The Ram High Street Leighton Buzzard
The Ram Inn: High 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 Ram Inn is only known from mentions in Leighton Buzzard manorial court quitrent ledgers and abstracted deeds later owned by Leighton Buzzard Brewery. The first mention so far discovered is in 1656 when Christopher Burton paid a quitrent of two shillings and sixpence for the Ram [KK780]. By 1664 the owner paying the quitrent was, appropriately, Timothy Brewer [KK781]. Brewer sold the Ram to John Proctor in 1669 [Z1118/1/1/1], the description of the property shows that it stood somewhere on the north side of the High Street. In 1689 Proctor mortgaged the building to John Marsh [Z1118/1/1/1] - it is then described simply as the messuage in which Proctor dwelt - therefore the evidence is that Proctor closed the Ram and converted it into a private dwelling.
The final description of the building, given in 1807 when it was owned by William Bennett (and repeated until 1827) describes it as a messuage some time past divided into three tenements in occupation of Thomas Smith, John Emerton and George Reeve since John Fox, Joseph Stevens and George Reeve then John Oliver and William Bennett in Leighton Buzzard; abutting on a messuage of Oliver Taylor, then William Lepard, then Prince Webster and others, then Samuel Hopkins in his own occupation and that of Edward Webster, then of heirs of James Hopkins in occupation of Michael Lockett and Edward Webster to the east and a messuage formerly of Elizabeth Perrott, spinster, then John Loke in part on the west and the common street on the south. This is very helpful as it ties in with Benjamin Bennett's map of Leighton Buzzard of 1819 and the accompanying reference book of 1821 where a messuage owned by Bennett and tenanted by Oliver is number 64 and 65 is owned and occupied by Bennett. This was at 15 High Street which a little later became Proctor's brewery which later had a public house facing onto the High Street called the Saint George and Dragon, later the Brewery public house - thus after a break of about two hundred years the site of the Ram was once more a drinking establishment and owned by the Procter family. Today the old inn site is under Waterborne Walk.
- KK780: Manor of Leighton Buzzard quit rental: 1656
- KK781: Manor of Leighton Buzzard quit rental: 1664;
- Z1118/1/1/1: abstracted feoffment of Ram from Timothy Brewer to John Proctor: 1669;
- Z1118/1/1/1: abstracted mortgage: 1689.
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 1669: William Mallcott;