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The White Lion PH, Milford

A Grade II Listed Building in Witley, Surrey

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Latitude: 51.1704 / 51°10'13"N

Longitude: -0.6525 / 0°39'9"W

OS Eastings: 494301

OS Northings: 142104

OS Grid: SU943421

Mapcode National: GBR FD6.HV5

Mapcode Global: VHFVS.MVW4

Plus Code: 9C3X58CW+5X

Entry Name: The White Lion PH, Milford

Listing Date: 21 December 2016

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1439741

Location: Witley, Waverley, Surrey, GU8

County: Surrey

Civil Parish: Witley

Built-Up Area: Witley

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Milford

Church of England Diocese: Guildford

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A former coaching inn. C16 with C17 cross-wing, C18 south-east extensions and C19 refurbishing.


A former coaching inn. C16 with C17 cross-wing, C18 south-east extensions and C19 refurbishing.

MATERIALS: timber-framed, re-fronted in brick to the ground floor and tile-hung to the first floor, including some courses of curved tiles. Tiled roof with brick chimneystacks.

PLAN: the original plan was a gabled rectangular structure of two storeys and three bays, aligned north-east to south-west. A C17 cross-wing with a large room on each floor was added at the north-west end. In the C18 the south-east side was extended outwards and an outshot added at the south-west end. A circa 1900 single storey extension was added on the entrance front to the south of the cross-wing, probably replacing an earlier porch.

EXTERIOR: the north-west or entrance front is irregular and of seven bays. At the north end the projecting two storey cross-wing with hipped roof is tiled on the first floor with some courses of curved tiles. The first floor has two metal casement windows. The painted brick ground floor has two metal multi-pane casements. The adjoining set back bay to the south, part of the C16 range, has a C19 four-light flat-roofed dormer and, on the ground floor, a projecting flat-roofed painted brick bar front with a modillion cornice. The two bays adjoining to the south were slightly extended outwards in the late C19 and have tile-hung gables with some curved brick courses, two casement windows with multi-pane metal casements and the painted brick ground floor has a triple metal casement. At the south end is a cat-slide roof with a metal casement window and a half-glazed door.

The single storey south-east side, also of painted brick, has a three-light metal casement.

The south-east or rear elevation has three small C20 metal casement windows in the southern cat-slide roof. The adjoining C18 bay has a tile-hung gable and Flemish bond brickwork below with a casement window on each floor. The adjoining bay to the north is gabled with C20 tile-hanging and brick. At the north end are two C18 bays with hipped roofs, which are tile-hung on the upper floor and have a casement window in each bay.

The north-west end is tile-hung and has two external brick chimneystacks, a small casement window, and a single storey north projection with three windows in the north side and a C20 porch.

INTERIOR: entry from the north-west leads into the cross-wing which has an exposed chamfered spine beam with plain floor joists supported on a post and an internal partition with timber studs. A straight flight staircase with plain newel post leads from the kitchen in an C18 addition at the north east end to the upper floor.

The upper floor has the exposed C16 south-west end wall with studs, tie beam and three posts. The corridor has the exposed jowled trusses and wall-plate of the original south-east external wall and an exposed curved wind-brace of the original north-west external wall. There are also a series of C18 plank doors. The south-western bedroom has a plank and muntin wooden screen separating it from the corridor and contains the tapering top of a brick chimneystack. The south-eastern bedroom in an C18 addition has two C18 cupboard doors flanking the chimneybreast. A further bedroom in the C16 wing has exposed jowled posts. A north bedroom has a later C18 two-panelled door.

The roof structure of the C16 wing retains a clasped purlin roof with curved wind-braces and rafters and a truss with curved wind-braces at the north end. There is a wattle and daub panel to the second bay from the north. The C17 cross-wing has original rafters, collar beam and staggered purlins. The early C18 roof structure has original rafters without a ridge-piece.


The earliest part of the property was constructed in the C16 and its position on the main road between London and Portsmouth suggests that it may have been an inn from this date. More accommodation was added in the C17 and C18.

The Milford to Portsmouth Turnpike Act was passed in 1764. Initially the more direct route to Portsmouth through Hindhead was avoided because of highwaymen and the road was routed through Haslemere, but a new road was built around Hindhead in 1826.

In 1786 the inn is considered to have been one of the sites leading to the notorious murder of an unknown sailor on the way to rejoin his ship at Portsmouth. He stopped at an inn, thought to be 'The White Lion' at Milford, met three sailors and treated them to a drink. They walked on to Thursley and stopped at 'The Red Lion' for more drinks at the expense of the unknown sailor. Proceeding on their way along the road to Portsmouth the three sailors robbed him, murdered him with their knives and threw the body down the slope of the Devil's Punchbowl outside Hindhead. The tale was used by Charles Dickens in Nicholas Nickleby, written in 1838.

The building appears on the circa 1843 Tithe map almost with its current footprint except that on the north-west or entrance front there seems to have been a projecting porch at that date, rather than the later larger flat-roofed bar extension, and there is a recessed central section to the south-east or rear elevation. On this map the building is surrounded by a number of subsidiary buildings to the south-east, east and north, some of which probably included stabling. On the 1871 First Edition 25'' Ordnance Survey the building is named as The White Lion Inn and although the outline of the main building had undergone no change the northern outbuildings were no longer present and the eastern outbuilding is shown with steps to the south. There is no change in the outline on the 1897 map. On the 1916 Ordnance Survey map only minor changes are shown to the eastern outbuilding, which was later demolished. The north-west single storey end is now shorter than it is shown on these historic maps.

The Francis Frith Collection has a photograph dated 1906 showing the front tiled gables in position and a large ground floor single storey projection with a hipped roof. By their photograph of circa 1955 this extension has a flat-roof.

By 2016 the building was no longer in use as a public house.

Reasons for Listing

The former White Lion public house, a C16 coaching inn, with a C17 cross-wing and C18 south-east extensions, refurbished in the C19, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: as a vernacular timber-framed C16 building with a C17 cross-wing and further accommodation added in brick with tile-hanging in the C18;
* Plan form and room use: the successive plan forms are still readable and include the cross-wing parlour and chamber above, which have their original room divisions, and the C18 rear extensions;
* Degree of Survival: a significant proportion of the C16 phase and the C17 cross wing survives with much of the wall frame visible and the entire roof structure, together with three C18 rear extensions. Fixtures and fitting also survive well, including the ceiling in the C17 parlour wing, an internal partition, a first-floor plank and muntin screen and a number of C18 doors;
* Historical associations: it is one of two former inns linked with a notorious 1786 murder of an unknown sailor on his way to join his ship at Portsmouth, commemorated by two listed memorials on Gibbet Hill, near Hindhead, and which featured in the plot of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens.

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