The original Waggon and Horses was a tiny twin gabled alehouse situated in London Road. The address in 1927 is 6 London Road, and latterly 11 London Road (1939 directory)
The pub has been enlarged over the years (possibly even rebuilt). When John Logan took over the Waggon and Horses in 1986 it was tied to Courage Brewery but the freehold was bought in the early 1990’s. It was then free of tie.
The Waggon and Horses purchased by Gibbs Mew of Salisbury in 1997 (although at the time of the acquisition Gibbs Mew were no longer brewing beer and were operating as a pub chain).
Wilts & Glos Standard – Advertising feature, May 1997. “All change at the Waggon & Horses”: The winds of change are blowing at the Waggon & Horses, London Road, Cirencester, which has recently been acquired by Gibbs Mew Brewery. Gibbs Mew had been searching for some time for a suitable hostelry in the area and in May the Waggon & Horses with all its charm provided them with just the right opportunity to expand their operation in the Cotswolds.
To act as your hosts at the Waggon & Horses, Gibbs Mew have brought in the capable duo of Tony and Rosemarie Darwen, who between them boast over 30 years experience in the catering, pub and hotel business, their most recent venture being a small hotel and village pub near Salisbury. Two of their pubs have been added to the CAMRA Good Beer Guide as a result of Tony’s passion for real ale.
Rosemarie is herself a fully qualified chef de cuisine, having worked in a number of prestigious kitchens over the years. The Waggon & Horses’ extensive and tempting menu is augmented each day by both daily and lunchtime specials. Meals range from a snack to mouth-watering chef’s specialities and they can be enjoyed in the bar, the charming restaurant or, weather permitting, on the patio on the rear of the pub.
There is also a small function room available for parties, meetings, etc and Tony and Rose will be happy to provide anything from just drinks to a full blown buffet or sit down meal if required.
Wilts & Glos Standard, 18th September 1997: Publicans who have only been in the town for a few months were the overall winners of the Cirencester in Bloom competition. The Waggon and Horses won the award for the best pub or restaurant. Runners up were the Slug and Lettuce and Harry Hare.
Wilts & Glos Standard, 19th February 1998: Pub to be taken over: The Waggon & Horses pub, London Road, Cirencester, is to be taken over by Enterprise Inns at the end of the month. Salisbury brewery Gibbs Mew and its 300 pubs have been bought by Enterprise Inns – a company based in Solihull who own about 1,500 pubs, including the chain of Berni Inns.
Proprietor Tony Darwen, who has been at the pub since May 1997, said: “We are very positive about the take-over. It means we can offer a wider range of well-known beers and an extensive food menu.”
The pub kitchen is presently undergoing a major re-construction costing about £12,000.
Wilts & Glos Standard, 8th July 1999 – Fish and chips, please – and make it snappy: Diners at the Waggon and Horses in Cirencester will have the chance to snap up shark steaks next week, after the chef took delivery of a five-footer alongside the usual salmon and trout. The 23lb shark ended up at the pub after the supplier, M & J Seafoods of Love Lane, Cirencester, mentioned they had some ‘unusual’ fish. Alongside parrot fish and conger eel was a shark.
Rosemarie Darwen, chef and landlady, said: “I was more than a bit surprised to find a whole 5ft long shark in the delivery. I’d never seen one up close and it was not quite what I expected.” Customers will be able to get their teeth into the shark when it hits the menu next week. Mrs Darwen said: “If it’s a success we’ll certainly get it again – but next time in pieces.”
The head of the mini-jaws has been given to County Infants in Cirencester where the children will have a chance to see it close up.
Wilts & Glos Standard, Thursday 28th October 1999 – The new taste of Waggon meals (Advertisement): The tram at the Waggon & Horses have been busy remodelling the old restaurant and giving it a new image. In the 1970’s the room was a Steak Bar called The Ostlers Room. When the main restaurant was built on to the bar in 1995 it fell into disuse and was rarely used.
It now has a very warm, friendly atmosphere, due to the new decorations and wall hangings, not to mention the central heating. Christmas menus are now available and, with a choice of two eating areas, each accommodating up to 30 diners, at the Waggon we can give you a really great choice for your parties
The one thing we don’t have is a name for the new room, so we are running a competition. The prize is a meal for two, including a bottle of wine. All you have to do is see the room for yourself and make your suggestion.
Wilts & Glos Standard, 6th December 2001 – Pulling some quality pints: The landlord of the Waggon and Horses public house in Cirencester is celebrating his success in pulling quality pints. Tony Darwen has been awarded a certificate of excellence from national organisation Cask Marque, for the ale served at the Waggon in London Road. The award is only given to landlords who consistently serve beer at the correct temperature, and also if it has the right appearance, aroma and taste. It is the only pub in the Cotswolds to have this award, which allows the pub to display a blue and cream hand pump logo, alerting potential customers.
Wilts & Glos Standard, 20th December 2007: Pair soldier on for pub success: After a turbulent few months the Waggon and Horses pub is back in business with Cirencester’s youngest landlords in charge. The pub in London Road was closed in August but Ben Norton, 30, and Victoria Mattock, 31, fell in love with it and on a visit to the town and made the brave move to take over the running of it.
After serving in Afghanistan and Iraq while he was in the army, Ben will now be serving up pints for the locals. He said:” It has been hard work building the Waggon from nothing. Anyone thinking of starting as a landlord in today’s market needs to be optimistic and determined to see it through.”
Victoria, who met Ben when she was working in the officer’s mess in Colchester, grew up in Cirencester and after ten years of being away she was determined to come back to her roots. She is now the chef at the pub and business is growing quickly as news of her culinary expertise spreads by world of mouth. “It is hard work but being our own bosses we get the reward ourselves,” she said.
The couple plan to refurbish the inside of the pub in January.
In March 2019 an application to Cotswold District Council for change of use from public house to 4 x 2-bed flats and 1 x 1-bed flats and associated demolitions and alterations at The Waggon And Horses London was declined for the following reasons:
‘The loss of the public house and associated holiday accommodation is
considered to be detrimental to the vitality and viability of a part of the
Cirencester Central Area which is rapidly changing. The proposal would
diminish the towns cultural and tourism offerings, without sufficient justification,
which is considered to be contrary to Local Plan Policy S3 and chapter 7 of the
Wilts and Glos Standard (online), 26th September 2019: Plans to turn an empty historic pub into flats was approved yesterday, in what was described as a sad day for Cirencester. Councillors at Cotswold District Council’s Full Council meeting approved an application to turn the Waggon and Horses, on London Road, into five flats.
The Waggon and Horses has been closed since January 2018 when its previous tenants licence expired. To begin, councillors got a report of the application, with the officer recommending that the application be approved. Cirencester Town Council objected on the grounds of “detrimental” loss to the vitality and viability of the town centre, and would diminish the towns cultural and tourism offerings.
Throughout the meeting, Cirencester’s Cllr Patrick Coleman and Cllr Roly Hughes urged councillors to return to the appeal, as the did two weeks ago. Cotswold District Councillor Joe Harris reflected on the application. He said: “This part of town needs facilities to make it more interesting, and a bit less boring, to be honest, with the exception of the Barn Theatre. But I don’t think its up to us to discuss that today. The biggest problem, firstly its on a main road and secondly its [the Waggon and Horses’] lack of a garden, especially in the summer. It’s worth taking into account, once we lose a pub, we can’t get it back.”
Cllr Stephen Hirst then proposed that the council approve the recommendation which was seconded by Cllr Tony Berry, before it turned to councillor’s comments. Cllr Gary Selwyn said: “I live about 100 yards [from the Waggon and Horses] and have for around 30 years. Given the numbers of housing that we need in this district, and this is within walking distance of the town centre, on balance, I prefer the installation of housing than one of many pubs.
Cllr Roly Hughes said: “16 pubs have closed in the last few years in the town. It would be a sad day in Cirencester if this pub is not saved.” Cllr Robin Hughes disagreed with Roly and said: “I think it will be far more valuable to have five low-cost units.”
Cllr Ray Brassington urged councillors to make a decision on valid planning reasons whilst Mark Harris was left unsure. He said: “I’m torn on this, I don’t know what way to go.”
It then went to a vote where councillors voted 15-9 in favour of plans to turn the pub into flats. It is a third time a vote has gone to council. A bid at the start of the year was rejected by the planning council. A second bid was put before the planning committee earlier this month, but councillors failed to reach an agreement and the application was put through to the full council.
Developer CDMC Properties Ltd. will now demolish and alter parts of the pub, to make way for flats.
Owner in 1891: Richard Cole (leased to Cirencester Brewery)
Rateable Value in 1891: £16.15s.0d.
Type of license in 1891: Alehouse
Owner in 1903: Richard Cole (leased to Cirencester Brewery)
Rateable Value in 1903: £16.15s.0d.
Type of license in 1903: Alehouse
Closing time in 1903: 11pm
Landlords at the Waggon & Horses include:
1820 John Gilding, Dyer Street
1830 John Golding
1840,1856 Richard Cole
1871 Charles Warren (Waggon & Horses Inn, Dyer Street)
1885,1910 John Baston
1913 J.W. Humphreys
1919,1927 John Humphreys
1939 John Thomas Weaver
1986-1997 John Logan
1997,2001 Tony and Rosemarie Darwen
2007 Ben Norton and Victoria Mattock