"CRANBROOK, a parish and market town in the hundred of Cranbrook, lathe of Scray, in the county of Kent, 25 miles S.W. of Canterbury, and 5½ S. of the Staplehurst station. It is situated on the river Crane, near the South-Eastern railway. It was here that the Flemings who took refuge in England in the reign of Edward III., first established the manufacture of broad-cloth. This trade has now entirely disappeared, but the Greycoats, and other ancient families settled in the Weald, owe their fortunes to it. The town of Cranbrook is a petty sessions town, and a polling-place for the W. parliamentary division of the county of Kent. It consists of one long street, containing the market-house, bank, Lynch's free grammar school, and the Union poorhouse. It is the head of a Poor-law Union, and of a superintendent registry, but is comprised within the Tenterden new County Court district. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Canterbury, value £163, in the patronage of the archbishop. The church, dedicated to St. Dunstan is a handsome old structure, in the later English style. It contains tombs of the Roberts and Baker families, also an old brass, and a baptistry for immersion. The charitable endowments amount to £226 per annum. There are five chapels for Dissenters; also a grammar school, with an income from endowment of £150, a free school, called Deuce's Writing School, and National schools for both sexes. Sir R. Baker, who wrote the "English Chronicle," and Huntingdon, "S.S.," or "Sinner Saved," were born here. G. Hardy, Esq., is lord of the manor. A market is held once a fortnight on Wednesday, and fairs for horses and cattle on the 30th May and 29th September."
[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868 by Colin Hinson ©2010]