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6 to 8 North Street Leighton Buzzard

6-8 North Street June 2008
6-8 North 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 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.

6 and 8 North Street were listed by the former Department of Environment in 1975 as Grade II, of special interest. They dated them to the early 18th century. The properties are built of chequered red and grey brickwork with red brick dressings and comprise 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 6 North Street was owned and occupied by butcher Thomas White. 8 North Street was owned by T. Dawson and divided into two tenements occupied by T. Dawson and Widow Forth.

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 6 and 8 North Street [DV1/R74/22] noted that both were owned by Mary Chew. She also occupied Number 6 which had cellars and a ground floor comprising: an entrance hall; a dining room measuring 13 feet 6 inches by 13 feet; a drawing room measuring 10 feet by 13 feet; a kitchen measuring 13 feet 6 inches by 12 feet and a scullery measuring 5 feet by 7 feet. Upstairs was a sitting room measuring 14 feet by 12 feet, a W. C. a bathroom and five bedrooms measuring, respectively: 10 feet by 15 feet; 12 feet by 13 feet; 15 feet by 13 feet; 11 feet by 9 feet and 13 feet by 12 feet.

Brick and tile stabling used as a garage for two cars stood outside, along with a harness room, a brick and thatch coalhouse used for store and a rough wood shed. There was also a garden. The valuer commented: "old fashioned house could not be let separately mixed up with licensed premises".

Number 8 was occupied by John White and Company, a wine and spirit merchants and the entry is annotated "transferred to P36/81". Sadly that reference book has never been deposited with Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service. The valuer did, however, note the outside buildings, including an office measuring 13 feet 6 inches by 14 feet, two warehouses 50 feet by 13 feet each, a brick and slate bottle washing plant measuring 8 feet by 15 feet and two wine cellars each 35 feet by 12 feet .