Lamb & Flag, Oxford

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The Lamb & Flag is a pub in St Giles' Street, Oxford, England. It is owned by St John's College, and profits fund DPhil student scholarships.

The Lamb & Flag
Lamb and Flag.jpg
Lamb & Flag pub
Lamb & Flag, Oxford is located in Oxford city centre
Lamb & Flag, Oxford
Location within Central Oxford
General information
Address12 St Giles',Oxford, OX1 3JS
Coordinates51°45′27″N 1°15′34″W / 51.7574°N 1.2594°W / 51.7574; -1.2594Coordinates: 51°45′27″N 1°15′34″W / 51.7574°N 1.2594°W / 51.7574; -1.2594
OwnerSt John's College, Oxford

The pub lies just north of the main entrance to St John's College, who manage it. The Lamb & Flag Passage runs through the south side of the building, connecting St Giles' with Museum Road, where there is an entrance to Keble College to the rear of the pub.

The name of the pub comes from the symbol of Christ as the victorious Lamb of God (Agnus Dei) of the Book of Revelation, carrying a banner with a cross, and often gashed in the side. This is also a symbol of St John the Baptist, and so is emblematic of ownership by the College of St John the Baptist.


The Lamb had been operating since at least 1566, situated just south of St John's.[2] In 1613[1] the college moved the pub to its current site (the old site is today the Dolphin Quadrangle).[2] Though owned by the college, this new site was somewhat further away from the college's main buildings. Since the pub's move, construction of the Sir Thomas White and Kendrew Quadrangles in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has led to the pub being once again close to St John's activities.

St John's took over the management of the pub in 1997, and now uses all pub profits to fund scholarships for graduate students.[3] The pub is a Grade II listed building[4]

Popular cultureEdit

It is believed that Thomas Hardy wrote much of his novel Jude the Obscure in this pub.[citation needed] In this novel, the city of Christminster is a thinly-disguised Oxford, and it is thought that a pub that appears in certain passages of the novel is based on The Lamb & Flag. The pub also featured frequently in episodes of the ITV detective drama Inspector Morse,[5] and in the pilot episode of Endeavour. The Inklings (a literary group including C.S. Lewis) also met here, although they are more commonly associated with the Eagle and Child, which also stands on St. Giles, directly opposite the Lamb & Flag.

Additionally, the pub is mentioned in P.D. James' book "The Children of Men".


  1. ^ a b Riordan, Michael (2011). "St. John, the College and the Merchant Taylors' Company". Archived from the original on 2016-03-23.
  2. ^ a b *Stevenson, William Henry; Salter, Herbert Edward (1939). The Early History of St. John's College, Oxford. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  3. ^ St John's College, Oxford. "Lamb and Flag Scholarships". Archived from the original on 2016-04-09. Retrieved 2016-03-23.
  4. ^ Historic England. "Lamb and Flag Inn  (Grade II) (1338861)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  5. ^ Tim Reynolds (2003-11-04). "College uses pub's profits to 'reach the places other awards cannot reach'". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-03-23.

External linksEdit