Rob Forsyth


List of owners/occupiers

The property is a few doors east of what was then the Kings Arms coaching Inn (now called the Deddington Arms) fronting on to the Bull Ring/Bullring - called Huff or Hoofe Lane until 1922 - with rear garden access to Earls Lane.

The original date of the building is not known for sure but the Listed Building Register says it is a 16th/17th century structure. Supporting evidence for this is contained in a report  by John Marshall, the architect who conducted the survey, and includes reference to the very distinctive 16th century door.

Deddington was also a stopping place for the salt trade in the 17 century and remains of a salt cupboard still exist in the right hand pillar of the inglenook fireplace - see below.

Marshall speculated that this might have been William Billing's house. William Billing(d.1533) was a well known merchant. However Victoria County History states that he lived in an earlier building ... 'of some antiquity'... on the site of the present Red Lion.   



  Inglenook.RED      cupboard 

 Notes on dates:

C     included in the census return for that year

*     see Note 1851 - Henry's Will

1808     The Horse Shoes. Samuel Malings is listed on Page 3 (of 5) of the key to the Enclosure map. An extract from the map shows that the property (No 88) occupied the same ground as in the 1958 Ground Plan and until after 2002.

1830*    Horse Shoes.  John Rutter was the landlord according to Piggotts New Commercial Directory.

1837*    Rev Risley's diary records in April that "The Horseshoes Public House sold by auction". He does not say who to but possibly to Thomas Rutter.

1851C*  Exhibition Inn.John Whetton. The name was changed because of the enormous popularity of the Great Exhibition.

1851      Rev Risley transferred the licence to Henry Margetts (b.1828) in July.

  Henry Margetts 1828-83    Eliza Margetts 1829-1909  
                              Married 1849

A jug still exists from Henry's days as licensee.

Inscription reads:


Henry Margetts

Wine & Spirit Merchant 



Note*: Henry's Will, written in 1852, states that  he purchased the inn from Thomas Rutter who was '...formerly in occupation...'. A recital of previous occupants in a later Conveyance in 1922 also confirms this as being ...'in the occupation of Thomas Rutter afterwards successively of John Whetton, Henry Margetts, Charles Coleman and James Tustin'... So Thomas Rutter may have purchased the Inn in 1837 from John Rutter and John Whetton was his tenant. 

1859     Rev Risley writes 'Mr Burgess and I dined at the Exhibition with the members of the General Friendly Institution'

1861C   Henry Margetts

1862     Rev Risley refers to writing a letter ...'to Mr Curme about W Grace at The Exhibition Public House'...

1868     Charles Coleman is the landlord according to Cassey's Directory

1871C   James Tustin

1881C   Ann Knibbs

1883     Jackson's Oxford Journal of May reported that the 'General Friendly Club' held their annual outing and dinner at the Exhibition Inn "Where a good, substantial, hot spread was furnished by Mrs Knibbs".

1891C   Henry Taylor

1901C   Clement Flowers

1911C   George William Newman

1913     Mentioned in Bennet's Business Directory. No innkeeper is named but we know it was almost certainly George Newman thanks to an image provided to the Banbury Guardian by his grandson, Mr H Bennett, who said that his grandparents occupied it and that the photograph dated ...' from before the Great War'. He also said that his grandparents had occupied the Horse Shoe Inn at Epwell at one time.

1915    Purchased by William Blencowe's Estate. William Blencowe & Co Ltd were a brewery in Staffordshire. W Blencowe had died in 1911.     

1917    It was tenanted as a private dwelling by George ('Cokey')Smith and his large (12 children) family. The family called it 'The Exey' so it was still generally known by its old name. This painting was executed by his granddaughter Lynne Mason (daughter of Nell).
1922    Sold to Joseph Canning the Younger, Haulier of Deddington by William Blencowe's Estate for £140. The conveyance identifies it as...    'Formerly used as an Inn formerly called or known by the name of 'Three Horse Shoes' but latterly as "The Exhibition" or "The Exhibition Inn" ' A sketch  of the house ground plan in the 1920's and a sketch of the grounds are both by Mr Canning. This was probably Joseph's great nephew Ron Canning.     

1938    Joseph died intestate in 1938. Property conveyed to his son, Arthur Joseph Canning of Deddington, Oil and Hardware Merchant. Another son, Richard, occupied it for an unknown time during this period.

The house then fell into disrepair and the roof collapsed in 1946 - see 'before' and 'after' photographs below

More photographs of the damaged building

Daphne Canning recalled (2015) that when her husband Ron, great nephew of Joseph, first introduced her to Deddington in 1947 he showed her the dilapidated house. They rummaged around in the rubble and found some old broken jugs. The provenance of these jugs has since proved to be most interesting thanks to a conversation Daphne had with Hilary Smith who then did some detective work the result of which she recounts in an article published in the Deddington News: The Curious Case of the Deddington Jugs.

1947    Sold to Jesse Callow of Souldern for £475 in a derelict unoccupied state. Daphne Canning, who worked for Fortescue Solicitors, typed the Conveyance and recalls that the money from the sale was shared equally between Joseph's sons.

In October 2015 John Anderson emailed the following additional information:

"My Grandfather, Jesse Callow purchased the house  around March 1947...(#)...The house was partly demolished then rebuilt during 1947/8. We moved in early in 1949, Jack & Elsie Anderson, me (John 7) and my brother Chris, then 3 yrs old. I went to Deddington Primary for approx 4 years then on to Windmill Secondary School for a further 4 years until we moved to Coventry.
I emigrated to New Zealand in 1962 and am now retired and living on 13 acres, 12 miles south west of Hamilton. I would be interested to hear by email from any of my old school mates."

# John sent some photos from this time which can be found in the Three Horseshoes album in the Gallery. One of which advertises Elsie's hairdressing business run from the house.  

The house post renovation. There is some debate about just when it was renovated. There are several indications that it took place in 1947.

The notes on John Marshall's later survey in 1987 refer to the fact that... 'the modern 'stone grate' was designed by Forsyth Lawson - the architect responsible for re-building in the 1940s.' However the inglenook itself is original. 


1950    Sold to Elsie Margaret Anderson of Deddington for £500.

1956    Sold to William Cyril Holmes of Bodicote for £3,150.1958     Sold to Kenneth John Wood, Wing Commander RAF, recently retired and living at RAF Bicester, for £3,750.  The ground plan attached to the Conveyance, shows the property stretching from Earls Lane to Horse Fair(should be Bull Ring!), and was probably much the same as it had been for several previous centuries.       

1961    Three Horseshoes. Sold to Daniel Marriot Mickelthwaite of Oxford for £4,600 who renamed it. Following his death in 1962 it was sold by his executors to...

1963    Richard Samuel Asser for £4,500.

1976    Mr Asser died and the property was conveyed to his wife Elizabeth Bessel Asser 

1978    Sold to Graham Speake, publisher, and his wife Jennifer Anne Speake, both of Duns Tew for £39,500

1982    Sold to Benjamin William Mace, Doctor, and his wife Josephine Mary Mace, both of Croydon, Surrey, for £69,500. The Mace's left a note about its provenance

2002    Rothbury House. Sold to  Stanley and Lesley Nelson who renamed it. They exchanged some land fronting onto Earls Lane to create car parking space for new cottages built on the former Franklins Yard in return for some garden to the west. Access to Earls Lane through double gates has been retained.This is probably the only change to the footprint of the property in 500 years!


Acknowledgements: The information in this article has been compiled from various deeds, documents and photographs in the possession of Stanley & Lesley Nelson, the present owners, with additional notes by Hilary Smith, Features Editor of the Deddington News.