[<< wikipedia] The Eagle and Child
The Eagle and Child, nicknamed The Bird and Baby, is a pub in St Giles' Street, Oxford, England, owned by St. John's College, Oxford and operated by Mitchells & Butlers as a Nicholson's pub. The pub had been part of an endowment belonging to University College since the 17th century. It has associations with the Inklings writers' group which included J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. In 2005, 25 other pubs had the same name.


== History ==

A small, narrow building, the pub reputedly served as the lodgings of the Chancellor of the Exchequer during the English Civil War (1642–49), when Oxford was the Royalist capital.  The landmark served as a pay house for the Royalist army, and pony auctions were held in the rear courtyard. These claims are inconsistent with the earliest date usually given for construction of the pub, 1650, and the fact that the pub lies outside the city walls may also give some cause for doubt.
The first record of the pub's name is from 1684, and is said to derive from the crest of the Earl of Derby, with a story of a noble-born baby found in an eagle's nest. The child was called Oskatel and was found by Sir Thomas Lathom, who became father-in-law to Sir John Stanley. The pub's long-standing nickname is the Bird and Baby.The pub had been part of an endowment belonging to University College since the 17th century. The college placed it on the market for £1.2 million in December 2003, saying that it needed to rebalance its property portfolio. It was bought by the nearby St John's College, which also owns the Lamb and Flag pub opposite. The Eagle and Child is a Grade II listed building.


== Literary connections ==

The Inklings was an Oxford writers' group which included C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield, and Hugo Dyson. From late 1933, they met on Thursday evenings at Lewis's college rooms at Magdalen, where they would read and discuss various material, including their unfinished manuscripts. These meetings were accompanied with more informal lunchtime gatherings at various Oxford pubs which coalesced into a regular meeting held on Monday or Tuesday lunchtimes at The Eagle and Child, in a private lounge at the back of the pub called the 'Rabbit Room'.The formal Thursday meetings ended in October 1949 when interest in the readings finally petered out, but the meetings at the Eagle and Child continued, and it was at one of those meetings in June 1950 that C.S. Lewis distributed the proofs for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.The membership of the Inklings changed over the years, Tolkien, for example, drifted away from the meetings in the late 1950s. But Lewis, who had lived around Oxford since 1921, was a central figure until his death in 1963. The Eagle and Child was modernised in 1962, with the pub being extended to the rear. The Rabbit Room's former privacy was inevitably destroyed leading to the group's reluctant change of allegiance to the Lamb & Flag at the other side of St Giles.More recently, the pub featured in Colin Dexter's novel The Secret of Annexe 3, in which Inspector Morse and Sergeant Lewis read the wooden plaque to the Inklings in the pub's back bar.


== Notes ==


== References ==
Brind, R. K. (2005). A guide to the C.S. Lewis Tour in Oxford. London: Janus. ISBN 9781857566260.
Carpenter, Humphrey (1977). J.R.R. Tolkien: A biography. HarperCollins.
Carpenter, Humphrey (1979). The Inklings: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, and their friends. Ballantyne.
Duriez, Colin (2003). Tolkien and C.S. Lewis: the gift of friendship. Mahwah, New Jersey: Hidden Spring. ISBN 978-1587680267.
Edwards, B.L. (2007). C.S. Lewis: an examined life. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger. ISBN 978-0313082085.
Rothwell, David (2006). The Wordsworth Dictionary of Pub Names. Ware, Herefordshire: Wordsworth Editions. ISBN 978-1840222661.


== External links ==
Eagle and Child pub website
Oxford History: Eagle and Child
Tolkien's Oxford: The Bird and Baby
The C. S. Lewis Foundation website
Eagle and Child Pub: Oxford, England
The Eagle and Child Pub
Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1047147)". National Heritage List for England.