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Dersingham Folk
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Site by Mike Strange
The White Horse Public House
Mike Strange ©
Tithe map 1839
The Tithe Map here shows the site of what is to become the White Horse public house as Schedule 181 in which it was shown to be owned by one William Smith and occupied by Thomas Grief. This property was described then as Cottages, barn and Yard. The same two gentlemen were associated with Schedule 179, Home Close arable land. William Smith also owned Schedule 180, Cottages and Gardens occupied by George Watts and others (we do not know who the 'others' were unfortunately).
As you see from the history of licensees below there is still 19 years before it was to become a public house and the first is William Smith Snr.
In the 1951 Census William Smith is shown as  Yeoman so not opened the pub by then. In the next schedule are Thomas Grief (unmarried), master tailor and Susan Petchey  82 (widow, Thomas's mother from a previous marriage.). You may have read about one Lydia Petchey in the article about the Coach & Horses; there is a strong connection with Susan Petchey; too complicated to describe in this article but you can see that the various familes are very much involved in Dersingham business in this period.
The Smith family become quite involved with the village so I will write the detail of them as a separate article.
Timeline (approximate)
1858 - 1871+ William Smith Snr
1877 - 1881    William Henry Smith
1883                Robert Jenks Rolfe
1883                William Smith (Register of Electors)
1883 - 1891    William Henry Smith
1892 - 1904    George Kiddle
1908 - 1912    Charles Henry Sayer
1916                Frederick William Hartley
1922 - 1925    William Houchen
1927-               Frederick Secker
1929 - 1939    Henry Chester
1939 - 1962    Harry Chester

Acknowledgement to Norfolk Pubs and Dick Melton

We know nothing about the date, nor the people, in the photographs below. All we know is that  are outside the White Horse; any help will be appreciated.
The outline of the Tithe item 181 matches well with the location of the White Horse in this rather fine (but undated and unsourced aerial shot) Item 180 has already gone, making way for White Horse Drive which can just be seen on the far right.  It is welcome to see that the new building (which was underway in 1977 and includes Boots, the Chemist) has similar presence on the street scene as the White Horse had.
William Smith  (William 1)
William Smith (1) from was from Walsingham. He was resident in Dersingham as early as 1837 from the Poll Book but evidence we have found so far suggests he was the first publican here in 1858. He was also a pig dealer and farmer. We also find him here in the 1861 Census, 1864 White's, 1871 Census and 1877 Harrod's Directory. A William Smith was buried at Dersingham Church on 17th October 1876 aged 65 and this aligns as he was born about 1812. However, in 1871 he gave his age as 54 which is wrong. So it is very likely that William Henry  Smith, William (2), his nephew, took over around the time of his death.

I note that in 1874 a John Smith is at the Dun Cow but it appears there is no connection between them.

William Henry Smith (William 2)
William Henry Smith, or William (2),  was born in Dersingham and was living at the White Horse in 1871; his father (William 1's brother) was also living here at that time.  William 2 will have taken over from his uncle, William 1, at the age of about 30 in 1876. He is also here in 1881 with sister Eliza Smith (32) and baseborn nephew Harry.

Robert Jenks Rolfe
Source Kelly's Trade Directory 1883

William Henry Smith
William (2) returns and is the 1883 and 1890 White's Directory, he also appears later in the 1896 Post Office Directory.
William (2) died in Dersingham on February 12th 1935 in his 85 year. His wife, Rosanna, passed away at the age of 91 on February 1st 1954. (Their grave is at Section B, Plot 34 of the churchyard).

George Kiddle
George Kiddle from Middleton married Eliza Louisa Smith, sister of William Henry Smith 2. He was living here in the 1881 and had his name over the door in 1892, 1896 and 1900 Kelly's.

Charles Henry Sayer
Charles is here aged 38 in the 1911 census.
In the Lynn Advertiser dated 9th September 1910 their appeared a record of the Petty Session Reports at Grimston. "On Monday Charles Henry Sayer, innkeeper, Dersingham, summoned for keeping a carriage without a licence on 11th May. Fined 20s with 10s costs or 14 days."
He also appears in the 1908 and 1912 Kelly's.

Frederick William Hartley
Frederick was aged 65 in 1911, he only appears here in 1916 Kelly's

Frederick Houchen
I have only found Frederick Houchen here in 1922 Kelly's.

Frederick Secker
His occupancy was found on the marriage certificate for his daughter, Elsie Eleanor Secker to Frederick Harry Batterbee, on 22 January 1927 in Dersingham Church.

Henry and Harry Chester
1929 - 1962  Henry is to be found here in 1929, 1933 and 1937  Kelly's and in the 1939 Register with his wife Mabel Annie Rolfe. When Mabel died in 1982 she was living at 17 Post Office Road.  Harry Chester was also Treasurer for Dersingham Rovers Football Club in at least 1931-32 (from a photograph).

I have a problem, Dick Melton (below) advises me that Henry Chester handed over to a son Harry Chester in 1937 but there is no evidence of Harry in the 1939 Register; neither is there a record of any children born to Henry and Mabel.  In 1939 Amelia's mother (Amelia Rolfe, nee Carbis) is living with them at the White Horse, she died here in 1950. To add more confusion, in both the 1968 and 1975 records the only Chester living in Dersingham was a Harry Chester at 7 Hunstanton Road yet both Henry and Mabel died here in 1975 and 1982 respectively and are buried here; they must have lived elsewhere. It would appear that Harry was still at the pub building; when was it demolished?  Today, 'Cutting Heads' and 'Geoffrey Collings Estate Agents' are at 7a and 7b Hunstanton Road; the address for Boots etc is Jubilee Court .

…….   More to be found!
Harry [or Henry?] Chester, the Landlord
Frank Harlow, George Seer and Harry Chester
Dick Melton wrote, "Henry Chester was landlord from 1929 to 1937 then his son Harry took over from 1937 untill 1962.  I used to drink in the White Horse with my mates, in 1962 I came out of the army and the first thing I done was to call on my mate and he said we can’t drink there as it is empty waiting to  be knocked down and Harry [Henry?] and Mable have retired, so we went to the Albert Victor instead.

One more thing about the White Horse it never had a bar in it, the beer was always brought up from the cellar and then poured into a glass. The beer came straight out of the cask when they done it that way your beer was always fresh as none of it had layed in the pipes over night."

Thank you Dick