Nos. 12–13: Lamb & Flag Inn

Lamb & Flag

The main section of the Lamb & Flag (No. 12) has been an alehouse since about 1695, and parts of the original building still remain.

The taller, very narrow house on the left of this photograph appears to have been taken over by the pub c.1900.

Nos. 12 and 13 are each Grade II listed (List Entry Nos. 1338861 and 1047134respectively).

St John’s College bought 12 St Giles from Godstow Abbey, and opened a tavern here in 1695. The college named it after the two symbols of St John the Baptist: a lamb and a flag, shown on the inn’s sign. Lamb & Flag Passage runs through the south side of the pub and leads into Museum Road and on to Parks Road

Hall’s Brewery took a lease on the pub from St John’s in 1829.

By 1963 it was a Phipps pub (a Northampton Brewery later taken over by Watneys).

In 1999 the college took back the licence and now offers financial support to D.Phil. students from the pub’s profits, offering Lamb & Flag studentships worth up to £12,000 a year. The first three scholarships were awarded in 2003.

At the time of the Survey of Oxford in 1772, No. 12 was in the occupation of Mrs Hicks (with its frontage recorded as 9 yards 2 feet 6 inches), and No. 13 in the occupation of Mr Williams (with the very narrow frontage of 3 yards 2 feet 2 inches).

In the early nineteenth century many auctions (of houses, land, horses, and tolls) took place in the Lamb & Flag. The landlord in the 1820s was George Randall or Randell. He died in early 1830, his widow Ann Randall (née Kirby) put the following notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 20 February 1830:

Mrs Randall's notice

By August 1840 the landlord of the Lamb & Flag was Samuel Bough, and the 1841 census shows him, aged 28, living at No. 12 with his wife Ellen, an ostler, and two female servants. The tall narrow house next door, No. 13, was occupied by a 60-year-old lady of independent means, Miss Mary Bunce, and her 15-year-old servant.

In 1849 William Bayzand, formerly of the Maidenhead Inn, took over the Lamb & Flag, and inserted an advertisement to that effect in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 8 September 1849, adding:

Well-aired Beds, extensive Stables, and Lock-up Coach-houses.— Dealer in Hay, Corn, &c.

Miss Bunce was still there in 1851, with her older sister Mrs Letitia Betts (85) and a servant, while the innkeeper next door was William Bayzand. He is described as the employer of one man, and lived at No. 12 with his wife and six children and two house servants.

By 1861 Bayzand was calling himself a “hotel keeper”, while his eldest son, also William, was a cab proprietor. Miss Bunce was still at No. 13 at the age of 84: she then had one servant and two lodgers (Mrs Sarah Bowell, a “railway share proprietor” of 64, and a widowed gentlewoman of 79. Elizabeth Bliss).

In 1881 the landlord of the Lamb & Flag was John Knibbs, aged 49, who lived here with his wife, a barmaid, and a general servant. No. 13 was occupied by the tailor David Clifford and his wife, three children, his aunt, and his shop assistant, plus a cook and a housemaid.

Occupants listed in censuses and directories


12 St Giles

13 St Giles

By 1823–1840

Lamb & Flag:
George Randall (by 1823–1830)
Ann Randall (1830–1840)



Samuel Bough or Bow
Inn Keeper

Mary Bunce


Lamb & Flag: Richard Gurden

Mrs Letitia Betts


Lamb & Flag: Thomas Harris


1849, 1852

Lamb & Flag: William Bayzand

John Looker, Attorney
Mrs Letitia Betts


Mrs Mary Bunce


Lamb & Flag:Thomas Wood
Cab & fly proprietor
and licensed victualler


Miss Procter
Mantle & millinery magasin


David Price Clifford
Tailor & hosier


Lamb & Flag:
J. Knibbs

Cab & fly proprietor
and licensed victualler


William Herman
Cabinet maker, upholsterer,
decorator, & undertaker


Lamb & Flag
John Rhodes

Cab & fly proprietor

D. P. Clifford
Tailor & hosier


J. F. Furby
Tailor, hatter, & shirtmaker


Hatch & Co.*
Japanese warehouse


Lamb & Flag Inn

John Rhodes (1889–1910)
Albert Paine (1911–1923)

Lamb & Flag Hotel
with Lamb & Flag (later Bishop’s) Garage to 1937

Frank J. E. Richards (1925–1929)
Stanley M. Richards (1930–1949)
A. J. Going (1952–1954)
Charles Ludbrook (1956)

Landlords not listed in directories after 1956

* After 1899, there are no listings for No. 13, suggesting that it was taken in to the inn next door that year. Between 1937 and 1955, however, it was also the office of the Registrar of Births & Deaths for the Oxford sub-district, before it moved across the road to No. 42.

St Giles’ home

Stephanie Jenkins

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