I was musing about the old inn in Chitterne St Mary on the corner of the High Street and Bidden Lane and it occurred to me that, if the date over the door is accurate, the inn must have been built when the Paulets were Lords of the Manor.

Sir William Paulet (1485?-1572), 1st Marquess of Winchester

That realisation set me to thinking about the Paulets who held the Manor of Chitterne St Mary, an influential family at court in Tudor times. Their connection with Chitterne St Mary stems from 1547 when King Edward VI granted William Paulet a large swathe of land stretching across Wiltshire, Somerset and Hampshire for services to the crown. William was an executor of King Henry VIII’s will and helped the young King Edward VI govern. Having served four Tudor monarchs, he was created the 1st Marquess of Winchester.

Just over a hundred years later in 1651, when the inn was built, Chitterne St Mary had passed down generations of the Paulet family and was held by Sir Henry Paulet, second surviving son of William Paulet 4th Marquess of Winchester. Henry Paulet, born about 1602, lived at Nether Wallop in Hampshire. He was returned to the second parliament of King Charles 1 representing Andover and created a Knight of the Bath at Charles’ coronation. But he may never have taken up his seat in parliament due to a brawl with Sir William Stourton, which was hushed up. He died in 1672 and is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

Chitterne St Mary and the White Hart Inn remained in the hands of the Paulet family through successive generations until Norton Paulet sold the estate to Paul Methuen in 1758. The Methuens of Corsham Court, Wiltshire were Lords of the Manor until 1830 when they sold to the Long Family for £70,000. Under Sir Walter Hume Long the estate was sold off piecemeal at auction in 1896. The White Hart Inn was bought at auction by Morgan & Bladworth, brewers of Silver Street, Warminster for £2000.

The inn remained in the hands of brewing companies for the next 60 years, until it was made redundant in 1955 during the tenure of Charlie and Florence Mould. Following the closure the site became the base for a carrier business until it was sold for private residential use sometime in the 1970s.

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