This question has understandably vexed the excellent churchwarden at St Mary's Church, Ivinghoe, Jamie Scott. He e-mailed me last week (when I was enduring a reluctant 'holiday' in the rain-soaked streets of Avignon) that his parishioners were in a storm about the issue. Was the brothel in 1623 sited (heaven forfend) right beside the church?
No. It was not.
First, we know that Yeoman gave his desperate speech to save Jess's life on 8th June 1623 in the Ivinghoe courtroom that was also its town hall.
Now, that 16th century hall still exists. (It is currently the village library.) It fronts Ivinghoe High Street, twenty paces south of the 16th century brewery (now a youth hostel) which was almost certainly owned by Brun Purkiss until early May 1623 when Sogwit gave it to Filsmiro.
Second, Yeoman states clearly that, after the collapse of Jess's trial, the joyful company proceeded to the Swan tavern across the village green. This would locate the tavern some twenty paces west of the modern Kings Head restaurant on the modern Horton Road.
Third, Hippo clearly refers to the Ivinghoe brothel in his defence of Jess as a place 'adjacent' to the Swan. So the brothel was not immediately beside St Mary's Church. Jamie and his parishioners can relax. It was almost certainly a few paces either west or east of the tavern.
I think the owner of the modern Kings Head restaurant can relax too. But I do believe the present inhabitants of the cottages on Horton Road that face the green should take a close look in their cellars. They might chance upon many a bawdy relic, buried beneath four centuries of dust.