Cranleigh Village

Country: England

Region (County/State / Province): Surrey


Contact: Sarah Pettyfer

Study Description 

Cranleigh (or Cranley as it was known until the mid 19th Century) is now said to be the largest village in England. It is located within the Weald valley approximately eight miles south of Guildford in the County of Surrey close to the border with West Sussex.

Pre-historic finds, in particular the fossilised skeleton of an Iguanodon, thought to have lived about 132 million years ago, was made in a brick factory in the neighbouring village of Ewhurst. Other fossils found at the site include six orders of insects which were well preserved and a specimen of the fish eating theropod dinosaur, Baryonyx walkeri.

Evidence of early settlements have been found. Flint from both the Mesolithic age (8500BC—3500BC) and neolithic age (3500BC—2000BC) have been found in and around the village including the areas known as Nanhurst, Snoxhall, Knoll and Lower Canfold Wood, along with a socketed axe and a collection of bracelets from the Bronze age (2000BC—700B).

Saxon settlements in the surrounding villages of Shalford, Chilworth, Albury, Shere, Gomshall, Wotton and Abinger.

Cranleigh however does not appear to have been a settlement and was not mentioned in the Doomsday book in 1086.

Cranleigh was part of Blackheath Hundred which in 1086 was held by six manors although only five were enumerated. The parish of Cranleigh fell within three of these manors: Shere Vachery, Bramley and Gomshall. What developed as the central village was part of the Manor of Shere Vachery which as held by the Bray family from 1498 with the Bray estate continuing to exist today mainly in and around the village of Shere.

Land surrounding Vachery and Cranleigh was sold, in a particular the grandson of Reginald Bray, Edward, granted a 99 year lease of the Mansion house and land at Vachery to John Reade on the 25th May 1580 from whom it appears it was conveyed to Lord Onslow in or about 1605.

This study aims to uncover the development of Cranleigh to what today is known as the largest village in England, through its property development, its people, its social and local history.


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