16 and 18 Lake Street Leighton Buzzard
16-18 Lake Street Jun 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 Lake 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.
16 and 18 Lake Street, The Old Bank House, was listed by the former Department of Environment in 1975 as Grade II, of special interest. The building was dated to the early 19th century. It is built of yellow brick with a hipped Welsh slated roof with a panelled cornice and comprises three storeys. In 1819 Benjamin Bevan published a map of Leighton Buzzard which was enhanced two years later with a reference book showing the owners and occupiers of each property shown on the map. There is a gap on the map where 16 and 18 stand today, proving that they must have been built after 1819-1821.
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 [DV1/R80/5] discovered that Number 16 was owned and occupied by S. D. Hedges and comprised an entrance passage, two sitting rooms and a kitchen and scullery on the ground floor with two bedrooms on the first floor and three bedrooms and one unused room on the second floor. The W. C. was outside.
Number 18 was owned and occupied by H. J. King and had two cellars with an entrance passage, two sitting rooms, a kitchen and scullery and a pantry on the ground floor. Three bedrooms and a W. C. stood above with a further two bedrooms on the second floor. Outside stood a brick and slate washhouse and W. C. and a brick and slate two stall stable with a loft over.