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The Three Tuns Inn Leighton Buzzard

The Three Tuns Inn: possibly 2 North 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 earliest mention of the Three Tuns discovered so far is in 1735 when William and Mary Hack surrendered the copyhold inn described as in North End, to Susannah Gregory [X288/4]. By 1748 the inn had evidently closed as in that year James Gregory was admitted on the death of his mother Susannah. The property was then described as formerly called the Three Tuns [X288/5]. The building is also noted as formerly called the Three Tuns when Gregory surrendered it to William Brassington in 1783 [X288/8].

It seems as if he may have re-opened the inn as in 1785 he surrendered the Three Tuns, no longer described as "formerly called" to the use of his will [WI76] and on his death in 1807 his widow Sarah was admitted [WI76]. However, the Northampton Mercury of 19th January 1793 contained a resolution of Leighton Buzzard publicans banning "seditious and disaffected persons" from their houses. There is no signature by a publican from the Three Tuns. This is not conclusive but is suggestive and it may be that the clerk simply omitted to add the words "formerly called" for brevity, everyone knowing were the inn had been.

At the admission of Mary Sarah Brassington to the property it was described as having a right of way to a well owned by the Greyhound inn. This stood at the corner of the Market Square and Hockliffe Street with the Crown and Thistle, later called the Queens Head, standing next door at 21 Market Square. This suggests that the Three Tuns may have stood next to that on the site of 2 North Street.


  • X288/4: surrender: 1735;
  • X288/5: admission: 1748;
  • X288/8: surrender: 1783;
  • WI76: surrender: 1785;
  • WI76: admission: 1807  

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 1735: John Southam;
1735: Widow Southam;
1748: John Wood, butcher;
[1783-1807: John Walker?]