William Buxton's big news is not warmly received by his father. William, in turn, decides to strike out on his own in an apprenticeship with Captain Brown on the railway. But the work is difficult, and his separation from Peggy problematic.
The social scene of Cranford becomes the center of focus when Mrs. Jamieson's sister-in-law Lady Glenmire arrives. The women of Cranford eagerly anticipate some interactions, but are seemingly spurned by their friend Mrs. Jamieson. Lady Glenmire, with the encouragement of Captain Brown, takes matters into her own hands, and plans a party.
In the meantime, Miss Galindo is concerned about Harry Gregson, who has disappeared from school. Worse still, it becomes clear he has a very good reason for running away.
The friendships in Cranford are strained when a surprise wedding shocks everyone. But no one can know the tragedy and challenge that await and will threaten the ties of the close-knit Cranford community, putting the women to their ultimate test.