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Le Belles Woburn

There is a stray mention of a property called "le Belles" in a survey of the former property of the newly dissolved Woburn Abbey in 1539 [CRT100/32]. This may or may not be one the later Bell Inn at the North End of Woburn or today's Bell, though it seems unlilely as these two properties were both freehold whereas le Belles was copyhold.

A court roll of the Manor of Woburn of 1646 [RBox237] notes that in that year Robert Barnewell sold The Bell to Thomas Hawkins and Anne, his wife, who were admitted as chief tenants of the Manor. This makes clear that the inn was copyhold, held of the Manor, which supports the likelihood that the reference in 1539 to a property owned by the Abbey called le Belles is, in fact, an inn.

The final mention of the inn occurs in 1685. In this year Joshua Hartwell surrendered the property to Richard Hartwell [HW34].

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:

1646: Robert Barnewell;
1646: Thomas and Anne Hawkins;
1685: Joshua Hartwell;
1685: Richard Hartwell


  • CRT100/32: Court of Augmentations account of the property of Woburn Abbey: 1539;
  • RBox 237: Manor of Woburn court roll: 1646;
  • HW34: surrender: 1685.