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4 North Street Leighton Buzzard

4 North Street about 1909 Z1306-72
4 North Street about 1909 [Z1306/72]

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 North 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.

4 North Street was listed by the former Department of Environment in 1975 as Grade II, of special interest. They dated it to the late 17th or early 18t century. It is constructed from chequered red and vitreous brickwork and has an old tiled roof. The property comprises two storeys. Benjamin Bevan published a map of Leighton Buzzard in 1819; two years later a reference book was published giving owners and occupiers of every property shown on his map. At that date 4 North Street was owned by W. White and occupied by W. Wyton.

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 4 North Street [DV1/R74/24] discovered that it was owned and occupied by Mrs. Jane Lacy Knott, he also noted that it had previously been leased at a rent of £26 per annum in 1919.

 4 North Street June 2008
4 North Street June 2008

Mrs. Knott's property was a shop, run by Edward Fortnum, a "furrier and naturalist". The ground floor comprised the shop itself, measuring 9 feet by 15 feet, two sitting rooms measuring 13 feet by 15 feet 6 inches and 8 feet square and a scullery and kitchen measuring 11 feet by 8 feet. Upstairs were three bedrooms measuring 13 feet by 15 feet 6 inches, 12 feet by 15 feet and 11 feet by 8 feet. A W. C. stood outside, along with a cupboard and a "old" weather boarded and slate two storey workshop with a loft over. There was also a small yard. The valuer commented: "poor shop front; long road frontage but very poor back; very old property".