Historical information about The White Horse Inn public house in Market Square, Eaton Bray
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The White Horse

A History of the "Last Pub Serving"

The White Horse 2012The White Horse Inn was built around 1700 and is the only surviving pub in the village.

We have photographs, documents and history of the "Last Pub Serving".

In 1748 Swedish scholar Peter Kalm made a visit to England. Here he records part of his visit to Eaton Bray.

In Eaton Bray where we dined, the landlord showed us his cellar he had his ale and beer which was situated close to a little running beck, and so arranged that the water came to run into the cellar right under the middle of the beer barrels. On either side of the cellar was a row of beer barrels , and the water ran under each row, for which purpose it was also at the entrance to the cellar devided into two branches. He assured us that the beer never turns sour in this cellar in summer, but is kept quite fresh by this water running below. When he wished he could always exclude the water from his cellar, if only the hole was closed again, through which it ran in. When it flowed its course in the beck itself which ran close by the cellar.

Thomas Fisher Painting 1820

We believe the above is one of the earliest mentions of the White Horse Eaton Bray. There was little change in the village in the 18th century and the painting by Thomas Fisher in 1820 seems to back up our belief. Note the Ford crossing the road and flowing to the side of the White Horse.

Thomas Fisher Painting 1820 Market Square White Horse

Landlords of The White Horse

Below are a list of landlords from the 19th Century based on the relevant census records:

  • 1841: Elizabeth Sear/Thorn/Dobson
  • 1851/1861: William Dobson
  • 1871: Richard Constable
  • 1881: Charles Dye
  • 1891: Thomas Pridgett
  • 1901: Henry Sells
  • 1911: Louis Powell

The following list has been researched by the Bedfordshire and Luton Archives.

Please note that the list below 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:

  • 1822 - 1828: Richard Gadsden Thorne;
  • 1847-1864: William Dobson;
  • 1871: Richard Constable;
  • 1876-1878: James Bird;
  • 1878-1879: Alfred Taylor;
  • 1879-1883: Henry North;
  • 1883-1884: Charles Deye;
  • 1884-1888: William Langston;
  • 1888-1891: David Andrews;
  • 1891-1892: Thomas Pridgett;
  • 1892-1895: Harriet Pridgett;
  • 1895: Philip Bird;
  • 1896: Ann Bird;
  • 1896-1901: Henry William Garrett Sells;
  • 1901-1902: Walter Tompkins;
  • 1902-1904: Thomas Hey;
  • 1904-1906: Charles Walter Hemmerton;
  • 1906: John Roffey;
  • 1906-1907: Thomas Henry Merone;
  • 1907-1908: John Lehman;
  • 1908-1909: William Smithers;
  • 1909: Stainton Moate;
  • 1909-1911: Albert Samuel Underwood;
  • 1911: Louis Powell;
  • 1911-1912: Herbert Alfred Haines;
  • 1912: James Lampard;
  • 1912-1913: Henry John Vine;
  • 1913-1921: Thomas Clinton;
  • 1921-1922: Timothy Savage;
  • 1922-1926: Ethel Mary Savage [Heley from 1925];
  • 1926-1927: George Walter Shiers;
  • 1927-1956: Percy George Reeves;
  • 1979: Charles Joseph Patrick Sutcliffe;
  • 1979: Bruce Edward Diggle;
  • 1980-1985: Herbert Norman Williams;
  • 1985: William E. Creasey;
  • 1985-1988: William E. Creasey and Andrew Roger Billington;
  • 1988: Mark D. Mason;
  • 1988-2011: David Cyril Sparrow and Jane Sparrow
  • 2011: Tom Dunnell

Court Hearings, Inquests and Sales

The White Horse was also used for court hearings, inquests and sales.

Death by Tea Drinking, Bedfordshire Mercury, 21 February 1871This is an article from the Bedfordshire Mercury published on 21st February 1871.

Eaton Bray

Warning to parents - On Monday the 13th an inquest was held at the "White Horse" before M Whyley Esq, Coroner to investigate the cause of the death of Sarah Turpin, 15 months old illegimate child of Elizabeth Turpin. The evidence went to show that on the 9th, while the mother was having tea with a woman related to her the latter had the teapot in her lap while she reached towards the lid to cover it, and the infant, who was sitting on the floor managed to get up to the spout of the vessel and drank some of the tea, which caused death. Mr C C Hicks surgeon of Dunstable, gave evidence, and the jury returned a verdict to the effect that the death was accidental.

White Horse 1930

The young girl in the doorway is said to be Hilda Reeve.

White Horse 1930

Valuation Documents

Valuation Documents for the White Horse from 1909 to 1942:

White Horse 1964

The sign on the roof was taken down in the 1970s after it was found to be damaging the chimneys holding it.

White Horse 1964

White Horse 2012

The White Horse as it looks in 2012.

The White Horse 2012