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Review: White Horse


Church Fenton, United Kingdom

Nothing much happened

  • By SilverTraveller pb52

    208 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon

  • Jun 2014
  • Church Fenton, North Yorkshire
  • Casual
  • British

108 people found this review helpful

The village of Church Fenton is one of thousands of such small communities throughout the country which have no great claim to fame.

They simply get on with life and are perfectly happy for things to stay that way.

This particular village lies in the countryside near Tadcaster and Selby in North Yorkshire.

Second World War morale posters and, more recently, many mugs and greetings cards urge us to 'Keep Calm and Carry On'.

This philosophy has applied to the village since well before it was first recorded in 800AD as Fenton. The phrase could have been invented here.

Nothing much happens.

The village was described then as having great oak woodland with a settlement made of poles covered with skins and leaves.

It would appear that nothing much happened between 800 and 1338 when the village was re-named Kirk Fenton, seemingly having acquired a church. The name means 'settlement with a church, in the marsh'.

Many local people were employed in the sandstone quarries prevalent in the area, with much of the stone being used to build York Minster.

Again, nothing much happened from 1338 until the opening of R.A.F. Church Fenton in April 1937.

This was a fighter aircraft base, made up largely of Spitfires, Hurricanes and Mosquitos. They were mainly used to defend the major cities of Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield and Hull.

Post-war, in 1946, the base was one of the first to use jet-aircraft and by 1959 the base was turned over to a training base for pilots, a use it fulfils today.

Over the years many of the aircrew and mechanics will have been familiar with the two village pubs, the Fenton Flyer and the White Horse, and it was to the latter that my party and I headed.

The building is at one end of the village and has a whitewashed exterior with the benefit of ample parking and quite a large beer garden with wooden benches and seats.

First impressions of the interior give the feeling that nothing much has happened to the décor in quite some time.

It was dimly lit and dark even on a bright, sunlit Summer evening.

Dark wall colours and carpets didn't help, but perhaps it was to disguise the fact that this is a careworn pub with worn carpets, peeling wallpaper and in need of complete renovation. Wooden furniture was scruffy and cloth seating grubby.

Having arrived early, we sat in the bar, let the management know we had arrived and ordered drinks .

The range of locally produced real ales were a welcome sight and were very palatable.

Then, nothing much happened.

Ten minutes after our booked meal-time we had to ask for menus, which were brought with an apology.

There is quite an extensive menu and the starters range from £5.75 to around the £7 mark. Main courses are from £9 to £17, so around the average for the area.

Large menus are sometimes not a good thing and it looked to me like many of the items were of the freeze and heat variety, though some claimed to be 'home-made'. There were further steak and fish mains advertised on chalk boards.

The dining conservatory, a newer addition to the old pub was at least light and airy, though the ant powder around the base of the doorframe and the pile of dead ants in it did nothing to raise my hopes.

The soup stains on the tablecloth at a couple of place settings wasn't a good sight either.

There were bowls of cold, burnt slices of toast and small packets of butter on the table as an appetiser.

I just couldn't get my head around this idea and no-one sampled any. How very strange. Maybe it's a local thing.

My choice of salmon and prawn parcel as a starter was in the event, pretty good. A substantial mound of salmon contained a plethora of small prawns, and was accompanied by a side salad. The pot of Marie Rose sauce offered on the menu did not appear and had to be asked for. It came with a further apology.

There were sharing dishes of fresh vegetables, which were of good quality. Two further dishes of lovely chips also put in an appearance.

My partner's Dim Sum was a pleasant and tasty way to start the meal, drawing compliments, whilst the hoi sin sauce just had to be shared.

For main course, I opted for chicken breast stuffed with crabmeat in a white sauce. An unusual combination and one worth a shot I thought, but I found that the flavours just didn't work together. My fault, that one.

The other main courses around the table were enjoyed, particularly the hunky pieces of salmon in bernaise sauce and the fynnon haddock.

Desserts were offered but none could be faced on a very warm evening.

Filter coffees with chocolate mints rounded the meals off.

The staff of young girls and the affable landlady were polite and friendly but the place itself needs a makeover and some attention to detail on the menu is required. It is a village pub and it serves a purpose.

On the journey home through the countryside, nothing much happened.

A theme of the evening.

I kept calm and carried on.

108 people found this review helpful

This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 1 Comment(s)

  • pb52
    over 2 years ago
    After being closed for two years (I am not surprised) this has now been taken over by the community to run as a community pub and has been refurbished, opening in June 2019.
    I understand a chef from the Boundary House at Methley has been brought in to oversee the menus so it should be a marked increase in quality from what went on before.