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The Greyhound Public House Leighton Buzzard

The Abbey is the site of the Greyhound - June 2008
The Abbey is the site of the Greyhound - June 2008

The Greyhound Public House: Corner of Market Square and Hockliffe Street, Leighton Buzzard

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]. Detailed study of these would be bound to produce quite full histories for most licensed premises in the town. Unfortunately such study would take a very long time. Thus the histories of licensed premises in these web pages are quite summary and not necessarily the full story.

The Greyhound public house stood at the corner of the Market Square and Hockliffe Street facing the Roebuck public house across Hockliffe Street. The first reference to the public house so far found is in 1708 when John Capon and Jane, his wife, surrendered the copyhold inn known as the Greyhound to John Batcheldor of Ridgmont, grazier [X288/1]. Batcheldor surrendered the inn to William Atkyns and Sussanna, his wife in 1716 [X288/3]. Edward Atkins surrendered the Greyhound, still in his father's occupation, to John Capon in 1740 [X288/5], thus the inn came back into the family after its sale in 1708, but not for long as John Capon and Mary, his wife, surrendered the Greyhound to John Franklin and Mary, his wife that same year [X288/5]. John Franklin and his nephew John Franklin were both admitted to the Greyhound at the manorial court of 1741 [X288/5] and in 1749 Franklin was noted as paying a penny quitrent on the property [KK783], as he was in 1755 [KK784].

In 1960 Bedfordshire Historical Records Society published a volume, its fortieth, dedicated to diaries. County Archivist Joyce Godber edited and published the diary of Leighton Buzzard Justice of the Peace John Salusbury (1713-1787) written between the years 1757 and 1759. He mentions the Greyhound just once, when he attended a meeting of his club, the Civil Society, held there on a member's nomination.

Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service has a formulary and notebook kept by 18th century attorney Benjamin Pyne which contains a list of twelve licensed properties in the town in 1761. Each inn also has a name beside it which appears to be the name of the licensee. The Greyhound is linked with the name of William Jones [X171/206].

In 1772 John Franklin was still paying a penny quitrent for the Greyhound [KK785]. In the Northampton Mercury of 19th January 1793 licensee of the Greyhound, William Janes, subscribed to a resolution of Leighton Buzzard publicans banning "seditious and disaffected persons" from their houses. This presumably was in reaction to the events across the Channel in France (four days previously King Louis XVI had been sentenced to death and two days later he went to the guillotine).

On 24th August 1869 the Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessions heard a licence renewal application for Amos King. The renewal was not signed by the justices of the peace and was retained until the next sessions in consequence of him having been convicted on 26th January 1869 of an assault on George Hall; he had also been cautioned for harbouring prostitutes and had accused a "woman of bad character" of robbing him of £14 and not following up the prosecution, resulting in her discharge. He duly received his licence renewal, after a special caution by the justices, at the sessions of 14th September [PSLB1/2].

Meanwhile the Leighton Buzzard Observer for 1st June 1869 reported: "Amos King, landlord of the Greyhound Inn, Leighton Buzzard, was charged with having on the night of the 13th May harboured a number of women of ill-fame in his house, contrary to the statute. Police-constable Ruffhead said: I was on duty in the High Street, Leighton, on the morning of the 13th May when, at about a quarter to one o'clock, I heard several people talking at the Greyhound Inn, kept by the defendant King. I visited the house and saw a number of prostitutes and several men drinking together in the bar. About an hour afterwards I was standing in the street when I saw a group of six of the prostitutes come out of the Greyhound with several men and go away. There were some men, and women of ill-fame left in the house then. I did not see them leave. I afterwards went to the house again and found that it was locked up and the inmates gone to bed. In answer to the charge the defendant said that he was in bed when the alleged offence was committed, and knew nothing about the affair. He was very sorry for what had happened. The magistrates fined him 10 shillings and ordered him to pay 12 shillings costs, or go to prison for one month. The money was paid".

In 1799 Thomas Franklin, presumably the nephew of the older John Franklin, was admitted to property including Greyhound "formerly purchased of John Capon and his wife" [BO86]. BY 1816 the Greyhound was owned by William Peppiatt as he devised it to his daughter Mary Ann in his will of that year [PLBP/W1820/7].

The Greyhound was put up for sale by auction in 1862 [BML10/42/3] it was described as "Brick-built and Tiled, at the corner of the High Street and Hockliffe Road, facing the Town Hall, with a frontage of about 110 feet, in the fast improving town of Leighton Buzzard, containing good Cellarage on the Basement; large Market Room, tap Room, Bar, Parlour, Kitchen and Brew-house on the Ground Floor, and 4 Bed Rooms on the Upper Floor. At the rear (approached from the Hockliffe Road) is a large Yard, extending behind Mr. Hopkins's property, with extensive Stabling and Out-door Buildings; together with a Brick-built, Tiled and Thatched Cottage and Wood Barn adjoining, in the Hockliffe Road, containing dwelling House, Sitting Room, Pantry, and 2 good Bed Rooms over. The whole is let to Mr. Joseph Collins, at the very low rental of £45 per annum". By that date eight pence quitrent was payable per annum

The countywide Return of Licensed Premises of 1876 shows that the occupier owner was Alfred Gurney of Slapton [Buckinghamshire]. By the 1891 Return the owners were Alfred Gurney's executors, the lessees being brewers Roberts & Wilson of Ivinghoe [Buckinghamshire]. The public house closed on 30th September 1924. The building was demolished the same year and a large building constructed along Hockliffe Street for the Co-operative Society. Today the site of the Greyhound is the Abbey Bank.


  • X228/1: surrender: 1708;
  • X288/3: surrender: 1716;
  • X288/5: surrender: 1740;
  • X288/5: admission: 1740;
  • X288/5: surrender: 1740;
  • X288/5: admission: 1741;
  • KK783: Manor of Leighton Buzzard quit rental: 1749;
  • KK784: Manor of Leighton Buzzard quit rental: 1755;
  • X171/206: landlord named: 1761;
  • KK785: Manor of Leighton Buzzard quit rental: 1772;
  • BO1295: will devising cottage next to Greyhound: 1797;
  • Northampton Mercury: resolution of Leighton Buzzard publicans banning "seditious and disaffected persons" from their houses: 19 Jan 1793;
  • BO86: admission: 1799;
  • WI76: admission to Three Tuns  in North End of Leighton Buzzard with right of way to well owned by Greyhound: 1807;
  • PLBP/W1820/7: will of William Peppiatt: 1816, proved 1820;
  • CLP13: Register of alehouse licences: 1822-1828;
  • PSLB4/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: c.1860s-1949;
  • PSLB4/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: c.1860s-1956;
  • BML10/42/3: auction sale particulars of Greyhound and adjoining cottage: 1862;
  • will of Samuel Hopkins devising house and shop in North Street with right of way over Greyhound yard: 1871
  • HN1/20-1-3: position shown on annotated Ordnance Survey maps compiled for licensing purposes: early 20th century;
  • P91/28/48: indicated as having been at 21 Market Square in notes compiled on Leighton Buzzard public houses: early 20th century;
  • BML10/42/373: notice of objection to tax assessment: 1912;
  • PSLB4/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: 1922-1948.

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:

before 1716: Richard Gibbons;
1740: William Atkins;
1761-1793: William Janes or Jones;
1816-1820 William Peppiat
1822: Elizabeth Peppiatt;
1823: M. Peppiatt;
1828-1830: Charles Carter;
1839-1854: Thomas Barker;
1861-1862: Joseph Collins;
1864-1869: Benjamin Church;
1869: Amos King;
1871-1884: William Barker;
1884-1892: Henry Richardson;
1892-1905: Edwin Thomas Gresswell;
1905-1924: Sarah Gresswell

Public house closed 30th September 1924