A WRITER and keen historian has unveiled the ‘secrets’ of a County Durham market town in his latest book.

Graham Stables, who was born in Barnard Castle, is set to publish his book Secret Barnard Castle and Teesdale, in January.

From a heroic postman to a noteworthy hermit and even a visit from Winston Churchill during the Second World War, are all explored in the new book.

It is the third in Mr Stables’ secret series and follows Secret Penrith and Secret Kendal.

Mr Stables, whose full time job is a building services planner, said he originally thought of the idea after watching Billy Connolly’s Route 66 documentary on TV which inspired him to delve deeper into the history of the A66, in County Durham.

The father-of-two said: “Our own route is much more historical so I thought I would try to find a book about it but I couldn’t, so I started doing my own research and found out so much information that I did not know even though I’d lived there 24 years.”

Mr Stables, 53, lived in both Barnard Castle and Lartington before moving to York in 1988, said he was really keen to write about an area which had so many memories for him.

“One of the most important things I found out was about a Brigantine queen who lived around the time of Boudicca and collaborated with the Romans,” he said. “Her history reads like a soap opera.”

And among the other stories of royal links to the area including Richard III and the Queen Mother, Mr Stables was also able to do a little bit of family research and found that his own orphaned father was in the Poor Law building – a house for the poor people in Thorngate - and told him about the time a bolt of lightning ripped through the building but thankfully only one woman suffered minor burns.

The work also includes photographs from the collection of the renowned late Dales photographer Parkin Raine as well as modern day colour photographs to illustrate the places he talks about.

Talking about his latest work, Mr Stables said: “The book has been a labour of love and I could have easily filled two books with the amount of history which permeates from this beautiful dale”.

To pre-order the book, which costs £14.99 and will be published on January 15, visit amberley-books.com