The White Hart started life as a hostelry and coaching point in the early 1600s and in 1647, during the English Civil War, the Commissioners for the Survey of the Manor of Henfield met there.
That was the year in which the discontented soldiers of Oliver Cromwell marched on London to protest at their conditions and lack of pay. The Civil War (1642-1651) was a time of unrest for the people of Henfield, as in all areas within a reasonable distance from London
Henry Bysshop (1606-1692) lived at Parsonage House, Henfield, and was appointed Postmaster General by the newly-restored King Charles II in 1660
Henry Bysshop (1606-1692) lived at Parsonage House, Henfield, and was appointed Postmaster General by the newly-restored King Charles II in 1660[/caption]
Henry Bysshop (1606-1692) lived at Parsonage House, Henfield, and was appointed Postmaster General by the newly-restored King Charles II in 1660One of the local dignitaries who frequented the White Hart at that time was the owner of Parsonage House, Henry Bysshop (1606-1692). His brother Edward was a Royalist prominent in the failed campaign of 1642 to capture Lewes for the king. Parliamentarians occupied Henfield and Henry is said to have hidden in a secret cupboard at Parsonage House to escape arrest. He later fled to America but returned to England in 1645, pledging allegiance to Cromwell.
Writer JB Morton, “Beachcomber” of the Daily Express, was also a White Hart regular in the Thirties and Forties when he lived at Potwell House in Cagefoot Lane (former home of botanist William Borrer).The late Sixties singer Adam Faith, another celebrated Henfield resident, was also a White Hart visitor.
More recent celebrities have included Sussex cricketer Chris Adams.
Cricket was first played on Henfield Common in 1764, making it the oldest cricket pitch in England. In 1687 the first Henfield Common spring fayre took place. Today a summer fayre takes place every two years in July.
The White Hart was a focal point of Henfield as it grew from a small village on the route from Horsham to Shoreham to a leading residential area served by railways and, much later in the 1960s, Gatwick Airport – a 20-minute drive away.
In the early 1900s a giant RAC sign denoted the White Hart as a popular stopping off point for the few motorists then around – in the days when the horse and cart were still the most common form of transport.
Recent renovations have uncovered centuries of different types of building work which have been left exposed in the North Bar of the White Hart as you enter from the car park doorway.
It is another historic feature that will draw the casual visitor back to savour the delights of this charming old English pub.