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History, Inns & Taverns

Wheatley Hospitality (2)

White Hart

White Hart, site of – now the language school

The George and Crown were our oldest inns.  The King and Queen (the William and Mary sign of 1980 now shows Charles and Henrietta) and the White Hart were close behind.  Mail was delivered and collected at the White Hart, 1650-1750, before the Crown took over, 1750-1860.  Railways and telegraph wires on poles replaced mail stagecoaches and beacons; a Post and Telegraph Office opened on Station Road on the High Street crossroad.  The Hundred Court (the ancient County Court) and church tax (Tithe) court met preferably at an inn with a cellar where a felon might be remanded overnight, as reputedly at the King’s Arms.

The original White Hart (Language School/Oxford House site), was named from the badge of Yorkist Richard II, and Yorkist (from our war of the red and white Roses) windows illuminate Waterperry church.  The Powells of Forest Hill lost the inn through their debt to a son-in-law, the poet John Milton.  Plotters stiffened loyalty with liquor there before they buried a Catholic widow’s body at midnight, Twelfth Night, 1630, in Holton Church.  It was a serious crime and the Bishop of Oxford made the landlord do public penance.

‘Superstitious use’ of White Hart land, probably Catholic or Nonconformist worship, was a village scandal in 1700.  One elderly villager remembers her grandmother saying that the White Hart burned down around 1850.  As Parish Councillors in the 1970s, after council meetings, we would gather at the (new) White Hart to sink our disagreements in a friendly pint. (To be concluded).

Contributed by:  John Fox, Oct/Nov 2013
Database reference ( if applicable):  <nnn>, <era>
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