The Queens Head Inn Leighton Buzzard
The opticians is probably the site of the Queens Head - June 2008
The Queen's Head: (formerly the Crown and Thistle): 21 Market Square, 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 Queens Head is only known from references in the court books of the Manor of Leighton Buzzard for a few years in the early 18th century. It was originally called the Crown and Thistle and the first reference so far found is in 1720 when someone was admitted to a copyhold house between the Crown and Thistle to the north-west and the Greyhound to the south-east [X288/3]. This suggests that the Crown and Thistle was on or near the site of the present 21 Market Square.
In 1726 Thomas Murray and Mary, his wife, surrendered the Crown and Thistle at the manorial court to the uses of her will, suggesting that she herself had inherited it - is the Scots name Murray a clue as to why the house was called the Crown and Thistle? [X288/3]. In 1729 Abraham Peacock, who owned the Peacock at 1 to 3 Lake Street, was admitted to the Crown and Thistle, having been devised it in Mary Murray's will [X288/4]. Peacock renamed the inn the Queens Head and in 1732 surrendered it to William Hack the elder, who was admitted at a manorial court in 1733 [X288/4]. Hack died in the same year and his son William was admitted to the Crown and Thistle - it is not clear whether the inn had reverted to its old name or whether this was a slip of the pen by the steward of the manor's secretary [X288/4]. This is the last mention of the Crown and Thistle or Queens Head so far discovered.
- X288/3: admission a house between the Crown and Thistle and the Greyhound: 1720;
- X288/3: surrender: 1726;
- X288/4: admission: 1729;
- X288/4: surrender: 1732;
- X288/4: admission: 1733;
- X288/4: death of William Hack: 1733;
- X288/4: admission: 1734.