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High St. No. 19 (formerly The Saracen’s Head)

This is the earliest recorded inn in the village, dating from around 1530. Perhaps it was named in honour of the Crusades.  The house is timber framed built in the 17th century. It is possible to see that there were originally two arched doors, but one is now blocked. The remaining one has its 19th century arched hood. There are two red brick chimney stacks on the front ridge both are thought to be original. In the interior of the building there are three bays coming off from a common lobby. In the building can be seen wooden chamfered beams. The earliest inn keeper is recorded as Thomas Symms around 1530. It continued to trade under the same name throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, probably belonging to the Manor of Amphiball. During the 18th century it seems that part of the inn was a separate house and there are indeed two doors visible in the modern photo but by the mid-19th century it was all part of one building again. In 1832 the brick front was added. Possibly there was a gated entrance to the yard behind. The yard was referred to as ‘The dunghill ‘and this would fit with its later use as a tannery. By 1770, the inn was owned by the Clutterbuck family, who originated from Stanmore. It continued in this family until 1905 when it was bought by Benjamin Bennett of Bennett’s brewery in Dunstable. By the 1950’s the brewery was Watney Mann. It remained open until 2002.

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