As winter approaches, Cranford is beset by sorrows and struggles to regain confidence.
Dr. Harrison's housekeeper, Mrs. Rose, discovers a leg of mutton has been stolen from the kitchen window on the very same night that Mr. Johnson, the local shop owner, is mugged. The ladies decide that a crime wave has hit Cranford. Mr. Johnson is convinced that Job Gregson, the local ne'er-do-well, must be his attacker and Job is arrested. Job's son, Harry, confesses to Mr. Carter of his own part in the poaching to save his father. When Mr. Carter pleads Job's case with Lady Ludlow, she is immovable.
Christmas arrives and Cranford huddles together to celebrate. Matty reconnects with an old acquaintance, Mr. Holbrook.
Meanwhile, Dr. Harrison reveals to his medical school friend, Jack Marshland, about his love for Sophy. But Jack, a perpetual prankster, is up to his usual mischief.