If the walls could talk
A little bit of History
The Inn dates back to the early 17th Century and was built during the reign of Charles 1st, being completed just two years before he was beheaded.
White Horse at the start of the 1900s
During this time the Inn has had many uses, ranging from a Farm House, Coaching Inn and Public House to a Roadside Cafe! There have, of course been alterations and improvements to the Inn, but its beamed interior retains a warmly welcoming atmosphere. The fireplace in the downstairs restaurant seems to have been scarcely touched since its first owners used it, when it was probably the major source for heat, light and cooking.
During its time as a Coaching Inn many barns surrounded the building, in which horses would be kept in a central courtyard whilst their owners rested overnight.
The White Horse in 1948
In the 19th Century the Inn was the scene of the 'Annual Petty Sessions' for the hiring and retaining of servants. These "hirings" were held in each Hundred of Suffolk every Michaelmas and the dates were fixed by the Chief Constable. The date invariably chosen for the Hartismere session was 11th October.
When writing 'Old Inns of Suffolk' in 1946, Leonard P. Thompson recalled that the parish boundary ran along the bar. The bar tender stood in one parish and pushed mugs of beer across the parish boundary to customers standing in another parish" he wrote.
The White Horse (date unknown)
Uninvited guest is a 'Happy Ghost'
Many stories surround the Inn and its varied ghostly past. One story which became a talking point for the press years ago is the story of a 'Happy Ghost'. Mr Symonds, the manager of the Inn at the time was told of a little blue plaque in one of the bedrooms and as long as it was left in place, the lady would behave herself - restricting her activities to opening the window when it had just been shut.
Being a sceptic he gave a cynical smile and forgot the tale ..... until, in the small hours of one night the sleepy manager made his way to the bathroom, only to see the warm ghostly figure of a lady standing in the hallway between him and his destination. When he returned she had gone.
It is not so warming though, to hear that the upstairs restaurant harbours the ghost of a man who committed suicide by jumping from one of the windows. There are tales of windows that open and shut by themselves and also tales of Napoleonic prisoners in uniform stomping around!