by Rosalind Miles
Famous Oxford inn The Eagle and Child has been put up for sale for £1.2m.
The landmark St Giles pub – popularly known as “The Bird and Baby” – was the favourite watering hole of writers CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein, and has belonged to University College since the 16th century. The college is selling The Eagle and Child, two adjoining shops and flats, as fully let investments, earning £90,950 per year. The pub and the shops will continue to trade as normal.
Frank Marshall, the college’s estates bursar, said: “The college is looking afresh into its investments and is rebalancing its portfolio.”
Rupert Sheppard, of Oxford estate agent James Styles & Whitlock, which is handling the sale, said: “It’s rare for properties so full of historic interest to be made available for sale.”
The building has been a pub since 1650. It was named in honour of the Earl of Derby, whose family crest features a coronet with an eagle and child.
It belonged to a Thomas Gold of Oxford, who left it to his son on thecondition he if he ever sold the building, the buyer should be University College.
From 1939 to 1962 ‘The Inklings’ – JRR Tolkein, author of The Lord of the Rings, and CS Lewis, creator of the Chronicles of Narnia, and theirfriends – gathered every Tuesday morning in a parlour known as the Rabbit Room. The area towards the back of the pub now has a plaque, photos and mementoes of the writers.
During the Civil War the buildings were the pay house for the Royalistsoldiers of Charles I, when Oxford was his temporary capital.