The House in the tree is over 500 years old. Legend tells how a beautiful girl named Maud Bowen who lived nearby was one night abducted by her uncle. A local youth – Walter the Archer – followed them and shot the uncle with an arrow. Unfortunately, Maud, attempting to return home, fell into a stream and drowned. Court ruled that she had committed suicide and her body was buried at the nearest cross-roads with an elm stake driven through it. Meanwhile Walter fled to Hayden and took up residence in the House in the Tree. Maud’s mother, meanwhile, spent much time at the grave and the stake grew into a beautiful elm tree. As a result she was convicted as a witch, taken to Maud’s Elm, and burned. As the Lord of the Manor – the villain of the piece – stood watching the execution, he too fell a victim to ‘Walter the Archer’s’ deadly marksmanship. Maud’s Elm remained a landmark in the district for many years.

Courtesy Michael Wilkes
Courtesy Michael Wilkes

Image: Days Gone by in Cheltenham (Facebook) Clair Amanda.

It is more likely that the name of the pub was derived from a tree top house that nestled in the arms of a large tree in the garden. Apparently the tree house could accommodate some two dozen  people and was used as an unusual drinking area. When the tree became unsafe the tree house was dismantled. The pub was once a cider house, and traditional ciders are still sold.  An interesting mix of architectural styles is evident – part of the roof is thatched. Over the years the pub has been much enlarged. It was extended in 2000. The House in the Tree is still a popular country pub being easily accessible from both Cheltenham and Gloucester.

Map Reference: SO 903238

Owner in 1891: Sarah Hyett (leased Cheltenham Original Brewery)

Rateable value in 1891: £24.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse

Owner in 1903: Anne Hyett (leased Cheltenham Original Brewery)

Rateable value in 1903: £39.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse

Closing time in 1903: 10pm

Landlords at the House in the Tree include:

1856 J. Hyett

1885, 1906 William Turberville

1919,1927 Frederick Hobbs

1939 Edgar George Drew

1993-1999 John Brant (died 26.5.99) and Jean Phillips

2003, 2005 Paul Chandler and Kay Ratcliffe

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