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St. Dunstan, Cranbrook, parish church, copyright 2012, John Salmon, licensed for reuse under Creative Commons License CC BY-SA 2.0.
St. Dunstan, Cranbrook
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Cranbrook Parish

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Cranbrook is, ecclesiastically, in the diocese of Canterbury, in the archdeaconry of Canterbury and in the deanery of West Charing. The church is named for St. Dunstan with registers commencing 1559.

Cranbrook, a small town, a parish, a sub-district, a district, and a hundred in Kent.  The town stands in the Weald, on the river Crane, 5 miles south-by-west of Staplehurst rail station, and 14 south-by-east of Maidstone;  consists chiefly of one long street;  is a seat of petty sessions and a polling place;  and has a post office under Staplehurst with a savings banks and a money order office;  another banking office, two chief inns, a market house, a parish church, five dissenting chapels, a free grammar school, and a workhouse.

The church is chiefly decorated and perpendicular English;  has a western square embattled tower;  was partly rebuilt in 1722;  and contains monuments of the Robertses of Glastonbury and the Bakers of Sissinghurst.

The grammar school was founded, in 1574, by Sir Simon Lynch;  and has £135 from endowment.  Other charities have £91.

Markets are held on Wednesdays;  and fairs on 30 May and 29 September.  A broadcloth manufactory was introduced in the time of Edward III;  flourished for ages so greatly as to give its masters and patrons high influence in county affairs;  ceased about the beginning of the present century;  and has left traces of itself in picturesque remains of old factories.  The parish includes also the hamlet of Milkhouse Street.  Acres, 9,862.  Real property in 1860, £17,025.  Population in 1861, 4,128.  Houses, 800.  The surface presents all the characteristics of the Weald.

Sissinghurst House was a stately mansion, of the time of Edward IV, belonging to the Bakers;  became, toward the end of last century, a place of confinement for French prisoners;  and now survives only in some picturesque fragments.  There are mineral springs.

The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Canterbury.  Value, £163 with a habitable glebe house.  Patron, the Archbishop of Canterbury.  The vicarage of Sissinghurst is a separate benefice.

Sir R. Baker, the author of the "English Chronicle", and Huntingdon the S.S. were natives.

The sub-district comprises the parishes of Cranbrook, Frittenden, and Benenden, Acres, 19,688.  Population in 1861, 6,724.  Houses, 1,321.

The district comprehends also the sub-district of Hawkhurst, containing the parishes of Hawkhurst, Goudhurst, and Sandhurst.  Acres, 40,249.  Poor rates, in 1862, £8,068.  Population in 1841, 13,163;  in 1861, 13,412.  Houses, 2,606.  Marriages, in 1860, 81;  births, 425 of which 32 were illegitimate;  deaths, 207 of which 76 were at ages under 5 years and 6 at ages above 85.  Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 892;  births, 4,388;  deaths, 2,242.

The places of worship in 1851 were 8 of the Church of England, with 4,752 sittings;  4 of Independents, with 1,056 sittings;  3 of Baptists, with 608 sittings;  5 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 654 sittings;  1 of Primitive Methodists, with 40 sittings;  1 of Bible Christians, with 40 sittings;  and 3 undefined, with 287 sittings.

The schools were 14 public day schools, with 999 scholars;  26 private day schools, with 656 scholars;  and 18 Sunday schools, with 1,642 scholars.

The hundred is in the lathe of Scray;  and contains Cranbrook and Frittenden parishes, and parts of Goudhurst and Staplehurst.  Acres, 13,180.  Population in 1861, 4,928.  Houses, 909.

Milkhouse Street - a hamlet in Cranbrook parish, Kent;  2 miles northeast of Cranbrook.  It contains the church of Sissinghurst chapelry, a Wesleyan chapel, and ruins of an ancient Church of England chapel.

Sissinghurst - a chapelry, with Milkhouse Street hamlet, in Cranbrook parish, Kent;  2 miles northeast of Cranbrook, and 4-3/4 miles south-by-east of Staplehurst rail station.  Post town, Staplehurst.  Population in 1861, 1,133.  Houses, 232.

The manor belonged to the Saxenhursts, and passed to the Barhams and the Bakers.  Sissinghurst Castle was built, in the time of Edward VI, by Sir John Baker;  was converted, toward the end of the last century, into a place of confinement for French prisoners;  and is now represented by only the great entrance and some other fragments.  Sissinghurst Place is the seat of Admiral Wallace Houstown;  Hayselden House, of Lady Mary Hoare;  Camden Lodge of J. E. Wilson, Esq.;  and Castle House, of G. Neve, Esq..

The living is a perpetual curacy in the diocese of Canterbury.  Value, £120 with a habitable glebe house.  Patrons, Trustees.  The church was built in 1838, and has 3 schools connected with it, for infants, boys, and girls, respectively. 1

1  John Marius Wilson, comp.  The Imperial Gazatteer of England and Wales. (London, England: A. Fullerton & Co., 1870).

Cranbrook Bibliography

-- various. 'Archaeologia Cantiana'. Publisher: Kent, England: Kent Archaeological Society, various dates.  [Note:  The following volumes can be found on  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (1876), 11, 12, 13 (1880), 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 32, 34, 35, vol. 1907 supplement.]

  • General references to Cranbrook: vol. , pp.
  • Currently in revision

Great Britain, Public Record Office. 'Calendar of the patent rolls preserved in the Public Record Office--Edward II, Vol. 1. 1307-1313'Each volume has own index. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch;

Great Britain, Public Record Office. 'Inquisitions and assessments relating to feudal aids : with other analogous documents preserved in the Public Record Office, A. D. 1284-1431', Vol. 3. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch;

Great Britain, Exchequer. 'The book of fees commonly called testa de nevill, pt. 3'. The Book of fees contains information about the holdings of feudal tenants. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch;

Hall, Hubert, 1857-1944. 'The Red book of the Exchequer - Liber rubeus de Scaccario, Vol. 3'. The Red book of the Exchequer was a register intended to preserve important documents comprising charters, statutes of the realm, public acts (Placita), private deeds and ordinances, correspondence. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch;

Glencross, Reginald Morshead. 'Administrations in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Vol. 1. 1559-1571'. Publisher: Genealogical Society of Utah d.b.a Historical Books on FamilySearch;

Hasted, Edward. 'The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent; Containing the antient and present state of it, civil and ecclesiastical; collected from public records, and other authorities: illustrated with maps, views, antiquities, etc. The second edition, improved, corrected, and continued to the present time'. 12 volumes. Publisher: Canterbury: Printed by W. Bristow, 1797-1801. URL: British History Online

Hussey, Arthur. 'Notes on the churches in the counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, mentioned in Domesday book, and those of more recent date'. Publisher: London J.R. Smith,(1852).

Letters, Dr. Samantha. 'Kent', Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs in England and Wales to 1516 (2005).  URL: British History Online.

Page, William, 1861-1934, ed.. 'The Victoria history of the county of Kent'. Publisher: London: Constable (1908).  URL: British History Online

Sharp, J. E. E. S., ed.. 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Edward I, File 39', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 2: Edward I. Published:(1906), pp. 315-323.  URL: British History Online.

Sharp, J. E. E. S., ed.. 'Inquisitions Post Mortem, Henry III, File 45', Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, Volume 1: Henry III. Published:(1904), pp. 296-302.  URL: British History Online.

Location of Records

The following list of records is not intended to be exhaustive.  There are many records that are awaiting discovery in archive offices throughout Kent and England.  This list is intended only to set out those records that are available via at least two relatively easy-to-access avenues.  If you have used or discover a record that would be of benefit to other researchers, that is not on this list, please send me an email with the details of the archive - name, address and archival call number.

Census | Church of England | Non-Conformist | Parish chest | Workhouse and Poor Law | Land | Assizes and Sessions | School



DateThe National Archives, Ruskin Avenue,
Kew, Richmond,
LDS Family History Centre
(Find a centre near you)
and indexed online at:
6 June 1841Currently under revision  
30 Mar 1851Currently under revision  
30 Mar 1851 census name index & imagesCurrently under revision  
7 Apr 1861Currently under revision  
2 Apr 1871Currently under revision  
3 Apr 1881Currently under revision  
5 Apr 1891Currently under revision  
31 Mar 1901Currently under revision  
2 Apr 1911Currently under revision  
2 Apr 1911RG 78/139 - Census Enumerator's Summary Books online only and other subscription sitesnone

Church Records, Church of England

Record TypeDatesArchive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Parish Register Currently under revision 
Bishop's transcripts Currently under revision 
CMB transcripts Currently under revision 
Parish Registers, transcribed by Thomas Colyer-Fergusson Currently under revision 

Church Records, Non-Conformist

Record TypeDatesArchive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Particular Baptist Chapel, Nonconformist Return Currently under revision 
Methodist Church Registers Currently under revision 

Parish chest records

Record TypeDatesArchive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Parish Council Minutes Currently under revision 
Removal orders out of Cranbrook Currently under revision 
Settlement Examinations, Minute book Currently under revision 
Overseers' Accounts Currently under revision 
Return of Churchwardens, constables and defaulters   
Tithe Apportionment Files   
Poor Rate books Currently under revision 

Workhouse and Poor Law Records

Record TypeDatesArchive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Admission & Discharge books This section currently under revision 
Guardians' Minutes   
Births Currently under revision 
Deaths Currently under revision 
Religious creed registers Currently under revision 
Apprentice Register   
Registers of lunatics   
Letters books    
Vaccination registers, Bromley area1899-1930Currently under revision 

Land Records

Record TypeDatesArchive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Land tax assessments1780-1831Currently under revision 
Land tax assessments1875-1876Currently under revision 
Land tax assessments1889-1890 Currently under revision 
Rates and Duties - Houses, Windows, Lights  Currently under revision 
Manorial Court rolls Currently under revision 
War Damage Files1939-1962Centre for Kentish Studies, Maidstone, Kent, no.: Finding Aid at CKS-DRb/RW 123None

Assizes and Sessions Records
(poor laws, jail terms, oaths, and other municipal and public records)

Record TypeDatesArchive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
Hearth tax Currently under revision 
Victuallers Recognizances Currently under revision 
Churchwarden's Presentments Currently under revision 
Parish rate books Currently under revision 

School Records

Record TypeDatesArchive 1
Corresponding LDS Family History Library film numbers
(Find a centre near you)
  Currently under revision 


Coming Soon

Church Registers


Parish Chest

  • Settlement Certificates
  • Removal Orders
  • Bastardy Examinations
  • Parish-assisted Immigrants
  • Churchwarden's Accounts
  • Overseer's Accounts
  • Surveyor's Accounts
  • Workhouse Records
  • Pew Rents
  • Donors' Rolls
  • Vestry Minutes
  • Bishops' Visitations
  • Parish Magazines
  • Parish Histories


Total Population

1801   -   2,561
1811   -   2,994
1821   -   3,683
1831   -   3,844
1841   -   3,996
1851   -   4,020
1861   -   4,216
1871   -   4,331
1881   -   4,216
1891   -   4,046
1901   -   3,949
1911   -   4,061
1921   -   3,829

Cranbrook Distance to

London 39.1 mi.
Canterbury 26.4 mi.
Ashford 14.8 mi.
Bromley 30.8 mi.
Chatham 18.0 mi.
Dartford 27.7 mi.
Deptford 36.0 mi.
Dover 33.7 mi.
Faversham 21.5 mi.
Folkestone 27.3 mi.
Gravesend 24.7 mi.
Greenwich 34.7 mi.
Hythe 24.3 mi.
Maidstone 11.8 mi.
Margate 41.8 mi.
Milton Regis 19.2 mi.
Queenborough 24.0 mi.
Ramsgate 41.7 mi.
Rochester 20.1 mi.
Sandwich 37.4 mi.
Sheerness 25.7 mi.
Tenterden 7.1 mi.
Tunbridge 11.9 mi.
Woolwich 34.0 mi.


Municipal & Public Records

  • Mayors
  • Town Clerks
  • Recorders
  • Chamberlains
  • M.P.s
  • Jurats, Aldermen and Common Councilmen
  • Electoral Register
  • Freeholders
  • Freemen Index
  • Freeman's Roll
  • Masters Index
  • Pubs, Taverns, Inns, Alehouses
  • Victuallers

Wills & Estate Records

  • AD index 1448-1857
  • CC index 1448-1857
  • PCC 1338-1858
  • PPR 1858-1925
  • Depositions

Court Records

  • Quarter Sessions
  • Transportations
  • Tithe Apportionment c1830s
  • Protestation Rolls c1641-1643
  • Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy 1662
  • Oaths of Allegiance c1720s

Military Records

Land Records
& Maps

  • Parish Map
  • Victoria County History
  • Deeds, Mortgages, etc.
  • Rated Property Returns
  • Returns of owners of land, 1873
  • Manors
  • Manor Court Baron
  • Manor Tenancy Rolls
  • Manors, Castles & Holdings of Significance

Tax Lists

  • Poll Tax
  • Hearth Tax
  • Window Tax
  • Hair Powder Tax
  • Land Tax Assessments 1780-1831
  • Land Tax Assessments 1799-1805

Other Records

Village Resources