Grantham is a market town within the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire, England. It bestrides the London to Edinburgh East Coast Main Line railway and the River Witham, and is bounded to the west by the A1 main north-south road.
Grantham is about 26 miles (42 km) south of the city and county town of Lincoln, and about 24 miles (39 km) east of the city of Nottingham. The resident population at the 2001 UK Census was 34,592 in about 18,000 households. This figure excludes the adjacent village of Great Gonerby.
The town is best known as the birthplace of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, and the place where Isaac Newton went to school, at The King's School. It is close to an ancient Roman road, and was the scene of Oliver Cromwell's first advantage over Royalists during the English Civil War at Gonerby Moor. Grantham is also notable for having the first female police officers in the United Kingdom, notably Edith Smith in 1914, producing the first running diesel engine in 1892, and the UK's first tractor in 1896.
Grantham was an ancient parish with its church dedicated to Saint Wulfram. Registers exist from 1562. A later church, dedicated to Saint John the Evangelist has registers from 1842. There was also a Wesleyan Methodist chapel and chapels of other denominations. (Source: GENUKI)
In 1909 Grantham absorbed the civil parishes of Harrowby Within and Little Gonerby in their entirety. Other former townships and parishes (Manthorpe cum Little Gonerby, Sapperton, Spittlegate and Barrowby) have all been partially absorbed into the town.
Lincolnshire is very low-lying and land had to be drained for agriculture to be successful. The larger drainage channels, many of which are parallel to each other, became boundaries between parishes. Many parishes are long and thin for this reason.
There is much fenland in Lincolnshire, particularly in the Boston and Horncastle areas. Fenlands tended to be extraparochial before the mid 1850s, and although many sections were identified with names and given the title "civil parish", little information has been found about them. Many appear to be abolished in 1906, but the parish which adopts them is not given in A Vision of Britain through Time. Note the WR category Lincolnshire Fenland Settlements which is an attempt to organize them into one list.
From 1889 until 1974 Lincolnshire was divided into three administrative counties: Parts of Holland, Parts of Kesteven and Parts of Lindsey. These formal names do not fit with modern grammatical usage, but that is what they were, nonetheless. In 1974 the northern section of Lindsey, along with the East Riding of Yorkshire, became the short-lived county of Humberside. In 1996 Humberside was abolished and the area previously in Lincolnshire was made into the two "unitary authorities" of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. The remainder of Lincolnshire was divided into "non-metropolitan districts" or "district municipalities" in 1974. Towns, villages and parishes are all listed under Lincolnshire, but the present-day districts are also given so that places in this large county can more easily be located and linked to their wider neighbourhoods. See the WR placepage Lincolnshire, England and the smaller divisions for further explanation.