The Trouble House is located in an isolated position on the Tetbury to Cirencester road (A433) about two miles to the north-east of Tetbury. It is in the parish of Cherington (two miles to the north) but the nearest settlement is Culkerton (one mile to the east).

From the Trouble House website:

The Trouble House has a fascinating history and is rumoured to have frequently lived up to its name.

Circa 1754 a Tetbury carpenter named John Reeve built a pub at this location, which was known as ‘troublesome’ at that time due to its poor quality and habit of flooding. The original pub had two rooms downstairs (the pub) and two rooms upstairs (the family accommodation), and customers tended to be carters and the farm-workers who drove cattle and sheep to Tetbury’s market. There is early reference to the Trouble House in 1777, however it seems the inn was generally referred to as the Wagon & Horses until circa 1856.

Two early landlords – John Bird (1757) and Richard Reeve (1768) – were the first to suffer a bit of bad luck at the Trouble House. John Bird lost ‘several’ wives who died young and Richard Reeve (son of the original builder John Reeve) hit a sticky patch financial when many of his male regulars were forcibly abducted by His Majesty’s press gangs to fight in the American Revolution.

Between 1804 – 1830, landlord Zebulon Harewell apparently brewed his own beer on premises, with his closes friend Isaac Cull, a maltster of Avening. However his son Zebulon Harewell junior, who was landlord between 1830-1844, leased the business to Warn’s Barton Street Brewery in Tetbury, a relationship which continued for almost 100 years, despite the fact that the family of the next landlord, John Leversage George between 1844-1850, were co-founders of the Stroud Brewery. John’s father was the Reverend William George, rector and lord of the manor of Cherington, who was temporarily de-frocked for five years due to unspecified ‘immorality’.

The pub was caught up in the agricultural riots of 1830 as local farm labourers vented their displeasure at the introduction of mechanical haymaking and threshing machines. An unlucky farmer transporting a new piece of machinery hidden in a laden hay wagon was spotted in Tetbury and chased by an angry mob who surrounded the wagon outside the Trouble House and set fire to it.

There are claims that in the later 1800’s the Trouble House’s financial fortunes suffered a downturn and the pub fell into disrepair. Tradition holds that an owner at this time embarked on a refurbishment which bankrupted him so he hung himself from a beam in the pub in despair. The half reconstructed building was taken over by another inn keeper who also fell on hard times and drowned himself in a nearby pond. Eventually the pub was purchased by a wealthy local business man who finished the repairs, replacing the thatched roof with Cotswold tiles and re-naming it the ‘Trouble House’ in honour of its tragic history. However, others dispute the legend of suicidal landlords and claim to have accounted for all the Trouble House landlords in parish records as dying from natural causes!

In 1931 the pub was purchased by a Bristol businessman Frank Wills, who made some major renovations incorporating the stables into the main pub. It was at this time that the Trouble House ghost, the ‘Lady in Blue’, began to make a nuisance of herself. She is rumoured to appear as a very life-like woman with long dark hair (occasionally wearing a hood) in the back-rooms of the pub and likes to move things around. Perhaps she didn’t like the renovations, because she seemed to settle down after 1934 when the pub was sold to Wadworth Brewery of Devizes, although there have been reported sightings of her within the last 10 years!

Wadworth Brewery continued to own the pub until 2013 when the freehold was purchased by Tim & Sally David who later sold to the current owners Jacqui and Alyn Squires in July 2020.

They have retained the Trouble House’s historic connections with local breweries, but have so far managed to avoid any more trouble!

The view from Trouble House Halt on the Kemble to Tetbury branch line

The Citizen, Saturday 23rd March 1996 – ‘Pubwatch’ feature – A well-earned title: The Trouble House, a solid 17th century inn along the Tetbury-Cirencester road near Cherrington, has certainly lived up to its name. In the early 18th century the then thatched building, known as the Wagon and Horses, had fallen into disrepair prompting the owner to embark on a major refurbishment. Alas, all did not go well – the owner ran out of money half way through the work and duly hanged himself in despair.

The half reconstructed building was then taken over by another aspiring innkeeper but he too fell upon hard times and in a bid to outdo his predecessor drowned himself in a nearby pond. But this is just the troubled tip of the iceberg of ignominy.

About 120 years ago, when the new fangled farming machinery was provoking farm labourers to violence, there was an outbreak of unrest that spread to the Wagon and Horses. An unlucky farmer transporting a new piece of machinery was spotted in Tetbury and a mob soon gathered and put the offending machinery to the torch. The Luddite louts now had the bit between their collective teeth and bolted in a rampage of destruction through neighbouring farms. Eventually, tired and thirsty from their exercise, they repaired to the Wagon and Horses for a well earned noggin which is where the local cavalry found them. The ringleaders were arrested and several received long terms of imprisonment.

Eventually, the old Wagon and Horses in its derelict state was snapped up by a wealthy local businessman who finished the job in style, replacing the thatched roof with Cotswold tiles and renaming in The Trouble House in view of its tragic history.

That the spot has been a focus for chaotic forces is further evidenced by the tradition that during the Civil War there was a bloody skirmish between Royalist and Parliamentary troops. Today, the curse if there ever was one seems to have dissipated.

Long-term landlord Dave Robins has just retired unscathed and incoming mine host James Pegler is settling in nicely and is now reported to be on cordial nodding terms with the pub ghost.

Landlord Dave Robbins

Courtesy Michael Wilkes

The Standard, 21st October 1999 – Families looking for Trouble: An Australian’s research into his family history led to around 40 relatives from as far afield as Australia, Germany and the USA descending upon the Trouble House near Tetbury.

The relatives of the Woolnough and Harewell families came to the pub to meet and discuss the history of their interlinked clans and of the Trouble House itself. The event was organised by Ken Murray, an Australian living in America, who is the great, great, great grandchild of one of the Harewells – the family that owned the pub from 1804 to 1838. The Woolnoughs were salesmen for agricultural machinery in the 1830’s at the time of the farmers’ revolution against machinery. The families came together when George Woolnough married Mary Anne Harewell.

The Trouble House, built in 1757, takes its name from a time when it became renowned as the site for agricultural disputes in the 1830’s. In one incident, farm machinery was taken there and burnt as a protest against the modernisation of farming. Before then it was known as the Waggon and Horses.

Courtesy Michael Wilkes

Ken Murray, an Australian living in New York, is a descendant of the Harewell family who ran the pub in the 1830’s, told me in 1999: “The ‘Lady in Blue’ appears as a very life-like woman with long hair (occasionally wearing a hood) in the back rooms of the pub, such that workers ask her “are you looking for the phone?”… then she disappears. She likes to move things around.. especially keys. A past resident (circa 1948) was trying to light the candles when someone unseen placed the matches into his hand. A few years ago she was seen carrying a try of empty beer bottles through the back door.” 

19th February 1998 – Landlord likes the ‘Inn crowd’: New landlord Stephen Tombleson has taken over at the Trouble House Inn in Tetbury, after giving up a life on the ocean wave. Stephen (42) worked on the catering side on private yachts and in the merchant navy before moving into banqueting in Southampton. He and his wife Shirley (43), who is an experienced cook, took over at The Trouble House last month, and have already been welcomed by the regulars.

“It’s good, we’re enjoying it,” said Stephen. “We’ve been welcomed by the regulars, who’ve all come in to say ‘hello’. The couple say they intend to do some alterations inside the pub in the future.

The Guardian Weekend, 27th January 2001 – ‘Eating Out’ – The Trouble House Inn. Article by Matthew Fort (edit): I had come across the name of The Trouble House Inn in the pages of the august organ of the hospitality trade, the euphoniously named Caterer & Hotelkeeper. Michael and Sarah Bedford had taken it over a couple of months back. In the pictures, they both look about 15, but they have some serious form behind them. He was head chef at the City Rhodes in London and she had been the smiling face of Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, where he had also worked. Obviously, he knew how to cook and she would know how to handle one discomposed husband, one distracted wife and one disputatious daughter.

It’s possible that Mr and Mrs Bedford have been at the Trouble House for such a short time that they haven’t had much time to work on a revamp of the place. With the possible exception of the plastic effect wood veneer around the front of the bar, my advice would be not to touch a thing. There’s some nice tongue-and-groove, some pleasant cream-and-dusty pink paintwork, a happily haphazard selection of tables and chairs, the odd photograph and a proper fire popping away quietly in the grate. And it’s warm and sort of lived in, without being shabby, and just really rather nice.

Good Wadworth beer too, 6X and IPA – a couple of pints which put me back on track to general cheerfulness. There is a perfectly decent wine list on which, if you discount the two champagnes, the most expensive is £18.90, a figure at which many a metropolitan wine list actually starts.

There’s nothing startling about the menu, aside possibly from the prices: the most expensive dish is £12. There are many staples of the contemporary kitchen – salmon fishcakes, mushroom risotto, lamb chump with ratatouille and rosemary gravy, pan-fried cod with olive oil mash, capers and parsley, sticky toffee pudding, et al – along with the disclaimer, “As all dishes are cooked and prepared to order, your meal may take extra time during busy periods.”

The booze bill came to the grand total of £7.70 and the food bill came to £50.70, which, let’s face it, is not bad for a family of three.

The Standard, 22nd January 2004 – Get into Trouble and be awarded with good food: The Trouble House, near Tetbury, has yet again been recognised by industry experts for its excellent food. The inn has received one star in the prestigious Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2004.

Michael Bedford, who runs the inn with his wife Sarah, said: “I think we were awarded this for the style of food we serve – modern British / French – and consistency. People are happy and keep coming back. Michael, who used to be head chef at City Rhodes, London, opened the business three years ago and the couple’s efforts have since paid off. Last year, the inn was awarded the titles of National Dining Pub of the Year and the South-West England Dining Pub of the Year in the Les Routiers Pubs and Inns Guide 2003.

March 2010 – Couple enjoy having Trouble on their hands: The renowned Trouble House in Tetbury has new hosts. Liam Parr, the former head chef in the conservatory at Calcot Manor, and his wife-to-be Shane have just launched their new menu. Its temptations at the Cirencester Road pub include braised Dutchy beef with creamed potatoes, which is available either as a starter or a main course, and Brixham crab gratin.

Liam and Shane, who used to be assistant manager at Calcot’s Gumstool Inn have moved into the Trouble House with their son, Xavier, two.

The Standard, Thursday 9th January 2014 – Raise a cup to historic pub’s new lease of life: Cakes and coffee will be the order of the day when a 17th century pub opens its doors following a makeover this month. For hundreds of years, the Trouble House on Cirencester Road in Tetbury has operated as a pub, but under new ownership it is being transformed into a café bar, where coffee shop items will be available alongside a selection of traditional pub fare. The new-look business is expected to be open by the end of this month under the management pf couples, Sally and Tim David, and Mariuz and Monika Dziamski.

Mrs David said: “It is a new concept. I know a lot of pubs do food all day, but you don’t expect to have nice cakes as well”. Mr Dziamski is also the chef for the new venue and has several years experience working for Tetbury catering firm Calcot Kitchens. Local traders will be providing much of the produce for the business which will also be renamed the Trouble House Cafe Bar.

The opening hours will be from 8am-5pm, Monday to Friday, and throughout the evenings on Friday and Saturday for dinner service.

What 3 Words: ///wiggly.twirls.remaking

Licensing Details:

Owner in 1891: Misses George (leased to William Warn, brewer)

Rateable value in 1891: £16.0s.0d.

Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse

Owner in 1903: Misses George (leased to William Warn, brewer)

Rateable value in 1903: £8.10s.0d.

Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse

Closing time in 1903: 10pm

Landlords at the Trouble House include:

1755 John Reeve

1757 John Bird

1768 Anna Taylor and Mary Vaughn (nee Taylor) (owners), Richard Reeve (lessee)

c1800 John Taylor Vaughan (son of Mary)

1804 -1830 Zebulon Harewell (died in 1830) Zebulon possibly brewed beer on the premises.

1830-1844 Zebulon Harewell junior (died in 1844)

1844  John Loversedge George (bought for £1,200)

1850-1891 Thomas White (born June 1821, died 1891)

1903 John William Warn

1906 William Sessions

1913,1927 William John Warn

1931 Agnes Wills

1937,1939 Thomas Tremlin

1943 Elizabeth Tremlin

1958-1974 William Walter ‘Laddie’ Peare (he died in July 2002, aged 79)

1974-1996 Patricia and David W. Robins

1996 James and Karen Pegler

1998,1999 Stephen and Shirley Tombleson

2001-2007 Michael and Sarah Bedford

2007 (Sept) Martin Caws

2010 Liam and Shane Parr

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