The old Saracen's Head


S Williams

The Saracens Head entrance at the bottom of New Road and looking down the High Street, 1920s
Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies

The Saracen’s Head was one of Ware’s oldest inns and was first mentioned in 1365.  In the late 18th and early 19th centuries it became an important coaching inn and was the last in the town to house the famous Great Bed of Ware.

As traffic increased The Saracen’s Head proved to be an obstruction to vehicles entering Ware across the River Lea bridge and turning left into the High Street.  In 1822, this prompted the Cheshunt Turnpike Trust to propose a modest demolition of the wall at the corner of the site.  More drastic steps were deemed to be necessary 120 years later.  A compulsory purchase order saw the whole building demolished in October 1957. Behind the Georgian brick facade a medieval timber-framed building incorporating Elizabethan wall paintings and a regency assembly room were revealed.  One of the town’s oldest buildings was lost for ever.

The rebuilt Saracen’s Head was set back to allow better access into the High Street and opened in the 1960s.

This page was added on 13/10/2009.

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  • “first mentioned in 1365” – your actual source for this claim is what, exactly?

    By Martyn Cornell (17/12/2023)
  • Hi Martyn,
    Hertfordshire Archives hold the records of the Ware Charity Estate, which includes documents relating to the
    Saracen’s Head Inn (D/EWe/4/8, 16-28, 107-122). The earliest mention is in an entry dated 16 June 1365.

    By Sarah Kerrison (19/12/2023)