The History of The Horns
Standing in the centre of the hamlet of Bulls Green, Datchworth, The Horns is arguably the oldest in a cluster of buildings dating back to Tudor times. Experts date The Horns to 1543, when Henry VIII was King of England. Details of its construction lead some to believe it to be almost a hundred years older. Its slightly younger contemporaries are: Moat Farm and Bulls Green Farm (both more or less opposite The Horns), Coltsfoot Farm (just down the lane of the same name) and Rats Castle Cottage (going south along Burnham Green Road).
Now pleasantly refurbished, and with another extension to add to those made in the 18th century and the early part of the 20th, The Horns retains many of its 500-year-old features: Tudor beams, open fireplaces, vaulted ceilings and ancient doors. The exposed portion of close stud-work, visible in the Snug bar, is suggestive of 15th century workmanship – a time when King Richard III offered to barter his kingdom for a horse!
Apart from being the beer house for the hamlet in times past, The Horns also functioned as an auction room, a traders’ meeting and bargaining post, livery stables as well as a farmhouse. Indeed up to the 1920s there existed a hayloft over the main bar. Most of the water used daily in the inn would have come from the nearby moat (the last remnant of which is the small pond on the opposite side of the road). This was common practice in the parish up to the introduction of piped water in 1915.
The Horns even boasts its own ghost: it is rumoured that Walter Clibbon, the notorious highwayman who terrorised this part of Hertfordshire in the latter part of the 18th century, still haunts The Horns today. Clibbon, a pie seller, and his sons supplemented their meagre income by accosting tradesmen after they left Hertford market and robbing them under threat of death. On 28 December 1782 the Clibbons attacked a local man on the road to Bramfield; in the ensuing battle Walter Clibbon was killed. His body was taken to The Horns overnight while the locals celebrated his demise at the inn. His final resting place, Clibbon’s Post, lies beside the Datchworth to Bramfield road.