The Worcester White House, - Held for 12 Pennies and One Red Rose

  • 3 Feb 2019
  • Worcester People and Places
  • Back

The Worcester White House Hotel, Foregate Street, was until recently known as the Star Hotel and in the mid 19th century, the Star and Garter. It shares the distinction of being the oldest County inn with the Lygon Arms of Broadway, for it has had a licence since 1588, the year of the Armada.

The terms of the inn's lease has always been a strange one. At the beginning of the 17th century, one, Miles Chandler, held the premises at the annual rent of 'one red rose flower'. Until recently, one part of the premises was held on a lease for 2,000 years at an annual rent of 12 pennies, while another part was held for a thousand years for the rent of  'one red rose'. In the 1920s, Mr Spurr who had held the licence for 25 years, compounded for these obligations. 

For at least 150 years until present times, the Star was recognised as Worcester's leading hotel, and has enjoyed distinguished patronage from the County notables on such occassions as the Hunt Ball's, Three Choirs Festival, and such local occasions. At the County Assize, the High Sheriff always entertained the Bar there. During Mr. Spurr's proprietorship, he received princes and potentates, judges and bishops, authors and musicians. Among the celebrities of all kinds were Sir Ernest Shackleton, H.Beerbohm Tree, Bonar Law, Sir Cedric Hardwick, Bransby William, Vesta Tilley, Rafael Sabatini, Dame Clara Butt and many more other distinguished people. The touring cricket teams always stayed there.

The beautiful ballroom had seen may  glittering functions, but also gatherings of less happy occassions, as the breaking-up of large country estates. The Madresfield Estate sale was the first, then Great Witley, Colwall Park, Saltmarsh and Blackmore Park home of the Hornyold Family to say just a few.