The White Horse Inn

Hatching Green

By Rosemary Ross

Photo:Print of watercolour by Edith Salisbury of The White Horse, Hatching Green

Print of watercolour by Edith Salisbury of The White Horse, Hatching Green

LHS archives, cat.no. HC53

This seventeenth century building was at one time John Seabrook's 'mansion house' (according to Wheathampstead & Harpenden IV p.168) - but there is more research to be done to know whether this was the building, referred to in 1600, when a John Seabrook was ordered 'to repair and amend his house'  (Wheathampstead & Harpenden II, p.44).

The 1861 census lists lists Joseph Matthews as 'carrier and victualler' at Hatching Green - presumably at the White Horse (Wheathampstead & Harpenden V, p209).

But otherwise we have little in our records about when the White Horse acquired its name.  The photos below show it as a well-established inn in the nineteenth century. See also Heasman's paintings of it, recently donated to the pub.

Photo:Hatching Green with White Horse pub, c.1900. According to Bob Lovegrove, writing in the Harpenden Free Press in 1964, the two children in this photo were George & Billy Sears

Hatching Green with White Horse pub, c.1900. According to Bob Lovegrove, writing in the Harpenden Free Press in 1964, the two children in this photo were George & Billy Sears

LHS archives, cat.no. B 1.78

Photo:This looks like George and Billy Sears, taken on the same day as the photo of them with the White Horse

This looks like George and Billy Sears, taken on the same day as the photo of them with the White Horse

LHS archives - LHS B 1.79

Photo:The White Horse, early 20th century?

The White Horse, early 20th century?

LHS archives, cat.no. HC160 / B 1.77

Photo:The White Horse in the 1930s

The White Horse in the 1930s

LHS archives, cat.no. HC85

This page was added by Rosemary Ross on 06/09/2011.
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A cutting in our archives, of a letter to the Harpenden Free Press in May 1964 by Bob Lovegrove, its former editor, throws new light on the photo of the White Horse (above) in about 1900. He wrote of this photo, which appeared in Valentine's 'Views of Harpenden':

"This was a summer picture of Hatching Green, showing two small children standing in the middle distance. At first glance one took them to be girls, but I learned a few years ago that they were boys dressed, as they would be at that time, in the little frocks and large sailor hats of the period. They were in fact George and Billy Sears, members of a well-known local family. As children they lived at East Common and when the photograph was taken they were on their way to visit their grandfather on the other side of the Common."

Their father, John T Sears of Rose Cottage, East Common, was Common Keeper, responsible for keeping the paths through the golf course clear, and for marking out the pitches for the annual Statty Fair. Their grandfather, John Sears, lived on the Rothamsted estate: he was farm bailiff to Sir John Bennet Lawes and then to Sir Charles Lawes-Wittewronge. (Ref: LAF People)

By Rosemary Ross
On 07/02/2017

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