The White Hart, located on the main B4226 road from Littledean to Coleford via the Speech House, first opened in 1834. The White Hart, opposite the turning to Ruspidge, is probably the oldest surviving inn in Cinderford. The tiny settlement of St Whites, about a hundred yards up the hill from the White Hart, is older than Cinderford itself, which only came to prominence from around 1830 onwards with the development of the coal mining and iron industries. In some references the White Hart is listed as being in Ruspidge.
Gloucester Journal. November 19th, 1881: Littledean Court – George Brain (12), of Cinderford, was charged with stealing sixpence from the till of Robert Ansley, innkeeper of the same address. (White Hart?). He admitted the theft and was ordered to be whipped.
Gloucester Journal: November 29th, 1884: Swine Fever in the Forest – Swine Fever has broken out on the premises of the White Hart Inn, Cinderford, kept by Mr Robert Ansley. Twenty eight pigs have been ordered to be slaughtered this week. Nearly the whole of the Forest of Dean has been declared an infected area by the Privy council, on the application of the local authority. Pigs cannot, therefore, be moved about or from the Forest without a licence.
The White Hart was a ‘free house’ when the 1891 and 1903 Gloucestershire licensing books were compiled. Robert Alsopp Ansley was both the owner and the occupier throughout those years and the alehouse had an annual rateable value of £25.0s.0d. It closed at 11 pm.
The Stroud Brewery Company acquired the pub. The White Hart retains a wonderful Stroud Brewery etched brewery window – almost certainly the only surviving example in the Forest of Dean. A ‘Best in the West’ West Country Ales ceramic plaque also survives is a reminder of the transitional phase when Stroud and Cheltenham breweries amalgamated, before the Cheltenham based regional brewery got swallowed up by Whitbread.
More than 200 people crammed into the White Hart in February 1949 to watch the Forest of Dean Skittles Cup final between the White Horse Soudley and the New Inn, Berry Hill. The White Horse won 310-296.
In June 1962 egg-eating champion, Les Powell, 33, went to Cinderford’s White Hart pub to eat 72 raw eggs in one siting, after challengers bet him £70 he could not do it. TV camera crews turned out to record the feat, but sadly for Les his challengers did not. Lorry driver Les downed half-a-dozen eggs for the TV crews and went home without his money. He said: ‘I wasn’t going to eat them all for nothing, earing 72 raw eggs is no joke.’ (or yoke). His personal best in one sitting was 52.
Citizen: December 14th 1973 – Licensing justices at Littledean yesterday transferred the licence of the White Hart, Cinderford, to Mr Glyn Jones. Mr John Hegarty, who made the application, said that the licence had formerly been held by Mr. Jones late wife, Mrs May Jones, who had died on October 16th. The couple had run the hotel jointly for 26 years, said Mr Hegarty.
Forest of Dean and Ross on Wye Pubs. A critical guide by Jon Hurley (booklet, 1991): This is a busy eccentrically shaped pub with several bars and rooms offering quick lunches (hence the bulging car park at midday), Whitbread’s ales and lagers, and wine by the glass or bottle. There are slot machines, piped music, an old billiards table and Dickensian prints around the walls. The furniture is eclectic and comfortable and the loos clean. The menu consists of good hot Chilli, a wide selection of Baked Potato fillings, Steak, Sandwiches, Toasties and Chips plus a lot more. An elegant dining room is set for night time revellers. The Hart is easily the best pub in this grey little town where the rain looks as if it grimly falls every day and drab shops huddle garishly.
The White Hart was put up for public auction on Wednesday 5th June 2013 with a guide price of £225,000. It was described as a substantial Forest of Dean pub with lounge bar / restaurant / function room. 2/4 letting bedrooms, owners flat. Gardens and parking (0.5 of an acre) and a separate stone-built barn. It was actually sold for an undisclosed sum before going under the hammer. The new owners took over the White Hart in July.
Landlords at the White Hart Inn include:
1837 Isaac James
1850 Mr Horlick
1863 William Morse
1885,1891,1903 Robert Alsopp Ansley
1906,1919 Leonard Jones
1927 Samuel M. Parry
1937-1973 Mrs Agatha May Jones (born in the Miners Arms, Sling and spent 41 years in the licensed trade. She died on 16th October 1973)
1973 (Dec) Glyn Jones
1999 Margaret McKay
2008 Paul and Sharon Cinderey
2009 Gill Brown