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History of Grain
Grain comes from the Old English 'grēon' meaning 'gravelly, sandy ground'. The Textus
Roffensis records Grain as Grean. The Isle of Grain - once a true island - first
appears in 1610 as the Ile of Greane.
Grain parish church is a Grade: I listed building,
dedicated to Saint James. The Normans built it in the 12th century, with minor additions
and changes in the following century. In 1725, Samuel Knight cast and hung a bell
in a wooden turret. In 1798, Edward Hasted described the Grain church as consisting
of ‘three isles and a chancel’. The Georgians removed the aisles in 1815. Mears and
Stainbank marked Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee by replacing the bell in the turret.
In 1902, King Edward VII paid for the construction of a south-west tower. In 1904,
Mears and Stainbank cast and hung a ring of four bells and scrapped the Samuel Knight
BP opened an oil refinery at Grain in the 20th century with fuel pumped via the PLUTO
pipeline to allied forces in France.