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Leighton Buzzard

Places > Leighton Buzzard and Linslade

1086: Leighton is described in the Domesday Survey as the richest market in Bedfordshire, worth more than  Bedford or Luton. It was taxed by the King at 13 7s. 6d a year. The settlement is noted as having some three to four hundred people and two mills

1164: Henry II grants the Manor of Leighton to the French Abbey of Fontevrault in Anjou. The monks built a Priory at Grovebury which was frequently visited by the Plantagenet Kings

1166: St. Marys Church at Old Linslade built by the Beauchamp family who had been given the Manor of Linslade by William the Conqueror

1220: The building of All Saints Church was started during the reign of Edward I. It was built where a Saxon church had once stood

1254: Leighton Buzzard granted the right to hold a three day fair on St. Dunstan’s Day in May

1277: All Saints Church dedicated. The oldest object in the church is the font which probably belonged to the Saxon church which previously stood on the site

1299: The Bishop of Lincoln banned pilgrimages to St. Marys Church in Linslade. The Church had become famous for its holy well

1453: Market Cross built (approx.). It may have been a gift from Alice, Duchess of Suffolk (the granddaughter of Geoffrey Chaucer, author of Canterbury Tales). She owned the Manor of Leighton Buzzard until her death in 1475

1582: Leighton Buzzard described by Francis Thynne as a "faire churche and a reasonable great towne"

1600: Population of Leighton Buzzard approximately 1,700

1630: Leighton Buzzard Almshouses built by Edward Wilkes in North Street (rebuilt in 1857)

1644: The lower half of the south side of the High Street in Leighton Buzzard was burnt down by Roundhead soldiers of the Civil War pillaging and stealing food. The damage was valued at 14,378

1726: A tomb stone in Leighton Buzzard churchyard was erected with this inscription " In memory of Elizabeth Strudde widow late of Heath in this parish she died 8th August 1726 in ye 112 year of her age." (Bedfordshire Notes and Queries, Vol. 1, p.21)

1750: Basket making industry starts in Leighton Buzzard around this time. Lake Street was the centre for the industry.  By 1800 between two and three hundred people were employed in this type of work

1751: Two women denounced as witches beside Leighton Buzzard Market Cross

1771-1832: A regular wagon service operated between Leighton Buzzard and London

1789: Friends Meeting House built in North Street

1792: An advertisement placed in the Northampton Echo appealing for investors to express interest in building a canal from London to Birmingham (to be called the Grand Junction Canal, renamed the Grand Union Canal in 1929)

1800: The first barge passes through Leighton Buzzard on 28th May

1805: Grand Junction Canal opened linking London with the Midlands

1820: St. Andrews Ironworks founded by James Gilbert in Mill Road.  Some years later the works moved to St. Andrews Street.  The works were finally auctioned in November 2000after four generations of the Gilbert family had run the foundry and blacksmiths workshops (LBO, 7/11/2000)

1835: Leighton Buzzard Gas and Coke Company formed

1838: The first train ran through Linslade on the London and North Western Railway line. The line ran between Euston and Manchester

1840: Swan Hotel built

1840: Wool Fair started

1848: Parish Church of St. Barnabas opened, designed by Benjamin Ferrey

1848: LNWR railway line opened between Leighton Buzzard and Luton (closed 1st January 1966). The line was engineered by George Stephenson

1849: St. Barnabas Church built at Linslade. The Church has a window designed by William Morris

1862: The Corn Exchange built in Lake Street at a cost of 7,500 including the land

1882: Leighton Buzzard cemetery in Miletree Road formed at a cost of about 3,000 including the Mortuary Chapel

1885: The Knolls built in Plantation Road by the architect R. Norman Shaw. It was originally the residence of local banker Frederick Bassett. The Cox Long family purchased it in 1955 and in 1972 six squash courts were added

1886: The Leighton Buzzard Corps of the Salvation Army formed

1862: Linslade described as having "several streets of genteel residences and large inns"

1867: St. Andrew’s Church consecrated on the 11th July (demolished 1964 after being declared unsafe).The church originally cost 3,800 to build

1884: Pulford School opened

1893: Beaudesert Boys School built

1900: Linslade population totals 2,157

1903:Pages Almshouses built in Church Street

1903: Memorial fountain erected by the people of Linslade in honour of Henry Finch Esq. JP in the recreation ground

1917: Vickers Vimys (first world war bombers) built in the town from this date

1919: Narrow Gauge railway built

1919: In June, the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic was made by two Britons, Captain Alcock (pilot) and Lieutenant Brown (navigator).  The flight took some 16 hours and was made in a Vickers-Vimy plane that had been built in Leighton Buzzard.  The plane was loaded with three and half tons of petrol and was one of 50 commissioned by the War Office

1920: A memorial cross unveiled in Linslade Square to commemorate the soldiers of the First World War. In 1955 it was moved to the Memorial Gardens in Mentmore Road

1921: Cedars School in the High Street opened, it moved to Mentmore Road in 1973. The building was subsequently used for Leighton Middle school

1922: Linslade’s first cinema — The Happydrome - built by Thomas Yirrell in Bridge Street

1923: H. A. Rolls and Partners architects founded in Leighton Buzzard (company closed in 1995). The company designed many factory units in Leighton Buzzard and was largely responsible for the Lancer Boss development plans

1931: The Royal Scot train derailed at Leighton Buzzard

1931: Showroom for Leighton Buzzard Gas Company opened on Church Square

1934: Leighton Buzzard Rugby Football Club formed on 27th June

1946: Leighton Buzzard Rotary Club formed by 74 local gentlemen at a meeting in the Swan Hotel.

1949: The National School, Linslade, built. It is now used as church hall

1950: A tornado hits Linslade on Sunday May 21st causing considerable damage

1958: Leighton Buzzard twinned with Coulommiers, France

1959: Lancer Boss, the fork lift manufacturers set up in Leighton

1962: Redland purchase Leighton Buzzard Tiles which was owned by Eastwoods, in Grovebury Road, and Driroof Tiles (Stonehenge) in Mile Tree Road

1963: Great Train Robbery takes place at Linslade on August 8th between Leighton Buzzard Station and Bridgego Bridge at Cheddington. Mail bags were seized containing old bank notes to a total of 2,500,000

1963: In the third week of January there was a blizzard that completely cut off Leighton and Linslade.  This was followed by a 43 degrees frost when temperatures fell to eleven degrees below zero fahrenheit making Leighton the coldest place in Britain (Leighton Buzzard Observer, 15th November 2005, p19)

1965: Leighton Buzzard and Linslade amalgamated to form Leighton Linslade Urban Council

1968: The Corn Exchange demolished.  The Bedfordshire Magazine (Vol.11, no.86) reported that seven coins and some charcoal were found under the foundations.  It was thought that the charcoal could be the remains of a list of the Corn Exchange directors

1971: Population of Leighton Linslade totals 20,347

1971: The Martins burnt down and demolished. Only the Lodge remains today

1972: Leighton Buzzard twinned with Titsee-Neustadt

1979: Clock presented to Leighton Buzzard Library. It was originally given to St. Andrews Church School by Miss Charlotte Willis on September 23rd 1871

1979: Redland (roof tile firm) open state of the art purpose built Vandyke Works on the old Stonehenge site.

1981: Population of Leighton Linslade totals 29,858.

1985: All Saints Church devastated by a fire destroying the organ, chancel windows and some of the bells

1988: RAF Stanbridge granted the freedom of Leighton Buzzard. A parade took place from Church Square to the High Street with a ceremonial drill in front of the Town Mayor and guests

1989: Sports Pavilion in Pages Park officially opened by the Town Mayor

1989: Safeway Store in Lake Street officially opened by the Chairman of South Bedfordshire District Council

1990: Work on the Leighton Linslade Southern Bypass started (it was officially opened by MP David Madel in November 1991)

1990: Final planning approval granted for Texas Homecare and Tesco superstores in Vimy Road

1991: Population of Leighton Linslade totals 31,889

1994: Oxendon House Childrens Home closed down (it reopened in 1997 as a Swiss Cottage Nursing Home)

1994: Lancer Boss (maker of lift trucks) sold to the German company Jungheinrich

1997: Grovebury Road Scout Hut redeveloped at a cost of 175,000

1999: 70,000 appeal launched to purchase Linslade’s water meadows for the town

1999: The congregation and clergy of St. Barnabas's Church, Linslade, celebrated the 150th anniversary of their place of worship (LBO, 5th January 2000)

1999: The Royal British Legion celebrate the official opening of new premises at the Bossard Hall (LBO, 5th January 2000)

2001: Freedom of Entry to the town bestowed upon the cadets of 1003 (Leighton Buzzard) Squadron Air Training Corps. (LBO, 24th April 2001)

2003: Jungheinrich close Lancer Boss fork lift factory


Page last updated: 5th June 2020