The White Hart Inn, Cenarth

This inn capitalised on the 19th century tourism boom, thanks to its central position near Cenarth bridge. For many decades it was kept by the James family. William James was also the village’s sub-postmaster, when it was common for innkeepers to have another job.

William and his wife Rachel lost their third son Thomas, aged 19, after three weeks of fever in 1857. She continued to run the White Hart after William died, aged 70, in 1876. In 1881 she and her daughter Sarah were the innkeepers here.

In April 1895 there was a commotion outside after a coracle capsized on the river. The press reported that “Miss James, landlady of the White Hart, sent assistance immediately”, but the coracle’s occupant drowned. He was Pontypridd magistrate William Williams, who had a cottage near Cenarth called Glanawmor. He had gone out in the coracle to fish. He was a strong swimmer and experienced fisherman, and knew how to handle a coracle.

Sarah’s younger sister Ann kept the White Hart in the early 20th century. Also living here with Ann in 1911 were Sarah, 74, and sister Margaret, 71, a retired sub-postmistress. Ann fell foul of licensing laws several times. In 1900 she was fined £1 for breaching the Sunday Closing Act. In 1910 she was punished for non-payment of poor rates, a local tax for relieving paupers.

Ann’s death, aged 68, in February 1917 brought to an end the family’s long association with the White Hart. Rees Williams, formerly of Ynysybwl, near Pontypridd, took over the inn. He lost his wife Adie, aged 46, to illness soon after.

In July 1952 David Jones, the White Hart’s licensee, and his daughter Elizabeth were both fined 10s for serving alcohol outside permitted hours to three farmers, who had consumed sandwiches and ale after their physical exertions in dipping sheep in the river. Each farmer had to pay a 10s fine also.

The White Hart caught fire one night in 1985 but rapid action by Newcastle Emlyn’s firefighters prevented serious damage. The source of the fire was a beam in the attic which extended into the chimney flue.

Postcode: SA8 9JP    View Location Map

Website of the White Hart