from Bullbrook to Martin's
Bullbrook is one of the older parts of modern Bracknell.
It is named after the Bull-Brook which still runs through it, though
it's not as easy to find as it once was. On the edge of Bullbrook stands
Lily Hill Park. This lovely old house was built in 1817 by Henry Dormer
Vincent, possibly on the site of a medieval hunting lodge. Henry was an
equerry to HRH the Duke of Gloucester and probably moved to Bullbrook to
be near to Windsor Castle.
The Vincent family and their heirs, the Lanes, lived at Lily Hill for
almost a hundred years. They made extensive alterations to the building
in the mid-19th century. Their residency was followed by the Van Necks
and several short-lived occupants before the place was bought by the
Bracknell Development Corporation in 1955. It now houses offices.
Though now the name of a large estate in east Bracknell, the original Harman's
Water has now gone. It was a small lake that stood where Merlewood
and Shaftesbury Close now are. The name dates back to at least 1761. The
area around the Blue Lion, in the north of the estate, is quite an old
district. Originally, it was a small hamlet called Ramslade. Today, the
name has almost totally disappeared. Prior to its demise, the RAF Staff
College was officially the Ramslade RAF Staff College, and
Ramslade Road stood within the complex.
Martin's Heron is one of the most recent developments in Bracknell. The
housing estate, including the Railway Station, is built on the parkland
that once surrounded the mansion of Martin's Herne (or Heron),
originally called Goddard's Croft. The house that was pulled down in the
early 1980s was probably built around 1750. It was the residence of a
succession of high ranking army officials and minor members of the
nobility. General William Gordon lived there in the late 18th century.
He was Groom of the Bed-Chamber to King
George III and the King was a frequent visitor to Martin's
Heron. A grassy walk used to be pointed out as one that the King
particularly liked to stroll along. General Gordon is best known for
controlling the mob during the Gordon Riots of 1780 as recorded in
Dicken's "Barnaby Rudge".
Major-General Sir Henry Rooke took
on the house in the mid 1820s. He was a personal friend of HRH the Duke
of Gloucester, but is best known in Winkfield
for establishing one of the first Agricultural Societies in the parish.
General Rooke spent a large amount of money improving his house Martin's
Heron. It was latterly home to Baroness Berkeley and her family.
Winkfield, Cranbourne & Swinley