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The White Horse

The truly white horse is an albino, foaled with pink skin and often blue eyes. However, this sign has been in use since the 15th Century and remains frequent because of its widespread heraldic usage. It was adopted by the kings of Wessex and it is the traditional emblem of Kent. A galloping white horse refers heraldically to the house of Hanover and dates from the accession of George I in 1714. The white horse also appears in the arms of several guilds, namely the Carmen, Coachmen, Farriers, Innholders, Saddlers, and Wheelwrights.

This timber framed and lath and plaster building dates from the 17th century, and is listed Grade II. The decorative bargeboards are 19th century. Although internally refurbished in 1985, it has retained its character, and the exterior has changed very little since the 19th century as various photographs displayed inside prove. The Inn had lodging rooms upstairs, that are not now usable for the purpose, and what looks like signs of a brick oven over a fireplace in the bar. The stores at the back are relatively recent, although an earlier brick outhouse adjoining White Horse Lane has interesting brickwork.

 

Albert Poulter wrote in Albert's Witham 'The White Horse held many a jolly party. There was Sweeny Green with his banjo and he was also a fiddler and cornet player. Police Sergeant Amos would occasionally drop by and give a song. Some songs had come down from the time of the Napoleonic Wars. After many songs and replenished glasses at ten pence, a quart ( 2p per pint!) Joe would be called on to sing the song without which no Witham sing-song could end - "The Gals of Chipping Hill"'. Joe must have got tired of this song, the words being varied to suit the company. But as a carpenter and joiner, his pay was only five pence (2p) an hour and he really liked his ale!'.

Essex Countryside in 1960 described The White Horse as 'Chipping Hill has an ancient name but modern ways. its White Horse boasts of a  "television bar". The White Horse is now a good example of an old medieval pub still servicing the local community.

Sources: Janet Gyford; Witham & Countryside Society; Albert Poulter; Essex Countryside; Dictionary of Pub Names.

Text and Photographs: John Palombi and Cyril Taylor unless otherwise accredited. Illustrations: John Finch and Julie & John Denney. Translations: Google.com. Original Concept: Joy Vaughan, Witham Town Centre Strategy Group. Narration: John Rhodes
 

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