The Wheatsheaf

The Wheatsheaf around 1900.


The Wheatsheaf was originally an inn with 2 attached cottages, built around 1600 on an ideal plot on the only crossroads in the village.  The site was high enough to escape the floods which regularly cut off access to Cropston and Swithland to the northwest and Rothley to the northeast.

Walter Alin is recorded as Alehouse Keeper in 1603.

The Dexter / Wright Family

Thomas Dexter, from Thurcaston, was landlord from about the late 1830s.

When he died in 1859, his son William took over.  William married Elizabeth Wright, the daughter of a family who had been in the village since the early 1700s.

Both Thomas and William were graziers as well as landlords.   The acreage varied between about 25 and 31 acres.

After William's death in 1902,  the Wheatsheaf was kept by William and Mary Wright and then by other members of the Wright family for the next sixty years.

In 1951 the 100+ year reign of the Dexter/Wright family came to an end.


The Canary

William Wright's son, Arthur, remembered the man who regularly came to the Wheatsheaf to check the purity of the water in the well.

He brought a canary in a cage which he lowered down the well to make sure the air was pure before he descended himself for the inspection.

The Building

The exterior of the three properties show little has changed from their first build, but the interior has seen many changes over the past four hundred years. The separate dwellings were amalgamated in the 20th century, probably losing the thatched roof at the same time. Agricultural buildings behind the pub were converted into a skittle alley and in the 1970s a covered way was built to connect the pub with the old barn.

Consternation was felt by the Sedgwick family, who lived in Latimer House in 1957 when the licensee of the time painted ‘Wheatsheaf Inn’ on the roof. An Order from the County Council was served on the tenant for its removal, but it remains visible as a prominent landmark, being re-painted whenever it fades.

The Wheatsheaf in 2016


The present licensees are Tony and Kathryn Marshall, who celebrated thirty years of tenancy in 2019.

Throughout their time the property has become the centre of the village. The delightful flower baskets and landscaped areas add pleasure to the eye even before the first pint is pulled.


The mynah bird

"  I can well remember visiting this pub with my dad, many years ago, and both of us being greatly amused by the antics of the resident mynah bird which lived high up in a cage behind the bar.

The bird would mimic the noise made by the entrance door’s squeaky hinges with uncanny accuracy. This, in turn, would attract the attention of the pub’s dog that would seem bemused that no one had actually come in and start barking.

The bird would then start calling the dog’s name, impersonating the pub landlord’s voice, which stimulated the stupid canine to bark even louder giving much entertainment and causing laughter from the pub’s patrons.

The dog never seemed to learn it was the bird that was winding him up.  "

Jim Reay writing in the
Leicester CAMRA Newsletter in 2016.
Read the full article (in a new tab) here .  

© Brenda E. Hooper  2020