Our 16th-century Grade II-listed stone building is a genuine old-fashioned public house at the heart of the community, and the interior enjoyed a major renovation in Spring 2022.
We’ve kept the wooden beams and stone-flagged floors throughout, and of course the log burning fires in both rooms. The Bar is a traditional watering hole where you’d be welcome to meet friends and polish off a pint or two, and The Inglenook lounge is now a 30-cover cosy dining room. For a more intimate dining experience there is also The Snug, and with good weather our little beer garden.
The village is famous for the discovery of a Roman Villa, which archaeologists excavated at Hinton St Mary in 1963. Following the dig, witnesses in the village claimed to have seen the ghost of a tall man in a pale cloak, or toga, striding through the village, stopping outside the White Horse. This phantom, possibly the oldest in England, then disappears into a sidewall.
The mosaic pavement from the Roman Villa is now with the British Museum in London. In one of the roundels of this mosaic there is what is thought to be the earliest representation of Christ. He is portrayed as clean-shaven. It is the only such portrait found anywhere in the Roman Empire. The discovery of those ancient remains occurred when the village blacksmith was digging a hole in the garden for the washing line post!
The White Horse is owned by the Pitt-Rivers and Fox-Pitt families of the Hinton St Mary Estate. It is a small village pub at the heart of the community and only a year after reopening, we are proud to announce that we have been shortlisted for pub of the year 2023 by the Dorset Echo. Our small team have worked tirelessly to establish a good reputation, a Dorset pub with good food, great beer and a warm welcome.
Meet the Team
We are very excited to welcome The Kilburn Family who have recently taken over our pub. Both Mel and Andy started working in kitchens as teenagers. Chef Andy then trained in a Michelin Star restaurant, whilst Mel acquired a degree in Hotel Management and an advanced WSET qualification in wine. Together they ran The Foresters in Donhead for 11 years with Mel's folks, and Andy more recently was the chef at Breezy Ridge Vineyard and The Bath Arms, Horningsham. NOW, they have moved to Hinton St Mary with their cricket mad son, Sam. Unsurprisingly, 8 year old Sam is happy helping in the kitchen and his favourite dish, is dad's Venison Ragu.
Sarah is our front of house, she runs the bar and manages the team that keep everything moving.
Hospitality is in her veins, she knows how to make you feel welcome and nothing is too much trouble.