Continuing up Towngate we come to the White Hart. The White Hart, formerly called The Hare and Hounds, is recognised to be the oldest inn in the village and pre-dated the first turnpike by about 200 years. There was a 1590 date stone on a wall facing inwards. Records in the Kirklees Archive show that, “in 1686 there were 6 guest beds and stabling for 8 horses”.Picture of White Hart looking down Towngate on Fair Day
Blind Jack of Knaresborough is said to have been a regular visitor when he was in Marsden surveying the first turnpike which would run up Old Mount Road. The inn was also said to be a favourite calling place for Parson Bellas during his time as minister at St. Bartholomew’s Church from 1779 to 1815. He was described as being a “man of easy going temperament and fond of lively company which led to him neglecting his duties and becoming fond of drink”. Fears that the inn was haunted prompted him to carry out an exorcism which apparently ended the ghostly apparitions. In the early 20th century a visiting dentist held tooth pulling surgeries in the bar.
The Court Leet held on 31.5.1905 registered the purchase of the White Hart by George Henry Dodson for £1,000. The proceedings recorded the property as being “All that Messuage, dwelling house or tenement used Inn or Public House formerly called by the name of ‘The Hare and Hounds Inn’ standing and being in Marsden with a Warehouse, a Shop, a Woolchamber, a Kitchen and 2 Stables situated and being in Marsden aforesaid formerly in the occupation of Humphrey Dyson afterwards of James Lumb and later in the tenure of Joseph Parkin but now known and described as “All that Public House known as The White Hart Inn with Stables, Mistal, hayloft, piggeries, yard and conveniences thereto belonging …”.
The White Hart was delicensed in 1910. It was used as a builder’s yard and deteriorated into such a bad state of repair that a dangerous building order was placed on the property which could have resulted in its demolition. Fortunately this was rescinded following extensive building work made in the 1970s by Dave and Mo Smith.