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17 Hockliffe Street Leighton Buzzard

17 to 21a Hockliffe Street June 2008
17 to 21a Hockliffe 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 town 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.

17 Hockliffe Street was listed by the former Department of Environment in 1975 as Grade II, of special interest. The row 17 to 21a certainly looks old and does indeed date from the 16th century. The row is constructed of a timber frame infilled with red brick nogging, now whitewashed. The roof is tiled. The front ground floor wall to Number 17 was rebuilt in red brick and then whitewashed. 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. 17 Hockliffe Street was owned and occupied by a G. Hart. 

17 Hockliffe Street was put up for sale by auction on 12th October 1925 by Reginald Wilfred Simmonds, a cycle and pram manufacturer of 104 High Street, Berkhamsted [Hertfordshire]. The particulars were as follows: "A Freehold brick and timber-built and tiled double-fronted cottage situate and being No. 17 Hockliffe Street, Leighton Buzzard and containing six rooms in all, as occupied by Mrs. Horn, a weekly tenant at a rent producing £26 per annum". The particulars went on to note three rooms upstairs and down with a small yard at the rear. Frontage to Hockliffe Street was 23 feet. Water was laid on and main drainage connections made. The conditions of sale noted that the cottage had been copyhold until 18th November 1915 when it was enfranchised as freehold [BML10/42/169]..

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. The valuer visiting 17 Hockliffe Street [DV1/R80/52] discovered that it was still owned by R. W. Simmons, and so had evidently not reached its reserve price at auction, it was still occupied by Mrs. Emma Horn at a rent of 10 shillings per week. She had two sitting rooms, a kitchen and scullery on the ground floor and three bedrooms above. Outside stood a W. C. and a cupboard. The valuer commented: "old, poor repair, no back entrance".