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The White Hart Public House Flitton

The White Hart about 1925 [WL800/5]
The White Hart about 1925 [WL800/5]

The White Hart Public House: 1 Brook Lane, Flitton

The history of Flitton records only two licensed premises in the village, the White Hart and the White Horse. Today [2011] only the White Hart remains. The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county's historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website .

The record for the White Hart [HER 3605] dates the front wing of the building to about 1700 to 1750, though heavily altered but it still contains remains of a timber frame. Extensions to the rear are later. The exterior of the building is whitewashed roughcast, it has a red tiled roof and comprises one storey and attics. In 1960 the former Department of Environment graded the pub as Grade III, and upgraded to this to Grade II, of special interest, in 1975. However, the White Hart is not currently listed.

The earliest reference to the pub is in the countywide licensing register of 1822 [CLP13]. The building was part of the Wrest Park Estate owned by the Earls and Countesses de Grey, later the Barons and Baronesses Lucas of Crudwell. The countywide licensing register of 1901 noted: "repair good and clean". The house had both front and back doors.

The 9th Baron Lucas of Crudwell was killed in action with the Royal Flying Corps in France in December 1916. His successor was his sister Nan In the occupation of, 10th Baroness Lucas. She decided to break up and sell the estate, including the mansion of Wrest Park itself. The White Hart was sold to its tenant, Susannah Fennemore in 1918 for £375 [L23/111-112].

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting the White Hart [DV1/C270/3] noted that Susannah Fennemore paid tied rent of £13 per annum to Charles Wells. This suggests that the brewery had bought the place from her. The valuer commented: "Old-fashioned place, colourwashed and kept spotlessly clean, opposite church" and "Tenant here many years".

The property comprised a living room, a kitchen, a scullery, a cellar, a pantry, three bedrooms, and a tap room ("good"). A brick and slate wood shelter and a store place stood outside. Business was hardly brisk. Half a barrel of beer lasts two weeks, there was a small tobacco trade. Half a dozen bottles of beer were sold per week but "very little" spirits. Profits were a poor £12 per annum.

At the time of writing the White Hart is a free house, no longer owned by Charles Wells. It has a good reputation for food.

The White Hart February 2011
The White Hart February 2011

Sources:

  • CLP13: register of alehouse licences: 1822-1828;
  • PSA5/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1927;
  • Z50/49/2: photograph: c. 1900;
  • X291/83/163: photograph: c. 1910;
  • L23/111-112: sale by the Wrest Park Estate to Susannah Fennemore: 1918;
  • WL800/5 page 39: photograph: c. 1925;
  • PSA5/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1934-1959;
  • PSA5/4: list of licensed premises in Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: c.1950s;
  • P12/2/4/2: proposed acquisition of additional land for the Church Hall from the White Hart car park: 1965-1967;
  • P12/2/4/5: proposed conveyance of land to the Church Hall from the White Hart: 1965;
  • P12/2/4/2: possible damage to the Church Hall after car park resurfacing: 1966;
  • PSA5/5: list of licensed premises in Ampthill Petty Sessional Division: 1968-1995;
  • P12/2/4/6: continued negotiations regarding the proposed transfer of a strip of car park land to the Church Hall: 1969;
  • WL722/9: photograph in Charles Wells in-house magazine Pint Pot: 1973;
  • WL722/15-16: articles in Charles Wells in-house magazine Pint Pot on haute cuisine at the White Hart: 1975;
  • P12/34/4: gifts from the White Hart to Flitton church: 1978-1979;
  • WL722/38: article in Charles Wells in-house magazine Pint Pot on food at the White Hart: 1983.

Licensees: Note that this is not a complete list; italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known

  • 1822-1828: William Thorngate;
  • 1839-1847: Jane Thorngate;
  • 1851-1864: William Thorngate Marden;
  • 1869-1871: Mrs Mary Ann Marden;
  • 1876-1894: Joseph Fennemore;
  • 1894-1927: Susannah Fennemore;
  • 1927-1959: Harold Kingham;
  • 1966-1975: Derrick Farr;
  • 1975: Marjorie Isabell Farr;
  • 1975-1984: SomersetMoore;
  • 1984-1985: Richard Elden Davies;
  • 1985-1986: Brian Monaghan;
  • 1986-1990: John Anthony Read;
  • 1990-1992: Michael Frederick Pollard;
  • 1992-1995: Terence Bailey