The Saracen's Head, famous as “the Sarries” during the lively music scene of the 1980s, is comprised of three 16th century cottages. One of these was converted into a pub in the 1700s and over the years the cottages were merged and an imposing facade added.
When regular cattle sales were held on The Square opposite, the strict licensing laws of the time were relaxed to allow the pub to sell drinks during market-time.
There was a disastrous fire in 1815 which destroyed much of the building. During reconstruction a hoard of coins, dating back to the Civil War, was discovered.
The old cottages had been owned by the Crouch family, one of whom (Hannah) married John Cooke and there's a document from around 1785 recording that the Saracen's Head had “descended” to Mr Cooke.
By then, the pub's name had been transferred from the previous Saracen's Head, which stood nearer the crossroads.
Text: John Buckledee of Dunstable and District Local History Society. ©
Design: David Turner.
Narration: Jan Drury of Dunstable Repertory Company.
Recording: David Hornsey.
Website developer: Joshua Buckledee.