The first evidence we have for people actually in Cranbrook is from the time – 5,000 years ago – when the “Cranbrook Bowman” was buried under what is now St Martin’s Primary School. The Cranbrook Bowman’s ashes were put in a traditional beaker and placed a hollow pit carved in the rock at the base of a fallen tree. The red clay beaker is the best of its kind to be found in Devon, incised with cross hatched patterns and a star burst coming up from its base.
Perhaps more excitingly the bowman was buried with a rare archer’s “bracer”, a thin piece of stone designed to protect the wrist from the bowstring when it was let go. The green stone of the bracer would have made it very special as it came from a faraway quarry in Great Langdale in Cumbria, so the person who wore it was probably very important. The area was probably productive and created wealthy people. Not far away from Cranbrook, at Talaton, a hoard of 6 bronze rapier swords made 4,500 years ago was discovered. Each one of these would be the modern-day equivalent of buying the world’s most expensive sports car.