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The White Hart Public House Great Barford

The White Hart about 1920 [Z1306/5/8/1]
The White Hart about 1920 [Z1306/5/8/1]

The former White Hart was listed by the former Department of Environment in August 1983 as Grade II, of special interest. The department dated the property to the 16th century making it just about the oldest inhabited structure in the village. Like most of the older properties in Great Barford it is constructed of colour washed roughcast over a timer frame. It has an old clay tile roof. The property is built on a T-plan with two storeys and attics, the cross wing having two storeys without the attics. There are various one storey 20th century additions to the north and east.

The earliest document held by the Archives which mentions the White Hart as a public house is from 1811 when the Hundred Court was held there [WG6/14]. It was then tenanted by James Baker and, shortly after he left to take the licence of the Anchor in 1819 the Hundred Court followed him. However, in The Torrington Diaries John Byng mentions passing through Great Barford in 1790 and visiting Mrs Baker at the White Hart ale house. 

In 1813 the White Hart, along with seven acres and half a rood of land near Barford Bridge was part of a very large estate conveyed by Charles James Metcalfe of Roxton House to trustees in order to better secure his title [X478/4] before he married Elizabeth May [X478/7]. Metcalfe was Lord of the Manor of Roxton and of the Manor of Burdelys or Netherbury in Great Barford but the White Hart does not seem to have formed part of either. In 1849 Metcalfe sold a portion of the Roxton Estate including the White Hart and the sale catalogue description made no mention of the property being copyhold as it would have been as part of a manor. The description [GK94/2] was as follows:

Comprising Kitchen or Tap Room, Bar, Parlour, Back Kitchen, 5 Bed Rooms, 2 cool Cellars and Pantry:

in Yards, comprise Brewhouse, Coal Place, double Corn Barn, Butcher’s Shop, with Loft over, range of Stables, Cow House, Hen House and Piggeries, together with a piece of excellent Pasture LAND behind, as now stumped out, and containing 0 acres, 3 roods, 6 poles 

The White Hart along with one rood, eighteen poles of garden ground and one rood, twenty three poles of pasture or building land was bought by Bedford brewer William Joseph Nash for a combined sum of £550. The property was conveyed to him by Metcalfe’s trustees in 1852 [GK94/3].

William Joseph Nash died in 1884 and his widow Susan carried on the business. In 1890 she took rival Bedford brewer William Pritzler Newland as her business partner, the firm being renamed Newland and Nash. On Susan’s death her four daughters became partners and the firm was floated on the stock exchange in 1897. Newland died in 1900 and by 1922 the business was failing and was taken over by Biggleswade brewers Wells and Winch.

In 1920 Walter Molesworth Peacock carried out a number of surveys of licensed premises in North Bedfordshire for the magistrates [PK7/4/6]. One of them was the White Hart, still owned by Newland and Nash and tenanted by John George Gaunt. The stud and tiled building was categorised as “Old but in good repair” with decorative repair “Good” and cleanliness as “Good”.

Public accommodation comprised a tap room and bar combined; a private bar and a cellar “capable of holding 8 barrells. Private accommodation consisted of a sitting room, kitchen, pantry, four bedrooms and two attics.

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 owner by then was Wells & Winch and the tenant Daniel Francis who paid £20 per annum in rent, double what it had been before the Great War.

The accommodation (“Recently redecorated. Steep bars, nice and clean”) comprised a smoke room (“nice”), a tap room (“fair”), a cellar, privy and urinal. Private accommodation comprised a kitchen with a range and sink and three bedrooms, two with fireplaces, upstairs. A coal and wood barn and water pump lay outside along with a granary, two loose boxes and a two bay open hovel – “a tumble down lot”  built of wood and tile on a brick foundation.

Trade consisted of a 36 gallon barrel of beer per week, a bottle of spirits per week and a bottle of wine per month as well as a dozen bottles of beer as off sales in a week. Tobacco sales accounted for a half box of Woodbines and a quarter of a pound of loose tobacco per week.

The valuer commented: “I think slight personality here. Tenant evidently energetic. Near church but not in such a good position as Crown and Beehive. Fair tied rent”. Additionally, he commented: “Publican a go-ahead sort of fellow but has only taken over this year”.

Wells and Winch merged with Bury Saint Edmunds brewer Greene King in 1961 and two years later took the Suffolk company’s name. The White Hart closed some time between 1983 and at the time of writing [2010] is a private house.

The former White Hart March 2010
The former White Hart March 2010


  • WG6/14: Hundred Court held at the White Hart: 1811-1844;
  • X478/4: conveyance by Charles James Metcalfe: 1813;
  • X478/7: marriage settlement between Charles James Metcalfe and Elizabeth May including public house: 1813;
  • GK94/1-3: abstract of title: 1813-1852;
  • CLP13: Register of Alehouse Recognizances: 1822-1828;
  • X478/24: part of extra security on assignment of mortgage and further advance taken out by Charles James Metcalfe with Sir Charles William Kent: 1833;
  • GK3/3: schedule of deeds of properties of Wells & Winch including White Hart: 1849-1852;
  • GK94/2, X290/59 and X478/24: sale of Roxton Estate including the White Hart: 1849;
  • FN1007: sale particulars of White Hart Farm: 1849
  • GK94/3: conveyance from Oswald Lee Rasch to William Joseph Nash for £565/10/-: 1852;
  • GK161/3: mortgage by William Joseph Nash with Barnard’s Bank of all property: 1867;
  • GK161/5: mortgage of all property by William Thomas Nash with Henry Wilson Sharpin and Jeremiah William Haddock: 1882;
  • GK161/8: mortgage of all properties by Susan Nash and William Pritzler Newland with Henry George Hipwell and John Charles Hipwell: 1892;
  • GK3/1a: conveyance from William Pritzler Newland, Emily Cressy Nash, Florence Mary Nash, Rosa Gertrude Nash and Constance Eveline Nash to Newland & Nash Limited of all properties: 1897;
  • GK3/1b: trust deed to secure debenture stock for Newland & Nash Limited listing all properties: 1897;
  • PSB9/1: Register of Alehouse Licences - Bedford Petty Sessional Division: 1903-1935
  • PK7/4/6: evidence on all licensed premises in Great Barford with details of trade, rental and licence: 1920-1921;
  • Z1306/5/8/1: postcard: c. 1927;
  • GK297/2: conveyance of all property from Newland & Nash to Wells & Winch: 1938;
  • RDBP3/303: plans for drainage system: 1941;
  • PSB9/2: register of licenses: c.1955-1995;
  • Z53/5/4: photograph of High Street showing public house: 1960;
  • PSBW8/3: Register of Alehouse Licences - Biggleswade and North Bedfordshire Petty Sessional Divisions: 1976-1980;
  • PCGreatBarford30/7: transfer of licence: 1977

The White Hart in 1960 [Z53/5/4]
The White Hart in 1960 [Z53/5/4]

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

1811-1819: James Baker;
1819-1825:  William Emery;
1825-1828: William Neale;
1828-1829: Thomas George;
1830-1833: James Tate;
1833-1837: William Allen;
8 Sep 1838 -19 Oct 1850: Martha Allen;
19 Oct 1850 – 27 Dec 1851: James Mardlin
27 Dec 1851- 2 Apr 1853:  Thomas Thompson
2 April 1853 - 1 Jan 1859 : John Sabey, cattle dealer;
1 Jan 1859 - 1890: Amos James;
1892: John Robinson;
1894-1898: Joseph Pell;
1903-1909: Daniel Sinfield;
1909-1926: John George Gaunt;
1926-1927: Daniel Francis;
1927-1930: William Wootton;
1930-1933: Henry Manning;
1933-1934: Owen Harrold Reynolds;
1934: Joseph John Thomas Stiff;
1936-1940: John Langford
1976-1977: William Thomas Kelley;
1977: Alan John Michie