1753-54 - The Infamous Trial of Elizabeth CanningIn 1753 to 1754 there was a trial at the Old Bailey which excited public interest for many months. A young spinster of high repute, called Elizabeth Canning, went missing for a month and arrived at her mother's house in Aldermanbury, London in a dishevelled state. She said that she had been abducted and imprisoned in a house at Enfield Wash, had her stays stolen, and had been 'invited' to be a prostitute which she refused. For a month she was locked in the hayloft and lived on a loaf of bread which had been divided into twenty four pieces, a basin of water and a mince pie which she had in her pocket. She eventually escaped through a window. A gypsy women called Mary Squires, her son George and the house-keeper called Susannah Wells were all accused. A whore, called Virtue Hall, confirmed the story but later retracted her evidence.Mary said that at the time in question she was travelling in Dorset with her son and daughter Lucy, and presented three witnesses from Abbotsbury who testified to her story. This was rejected by the court and she was sentenced to hang. The three witnesses were then prosecuted for perjury but this accusation was thrown out of court through lack of evidence, which therefore made the verdict on Mary deemed to be unsafe and the Chief Magistrate appealed to King George II who agreed to a delay in sentencing and eventually a pardon. However Susannah Well's sentence of branding to the thumb and six months imprisonment was upheld.Public opinion was split - you were either a Canningite or an Egyptian (after gypsy) and the Chief Magistrate and Lord Mayor of London, Sir Crisp Gascoyne was physically attacked in his coach and received death threats.Attention then turned to Elizabeth Canning and on the 29th April 1754 she was accused of perjury. Many witnesses were called to substantiate Mary's story including James Hawkins (most likely junior), Francis Gladman and John Fry all from Litton Cheney. The turnpikes in Dorset were only set up in the 1760s so it must have been a long and arduous journey to London. One which would have accorded much excitement in Litton and would have been the major talking point in the village.After being sworn in, James Hawkins introduced himself with the words 'I keep an ale-house at Litton'. He confirmed that he recognised the gypsies who stayed at the inn and that they had bought fowls from 'one Dancer Turner, in our parish.' 'Were they boiled or roasted? - they were boiled, I believe; we don't eat roast meat in the country but very little.' He was then asked if he remembered the customers and he recalled that the bell-ringers had come to the inn to refill their cider jug as they had finished what had been given to them by the parish - 'they had been a-ringing; and the minister's kinsmen went a fox hunting that day, and gave the people some money'. How do you know it was the 31st December?. ' By reason I had made a fire in the little chamber on the Monday morning, when the people were ringing, where no fire had been made before.' He had recently had some building work done and John Fry, tiler and plasterer, had been working 'in the new Christmastime' and 'the little new chamber' was not in the house. A gardener from Litton, Francis Gladman, also called it the new Christmastime and this was because in that very year the change had been made from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. (In order to make the change the 2nd September 1752 was followed by the 14th September 1752). Gladman also said that 'the house of James Hawkins; there is no sign, it used to be the Three Horse-Shoes'. (Perhaps it was at this time that it became the New Inn?).Elizabeth Canning was found guilty, although two of the jurors felt it was not with intent, in other words she had been coersed. She was sentenced to transportation to America but her supporters had raise enough for her to have a comfortable passage. She settled in Connecticut and eventually married and had five children. She died in 1773, aged 38, without ever explaining what really happened during the missing month.This information and the original proceedings can be found at www.archive.org. (Second Page, item 44) Then go to Cobbett's Complete Collection of State Trials and Proceedings for High Treason and Other Crimes and Misdemeanours from the Earliest Period to the resent time (1809). Vol 19, pages 262-275 and 283-694. James Hawkins's testimony can be found on page 346.20th April 1826 – John Wittle, landlord, summoned for suffering drunkenness or tippling and disorderly conduct in his house at Litton Cheney. Sentenced to 1 months imprisonment unless £5 penalty plus 17 shillings and 6 pence costs be sooner paid.17th July 1862 – Samuel Wood, landlord of the White Horse beerhouse, summonsed for a breach of the Beer Act. P C Hill deposed that, on the morning of Sunday the 29th of June, he found a man in the house with a pint of ale. There had been previous complaints about the house and he had to send an officer in private clothes. Defendant fined 40 shillings plus costs.3rd September 1863 – Mr Symonds made an application on behalf of Mr Samuel Woods landlord of the White Horse, Litton Cheney. There having been a complaint against the applicant, the Bench would not grant him a license.30th June 1922 – the problem of the porker: - an echo of the recent fete was heard when the Secretary of the Local Club learned from ex. PC Larcombe, of Winterbourne, that he expressed himself dissatisfied with the award of the prime Tamworth porker to Mr Ackerman, landlord of the Hope and Anchor, Bridport. Our correspondent gathers that Mr Larcombe considers himself justly entitled to the said pig, in virtue of the fact that, on the occaision of the skittling match, he did, by fair and sporting means, contrive to clear the board with his first ball. Moreover, he nearly repeated the wonderful feat with the second throw when only one pin was left standing. His lucky opponent, Mr E Ackerman, did not do this, but played the game according to the accepted rules of skittling and, after clearing the board with one shie, only popped up the centre pin for his second ball, so that Mr Larcombe demands the pig as his due. It has been suggested, our correspondent hears, that some means could be arranged to bring the disputing partners together and, if these two doughty skittlers could be matched locally, their respective skill could be witnessed and decided upon under the able referee-ship of Mr H W Greening at his Litton hostelry.18th February 1925 – Superintendant Lawrence, in his annual report for the Dorchester Police Division, stated that, on the 24th of October 1924, the White Horse Inn, Litton Cheney, was practically destroyed by fire. Supt. Lawrence said that he did not oppose an application which would be made for the approval of plans for the erection of new premises on the same site.
Reported Incidents - The following historic incidents relate to the White Horse:
WHITE HORSE LITTON CHENEY - CROSBY CUP WINNERS 1988
WHITE HORSE LITTON CHENEY - BRIDPORT CC EVENING CUP WINNERS 1984
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WHITE HORSE LITTON CHENEY PUBLICANSData from PalmersMarch 1927 - August 1929William EdwardsAugust 1929 - July 1951Philip Coates ShaveJuly 1951 - July 1953John (Jock) SmyllieJuly 1953 - November 1959A. H. TomlinsonNovember 1959 - June 1964A. ChapmanJune 1964 - March 1976George and Jean FittMarch 1976 - October 1982David and Sheila WardOctober 1982 - October 1984David and Jean SaddingtonOctober 1984 - September 1990Keith and Susie SmartSeptember 1990 - September 1995Les and Ada FryDecember 1995 - June 2000D O’Brien (see note 1 below)June 2000 - September 2003John Blaker and Debbie BarringtonSeptember 2003 - October 2004Chris Eveleigh and Rachel RogersDecember 2004 - November 2005Tony Pitcher and Susan BurtNovember 2005 - September 2013Cassie WilliamsonSeptember 2013 - May 2015Kelvan Finch and Valerie WoodsMay 2015 - June 2019Peter and Jaemie GullJune 2019 - presentAndy and Liz VenningData from Censuses etc. (see note 2 below)1826 newspaper reportJohn Wittle1841 – 1861 censusesWilliam Hawkins1871 censusSamuel Wood1881 censusGeorge Chapple1891 – 1911 censusesHenry Watts GreeningNotes:1.During the time D O’Brien held the license he never directly acted as the landlord but appointed several ‘managers’ to act on his behalf. Some of the managers names recalled are:Mike and Julie Webb; Jeff and Jackie ?; Jules and ?2.Because a census is only held every 10 years, it is not possible to be more precise as to actual dates.