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Dream comes true as couple take on historic Wychwoods inn
3:30pm Saturday 2nd November 2013 in News
Buy this photo » Phil and Evelyn Roberts with their dog Henry at the Shaven Crown
PHIL and Evelyn Roberts have wanted to run their own business ever since they met a decade ago.
Now their dream has come true after Mrs Roberts fell in love with an historic West Oxfordshire inn.
The Shaven Crown inn, in Shipton-under-Wychwood, has played host to famous people for 630 years, from Queen Elizabeth I to wartime fascist leader Oswald Mosley.
Thought to be one of the 10 oldest pubs in England, dating back to 1384, it was advertised for sale earlier this year for more than £795,000, with property agents Colliers saying “cosmetic refurbishment” could lead to higher trade.
But a few days after the Roberts family moved in, two boilers “exploded” and the couple say the pub cannot reopen until February or March next year.
Mrs Roberts said: “We had planned to stay open until Christmas and then do the work.
“But the boilers were pretty dangerous, so we have decided to bring all our refurbishment forward and do everything before we reopen. We have someone coming in to check that everything else is safe.”
She added: “With an old building we knew we would encounter problems, but the boilers going was a blessing in disguise. It would have been worse if it had happened after we refurbished.”
Both have industry experience. Mr Roberts ran the Excel Centre and a hotel and conference centre in Greenwich, while his wife was a hotel receptionist before having children.
She said: “I fell in love with the Shaven Crown the moment I saw it. My husband was more cautious. We invited villagers for a drink and about 75-100 people came. We would like it to be a hotel, pub and restaurant where everyone is welcome.”
English Heritage would have to approve any structural alterations to the inn, which is listed grade II*, having been founded by the Cistercian monks of nearby Bruern Abbey and later used as a hunting lodge by Elizabeth I.
Sir Oswald Mosley, founder of the British Union of Fascists, or Blackshirts, stayed there under police supervision in 1943 after his release from internment during the Second World War.
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