Our Town

LEIGHTON BUZZARD – A BRIEF HISTORY

For newcomers to the town and even to those who have lived here for some time, it is always interesting to know a little more about the place you call home.

 

The Town

Leighton Buzzard was a Borough back in 1295 and a Royal Manor at the time of the Doomsday Book in 1086. In fact, the town’s market raised £7.00 per year as a toll – a sizable sum in those days.

And whilst there has been a market for 1100 years, the granting of the town’s Market Charter was made in 1331 or as the Charter itself says (a copy hangs on the wall in Leighton Linslade Town Council’s Office at the White House):

“…the Monday after the feast of St. John the Baptist in the fourth year of the        Reign of Edward III.”

The feast of St. John the Baptist in 1331 was Sunday June 24, so the Charter was granted the day following, i.e. Monday 25th June 1331.  Edward III was crowned King on 1st February 1327.  Born in 1312 he died on 21 June 1377 aged 64.

Earlier in 2013, Central Bedfordshire Council handed the Market Charter back to Leighton Linslade Town Council.

People have lived and worked in the area occupied by Leighton Buzzard since Saxon times.  It is most likely the name Leighton came from the Old English, Leah-tun, meaning ‘farm in a clearing in the woods’.

The name Buzzard, it is believed, was added in the 12th century by the Dean of Lincoln in whose diocese the town and is derived from his representative or prebendary called Theobald de Busar – over the years corrupted to become Buzzard.

 

We are famous for

The Grand Union Canal opened here.

Vickers Vimy Bombers were made in Vimy Road (near Tesco’s)

The Great Train Robbers appeared in Linslade’s Magistrates Court, located in Wing Road. And a film about the robbery used Leighton Buzzard railway station as a location.

 

It has a narrow gauge railway the rolling stock used to transport sand to the canal barges.

Leighton Buzzard exports its sand all over the world, including to Middle Eastern countries.

Its sand quarries have featured in film locations for The Mummy Returns and a scene from the Da Vinci Code.

Famous People

Alastair Cooke, Former England Cricket Captain.

Mary Norton author of the children’s fantasy books, The Borrowers, lived in what is now Leighton Middle School.

Kris Akabusi, Olympic Champion, winning a Gold Medal in the 4×400 meters relay in Los Angeles in 1984 and a silver medal in the 1991 world championships.

The late former TV presenter Bob Monkhouse

Frank Bruno, former WBC World Heavyweight boxing Champion (1995)

Popular Culture

The 80s pop band Kajagoogoo, formed in the town in 1979 and had a UK Number 1 and reached Number 5 in the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1983 with Too Shy.

And the 1960s group the Baron Knights.