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The Greyhound Public House Billington

 Saint Michael's Place - site of the Greyhound October 2009
Saint Michael's Place - site of the Greyhound October 2009

The Greyhound Public House: corner of the Slapton and Leighton Roads, Billington

The Greyhound Public House stood at the junction of the road to Little Billington and Slapton [Buckinghamshire] with the main road through Great Billington. 

A Greyhound was in existence as early as 1777 because in that year the Manor Court Book for the Manor of Leighton Buzzard alias Grovebury notes that the copyhold Greyhound was surrendered by Judith Coventry to the use of her will [X288/8]. The following year there is an entry noting that Judith Coventry and David Willison were admitted to the Greyhound [X288/8]. This Judith may be the same woman or, more likely, a relative chosen as an executrix, Willison being another executor. It is likely that this Greyhound was in a different location to the later public house because the inn is not entered in the countywide licensing registers which run from 1822 to 1828 [CLP13] and so was not a licensed building at that date.

The countywide licensing register of 1876 states that the Greyhound Public House at the corner of Slapton and Leighton Roads was first licensed in 1843. In 1876 it was owned by the licensee, Thomas Squires. By the time of the countywide register of 1891 the pub was owned, like the Cock in the village, by Ivinghoe [Buckinghamshire] brewers Roberts and Wilson. The 1903 register states that the Greyhound was clean and in good repair. It stood 946 yards from the Cock and had one front, one side and one back door.

Roberts and Wilson were bought out by Benskins Watford Brewery in 1927 and this company was purchased by Ind Coope in 1957, which joined with competitors to form Allied Breweries in 1959. Today [2009] Saint Michael's Place stands on the site of the Greyhound which closed some tine after 1989.

Sources:

  • X288/8: surrender of Judith Coventry to the use of her will: 1777;
  • X288/8: admission of Judith Coventry and David Willison on the surrender of Judith Coventry: 1778;
  • PSLB4/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: c.1860s-1949;
  • PSLB4/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: 1922-1948;
  • PSLB4/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: c.1860s-1956;
  • BML10/7/15: Valuation of fixtures, furniture, trade utensils, stock in trade and share of licence and rate: 1914;
  • PCBillington19/38: The Greyhound Inn at junction of roads to Slapton and Leighton Buzzard.  Brick, detached house with two chimneys, wing and downstairs bay window; also shows neighbouring single storey building with ‘Teas’ sign outside: c.1930
  • Z1309/1/3: a drawing of the Greyhound: 1984

Licensees: Note that this is not a complete list; italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known 

1777: Judith Coventry and Richard Fuller;
1847: David Squires;
1853-1876: Thomas Squires, butcher;
1885: Catherine Squires;
1886-1909: Elijah Griffin;
1909: Thomas Cox;
1909-1914: John Thomas Kinder;
1914-1915: Benjamin Garratt;
1915-1954: John Tearle;
1954: Reginald William Woolford;
1963: Wilfred Leonard Halliday Endley;
1968: John Whitcombe;
1971: Bernard Hugh Gates;
1973: Jean Ann Brook;
1978: Kenneth Frederick Waters;
1981: Jean Ann Brook and Michael John Pettit;
1982: Michael John Eggleton;
1987: Keith William Perry;
1987: Christine Cornwell;
1988: John James Dunne;
1989: Richard Charles Thomas Mead