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The area of "Grenestede" is mentioned in the Domesday book (1086) as containing 12 settlements. At that time Southern England was covered in woods and forests and Grenestede means "green clearing". As the woods were felled the "clearing" became larger and the town developed some time in the early 13th Century, being mentioned as a borough in 1235. By 1564 the borough apparently contained some 300 inhabitants and trades included a forge, a leather dressing house, a slaughter house and a windmill for grinding corn, as well as a weekly market (first mentioned in 1247) and fairs, with cattle being driven from as far as Wales. As roads developed East Grinstead became first an overnight stopping place for travellers on their way to the South from London, and as travel became faster, the place for a noon meal, with 12 inns by 1781.





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