The pub’s name dates from 1684 and supposedly stems from the crest of the Earl of Derby, the image referring to a story of a noble-born baby having been found in an eagle’s nest. Locally, the pub is known as the Bird and Baby. Owned by University College from the 1600s, it is now the property of St. John’s College. Legend has it that an underground passage links the two buildings under St. Giles.
The pub is famous for its connections to the Inklings, an Oxford writers’ group which included C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien who would meet up on a Monday or Tuesday lunchtime in the Rabbit Room, a private lounge at the back of the pub.
It was also one of the many Oxford pubs frequented by Bill Clinton when a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. Colin Dexter, the author of the Inspector Morse series of books was also a frequent visitor, and it is featured in an episode of Lewis.
The Eagle and Child is situated on St. Giles, opposite St. John’s College.