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The Anchor Beerhouse Leighton Buzzard

The Anchor Beerhouse: near The Heath, Leighton Buzzard

Mark Fountain built Row Riddy Stone House on a plot of open field land at the southernmost point of The Heath probably between 1732 and 1736. A brick kiln was built adjacent around the same time but is last mentioned in 1750.

The evidence is a little tantalizing but what there is suggests that Row Riddy Stone House was also a beerhouse under the name of the Anchor by at least 1750. The premises also seems to have been used as a pest house (or isolation hospital) from the mid 18th century (at least 1748) until the early 19th century (before 1823), one only hopes that the beerhouse closed whilst contagious persons were in residence!

Mark Fountain mortgaged the property and in 1750 Mark Fountain's son, also Mark, gave the place to the mortgagee, Alexander Browne as he could not repay the debt [BO29]. Two years later Browne sold the property to John Franklin [BO30] and in 1823 his descendent, Juliana, devised it to her children in her will [BO111]. In 1844 Edward Lawford gave evidence to the Inclosure Commissioners that he had purchased Pest House Bottom from Juliana Franklin's children on 23rd July 1823. He described it as inclosed at that time: "with a hedge fence next the Heath and Dumpleton's gardens and bottom and a wall next the Woburn road".

It would seem that the Anchor stood near the Row Riddy Stone on the southern border of The Heath. It is not known when the beerhouse ceased to operate but it would have been before 1822 as there is no Anchor mentioned for Leighton Buzzard in the countywide register of alehouse recognizances for that year.


  • BO17: three lands at Clay Pitts, Leighton Buzzard, conveyed by John Bushby and Martha Bushby to Mark Fountain 1735;
  • BO28: admission of Mark Fountain to a dwelling house, lately built, where Stephen Perrin lived, including a brick kiln: 1736;
  • BO18: transfer of a term of years in a redeemed mortgage on a house near the Row Riddy Stone "and lately built there": 1738;
  • BO29: admission of Alexander Browne, as mortgagee, to Row Riddy Stone House, "lately built by Mark Fountain" and formerly in occupation of Stephen Perrin, "then held by the Officers of the town of Leighton Buzzard [as a pest house]":1748;
  • X288/5: conditional surrender by Mark Fountain the elder and Ellen, his wife, to Alexander Browne of Row Riddy Stone House formerly in occupation of Stephen Perrin, since Mark Fountain, now the Officers of Leighton Buzzard: 1747;
  • KK783: Manor of Leighton Buzzard quit rental - Fountain, Mark for Rowridy Stone House and Ground" one shilling sixpence: 1749;
  • BO24-25: conveyance from Mark Fountain junior to Alexander Brown of the Anchor "lately built" by Mark Fountain senior, deceased on "close of land, ley or furze ground, 2 acres, near the Rowlery or Row Riddy stone, adjoining the Heath east": 1750;
  • BO30: admission of John Franklin, on surrender of Alexander Browne, to Row Riddy Stone House, now held by the Officers of Leighton Buzzard as a pest house: 1752;
  • KK784: Manor of Leighton Buzzard quit rental - John Franklin "for Rowridy Stone Pest House and Ground" one shilling sixpence: 1755;
  • KK785: Manor of Leighton Buzzard quit rental - John Franklin "for Rowridy House and Close" one shilling sixpence: 1772;
  • BO111: admission of the children of Juliana Franklin, under her will, to a number of properties including the cottage called Row Riddy house, late used as a Pest House: 1823;
  • BO1427, page 70: Evidence given to the Inclosure Commissioners by Edward Lawford: 1844

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list; entries in italics refer to licensees where either beginning or end, or both, dates are not known:

1750: John Williams