A White Hart with a collar and chain was the emblem of Richard II (1377-1399). It is thought that part of the hotel was built as an inn at about that time. Inside is some original timbering, no later than 15th-century. For two hundred years it was the highest grade of all Witham's coaching inns and has remained a prominent Witham hotel.
It has been much altered and extended in successive centuries. The decorative woodwork on the front is 20th-century. In 1927 its corner was cut off at an angle when the road to Maldon alongside was widened. Since then it has remained a prominent Witham hotel. The present main entrance from Newland Street originally served as the carriageway to the yard.
In the coaching days, before the railways came to Witham, many coaches, known by such names as ‘The Defiance’ and ‘The Wellington’, stopped at the White Hart. After the railways came there was a horse 'bus' which ran between the White Hart Hotel and railway station. The driver was 'Bussy' Fenner, who got his nickname from the bus he drove.
The postcard view below shows the hotel before remodelling with an interesting array of early 20th century vehicles outside.