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Bracknell
and Easthampstead: Hiding Places of Holy Priests & Highwaymen


Highwayman gibbetted in Bracknell -  Nash Ford Publishing

 

  • In the Iron Age, people lived in a big hillfort near Bracknell called Caesar's Camp. When the Romans arrived, they set up a small town nearby. This is called Wickham Bushes but no-one lives there now.
  • In Saxon times, Bracknell was a wild and lonely place in the middle of Windsor Forest. Bracknell means 'Bracken covered Hiding Place'. It was probably a secret place for criminals.
  • For many centuries, few people lived in Bracknell. It was a tiny village with just a manor house and a pub called the Hind's Head. A hind is a type of deer.
  • Easthampstead was an important place though. The Saxon Kings of Wessex are said to have had a palace there.
  • One legend says King Oswald of Northumbria (up North) visited King Cunegils of Wessex at Easthampstead. He persuaded him to give up being a pagan and become a Christian instead.
  • In Norman times, King William the Conqueror may have built a wooden castle at Wooden Hill. There is still a big mound or  'motte' for a big tower there, but some people think it's just a prehistoric burial mound.
  • In Medieval times, the Kings of England liked to stay at Easthampstead Park when they were hunting in Windsor Forest.
  • When King Henry VIII divorced Catherine of Aragon, she came to stay at Easthampstead Park. When the later Tudor Kings and Queens were reforming the Church in England, Catholic priests used to hide from their soldiers at the Old Manor in Bracknell.
  • In Georgian times, Highwaymen liked to hang out in Bracknell. One was called the 'Golden Farmer' because he only took gold from his victims, never jewels. When he was caught and executed, his dead body was hung up on Bagshot Heath! Some people say this was next to a pub in Easthampstead (but it was probably in Bagshot). One old story says Dick Turpin liked to drink at the Hind's Head pub next to Bracknell Old Manor.
  • The 'Wokingham Blacks' used to meet at Caesar's Camp. They were a gang a violent criminals. The King's soldiers had a battle with them in Bracknell!
  • Bracknell had grown into a small market town. In the 1960s, it was almost completely rebuilt as a 'New Town'. It is now very large, is full of high-tech companies and has lots of estates where people live.

Click to Find out about Estates in Bracknell
   

    Nash Ford Publishing 2004. All Rights Reserved. Suitable for National Curriculum History Key Stage 2.