Join us on June 3rd - City of Inspiration: The role of Oxford in the life and work of Evelyn Waugh and as catalyst for new writing in 2019

Join us on Monday 3rd June for a dynamic evening of readings and discussion as we welcome Dr Barbara Cooke (Co - Executive Editor of the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh) back to the Abingdon Arms, to read from her 2018 publication, Evelyn Waugh's Oxford. Dr Cooke will be in good company as she will be joined by poet, Dr Robert M. Francis and playwright, Ms Sophie Swithinbank, both of whom will be performing readings of new, Oxford - inspired writing, created during their time as the 2019 David Bradshaw Creative Writers in Residence, at Worcester College and the Bodleian Library.

For more information about the Complete Works project, The David Bradshaw Creative Writing Residency and our guest speakers, please visit:


As was discussed last year when a blue plaque was installed to commemorate Evelyn Waugh’s colourful association with The Abingdon Arms, a Creative Writing Residency has been established to draw on Waugh’s creativity and to inspire new literary creation – see

It is hoped that the writer in residence will develop links with Beckley and The Abingdon Arms, possibly including delivery of a talk in our literary programme. But more immediately, would any resident of our community like to apply for the writing residency?

Anyone reading this newsletter who is interested in applying for the residency, please note that applications close at 5pm on Friday 15th March.

New Laminated Ordnance Survey Map of Otmoor and the surrounding villages

BACBS has commissioned a small, folding, laminated OS-based map of the Otmoor area with the aim of encouraging residents and visitors alike to walk, cycle, to enjoy our lovely countryside and its amenities – the pubs, shops, nature reserves and other points of interest. The maps are available for sale (£4.50) at The Abingdon Arms, Stanton St John and Islip Village Shops, and the Ampleforth Arms (Risinghurst), Talkhouse (Stanton St John), White Horse (Forest Hill), Nut Tree (Murcott) and Crown (Charlton on Otmoor) pubs.

We want to recruit more walk leaders, and volunteers to help us map local routes for an on-line collection of local walks and cycle rides. If you are interested, please contact Mike Hobbs -

Burns Night Dinner 25th January

Celebrate the life of the great Scottish Bard, Robert Burns at the Abingdon Arms

The evening will feature a traditional Scottish three course menu along with a Scottish piper and readings of the some of the Bard's poems.

What better way to warm the cockles during the coldest month than with friends, delicious food and liberal drams of whisky. Click here for the menu

Tickets are £25 per person and available at The Abingdon Arms 01865 655667

Abingdon Arms to get accessible facilities after being awarded grants by SODC and the More than a Pub Scheme

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We are delighted to announce that South Oxfordshire District Council has awarded us (the Beckley & Area Community Benefit Society) a Community Capital Grant of up to £101,000 towards the cost of constructing a fully accessible toilet block and other access improvements at The Abingdon Arms. 
This will enable us to proceed with the project, in conjunction with the £50,000 grant from the “More than a Pub” scheme and £50,000 matched-loan from Co-operative and Community Finance. 
We hope to start construction in the Autumn.


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Evelyn Waugh Blue Plaque Unveiling

Alexander Waugh, Evelyn Waugh's grandson unveiled the plaque on the evening of Saturday 28th July. 

The ceremony coincided with the same date the author enjoyed a feast in a barn next to the pub in 1924. Evelyn Waugh recalled in his diary: “Until about 3am in the morning the whole village sat and ate and drank and danced and sang.” Click here for more information about Waugh's association with the Abingdon Arms.

In tribute to this memory, diners enjoyed a four-course feast after the unveiling, based on dishes mentioned in his diary.

More details of the evening are available in the Oxford Mail.

Alexander Waugh unveils  the blue plaque commemorating his grandfather Evelyn's colourful association with the Abingdon Arms

Alexander Waugh unveils  the blue plaque commemorating his grandfather Evelyn's colourful association with the Abingdon Arms