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The White Hart Public House Campton

The White Hart in the 1960s [WB/Flow4/5/Cam/WH1]
The White Hart in the 1960s [WB/Flow4/5/Cam/WH1]

The White Hart Public House: Mill Road, Campton

The White Hart public house is a Grade II listed building meaning it is of special interest. It dates from the 18th centurywith some 19th century refenestration. It is a red brick building with flared headers and the front elevation is colour-washed. The roof is of clay tiles. It has two storeys and attics above. There is also an outshot to the rear of the property.  

We know that the pub was conveyed in 1806 by John Field to John Phipps, Field having taken out a mortgage with Phipps the year previously [WJ379-380]. In 1809 it was conveyed by Phipps to Hitchin [Hertfordshire] brewers William and Joseph Lucas along with the George Inn, Crown and Old White Swan, all in Shefford [WJ379-380]. Lucas and Company, as their firm came to be called, was taken over by Luton brewer J W Green Limited in 1921 and conveyed in 1923 [WB/Green4/1/VP8].

Charles Devereux was a local ne'er-do-well. He had been to prison in 1854 for stealing poultry which he fenced at the Wheatsheaf. On 1st November 1863 he was accused of stealing clothing [QSR1863/1/5/14]. William Bray had his cart which he left in the street with the bulk of the goods. He was close by at the White Hart doing business. He had been in the pub five minutes when he came out and found that his cart had been robbed. He could not then tell exactly what was missing. Charles Devereux was in the White Hart and went in and out several times. Bray suspected Devereux, perhaps on his past record, and sent for PC Pepper. When Pepper came they searched about and found the bag containing hardware and cutlery hidden in the hedge between the White Hart and Devereux's house. They went to the prisoner's house and found in it thirteen pairs of stockings, four pairs of shoes, five handkerchiefs, four dozen pieces of tape and a hair brush. The articles found were worth about a pound and the hardware and cutlery about another pound. Faced with this evidence Devereux could do nothing other than confess. He received twelve months hard labour [QGV12/1].

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 who visisted the White Hart found that it was owned by J W Green and in the occupation of A. Oakley whose lease was £15 per annum in 1906 [WB/Green5/5/1]. It had a full licence, and the valuer noted the following: "long frontage. Unattractive. Looks larger outside than in. Private. Top end of a cul de sac". The building had a living room, kitchen and scullery, with five bedrooms upstairs. There was also a tap room and cellar. Outside there was a barn, pigsties, a three stall stable, and an old cottage and yard used as a store. The pub took £10 per week [DV1/C175/147]

A trade analysis ledger from J W Green shows how much beer was sold at the White Hart between July 1936 and January 1938 with 37.5 barrels of beer sold in the year 1936-7 [WB/Green6/4/1]. J W Green merged with Midlands brewery Flowers in 1954 taking the Flowers name. In 1962 the firm was taken over by Whitbread.

On 6th July 1965, the White Hart closed, and national newspapers expressed outrage at the prospect of an English village without a pub. The papers reported "It was therefore with something near to horror that it was discovered that there are places where one cannot get a drink!", "358 villagers without a drink. You don't believe it! Nor did we". Then County Councillor and local farmer Lewis Simkins was reported as stating "I am ashamed to represent the only village in the county without a pub" [pamphlet 130 CAM – Guide to Campton]. Licensing registers show that it soon opened again and remains today [2015] the only public house in Campton and is a free house.

The White Hart September 2014
The White Hart September 2014


  • WJ379-380: conveyance: 1809;
  • CLP13: Register of Alehouse Licenses: 1822-1828;
  • HF143/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1872-1873;
  • HF143/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1874-1877;
  • HF143/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1878-1881;
  • HF143/4: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1882-1890;
  • WB/Green5/5/1: J W Green tenants register: 1887-1926;
  • HF143/5: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1891-1900;
  • WB/Green1/1/1: J W Green Limited register: 1897-1936;
  • HF143/6: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1900-1914;
  • PSBW8/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1915;
  • WB/Green4/1/VP8: conveyance of W & S Lucas Limited to J W Green Limited: 1923;
  • WB/Green1/6/5: J W Green trust deed: 1923;
  • WB/Green6/4/1: J W Green trade analysis ledger: 1936-1947;
  • WB/Green4/2/4: J W Green Limited certificate of title: 1936-1952
  • PK1/4/133: auction sale at the White Hart: 1941;
  • WB/Green4/2/8, 10, 12 and 16: J W Green Limited schedules of documents of title: c. 1949;
  • WB/Green4/2/5: list of J W Green Limited licensed houses: c. 1952;
  • WB/Green4/2/17: Green, Flowers and Whitbread deed: 1952-1972;
  • WB/Green4/2/19: J W Green schedule of deeds and documents: c. 1954;
  • WB/Flow4/5/Cam/WH1: photograph: c. 1960
  • PSBW8/2: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade Petty Sessional Division: 1956-1972;
  • X498/121: advertising card: 1970;
  • PSBW8/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade and North Bedfordshire Petty Sessional Divisions: 1976-1980;

Licencees: note that this is not a complete list and that dates in italics are not necessarily beginning or end dates, merely the first/last date which can be confirmed from sources such as directories and deeds:

William Law;
Robert Cooper;
1809: Isaac Freeman;
1822-1828: Frederick Endersby;
1851-1869: William Wilson (and butcher);
1872-1883: Elizabeth Wilson;
1883: John Wilson;
1883-1889: Mary Ann Wilson;
1889-1894: Henry Beard;
1894-1895: James Vale;
1895-1898: John Welch;
1898-1899: Frederick Cheyne;
1899-1900: George Edward Walker;
1900-1904:William Granger(Granger was convicted on 18th February 1903 of selling adulteratedwhisky - fined £2 with £1/1/14 costs);
1904-1906: John Fadden;
1906-1936: Arthur Oakley;
1940-1945: Thomas Doggett;
1957-1965: James Basil Robins;
1965-1966: Lloyd Herbert David Nockels;
1966-1967: John Dolby Edmunds;
1967: Tudor Francis Morris;
1967-1970: Edgar Cyril Baxter;
1970-1985: Jack Alec Cannon;
1985-1995: Jeremy Joel Cannon