Restored 18C stable block of now demolished Cranford House, former seat of the Earls of Berkeley. The front has arches with stone keystones facing a cobbled yard.
Church from 12.30pm
Religious, Historical house
Until the war, Cranford consisted of that classic English combination of the great house in its park with the parish church close by and the village beyond. The park remains but the great house of the Earls of Berkeley has gone. Originally built in the 1620s – just after the Berkeleys first purchased the estate – it was rebuilt and extended in the 1720s and again in the 1790s, making it one of the larger aristocratic country houses fringing London. But the Berkeleys left in 1918, retreating back to their castle in Gloucestershire, and thereafter Cranford was left to its fate.
The park was opened to the public in 1933 and after years of progressive decay, demolition of the house became inevitable in 1944. The underground cellars, in stone and brick with vaulted ceilings, still survive, as does the surrounding ha ha, the canalised part of the River Crane and the late C18 bridge.
The stable block and church
The large early C18 stables of the 3rd Earl of Berkeley have also survived, now grazed by the motorway to the north from which they can be seen as a red brick range with two-storey ends and a central pediment. The front has arches with stone keystones facing a cobbled yard, making an attractive architectural composition of a kind once common but now rarely seen within the London area. The approach to the stables and church by the drive and bridge still has considerable charm, despite the ever-present roar of traffic.
Within the park stands the tiny St Dunstan's Church, originally C15, but rebuilt after a fire in 1710 and later restored first by JL Pearson in 1895 and again by Martin Travers in 1935-6. It contains a collection of excellent monuments.