The White Harte, Cuckfield - Behind the Counter

The White Harte Inn, Cuckfield

By Jacqueline Elmore


On the corner of South Street in Cuckfield an imposing three-pronged chimney stack sits above a timberframed, fish scale-tiled coaching inn. Below its pitched roof is an image of a white deer flanked by the numbers ‘1881’. Other lettering around the old sign includes ‘H’ and ‘W’ for the associated brewery (Hall and Woodhouse) and ‘Ye White Harte Inne’, its ancient and locally loved name.

The White Harte Inn is one of Cuckfield’s ‘familiar faces’ and the first public house that you will see when entering the village from the south. The inn has been the place to go for a pie and a pint of ale for (literally) hundreds of years. Behind its doors lives landlord and long-standing publican James (Jim) Ayling, who has lived at the inn for nearly 15 years.

“I’ve not always been in the pub trade. It’s an interesting story actually. My now partner, Jackie, used to work here in the kitchen. One day we decided that we’d give it a go and take over the reins. That’s really how we ended up here and much of the reason why we are still here now.”

Jim, who was born and raised in Hove, originally worked in hotels and restaurants in Brighton and had stints as an engineer before returning to hospitality, this time as a publican.

When Jim first arrived in the village he worked behind the bar at the King’s Head pub, situated just around the corner from the White Harte.

[Full story published in the January 2019 issue of Cuckfield Life magazine[

Tree Festival great success for Kanagaroos

Cuckfield Christmas Tree Festival 2018

Last month Holy Trinity Church hosted the 16th annual Christmas Tree Festival.

On display were 78 trees decorated by clubs, schools and societies. The Planning Group work on the details for months prior to the event and they were pleased to announce the total fundraising from this year’s weekend was more than £13,500, which will be split between this year’s selected charity – Kangaroos – and the church itself.

Organiser Paul Goldfinch commented: “Bearing in mind that most of the weekend of the Festival it was dreadful weather, I am delighted to say that it did not deter the visitor numbers.”

Local special needs charity Kangaroos was honoured to be chosen as the 2018 partner organisation, especially as it celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2019. Fundraising C o-ordinator Samantha Norgate explained: “We marked the approach of our special year supporting children and young adults with learning disabilities with a show-stopping tree with a silver theme with the presents underneath wrapped and decorated by our teenage members.

“On behalf of everyone at Kangaroos, I would like to thank all the Cuckfield Christmas Tree Planning Group, especially Sue Towns who liaised with me over the last year to ensure everything ran smoothly, as well as all the wonderful volunteers who made this unique community event such a success and to so many of our Kangaroos families, friends and general public for all their support.”