Barfly: The Star, Roberttown, Liversedge

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I must declare an interest straight away before I start waxing lyrical about Roberttown.

I was brought up in this village a few miles from Leeds, Wakefield, Bradford and Huddersfield in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. To me, it’s home and always will be.

The Star at Roberttown where the wounded Luddites were taken after the ill-fated attack at Cartwright's Mill

The Star at Roberttown where the wounded Luddites were taken after the ill-fated attack at Cartwright's Mill

Of you’ve never been, it’s a smart, well-presented little village which has expanded in recent years. It had three pubs until the Fountain closed a few years ago, leaving only The Star and the New Inn. There is also the former Roberttown working men’s club, now rebranded as the Roberttown but still for all I know serving the same function.

Claims to fame? Actor Sir Patrick Stewart’s dad worked in the village, at the Fountain glassworks. Simon Trevitt, a Huddersfield Town footballer of pre-Premier League days, was raised here, and Jim Davidson had a girlfriend from the village.

Pork pies are good here, too. I may sound like I work for the Roberttown Tourist Authority, but you should try the pies from Buckles’ butchers, they really are distinctive and excellent.

Oh, and the Brontes have a connection. Charlotte Bronte taught at Roe Head just across the border in Mirfield, and there’s the Luddites, of course, which brings us to The Star.

This was home to a fascinating piece of local history. Following a failed attack at Cartwright’s mill at Rawfolds near Cleckheaton in 1812, two Luddites with gunshot wounds were taken by shoulders to The Star for questioning.

The Luddites, John Booth and Samuel Hartley, were interrogated to discover names of the other Luddites. The Reverend Hammond Roberson was present. As Booth lay dying, he whispered: “Can you keep a secret?” Hammond said: “I can.” To which Booth said: “So can I.” He then died. Hartley died the following day, taking their secrets with them.

It’s good that this local anecdote features on the wall of the pub, courtesy of the Spen Valley Civic Society. When I was growing up in the village, not 100 yards from The Star I didn’t know any of this.

We were at The Star for lunch – my wife and my father.

This pub had a few fallow years but it seems to be on the up these days with a fascinating menu. Swordfish (£14.95) was on the specials board, plus duck breast with cherry sauce (£13.95).

But we stuck to the menu, which met our needs. We started with a bowl of nachos with guacamole and salsa topped with mozzarella (£4.95) to share. Nice dish if a little dry.

But our main courses were all superb. My wife had steak sandwich (£7.95). Sounds expensive but got a lot for your money – sliced steak, mushrooms, onions and cheese served in ciabatta, with hand-cut chips and a fresh side salad.

My dad went for meat and potato pie (£9.25) which was well presented. Lots of lean, tasty meat and shortcrust pastry served with two side orders of your choice. He had chips and peas.

My choice was fish and chips, which I always think is a gamble. Fish can be so good or so bad. This was the former, thankfully. A hand-battered haddock fillet with handcut chips, a tub of mushy peas, the best tartate sauce I have ever tasted and a jar of tomato sauce. The fish was lean and tasty. Faultless.

We couldn’t contemplate a pudding but we could have considered a traditional list of offerings from treacle sponge to apple pie. The chocolate and raspberry gin cheesecake sounded particularly appetising.

The bar was well-stocked and we took advantage with a pint of Saltaire Blonde (at £3.40 is there a better summer drink?), a Famous Grouse (£2.45) and a large pino grigio (£4.90).

It was quiet but welcoming when we visited on a late Saturday lunchtime but very welcoming.

FACTFILE

The Star, 223 Roberttown Lane, Roberttown, Liversedge. 01924 413910.