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22 Market Square Leighton Buzzard

22 Market Square June 2008
22 Market Square 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 Market Square 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.

22 Market Square was listed by the former Department of Environment in 1975 as Grade II, of special interest. It is dated to the early 19th century and has a stucco front with a parapet screening the roof. The building comprises three storeys; the shop window is 19th century.

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 22 Market Square [DV1/R74/59] noted that it was owned by Miss L. M. Syratt and occupied by electrical engineers Langley and Son as a lock-up shop on a rent of twenty five shillings per week.

The building had a basement one store cellar with a W. C. On the ground floor were two shops measuring 12 feet by 15 feet and 12 feet by 5 feet with a back office measuring 9 feet 6 inches by 10 feet. The first floor contained a room measuring 9 feet 6 inches by 10 feet as well as a sitting room of 12 feet by 20 feet; two bedrooms with the same dimensions lay on the second floor above. The valuer commented: "Note the above shop is sub-let by William Gill (who leased 18 Market Square next door) and is included in the rent of £45. Mr .Gill retains rooms on the first and second floors".

The premises were put up for sale by auction in 1961 [BML10/42/275]. By that date the building was a butcher's shop run by P. B. Drake with a first and second floor flat occupied by A. Payne. The property was described as containing a ground floor shop measuring 12 feet by 19 feet 9 inches and a cutting room measuring 12 feet by 9 feet 8 inches with sink and cupboards. Two cellars measuring 11 feet 7 inches by 9 feet 4 inches and 10 feet 7 inches by 18 feet 7 inches with a sink and W. C. lay below.

The flat comprised access through 24 Market Square to the first floor which contained a landing, with cupboards, a double bedroom measuring 12 feet by 19 feet and a bathroom with panelled bath, lavatory basin and W. C. "Hot water supplied by gas geyser". The second floor contained two bedrooms measuring 12 feet by 19 feet and 8 feet 6 inches by 10 feet 9 inches. Outside was a "Small plot of garden approached by right-of-way. Main gas, water, electricity and sewer are connected to the property". The whole building was let to Payne, at a rental of £62/10/- per annum and he sub-let the shop and cellars to Drake on a quarterly tenancy. At the time of writing [2009] the building is occupied by a branch of Harpenden Building Society.

22-26 Market Square June 2008
22-26 Market Square June 2008