THE VILLAGE

Greatford is a small village of about 100 houses located roughly equidistant between Market Deeping, Stamford and Bourne. 

It is proud to have won Lincolnshire’s best-kept small village competition four times (2008, 2003, 1989 and 1981), and especially pleased to have won the past winners’ section of the competition in 2006.  We hope visitors to the village enjoy their experience (and keep the village tidy!).

The village is now largely residential, though there remains a farm near the centre of the village; and within the village is also a church, village hall, playing field and public house.  Within the parish boundaries (though outside the main village) is another farm, a vehicle repairers, a garden centre and a few other residential properties.

The village was listed in the Domesday Survey of 1086 (under the names Griteford and Greteford).  The name is thought to refer to the gravel (or “grit”) ford on the West Glen River, and this gives rise to the common local pronunciation of the name as “Gretford.”

The river has played a prominent part in the village’s history – flooding it 30 times between 1880 and 1954, prior to the construction of the Greatford Cut in 1956 which enables excess water to be diverted from the Glen to the Welland without going via the village.  The river provided the fresh water needed for the watercress beds that used to be adjacent Greatford Hall (prior to the building of Greatford Gardens), and the watercress leaf features in the Millennium Sign that has been erected in Main Street.

Greatford Hall originally dates back to Elizabethan times, but is actually a reconstruction following a disastrous fire in 1922.  The Hall was once the residence and private asylum for Dr Francis Willis, an accomplished physician who treated illustrious patients (including King George III, who was cured by Willis of his madness in 1788). It is now a private house and not available for public viewing.

The school and schoolhouse date back to 1761 (though further classrooms were added in 1874 and 1901) – the school closed in 1983, and it too is now a private residence.

The “Hare and Hounds” is first mentioned in 1841, and other old properties include the Old House, Manor Farm, the White House, and Old Hall Cottage. 

The oldest property in the village is the barn at Greatford Hall, which probably pre-dates the old hall, and was a barn which served as a collecting centre for wool to be transported by Fenland rivers to Kings Lynn and thence on to the continent.