The origins of Cranleigh date back to the clearing of the Wealden forest and the building of shelters for inhabitants. From these early settlements two separate centres expanded and eventually joined up in Tudor times to provide the basic layout of the High Street we can see today. The village expanded in the nineteenth century with the coming of the railway and again in the 1960s when it was designated a residential overspill area for Guildford. The community today boasts a population of over 12,000 and while offering the facilities of a small town it strives to retain its village atmosphere and thereby justifies its claim to be the largest village in England. Its many attributes include the first cottage hospital, still in existence, a Norman church and local landmarks. Cranleigh now provides a centre for employment, shopping and social activities for its own residents as well as those from the surrounding villages.