Cranbrook is a small town in Kent in South East England which was granted a charter in 1290 by Archbishop Peckham, allowing it to hold a market in the high street. Located on the Maidstone to Hastings road, it is five miles north of Hawkhurst. The smaller settlements of Swattenden, Colliers Green and Hartley lie within the parish. Baker's Cross is on the outskirts of the town.
The place name Cranbrook derives from Old English cran broc, meaning Crane Marsh, marshy ground frequented by cranes (although more probably herons). Spelling of the place name has evolved over the centuries from Cranebroca (c. 1100); by 1226 it was recorded as Cranebroc, then Cranebrok. By 1610 the name had become Cranbrooke, which evolved into the current spelling.
In medieval times, Cranbrook was a centre of the Wealden cloth industry; and iron-making was carried on at Bedgebury on the River Teise. The church here was dedicated to St Dunstan. Called the "Cathedral of the Weald", its 74 feet-high tower, completed in 1425, has a wooden figure of Father Time and his scythe on the south face. It also contains the prototype for the Big Ben clock in London.
If anybody would like to expand this series please do. I would just ask that you let Smokeypugs know first so they can keep track of the Village Sign numbers and names to avoid duplication.