The White Horse Hotel in the High Street was trading as early as 1674 when it was an important meeting place. Thirty years previous it seems that the inn was known as the Talbot (1642). A Friendly Society was meeting at the White Horse Hotel in 1809. In the mid 19th century the White Horse had gained the title of Family & Commercial Hotel.
The White Horse Hotel was the closest pub to the Forest Steam Brewery, so it is perhaps no surprise that the inn was owned by Francis Wintle in 1891 and 1903. In fact, Wintle’s Brewery owned all the pubs in the town, although the Lamb became a Cheltenham Original Brewery pub in the 1920’s. Whether or not this was a satisfactory arrangement would have depended on your personal taste for the locally brewed ale. For those not enamoured with the taste of Wintle’s Mitcheldean beers at the start of the 19th century the nearest alternative would have probably been Wickwar Ales at the Yew Tree in Longhope. The annual rateable value of the White Horse Hotel was £27.0s.0d. and the ale house closed at 10 pm.
In March 1889 an unusual incident occurred at the White Horse when three stout bullocks bolted from the street in Mitcheldean and through the front entrance of the hotel. After inspecting the bar, they proceeded up the stairs but the balustrade gave way and down they came with a tremendous crash. Mr and Mrs Evans were horrified. But by getting through a window, and with the assistance of neighbours the bovine intruders were ejected. Perhaps the bullocks were aroused by the sweet smell of malted barley or boiling hops drifting from the Wintle’s Brewery.
In early Edwardian times the White Horse was run by Mr and Mrs Edward Flooks. They had previously run the Talbot in Calne, Wiltshire. The Flooks were landlords of the White Horse for 25 years. There was a family tragedy at the hotel when Mrs Flooks fell down the cellar steps and died from her injuries.
When the White Horse Hotel was put up for auction in 1923 as part of the tied estate of Wintle’s Forest Brewery it was described as ‘freehold and fully licensed’. On the ground floor there was the ‘hotel entrance, serving bar and smoke room, commercial room, private sitting room, tap room (with entrance from yard), kitchen, cellarage, etc.” The first floor comprised of a sitting room, four bedrooms and a W.C. There was a half landing containing two further bedrooms leading to the second floor with two attic bedrooms.
The rear of the White Horse Hotel was approached by gateway from the main road. There was a stone built coach house or garage with a small room adjoining. Stabling for two horses, wash house, coal house, bottle store, etc. There was also a purpose-built stone built stable with a slate roof for ten horses and ‘small coach house with lofts over and granary approached by stone steps. Pigs cot, public W.C. and urinal. Large kitchen garden, timber and corrugated iron roof construction of skittle alley.’
New proprietors of the White Horse hoped that they could make the pub more community based and to give it a makeover suitable for the 21st century. Maria Jeffrey with her daughters Katie and Sara, re-opened the pub on 1st September 2017. Maria said, “We are doing two separate rooms, one will be a pub sports room with a pool table, darts, crib and bridge, and the other will be more of a lounge room. We’ll be doing afternoon tea some days and every other weekend we’re going to have some musical entertainment. We would like mums to come here and sit in the garden, have the older guys come in to watch the racing. We know how good the pub has been in the past. All it needs is to be presentable and there’s no reason why people won’t come in here again.”
Landlords at the White Horse include:
1830 William Pearce
1837 Giles Gardner
1876 Mrs Maria Parry (White Horse family and commercial hotel)
1885,1891 George Evans
1894 Cornelius Baynham
1902, 1919 Edward Jn. Flooks
1923 Harry Preece
1927 Hy. Morris
1939 Isaac Herbert
1939-1946 Tom Cannock
1946-1954 Felix Wright
1954-1985 The Whittington family (1983 – Betty Whittington)
1985- Alan Wright
1989 Mrs Christine Phelps
1997, 2001 Richard & Sandra Ringrose
2017 Maria Jeffrey