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Bracknell was developed as a ‘new town’ in 1949, but the area had been evolving since Saxon times. A royal charter from AD 942 mentions ‘Bracken Head’ and a local comprehensive school still bears the name ‘Brackenhale’. It was a popular hunting ground for kings and queens and it was here that the widowed Catherine of Aragon became friendly with the newly crowned Henry VIII and secretly married him. Bull-baiting and cock fighting were popular until 1835, when both were banned. Subsequently a pub in the high street bears the name ‘The Bull’. In the eighteenth century, highwaymen and street gangs flourished and stories of their exploits abound. Secret Bracknell will incorporate many of the little-known stories of royal visitors, highwaymen, murders, ghosts and other incidents hidden beneath the ‘new town’.

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