CRANLEIGH LIES ON THE EDGE OF THE FOLD COUNTRY, neither in it nor of it. In the Fold country the villages are set deep in woodlands and grass fields, and the railway runs too far away to bring the slate for the villas. But the railway runs through Cranleigh and stops there, and so does the builder. The fields and woods are being “developed.” But in the heart of the village there is a touch of what is old and quiet. A strange, towering figure of a clipped yew stands up in the middle of a small garden, whether most like a peacock on a pillar, or a colossal coffee-pot, I cannot determine. A wheelwright’s yard is near by—one of the best of all sights of any country village. Farm carts and their wheels, and big spokes and shavings of white wood give as full a notion of solid, strong outdoor work as the forge and the rick yard, and no village is quite a country village without the three.
Two manors, Vachery and Knowle, have chapels in the church, which is cruciform; but the Vachery chapel is seated for ordinary churchgoers. The Knowle chapel is separated off by a fine fifteenth-century screen. But the chief beauty of Cranleigh Church is the great sense of breadth and light which you get from the size of the nave and the chancel arch. The broad spaces and the massive Norman pillars set an air of strength and quiet in the place that belongs alone to noble churches.
Of Vachery Manor one may hear little; of Vachery Pond every trout fisher knows something. The maps mark a superb sheet of water, nearly a mile long, and, two or three times, travelling from Guildford or Horsham, I have tried to catch a glimpse of the water from the railway, but in vain. When at last I stood on the edge of the water, the reason was clear enough; the pond is surrounded by banks covered with trees. A right of way runs from the road near Cranleigh round the south of the pond to Baynards beyond, and the pond lies near the right of way, a grass-edged road alive with rabbits. I saw the pond first on a July morning; the drying leaves showed that earlier in the year the road to it ran between carpets of primroses.