Market town in southeast Lincolnshire, eastern England, on the River Witham, between Stamford and Lincoln; population (2001) 34,600. It is an agricultural centre, with mechanical and electrical engineering, food-processing, and packaging industries. The former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher was born here in 1925.
History A farming centre since Saxon times, Grantham was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. The town was sacked in 1461 during the Wars of the Roses, and in 1483 Richard III signed the death warrant of the Duke of Buckingham in the Angel Inn. In 1643 Oliver Cromwell, leader of the Parliamentarians in the Civil War, made Grantham his headquarters. It became an important staging point on the Great North Road from London to Lincoln, and later developed as a railway junction.
Features The church of St Wulfram has an 86-m/282-ft central spire dating from the 14th century, and a chained library dating from 1598. Grantham House, a National Trust property dating from 1380, was formerly known as Hall Place after its owners, the Hall family, who were wealthy wool merchants in medieval times. Its architecture is mainly post-Tudor, and the building was extensively altered in the 18th century. Princess Margaret, daughter of Henry VII, is said to have stayed here in 1503, on her way north to marry James IV of Scotland. The medieval Angel and Royal Hotel has a late 15th-century facade, and is said to be the oldest inn in England, reputedly founded by the Knights Templar in the 12th century. The physicist and mathematician Isaac Newton was born nearby at Woolsthorpe Manor, a 17th-century house built of limestone. He was a pupil at the King's School, a grammar school founded in Grantham in 1528 (now a private school).