The later history of Welwyn is reflected in the story of the White Hart. During the 17th century, coach travel became more common and increasing numbers of travellers started moving around the country. The new coaches needed better roads, and for travellers heading north from London a new route was found linking the road from Hatfield, through Lemsford and over Sherrardswood, to join the Roman road at Welwyn. The road came down a steep hill into the village and, in 1675, a private house at the bottom of the hill became a coaching inn. Eventually, this was extended along the new Hertford Road (post-1720) to provide the village with a banqueting chamber and a magistrates’ courthouse. In its heyday, the White Hart boasted that it could provide more than eighty teams of coach horses per day. That would be a coach passing through the “guzunder” every ten minutes! If you look in the “guzunder” you can still see the pulleys that were used to lift trunks off the coach roofs.
The Royal Oak
In this location was a pub called The Red Lion, which was purchased and demolished by the owners of the White Hart. They subsequently rebuilt the pub and opened it as The White Hart Tap. Find the brick dated 1803 on the wall. It was renamed The Royal Oak.