ARCHIVES: Public Houses
The first licensee named at the Roebuck was Benjamin Foulds in 1825.
The next mention is not until 1846 when Thomas Jordan was landlord. He was a farmer, born in Ratby, who married Sarah Plant of Desford in 1827. He was still here with his wife and children in 1851 before moving on to the Queens Head at Nailstone. One of his sons, George, also born in Ratby, was landlord at the Red Lion, Desford, from 1854.
The Roebuck Inn
Thomas was followed by John Vincent. In 1854 the licence was transferred temporarily to William Laughton, a boot and shoemaker from Leicester. William was also Assistant Overseer of the Poor. On 1 February 1860 at the Stag and Pheasant Hotel, Leicester, a number of properties in Desford were to be sold by auction, including the Roebuck lnn and related outbuildings. lt was described as a dwelling house, used as an inn, and fronted the turnpike road to Bosworth. It was not recorded who bought the inn, but William, by then a tax collector, died at Desford in 1870.
The pub changed hands quite frequently, to Henry Gardner, carpenter, followed by John Roberts, born in Derby, and then from 1875 – 1884, William Riley, born in Thurcaston, who was also a butcher and carrier.
From 1887, William Emery, born in Earl Shilton, came with his wife, mother and brother. He was a cowkeeper and butcher. By 1898 William Thomas Browne, cowkeeper and painter, was landlord, but he did not stay long. In 1899 Thomas Mee, born in Markfield, moved in with his wife and children and he stayed until 1928.
In 1932 Albert P Starbuck made a brief appearance as landlord. He may have been related to Walter Starbuck, who was at the Blue Bell from 1912 – 1949 as many of this family were in the pub trade. He was followed by James Smethurst and Herbert Cartwright. After a gap in the trade directories, the last recorded landlord was Mrs EH Jarvis from 1965 - 69.
Memories of the “top house” include the piano playing, though not the name of the pianist. We hope that residents will be able to fill in some gaps in our information.
The Roebuck is now a private residence, but the name can be seen on the front wall and the Everards sign can still be seen on the end wall of the property.
In 2019 it was added to the Local Heritage List and designated as:
A good example of a former village public house, now converted into residential use. It has a largely late-19th century appearance but the earliest reference of a public house on the site is from 1825. The number of bays suggests the building could have originally formed a number of cottages before the change of use and subsequent late-19th century alterations. It is illustrative of the social, economic and cultural development of Desford providing a typical function of an expanding village. Architecturally the building was constructed with a range of styles and influences, interest remains in the Welsh slate roof covering, gabled half dormers with finials and bargeboards, terracotta ridge tiles, canted brick and decorative cills, projecting headers, decorative door surrounds, metal rainwater goods, and gable chimney stacks. Artistic interest includes the carved name panel and space for further signage above the entrance door which communicates the former use and history of the building. The building provided a communal function and despite its closure as a public house in 2010 it remains a source of identity that contributes to the collective memory of the village. Due to the width of the frontage the building has a visual prominence and can be singled out as a landmark within the local street scene