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Grantham in 1838

GRANTHAM, a borough and market-town in the county of Lincoln, 110 miles north by west from London. It is situated on the ancient Roman road called Ermine-street, a little to the west of the river Witham, and is the principal town in the soke or wapentake to which it gives name. Grantham was at an early period the seat of a suffragan bishop, whom Sir Edward Coke (2 Inst., fol. 79) calls the bishop’s, vicegerent ; and at the time of the Norman survey it was held in royal demesne. The first charter of incorporation is that of Henry VI in 1463. Other charters were granted by succeeding kings down to Charles II, at the close of whose reign the town was intimidated into the surrender of all its charters, of which it continued to be deprived until 1688, when the privileges of all municipal corporations were restored. The governing charter is that of 7 Charles I. The regular annual income of the corporation is about £400 : the expenditure in 1832 exceeded £1,200, though the average expenditure appears to be about £500. Since the Municipal Act the borough has 4 aldermen and 12 councillors.

The boundary of the borough (2 and 3 William IV., cap. 64) comprises the parish of Grantham (including the townships of Spittlegate, Manthorpe, with Little Gonerby and Harrowby, and that portion of the parish of Somerby which is contained between the boundary of Grantham parish and High Dyke. The borough was first represented in Parliament in the 7th Edward IV, since which time it has continued to return two members.

The town is well paved and is lighted with gas. The principal public building is the church, which is a beautiful specimen of the Gothic style that prevailed in the thirteenth century, and is much admired for the height and elegance of its spire. In the interior are many curious monuments, for a description of which the reader is referred to Turnor’s ‘Collection for the History of Grantham,’ 4to. London, 1806. The living is a vicarage averaging £1,006 Per annum, in the patronage of the prebendaries of the cathedral of Sarum. Grantham is connected with the Trent by a canal thirty miles in length, which is supplied with water by means of large reservoirs constructed for the purpose. It was commenced in 1793, and within five years the sum of £114,734 had been expended on the undertaking. The trade consists principally in malt, corn, and coal : there is no manufactory of importance except a paper-mill. There are five fairs in the year for sheep and cattle, and a weekly market. In 1815 the annual value of the real property of the parish was assessed at £21,424, and in 1831 the population amounted to 7,427, of which the town contained 4,590 inhabitants. The free grammar-school of Grantham was founded by Richard Fox, bishop of Winchester, in 1528, and subsequently endowed by Henry VIII. The rents in 1833 amounted to £749, which were expended as follows:- The master received £150, the usher £130, the writing-master £80 ; £59 were expended in repairs, and £330 were paid as exhibitions to the university of Cambridge. It was at this school that Newton received his classical education previous to entering Trinity College, Cambridge. Woolsthorpe, about eight miles from Grantham, was his birth-place. The house, according to Dr. Brewster, was repaired in 1798, and a tablet of white marble put up to Newton’s memory.

Besides almshouses and several charitable bequests for the relief of the poor, there is a charity-school founded by Mr. Hurst and two others, on the Lancasterian system, supported by subscriptions.

The Soke comprises the townships and hamlets of Barkston, Belton, Colsterworth, Woolsthorpe, Denton, Rochford, Easton, Gonnerby, Harbaxton, Londonthorpe, Great Ponton, and Sapperton. The term soke, when applied to territory, is defined to be a district wherein the power or liberty to administer justice is exercised ; and accordingly we find that the jurisdiction of the corporation of Grantham extends over the whole soke, within which the sheriff of the county has no authority whatever.