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The White Lion Lake Street Leighton Buzzard

The White Lion Inn: Lake 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 first mention of the White lion so far found is in 1729 when John Johnson was admitted to a copyhold inn called the White Lion in Leck End in succession to his father John [X288/4]. John Phillpott, son of the occupier, evidently bought the place from the owner as he was admitted in 1731 [X288/4]. His nephew Thomas succeeded him on his death in 1748 [X39/5 and X288/5]. Thomas devised the inn to his grandson Thomas Cooke, who was admitted whilst still a minor, in 1783 [X288/8].

No more is heard of the White Lion as an inn. In the Northampton Mercury of 19th January 1793 Leighton Buzzard publicans published a resolution banning "seditious and disaffected persons" from their houses. No one signed for the White Lion and, whilst this does not prove that the inn had closed. In her notes, knidnly lent to Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Service, Maureen Brown identifies a surrender (from John Newman to John Millard) of a cottage in Leck End lately called the White LIon in 1797. The exact location if the White Lion in Lake Street has yet to be determined. In 1821 John Millard was identified as owning a number properties in Lake Street, one just south of the later Victoria Ironworks and the rest on the other side of the street including 14, 16, 18 and 20 Lake Street and two properties south of the Sun Inn.


  • X288/4: admission: 1729;
  • X288/4: admission: 1733;
  • X39/5 and X288/5: admission: 1748;
  • PLBP/W/1782/63: will of Thomas Philpott, victualler: 1782;
  • X288/8: admission: 1783.

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:

1729: Thomas Phillpott;
1731-1733: Ann Philpott;
1782: Edward Cooke