The Roebuck Hotel is part of what was a substantial Victorian house known as Canons. The house was built by a wealthy maltster, banker and landowner called Samuel Adams; it was later used as TB sanatorium for a short time in the early 1920s before it was changed in to a hotel around 1927.
Samuel Adams also owned the large Canons maltings which surrounded his house. He was declared bankrupt in 1856 and the house was sold. Sales particulars of the time describe it as:
‘ valuable freehold estate known as Cannons [sic] situate at the entrance to the town of ware and comprising a commodious and comfortable residence with stabling, lawns, gardens and pleasure grounds; greenhouses, a grapery, pinery and numerous farm buildings; 6 maltings and 44 acres… [the house] noble and lofty dining room, cheerful drawing room, library, entrance hall, 8 bedrooms, 3 drawing rooms, 2 attics, butler’s pantry, china and store closet, kitchens and extensive cellarage’
The maltings survived until 1965 when they were demolished to make way for housing.
The first listing for the hotel is from an advert in 1927 – the spelling seems to vary.
What’s in a name?
Throughout the next 20 years or so, the hotel had various owners:
1927 – The Cannon Private Hotel, Albert Edward Lewin
1936 – The Canons Private Hotel. Lionel E Brown
1938 – The Canons Hotel, Miss N K Loftus
1940 – The Canons Hotel, Mr and Mrs T.P King
1945 – The Canons Hotel, R Giddings
In 1981, the name changed to the Ware Moat House Hotel; in 1995 it became the County Hotel before assuming its current name in 1999 when it was bought by Management Services International for £4m.
The name is derived from a canon which once stood nearby. A town guide of 1938 says ‘in the grounds of Canons may be seen an interesting souvenir in the form of an old gun secured from the wreck of the Royal George’ [several ships have born the name and no-one knows when the canon disappeared]
Plans have recently been submitted for the Roebuck to be demolished for housing.