The Stones that built Grantham
Grantham is located to the South West of Lincolnshire.
It straddles London to Edinburgh Eastern main line railway. The river Witham flows through the town and it is abutted to the west by the A1 trunk road. The population is estimated at 44,500 Stone used in the construction of Grantham Architecture include Architectural stone for wall construction and fine detailing.
· Roofing materials
· Cobble stones
· Formal Grannit sets
· Paving slabs
The principle walling stone comes from the Ancaster group of quarries which lie 7 miles to the North east of the town. Ancaster is situated on the river Slea, once navigable by barge. The river flows in an easterly direction through Sleaford and to South Kyme where at a place called Kyme. EAU (meaning water in the French language) it meets the River Witham. The Witham could then be navigated up stream right into the heart of Grantham.
Boats were navigating these rivers since the Roman period and perhaps even earlier. A barge of the medieval period could easily carry 30 tonnes of stone typically pulled by one horse or mule. Other methods or propulsion including pushing by poles or rowing. By comparison a wooden cart drawn by 4 oxen could carry just 0.65 of a tonne at a similar speed of 2 miles per hour.
Notable architecture in Grantham includes St Wulfram’s church built over several stages from the 12c. The King’s School from the 15c, ex pupils of note include Sir Isaac Newton and William Cecil later to become Lord Burghley.
The George Hotel (18c) featured in a Charles dickens Novel. Several Stately homes include Belton House built from Ancaster stone with Ketton Quoins. Stoke Rochford Hall from Ancaster stone and Belvoir Castle built from local Marlstone with Ancaster Quoins and formal detailing.
Early Stone Roofs would have been from Collyweston in Rutland. Swithland slate was available from the 12c up until 1887. The three quarries were just to the West of Swithland in Leicestershire.
It is likely that some Swithland slate found their way to Grantham being the closest source of slate. However the railway arrived in the town in the year of 1850 meaning that high volumes of superior Welsh slate could be brought in from North wales at a fraction of previous costs.
The canal came to Grantham in 1797 in a Westerley direction linking with the River Trent. This no doubt provided Grantham with a good supply of river cobbles for paving the streets and also sand and gravels for the making of Lime Concrete. Swithland state remained popular for grave stones until its demise in 1887.
Lime burning took place locally certainly there was several lime burners at Ancaster. One at Dembleby and one at Castle Bytham. These would all produce quick limes for use in builders mortar.
With the railway which was connected to Grantham in 1850 would have come granite setts (cobbles) from Yorkshire plus other landscaping products such as York Flagg Stones. These would have replaced the basic cobble stones previously brought in by boat from the Trent Valley transported along the Grantham Canal which arrived in Grantham in 1797 and previously by medieval barge along the River Witham and along the Fossdyke navigation created by the Romans in 120 AD to link the Witham to the River Trent.