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The Kings Arms North Street Leighton Buzzard

The Kings Arms about 1900
The Kings Arms about 1900

The Kings Arms Public House: 75 North Street, Leighton Buzzard

The Kings Arms is no longer with us but photographs show a low, two storey building with casement windows and a tiled roof which might have been 18th or 19th century in origin. Maureen Brown, June Masters and Tom Lawson wrote a book called The Old Pubs of Leighton Buzzard and Linslade which was published by Leighton Linslade Local History Research Group in 1994. In producing the book they used sources at Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service, Buckinghamshire Record Office, Northamptonshire Record Office as well as a number of published sources. Maureen Brown, in notes kindly lent to Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service, noted a fire insurance policy of 1783 taken out by John Lavestaff [Eavestaff?] with Royal Exchange Fire Assurance pn a dwelling house, timber pannelled with brick and tiled and situate at the North End of Leighton Buzzard known as the Kings Arms.

The next known licensee of the Kings Arms was Sarah Hitchcock. She signed a resolution of Leighton Buzzard publicans in the Northampton Mercury of 19th January 1793, 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).

By 1818 the public house was owned by Ampthill brewer Joseph Morris who was admitted to the house at the manorial court on the death of John Morris [X21/629]. It was recorded in the inventory of the brewery's premises in 1827 as a copyhold public house, occupied by Joseph Hopkins, with a small yard and stable. The next year Joseph Morris released his half of the family business to Mary Ann and Jane Morris [X21/629]. The firm became Morris and Company (Ampthill) Limited in 1907 and the public house closed in 1913.

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 the former public house at 75 North Street [DV1/C74/40] noted that it was then owned by Leighton Buzzard Urban District Council and occupied by Albert Ringsell at a rent of £23 per annum. The house comprised asitting room, living room, scullery and store room downstairs withfour bedrooms and a W.C. above. Outside stood an old brick, wood and slate stable used for fowls and a washhouse with a loft over. The valuer commented: "brick and tile very old and damp, poor, was public house, large rooms"

The old building was demolished in 1964. The site is now part of North Street car park.

The site of the Kings Arms June 2008
The site of the Kings Arms June 2008


  • Northampton Mercury: resolution of Leighton Buzzard publicans banning "seditious and disaffected persons" from their houses: 19 Jan 1793;
  • X21/629: recital of admission: 1818;
  • CLP13: Register of alehouse licences: 1822-1828;
  • Z1043/1 p.25: recorded in inventory of John & Joseph Morris, brewers: 1827;
  • X21/629: release: 1828;
  • WB/M/4/1/VP1: Mortgage by John Morris of Ampthill: 1831;
  • 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;
  • WB/M/4/1/VP2: Mortgage by John Thomas Green for Morris & Company: 1882;
  • 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 75 North Street in notes compiled on Leighton Buzzard public houses: early 20th century;
  • CCE5304/1: admission of Morris & Company (Ampthill) Limited: 1902;
  • 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:

1783: John Lavestaff;
1793: Sarah Hitchcock;
- before 1822: Edward Pratt;
- before 1822: Joseph Eavestaff;
1822-1830: Joseph Hopkins;
1847: William Reeve;
1850: Richard Irving Buyers;
1853-1854: George White;
1861-1879: Charles Grace;
1879-1880: Sarah Grace;
1880-1886: William James;
1886-1887: Edward Charles Collier;
1887-1888: Vine John Major;
1888-1889: William Janebury;
1889: Alfred Halls;
1889: Charles William Barron;
1889-1890: Walter William Smith;
1890-1892: John Robinson;
1892-1895: George Rawson;
1895: Henry Bolton;
1895-1897: Joseph Price;
1897-1898: John Fountaine Holmes;
1898-1899: Turner Stephenson;
1899-1902: Charles Allen;
1902-1904: Robert Gibson;
1904-1905: Walter Hunt;
1905-1906: George Augustus Dows;
1906-1907: William Thomas Davey;
1907-1908: Guy Harry Bennett;
1908-1910: William Hubbock;
1910: Ernest William Rowland;
1910-1913: George Turner;
1913: Alfred Geary

Public house closed 1913