 5 large 4 to 5-bedroom detached houses. They are ‘Potton’ houses and are consistent in style, materials and colour but with variations in the particular house designs. They are all 2 storey and have steeply sloping roofs of red tiles. Bricks are pink/red to yellow. All have grey cedar boards on facades, reflecting traditional rural architecture. All window frames/doors are the same shade of dark brown. Chimneys are brick-built, tall with some decorative brick work. All houses have tiled double garages. There are no street lamps. The site is well-planted. There are large trees in most gardens alongside lawns, shrubs and beds. Small to medium-sized gardens to the rear. Walls, fences & hedges shield Baldwins Manor from Meadow Road.
2010s
Eltisley Road East 14-20 Built in 2016-19 on rising ground along a new private road running from Fox Street to Eltisley Road. Most are visible from the main roads.
The listed Fox Cottage (formerly 3 cottages) stands at the entrance to/from Fox Street. The house above the development on Eltisley Road is a stand-alone Potton-style house.
A small development of 9 large 4 to 5-bedroom detached houses on a corner plot between Eltisley Road and Fox Street. No two are the same but are consistent in design and materials. Design reflects some nearby houses, especially the house opposite the Eltisley Road entrance.
They are built mainly of red brick of similar hue to other houses in Great Gransden. Some substantial black feather-edged boarding facades and some rendered mock Tudor sections. Black and sage-green external paintwork has been used throughout. 2-storey houses with a range of window types in the second storey – traditional, dormer and rooflights. Steep-pitched roofs with clay tiles and clay pantiles on large, single or double garages. No street lights within the development.
The site enjoys an open protected green space opposite Fox Cottage at the Fox Street entrance. The setting is green with several mature trees retained in some gardens. Some substantial front lawns on the Fox Street side. Fencing and new hedging has been erected/planted, often laurel.
2020s
Hayfield Avenue/Dutton Gardens Under construction    

[top]

Comments