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The Nags Head Mill Road Leighton Buzzard

The Nag's Head about 1900 [Z1432/2/2/32]
The Nag's Head about 1900 [Z1432/2/2/32]

The Nags Head Public House: 1 Mill Road, Leighton Buzzard [later The Moody Blues, then Harpers]

In 1861 Charles Reeve, who ran the Nags Head in Lake Street applied for a licence for a house in Mill Road, adjoining North Street as the premises in Lake Street was to close [PSLB1/1]. Reeve only ran his new establishment for a year before he died, his wife, Mary Ann, succeeding him. The countywide licensing register of 1876 gives the name of the owner as John Loke, possibly the same man that owned the Ewe and Lamb in Bridge Street. It states that the house was first licensed in 1857, but it has been proved that statements about first licensing in this register are often questionable or wrong. By the time of the 1891 register the house was owned, like a surprising number in the town, by brewers Phipps & Company of Northampton. It is thus likely that Northamptonshire Record Office has records relating to the public house.

Reading between the lines the public house seems to have been a not entirely salubrious place at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. On 22nd May 1892 landlord Harry Holmes Archer was convicted of selling beer to a drunken person and fined £2 with 19/6 costs [PSLB4/1]. He left the house that same year. On 8th September the same year new licensee Charles Seth Facer was convicted of permitting drunkenness and fined £3 with 8/6 costs [PSLB4/1]. On 21st March 1899 licensee John Moore was convicted of being drunk in charge of a horse and cart and fined 20 shillings with 5/6 costs [PSLB4/1] and, on 19th November 1901 he joined his predecessors in being convicted of permitting drunkenness, being fined £3 with 5/6 costs[PSLB4/1]; this ended his tenancy.

Towards the end of the 20th century the public house changed its name to the Moody Blues and then Harpers. It closed altogether in 2005 and, at the time of writing [2009], is an Indian Restaurant.

1 Mill Road June 2008
1 Mill Road June 2008


  • 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;
  • PSLB4/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Leighton Buzzard Petty Sessional Division: 1922-1948;
  • HN1/20-1-3: position shown on annotated Ordnance Survey maps compiled for licensing purposes: early 20th century;
  • P91/28/48: Nags Head noted as "now in Mill Road" in notes compiled on Leighton Buzzard public houses: early 20th century;
  • Z1105/1: Liquor Licence Traders Survey Form: 1960.  

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:

1861: Charles Reeve[s];
1862: Mary Ann Reeve;
1869: Charles White (& furniture dealer);
1889: Caroline White;
1892: Harry Holmes Archer;
1892: Charles Seth Facer;
1897: Lewis Griffiths;
1897: John Moore;
1902: William Mawby;
1902: Jabez Jones;
1904: Thomas Worker;
1909: John William Richardson;
1911: Elizabeth Richardson;
1912: William Hall;
1916: Alfred Janes;
1917: Ernest John Butlin;
1938: William George Ward;
1952: Tom Barnet;
1956: John William Papworth;
1974: Anne Elizabeth Papworth;
1975: Arthur Frederick Wells;
1981: Clive Hockley Ivor Picking;
1983: Kenneth Geoffrey Church;
1985: John Joseph O’Connor;
1989: Ian Ernest Worley;
1989: Giocome Brescia;
1990: Giocome Brescia and Franco Anthony Oliver;
1992: David Edward Driscoll;
1993: Michael Vaughan and Andrew Mascott;
1993: Michael Vaughan;
1993: Diane Mascott
Public house closed 2005.