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The White Hart Inn Hockliffe

 The White Hart Hotel about 1912 [Z1130/60/9]
The White Hart Hotel about 1912 [Z1130/60/9]

The Heritage Environment Record states that the earliest reference to a White Hart Inn dates from about 1790, however this may be to a different public house of the same name as other evidence indicates that the inn was built in the early nineteenth century. An inventory of the property of John and Joseph Morris of Ampthill, brewers, drawn up in 1827 included The White Hart, then occupied by Thomas Reed. The tenancy also included a small yard in with a range of thatched buildings, comprising coal and wood houses, piggery, slaughter house and pen, cart lodge, stabling for 16 horses with lofts over, and a cow house which was built by the tenant. In association with the White Hart Reed also held a piece of pasture land containing about eight acres situated about ½ mile from the inn on the London Road. The property was liable for land tax of sixteen shillings.[Z1043/1] This inventory was presumably drawn up in preparation for the division of the estate of John Morris senior which is recorded in a deed of 1828. The properties listed include "all that newly erected messuage, or inn in Hockliffe aforesaid, called the White Hart"  fronting North East on Watling Street on one side, and on the Leighton Buzzard road on the other. This and other property had been purchased by John Morris from John Cox of Clipstone [Northamptonshire], a Protestant Dissenting Minister, in 1805 [X21/629].

In the 1851 census the occupier of the White Hart was Jane Green, who is described as married and an innkeeper. Also at the property were her son John, aged 4, her father-in-law John Green, a drover, and a house servant. In 1911 the White Hart was occupied by Frederick Westbrook, aged 75, as "hotel keeper", with his daughter Emmeline Ada Westbrook and a general servant, Gertrude Garner. In 1907 the White Hart had been among a large number of public houses and other properties sold by the executor of John Thomas Green of Ampthill to Morris and Company (Ampthill) Ltd. In 1920 the company also purchased 2 roods and 24 perches of land on the corner of Watling Street and the Leighton Buzzard road from a Hockliffe farmer, Arthur Frank Bunker [WB/M/4/1/VPS]. In 1926 Morris and Company resold the property to J. W. Green Ltd. [CCE5304/3]

 The White Hart 1931 [Z55/5/434]
The White Hart 1931 [Z55/5/434]

Under the terms of the Rating and Valuation Act 1925 every piece of land and building in the country was assessed to determine the rates to be paid on them. When Hockliffe was assessed in 1926 White Hart public house was owned by J. W. Green Ltd and was a tied house for which the tenant Herbert Turner paid £40 per annum. The brick and tile detached property had a dining room, a lounge bar, a smoke room, a public bar, a kitchen and a scullery downstairs; upstairs were a living room, four bedrooms, a sitting room, a bathroom and four attics used for lumber. The building had electric light and did a "fair luncheon trade". Outbuildings included an unheated greenhouse, wood and corrugated iron lean-to open shed used as outside extra accommodation, a small brick and slate garage (an old trap house), a rather small two bay open shed used for motors, a garage and workshop, a stable for three being used for chickens, a large garage with an electric light plant. The tenant said the buildings were too small, but the public house was in good repair, had a good position and was well patronised. Trade was said to be two barrels of beer a week (annotated by the valuer "a lie!") and six dozen "bottled stuff" a week, with annual takings of £1,500. [DV1/C201/23]

The White Hart about 1960 [PL/PH/2/28]
The White Hart about 1960 [PL/PH/2/28]

The original White Hart building was demolished when Watling Street was widened in the early 1930s and was replaced by the existing building which is set further back from the road.

 The White Hart February 2013
The White Hart February 2013


  • Z1043/1: Inventory of John and Joseph Morris of Ampthill, brewers, 1827;
  • X21/629: Deed conveying share of property of John Morris, 1828;
  • CCE5304/1: Conveyance to Morris and Co., Ampthill, 1907;
  • Z1130/60/8-9: Postcards, c.1905-1920;
  • WB/M/4/1/VP8: Abstract of title of Morris and Co. to various properties, 1926;
  • CCE5304/3: Conveyance to J. W. Green Ltd., 1926;
  • DV1/C201/23: Valuation Book for Hockliffe, 1926;
  • PL/PH/2/27-28: Photographs, late 1960s;
  • Heritage Environment Record No.11607.

List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list; entries in italics refer to licensees where either beginning or end, or both, dates are not known:

    • 1822: John Dawson;
    • 1822-1827: Thomas Reed
    • 1847: John Green
    • 1851: Jane Green
    • 1854-1869: John Green (& cattle salesman)
    • 1876-1883: George Edward Inwards
    • 1883-1884: James Trott
    • 1884: Arthur John Hensman
    • 1884:-1847: Frederick Moss
    • 1887-1891: Mary Jane Green
    • 1891-1894: William Hutton
    • 1894-1897: James Hopkins
    • 1897-1898: Tom Hercombe
    • 1898-1914: Frederick Westbrook
    • 1914-1921: Henry Evans Richardson
    • 1921-1932: Herbert Turner
    • 1932-1952: Albert Greatorex
    • 1952-1953: Henry Creasey;
    • 1966: Arthur William Charles Lunn;
    • 1970: Thomas Prentice;
    • 1976: Keith Gibbon Scott-Farnie and George Harvey;
    • 1980: Michael Richard Cowan and George Harvey;
    • 1981: Roger Stuart Bushnell and Keith Martin;
    • 1983: Andrew Denham Talkington;
    • 1983: Andrew Denham Talkington and Carl Paul Mealor;
    • 1984: John Tomlinson Holmes and Mark John Brown;
    • 1985: Colin James Trigwell and Mark John Brown;
    • 1985: Brian Archibald Speedie Douglas;
    • 1985: Malcolm Doig Starling and Duncan Maloney;
    • 1986: Malcolm Doig Starling and John Sean O'Brien;
    • 1986: Malcolm Doig Starling and Simon Lee Clement;
    • 1987: Malcolm Doig Starling and Mark Knibbs;
    • 1988: Mary White and Mark Knibbs;
    • 1989: Mary White and Gary Gower;
    • 1990: Colin Mills and David Ingle;
    • 1991: David Ingle and John Philip Jackson;
    • 1991: John Philip Jackson and Declan Russell.