Glatton is a conservation village of some 308 souls (2011 Census), lying on the east-facing ridge of the Huntindon Wolds and the ancient forest lands of Bromswold. In medieval times it was a busy community, being one of the nearest settlements to the fens, and also sitting on the crossing of two important and ancient trackways.
The village was recorded in the Domesday Survey of 1086 as ‘Glattune’ (Saxon for A Farm in the Glade). During the 18th Century some 200,000 head of cattle a year travelled along the Bullock Road from the North-and even Scotland- to the markets of London. This trade contributed to the prosperity and growth of the village as cattle, sheep, hogs and geese were held in small grass closes for an over-night fee before continuing their journey. Horses were bred in the Fens, and the horse-fair at Moonshine-Gap on the Ridgeway above the village was famously attended by Gypsies until the end of the 19th Century.
There have been a number of ships named ‘Glatton’. The first was built from oak taken from Glatton Wood in 1762 (449 tons). Glatton 2 was built in 1776 (758) tons and Glatton 3 in 1788 (1,200 tons). She was sold to the Navy in 1795 and fitted with 54 guns and fought against the French in 1796. Later she fought with Nelson in the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801 under the command of Captain Bligh (of the mutiny fame).
The Village successfully survived decimation by Dutch-Elm Disease, Cromwell, the Railway Age and a bombardment from outer space (a warm single crusted meteorite weighing some 800 grammes fell into a garden on High Haden Road at 11.30 GMT on 5th May 1991 – and is now housed in the Natural History Museum as ‘The Glatton Meteorite’).
It’s character and demography changed dramatically with the advent of the motor car, and developments in livestock farming to such and extent that, in common with vast swathes of Middle England, it has lost all of its Shops, its School and, most recently, its Post Office. It is now an all too typical dormitory community relying solely on The Church, The Village Hall and the Addison Arms Inn which was built in the late 17th Century. The Inn had for many years been a farmhouse owned and occupied by the Addison family.
The original Rectory is now called ‘The Grange’ on Infield Road. A new Rectory was built next to the Church in 1865 (now called Glatton House) and was occupied by the Reverend Wingfield–Hayes. With the amalgamation of the benefices of Glatton and Sawtry the current Rectory is now on Church Causeway in Sawtry.
A number of houses in the village date back to the early part of the 17th Century. The oldest is understood to be ‘Allways’, the home of the author Beverley Nichols between the years 1928-1937. He wrote three novels known as “The Allways Trilogy”. When he died in September 1983 his ashes were scattered in the churchyard. The cottage was originally constructed as a fishing lodge for Whittlesey Mere. The St.George’s Residential Home was previously Glatton Hall and at one time was occupied by the Academic, Publisher and Poet Geoffrey Faber, one of whose authors was T.S.Eliot who wrote amongst his prodigious works ‘Little Gidding’ (No. 4 of the Four Quartets). Eliot visited the village on 25th May 1939.From 1400—1900 an earlier property on the site of the Residential Home was owned by the Sherrard family (see South Aisle entry) who were descended from the Castells.