24 Market Square Leighton Buzzard
24 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.
24 Market Square was listed by the former Department of Environment in 1975 as Grade II, of special interest. They dated the three storey building to the 18th century. It is brick built with a hipped roof and a modern shop window.
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 24 Market Square [DV1/R74/58] noted that it was owned by Ernest James Thornley (a solicitor practising from 13 High Street) and occupied by Annie Osborn at a rent of £70 per annum on a seventeen year lease from 15th July 1926; the valuer commented: "rent high". Evidently too high - by the time of the 1928 Kelly's Directory the building was leased by confectioner Mrs. Mary Ellen Billing.
The building had a basement cellar and, on the ground floor, a shop measuring 10 feet 6 inches by 15 feet and a back shop 8 feet by 9 feet; there was also a kitchen measuring 9 feet by 7 feet which was "low pitched". The first floor had a tea room measuring 12 feet by 15 feet and back tea room 10 feet by 17 feet. The second floor was occupied by a store measuring 17 feet by 12 feet and a bedroom of 10 feet by 12 feet. The property had no yard. The valuer commented: "old property poor looking shop", at the time of writing  the latter has not changed as the property is empty.
22-26 Market Square June 2008