The Origins of Oxonmoot

The name “Oxonmoot” comes from moot, meaning “meeting” in Old English (like “Entmoot”), and Oxonium, the Latin name for Oxford. The spelling is not “Oxenmoot”.

The suggestion for Oxonmoot came from a John Abbot in an obscure fanzine called Nazgul, or The Wakefield Charivari. Under the heading “A Visit to Oxford?” (number 4, dated December 1973) John wrote:

What do you think of the idea of an Oxford Moot this year?
No, seriously.
Whilst watching the re-run of the television “Review” film about Professor Tolkien, it struck me that the Soc. might be interested in arranging an Official Visit dreaming spirewards.
Consider Oxford’s associations with the Professor, Lewis Carroll, Jessica Kemball-Cook and the Pre-Raphaelites, to name but a few.
Maybe some modest hotel could be selected as H.Q.; and perhaps a Grand Tour(s) organised to take in some of the Colleges, breweries and finer points of the City.
Anyway, you might like to register your thoughts with the Committee (not with NAZGUL, of course), so that they can consider the idea.
Do we have any Oxford experts to advise us, by the way?

The first Oxonmoot was held from September 13th to 15th 1974, based at The Welsh Pony. On the Saturday the attendees visited the Bodleian Library to see C.S. Lewis’s original map of ‘Narnia’, laid a wreath at Faith Tolkien’s bust of Tolkien in English Faculty Library, visited the churchyard of St. Cross in Holywell where Charles Williams is buried, lunched at The Eagle and Child (where a visiting American student who also happened to be a member of the Mythopoeic Society introduced himself and was invited to join the existing 16 as a 17th Oxonmooter), and visited Exeter and Merton Colleges later in the afternoon. On the Saturday evening they visited Priscilla Tolkien’s house, where Michael Tolkien and his wife Joan were also present.

On the Sunday they visited Wolvercote Cemetery , where they laid a wreath on the Tolkiens’ grave, and recited ‘A Elbereth Gilthoniel’.

Lunch was taken at The Trout Inn, where it was decided that Oxonmoot should henceforth be an annual event, since when Oxonmoot has steadily grown from that initial handful of Tolkien fans meeting in an Oxford pub to the respected annual academic and social event we know today.

List of past Oxonmoots