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The Fountain Inn

Brook Street

Public House

Early History

The Fountain Inn was built about 1800 with various other additions constructed over the years. James Hutchinson of Sileby started to appear in local victuallers lists in the 1790s. By 1802 newspapers reveal that he was the owner of a pub called the 'New Inn', probably indicating that Hutchinson had recently built the property. However, when he put the premises up for sale in 1811 it was under the name of 'The Black Swan', and it was sold to John Dennis of Leicester. Dennis advertised the property for sale in 1814, but no buyer came forward. The newspaper sales advertisement for this event mentions the 'Fountain' Inn as the pub name for the first time. Dennis died shortly afterwards in November 1815 and in his will he left instructions to sell his real estate in Sileby, including his public house. In 1818 another sales notice confirms that the property was then occupied by Mary, John Dennis's widow. 


The records for the latter part of the 1820s and early 1830s are confusing and contradictory. Land tax returns show that John Hayes was the owner by 1822 up until about 1838 when they suggest that George Sheffield of Syston was proprietor. Nevertheless, Sheffield appears as the property owner in railway site plans dated to 1835. Therefore it's highly likely that Sheffield was the owner before 1838, and maybe so as early as 1828. The Fountain Inn was only a small part of George Sheffield's estate. He also owned properties in Syston, Skeffington, Thurmaston, Queniborough and Cossington. George died in 1855 and the property descended with his family.


A family dispute over the provisions in George's will went to the High Court in 1875, and ended with the selling off of portions of the family estate, including the Fountain. Later in November that year the pub was purchased for £985 by Thomas Baker of Leicester.  Baker's possession was shortlived as in 1876 William Hand, the sitting tenant, (a former policeman and also owner of the Free Trade Inn) was shown as the owner. Tragically, William died shortly afterwards in April 1877 aged only 34, leaving his wife Elizabeth to run the businesses. Incidentally, Elizabeth (nee Stirk) was described as a licenced victualler upon her marriage to William Hand in October 1866.


                              Fountain Inn, 1835 (in blue)                                        Fountain Inn, 1884 (in blue)                                                         Brook Street (right), Back Lane (left)               Brook Street (right), Back Lane (left), Railway (top)

                                Source : © ROLLR QS 73/13                       Leics 25 inch OS 25.3 : Creative Commons

Elizabeth Hand, widow, married George Tinkler, a butcher of Sileby in December 1878; and it is George's name that appears on the licencing lists from this date. On the 30th October 1893, George had some kind of seizure whilst at a 'cricket supper' at the Fountain. He fell down a flight of stairs leading from the club-room, but he never recovered and died the day after. The coroner's inquest reported that he'd incurred serious head injuries including a skull fracture which rendered him unconscious. His wife Elizabeth was the sole beneficiary in his will and, as before, she succeeded to the business as a widow. Elizabeth died in 1901 aged 54, and bequeathed the businesses to her daughter Clara Hand. About 1904 William Barber, the sitting tenant for over twenty years, was named as owner and licensee. William had married Annie Stirk in 1883 near the same time as he had first entered the pub as licensee. Annie was the sister of Elizabeth Hand/Tinkler; the pub was therefore kept within the family.

Tied House and the End

William Barber's forty year association with the Fountain Inn ended in 1924 when Everards brewery bought the property. In turn Everards had a long association with the pub lasting over fifty five years. A large part of this coincided with the tenancy of Horace Rowell (1924-1931) and his wife Florence G. Rowell (1931-1963).

florence rowell fountain inn 1963.jpg

Florence Rowell, Fountain Inn, 1963

(Unknown media)

Source : John Whittington

Everards sold the pub at auction in 1979 which began a rollercoaster series of financial ups and downs with its new owners. Within eight years, in April 1987, the mortgagees put the property up for sale by another auction with a guide price of £110,000. By 1999 Whitbread's ales were being served at the pub.


The building disappeared with great controversy in April 2003 when the property was demolished and the buildings replaced by the Jordean Court flats complex. This final act ended the two hundred year old association that this site had with public houses and brewing.


Fountain Inn, cottages and bridge

undated : c1930


Fountain Inn - Everards Signage

Source : John Whittington

Description in Sales Notice - 1811 

(Leicester Journal - 3rd May 1811)



The Black Swan

Desirable premises consisting of a capital well built house... built within these 11 years.

Parlour, Bar, a large dining room, good back kitchen and brewhouse, cellar, three large chambers and attic.





A Dairy and chamber over the same

Capital Frame-smith's shop

Coal house


Newly erected pig sties

And well supplied with hard and rain water

A Stable for two horses

A large garden well stored with rich fruit trees, and adjoining the premises.

Description in Sales Notice - 1875 

(Leicester Chronicle - 13th November 1875)



The Fountain Inn

Valuable old Licensed Public House

Parlour, Bar, Tap Room, 2 Club Rooms, Brewhouse, Cellar, three bedrooms and dairy.




Cow hovel


Back entrance from the lane.

Description - November 1914 

(Valuation Act : National Archives IR 58/51169/531-2)


Brick and Slated, Old, Fair Condition

a) Ground Floor – Tap Room, Smoke Room, Serving Bar (4 pulls), Beer Cellar, Kitchen, Living Room, Pantry

b) 1st Floor – Club Room, 4 Bedrooms


Yard and Garden.

Brick and Slated Bottle Store

Hops room? over Brewhouse

Two Privies

Trap sheds

Stable (2 stalls)

Coal house

3 Piggeries

Fountain Inn_edited.jpg

Fountain Inn : William Barber's name above the door

Source : John Whittington/Lionel Blower

Owners, Licensees and Publicans



James Hutchinson

John Dennis

Mary Dennis, widow

John Hayes

George Sheffield

Trustees of George Sheffield

Thomas Baker

William Hand

Elizabeth Hand, widow

George Tinkler

Elizabeth Tinkler, widow

Clara Hand

William Barber

Everards Brewery



c1798 - c1811

c1811 - 1815

 1815 - c1822

c1822 - c1828? c1828 - 1855

 1855 - 1875

 1875 - 1876

 1876 - 1877

 1877 - 1878

 1878 - 1893

 1893 - 1901

 1901 - 1904

 1904 - 1923

 1923 - 1979



James Hutchinson

John Dennis

Thomas Thornton

John Bowles

Thomas Crofts

Henry Sanders

John Sanders

William Sarson

Ann Sarson

William Hand

Elizabeth Hand, widow

George Tinkler

William Barber

Horace Rowell

Florence Gertrude Rowell



c1798 - c1811

c1811 - 1814

 1814 - 1817

 1817 - 1818

 1818 - 1821

 1821 - 1830

 1830 - 1834

 1834 - 1839

 1839 - 1866

 1866 - 1877

 1877 - 1878

 1878 - 1882

 1882 - 1924

 1924 - 1931

 1931 - 1963

Notes on the listings

The dates are accurate to within a year of that given due to licencing records often starting part way through a year. Also, when electoral electoral rolls and trade directories are used the names quite often reflect the previous years occupiers. Due to privacy and data protection a decision was made to have a listing cut off date of about 1960.

External Pictures : 2002 to 2003
Internal Pictures - 20th April 2003
Everards Ephemera
fountain inn everards advert nd_edited.jpg

Newspaper Advertisement (unknown media) - Fountain Inn, 1959

Everards marketing campaign

Source : John Whittington

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