The Roebuck was both a farm and an inn when originally built. The lower part of the building with the cottage and barn, is old as the upper windows in this section suggests 17th century styles. Being in Rishton town it is likely that there was an inn there in medieval times.
Formally known as the Stag Inn, the Roebuck was extended in 1753. It was part of the original turnpikes road system of Lancashire, opened the following year, and was extended for this reason, in anticipation of the expected upturn in the number of coaches, but the Roebuck was never a toll house.
The building is situated on High Street in the town, and sits at an angle to the road. There are still cobbles at the base of the front steps which were used for unloading passengers off the stage coaches.
The date stone over the door in the building says 1753, This means that during 2003 the building should have been celebrating 250 years existence!! Sadly, nothing happened. With the date are the initials of Thomas and Grace Duckworth, who were tenants there in 1750, and whose family line stayed in the inn for 3 generations, their lease ending in 1842, almost a hundred years of tenancy.
In 1785 the Manor Court was meeting here twice a year, at the home of Joseph Duckworth, and he supplied dinners to the jury of fifteen tenants. This is were the stories come from of the cellars being used as prison cells for criminals, although this has never been proven.
It wasn't until 1854 that the name was changed from the Stag to the Roebuck, this was only some 12 years after the Duckworth family had finally let the tenancy go.
An email from Jennifer Marks in January 2008, tells me that her family tree includes the Duckworth's, and that in 1714 Thomas Duckworth was listed as an innkeeper.
Both his sons, Joseph Duckworth (1753 and mentioned above the picture) and Robert Duckworth (1789), were also listed as innkeepers.
Thomas was listed as a husbandman in all his children's christenings until it came to Joseph and it changed to innkeeper.
The 1825 Gazetteer of Blackburn shows that at this time (1825) Joe Duckworth was in charge of the "Black Bull", and Robert Duckworth was in the "Dog and Buck". It is easy to believe that the Dog and Buck could have been the Roebuck at this time, but it is listed as being at "Hoult", which surely means the Holt we know now by the river. The public house at Holt was to be the "Petre Arms"
Joseph was always listed as innkeeper and Robert was listed in the 1841 census as publican by 1851 he had moved to Blackburn.
The Roebuck was sold by auction in December 1897, for £22,600 to Messrs. Cunningham and T. & W. Thwaite's of Blackburn.
It wasn't long before things started to change at the Inn, as Thwaite's became one of the biggest local brewers in Blackburn who are still producing Ales today, they are the only brewers left from this era, surviving all changes and take over offers. Within 12 months, during 1898, plans were submitted for alteration. This was possible to remove the Georgian windows, and the addition of the shell hood over the door way.
The barn was demolished in 1920, but by viewing the setts (cobbles) that still exist at the front of the inn, it is possible to see the road leading to the barn door.
Animals that strayed on the common were put into the pinfold or pound and were kept there until the owner paid a fine. This pound is visible in some of the earlier pictures on this page, particularly the one from 1890.
The Pinfold, or pound was used for storage purposes as well, and up to the 1980s the setts were still visible showing some of the original location of this pound. A car park has now been built for the inn on this location and the front of the inn has the zebra crossing directly outside its door.
The Roebuck can be seen in the picture here, in 1968, all decorated for a visit to Rishton from the Queen.
A billiard hall was built on part of the pinfold, this was first licensed in 1914, and later became a skating rink, four years after the picture showing beer being delivered above. The lorry in the picture was registered in Preston, and was an early Leyland motors truck. The company at this time was Mathew Brown & Co. Ltd., who were based in Blackburn at Little Harwood until the brewery was bought out in the 1980's by the Scottish and Newcastle brewery Company who closed the Blackburn brewery down but kept the trading name. Mathew Brown was famous for their Lion brand of beer, and in 1977 brought out a special jubilee beer for the Queens silver jubilee.
On the 21st January 1943, the Council amended the rateable value of the Roebuck Inn from £107 to £142. It was then amended again from £142 to £170. 12 months later, on the 17th August 1944, the building was re-rated yet again. The Gross Value was £218per annum, with a Rateable Value of £178. It was proposed by Rishton Urban District Council to change this to £211 Gross Value, with a Rateable Value of £172.
On the 12th July 1951, Attention was drawn to a low wall overlooking private land belonging to the Brewery Company, and to the danger arising there from to children playing in the neighbourhood. The Council Clerk was requested to enquire into the matter and to communicate with the owners.
This picture was sent to me in June 2003, by email, when it was discovered that the bottle was for sale on a web site. No information is known about this bottle, but if anyone could date it, or give me any other information about I would be grateful.
It is said that the Bay Window in the side of the Roebuck which faces George Street, is said to have once been the biggest bay window in Europe. Does anyone know if this is true?
It is also said that the Roebuck is haunted. Over the years "Ghost Hunters" are said to have visited the Inn, and felt the presence of spirits, not surprising in a pub!
John Christopher Lynch via email.
Ester Sharp (Harwood Road)