Historic 'Lord of the Rings' pub in Oxford to close after 450 years

·Contributor
·2-min read

Watch: Oxford’s famous Lamb and Flag to close

The Lamb and Flag, the famous Oxford pub frequented by J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Thomas Hardy, will close its doors after 450 years.

Oxford University's St John's College, which owns the site, confirmed the news, stating that the closure is due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Steve Elston, deputy bursar of St John’s, said: “The Lamb and Flag, like many other businesses in the hospitality industry, has been hard hit by the pandemic.

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“Despite the best efforts of the staff and looking at every option to keep it open, the trading figures of the last 12 months have meant that the pub is not currently financially viable.

The Lamb and Flag is seen as the Grade-II listed pub is forced to close, after more than 400 years of business, following outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in central Oxford, Britain, January 25, 2021.  REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
The Lamb and Flag (Credit: REUTERS/Eddie Keogh)

“Also the college, as a charity, is not allowed to financially support a loss-making business that is not part of its core charitable objectives.”

The college had directed profits from the pub to fund scholarships for graduate students since 1997.

Though the pub briefly re-opened in August, it failed to break even, and will now officially cease trading on 31 January.

A sign for The Lamb and Flag is seen as the Grade-II listed pub is forced to close, after more than 400 years of business, following outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in central Oxford, Britain, January 25, 2021.  REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
A sign for The Lamb and Flag (Credit: REUTERS/Eddie Keogh)

It first opened on a different site in 1566, before moving to its current location on St Giles in 1613.

Tolkien was a regular customer at the hostel, as was CS Lewis, writer of the Chronicles of Narnia series of novels.

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Thomas Hardy was said to have written much of his novel Jude The Obscure, set in a fictionalised version of Oxford, on the premises.

On screen, the pub has also featured in episodes of Inspector Morse and Endeavour, and it's also mentioned by name in the novel Children of Men, by P.D. James, later adapted by Alfonso Cuarón in 2006 starring Clive Owen and Julianne Moore.

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