The Trouble House Inn
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 the current owners Tim & Sally David. They have every intention of retaining the Trouble House’s historic connections with local breweries, but are hoping to avoid any more trouble!