Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Leighton-Buzzard

LEIGHTON-BUZZARD, a market-town of Bedfordshire, is situated on the river Ouse, which there divides Bedford from Bucks, and on the North-Western Railway, 40 miles north of London. The town, which is generally well built, contains a spacious market-place, and of late great improvement has taken place in the appearance of the shops. The church of All Saints, in the Early English style of architecture, possesses a tower and spire 193 feet in height. In the market-place are the town-hall, rebuilt in 1852, and containing portions of a very ancient structure, the corn exchange erected in 1862, and the fine old market-cross, in the Perpendicular style, erected in 1330. National school premises were built in 1872. There are also several charities. The manufacture of straw plait gives employment to a considerable number of females, but the town is chiefly dependent on agriculture. The population of the registration sub-district in 1871 was 9942, and in 1881 it was 10,384.

Some identify Leighton-Buzzard with the Lygeanburgh mentioned in the Saxon Chronicle as having been taken in 571 by Cuthwulf, brother of Ceawlin, king of Wessex. The addition Buzzard has been conjectured to be a corruption of Beau-desert, but others also derive it from Bozzard or Bosart, the name of an ancient family, one of whom was knight of the shire in the time of Edward III.