Pictures of Cranbrook
Cranbrook is an old rural town of numerous streets and alley's, all still true to their medieval layout. It is a real "showcase" for a rich variety of properties displaying typical Wealden features, weatherboarding, stucco and timber framing, with the origins of many of the buildings lying deep in 15th century England.
The town is sheer bliss, its main streets are lined with enchanting individual shops where the owner greets you in a friendly welcoming fashion. The diverse range of shops covers from delicatessens to antiques, with boutiques specialising in art and jewellery, even an old fashioned iron-mongers. Thus the shopper is guaranteed to always find something that little bit special.
Historically, the history of the town lies lost with the Roman Empire and beyond. The town received its market charter from Edward I, and two weekly markets and twice yearly fairs continued well into the 19th century. In the 14th century Cranbrook flourished as a centre for cloth, but this had begun to decline at the turn of the 17th century and the 19th century saw the demise of cloth and the population fell as people transferred to other regions in search work. Fortunately other industries set up, rope making became popular and a carrier business operated from within the town. These industries are celebrated today by street names such as Rope Walk, Carrier's Road and the Tanyard.
By Victorian times Cranbrook had once again become a busy market town, but the arrival of the railways made it easier to obtain cheaper goods and again the town fell into decline. Agriculture steadily continued with a ready market for hops and fruit. This period also saw the inception of Cranbrook Boarding School which headmaster Charles Crowden developed out of the old Tudor Grammar School. Another plus for the picturesque village was that it attracted a number of artists.
Today, with its impressive buildings, inns from a by-gone era, cafe's and restaurants Cranbrook has become a popular inland resort town, it is an ideal place for that perfect weekend spent in an ambience of rural charm that despite the onslaught of World Wars One and Two, shows little sign of change. It lies in close proximity to several other pretty Wealden villages such as picturesque Benenden, Wadhurst with its interesting Church and glorious Tenterden with its wealth of weather boarded properties and gentile atmosphere.
Cranbrook is easily accessible for a number of tourist attractions, these include the famous Union Mill built in 1814 which stands as a landmark overlooking the town, and the close by historic gardens of Sissinghurst, administered by the National Trust. For anyone seeking breath of sea air the old harbour of Hastings lies around 30 miles to the south, this can be easily reached in around forty minutes via a couple of excellent roads.
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