Ancient church and former airfield are historical features of Graveley village
- Credit: ARCHANT
The village of Graveley covers an area of 1,582 acres and sits at the western edge of Cambridgeshire, near St Neots. The population is listed as 223, according to the 2011 Census.
In 1941, an area of 106 acres, which straddles the border with Offord Darcy was requisitioned by the Government to build Graveley airfield and was used by bomber squadrons until the end of the Second World War.
The part of the airfield in Graveley included the end of the main runway and a number of buildings. The airfield closed in 1946 but reopened in the late fifties as a relief airstrip for Oakington barracks. The land returned to agricultural use in 1967 and is now the site for the Cotton Wind Farm.
Graveley was listed as Greflea in the 10th Century and Gravelei in the Domesday Book of 1086, the name is believed to mean "woodland clearing by the pit or trench".
The parish church of St Botolph largely dates back to the 13th Century. The present building consists of a long chancel and a four-bay nave with north aisle, and a three-stage west tower, but some fragments of a Norman building survive. The current tower dates from the 15th Century. The chancel was rebuilt in the mid-18th Century. Further restoration was performed in 1874 and again in 1888.
The village has one pub, The Three Horseshoes, which opened in the early 20th Century. Prior to that, The Chequers served the village from the 1760s until it burnt down in c1900. After the fire, The White Lion opened but it closed in c1920.
From the 18th Century, the village had a schoolmaster and in 1872 a new schoolroom for 70 children was built. Numbers had fallen to 20 by 1900 and to fewer than 10 by the 1930s. Older children were moved to Croxton in 1948, and primary school children followed when the school finally closed in 1961.