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The White Hart Inn Bedford Street Woburn

10 Bedford Street May 2012
10 Bedford Street May 2012

The White Hart Inn: Bedford Street, Woburn

Woburn had a number of different establishments called the White Hart at different times. The first White Hart is first mentioned in a survey of the properties of 1539 owned by the former Woburn Abbey, which was dissolved by Henry VIII (1509-1547). At that time it is described [CRT100/32] as: "Thomas Taylor - inn there called le White Harte with one garden and close and two tenements with one garden and barn there".

In 1635 two buildings next to the inn were leased by Sir Francis Staunton of Birchmoor to Robert Defrayne of Woburn, barber surgeon. In 1659 Robert Staunton enforced his title to a number of properties in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire including the inn by executing a common recovery, the tenant was then Stephen Smith [R6/2/4/2].

Two years later Sir Jonas Moore conducted his survey of the Duke of Bedford's property in Woburn [X1/33/1-3] and noted that between the Goat in Bedford Street and another tenement of the Duke there were four other tenements,  including the White Hart. This places the White Hart in Bedford Street perhaps one of the modern Numbers 8 to 10 (later re-fronts of 17th century buildings), Number 11 (16th century) or on the site of Number 12, which is 18th century. Number 10 might be the best candidate as it has a gateway into a yard which would be a common feature of an inn. The White Hart is listed in the parochial dues register from 1710 to 1728 [P118/3/1]. Presumably it is around the latter date that the inn closed.

List of Sources:

  • CRT100/32: survey of former properties of newly dissolved Woburn Abbey: 1539;
  • X80/213: demised by Sir Francis Staunton to Robert Defrayne: 1635;
  • R6/2/4/2 and R6/2/1/47: common recovery by Robert Staunton: 1659;
  • X1/33/1-3: survey of Duke of Bedford's properties by Jonas Moore: 1661;
  • P118/3/1: parochial dues: 1709-1796.

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list. Italics indicate licensees whose beginning and/or end dates are not known:

White Hart, Bedford Street

1539: Thomas Taylor;
Peter Defrayne junior;
John Thompson;
1659: Stephen Smith;
1710-1713: William Weldale junior;
1714-1726: Henry Woolhead;
1727-1728: Widow Woolhead.