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10 High Street Leighton Buzzard

10 to 14 High Street June 2008
10 to 14 High Street June 2008

The Manor of Leighton Buzzard alias Grovebury was the principal landowner in the town before the 19th century. Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service has a full run of court rolls from 1393 to 1727 [KK619-715] and another full run from 1704 to 1867 [X288/1-23]. The service also has court rolls for other manor to own land in the town, the Prebendal Manor, from 1448 to 1459, 1588 to 1591, 1611 to 1622, 1627 and 1631 [KK792-1798]. A fair number of buildings in the High Street were originally copyhold and a detailed study of these court rolls would probably produce quite detailed histories for a number of properties and the sites on which they stand, though it would take many years of study.

10 and 12 High Street were listed by the former Department of Environment in 1975, as Grade II, of special interest. They are early 19th century properties built in brick with red stretchers and grey headers. The roof is of Welsh slate and the buildings have three storeys. Number 10 has a 19th century shop bay window.

A project called Our High Street Revisited 1819-2000 by Leighton-Linslade Local History Research Group [CRT130Lei58] aimed to use directories and census records to try to establish as full a history of use of the building in the High Street as possible. The result for Number 10 is as follows:

  • 1819: owner W. Kent; occupier G. Robinson;
  • 1841: William Kent, cabinet maker;
  • 1851-1861: William Kent, fundholder;
  • 1871: William Richardson, bookseller and stationer;
  • 1877-1890: John Nash, brushmaker;
  • 1891: Henry G. Nash, brushmaker;
  • 1898: John Nash, brushmaker;
  • 1910: Arthur William Cowley, draper;
  • 1914: Mrs. Phoebe Harriet Cowley, draper;
  • 1924: Frederick Dawson, draper;
  • 1940: Mrs. Fanny Plummer, draper;
  • 1972: Janson, ladies wear and gifts;
  • 1986: Sizzertrix, hairdressers;
  • 2000-2008: Reubens, sandwich bar

Under the terms of the Rating and Valuation Act 1925 every piece of land and building in the country was assessed to determine the rates to be paid on them. Leighton Buzzard was assessed in 1927 and the valuer visiting Numbers 8 and 10 [DV1/R56/7] found that the owner was Mrs. A. Cowley and the occupier Mrs. Fanny Plummer, who ran a draper's shop. She had a 21 year lease paying £52 per annum rent from 20th February 1917.

The shop measured 23 feet 6 inches by 17 feet with a stockroom at the back measuring 9 feet by 12 feet 6 inches. A kitchen measured 13 feet by 13 feet 6 inches and a scullery 8 feet 6 inches by 13 feet 6 inches. There was a basement cellar "not used, under shop". On the first floor were sitting rooms measuring 12 feet by 15 feet and 13 feet by 9 feet and two other rooms measuring 12 feet square and 11 feet 6 inches by 10 feet. On the second floor was a bedroom measuring 15 feet by 12 feet, two boxrooms and further bedrooms measuring 8 feet by 15 feet and 9 feet by 7 feet. Outside stood a brick and tile one storey store ("old poor repair") measuring 19 feet by 13 feet 6 inches; also a weather boarded and slate two storey building ("old poor") measuring 19 feet by 18 feet on each floor. there was also a W.C.