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Archaeologia Cantiana - Vol. 126   2006 page 419 - Book Reviews - continued

the fire service (fire hooks, insurance marks, hydrant covers, fire station). Other utilities such as postal service, telegraph and telephone are covered in the section on ‘Communications and entertainment’.
   This is an excellent book and it is to be hoped that it will have a wide sale within the Tonbridge area and to those who plan to visit the town. It also provides a model for the kind of publication that could be undertaken by other local history societies looking for a project that could involve many hands. Other possibilities are gazetteers of field and place-names, and local biographical dictionaries – for which future generations of historians will give thanks.


A Market Town and its Surrounding Villages: Cranbrook, Kent in the Later Seventeenth Century. By Anthony Poole. Phillimore 2005. xx + 220 pp. 29 b/w illustrations + 41 maps and figures. Hardback £30. ISBN 1 860773451.

Written with encouragement from, and in response to, Margaret Spufford’s 1974 plea ‘for studies [of] "social areas" based on a contiguous group of parishes, ideally focused on a market town’, Anthony Poole has succeeded in writing a truly successfully local history. This is history based very much on the people of the area, that is the various communities living in the Cranbrook area in the later seventeenth century: Cranbrook, Benenden, Biddenden, Frittenden, Goudhurst, Hawkurst and Staplehurst. Poole centres the core of the book around the family within the community, but the first two chapters are exemplars in the planning and contextualising of a local study. The clarity of his first chapter on the sources sets the scene for the nature of the primary evidence for the Cranbrook region, but also includes much commentary which would be useful if applied to other areas.
   In his second chapter on the Cranbrook region, Poole gives a good context for the setting of his study in the seventeenth century, ensuring that the reader understands the geology and topography, and giving the background to the contemporary socio-economic environment. By careful reference to other studies he is able to draw comparisons and give an understanding of national trends; for example by analysing the Cambridge and Cranbrook hearth tax returns there is a good sense of the relative wealth of the area. Particularly helpful in this chapter are the maps and the supporting evaluation of them explaining the nature and size of property and landownerships. Throughout the book the tables, graphs and maps are finely reproduced, clear and easy to interpret, a rare treat.
   The core quasi-sociological studies in chapters 3, 4 and 5 rely heavily

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