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J R R Tolkein’s Hobbit Home For Sale

If you’re a Tolkein fan and have £4.5M to spare, you can now buy a piece of literary history.

The house in which Tolkein lived and in which he is believed to have written The Hobbit and worked on The Lord of the Rings is up for sale.

It’s a six bedroom brick house built in 1924 in a quiet suburb of Oxford. The estate agents describe it as “largely unaltered” which means you’d be moving into a property substantially as it was when it was occupied by J. J R. Tolkein and his family.

This house was quite a step up from their previous home in a four bedroom terraced house in Warwickshire. Incidentally that house, built in 1906, went on sale for £285,000 in June 2017.

J R R Tolkein’s home: What’s On Offer

A rather pleasant house it would seem. it’s quite a spacious house of almost 4,000 sq feet in one of the most desirable suburbs of Oxford. Number 20 Northmoor Road comes with six bedrooms, two reception rooms, a kitchen/breakfast room and a walk-in pantry.

The agents describe the rooms as “Well-proprtioned and filled with natural light, enhanced by the high ceilings and large windows.”

But it’s the association with Tolkein that really makes the house special. The author lived next door at number 20 between 1926 and 1930. But in 1930 he and his wife Edith and at least three of their four children moved into the larger property at number 22.

The first two books in Lord Of The Rings are believed to have been written in this house. Tolkein apparently used the drawing room as his study, typing his manuscripts using only two fingers on an old manual typewriter.

I think this is how the drawing room looks today.

The house doesn’t have any particular architectural features but was nevertheless awarded Grade II listed status in 2004. simply on the basis of the association with Tolkein. A blue plaque on an outside wall commemorates the link.

In 1945, the family left Northmoor Road, two years before Tolkein left Pembroke College where he had been a Fellow and Professor of Anglo-Saxon. In 1945 he moved to Merton College, Oxford, becoming the Merton Professor of English Language and Literature.

The identity of the new owner of 20 Northmoor Road isn’t known but in 2004 it changed hands for more than £1.5m. Was the new owner just lucky and got in before the Grade 2 classification was announced which would have put the price up?

Nomadic Existence

Where did the Tolkein’s go after Northmoor? They moved around the Oxford area for a number of years, initially in the city centre near to the colleges. Perhaps this coincided with Tolkein’s new post as Professor of English Language and Literature at Merton College. Perhaps the new residences were prompted by a desire to be nearer to the college or maybe the Tolkeins were looking for a smaller house perhaps because the children had grown up and moved away?

In 1949 they were living at 3 Manor Road. in central Oxford but in about May 1950 they moved 99 Holywell Street, a house built in the early seventeenth century. Both of these were close to the colleges.

99 Holywell Street., Oxford J R R Tolkein lived here in the 1950s

They were on he move again in 1953, this time to a house outside the city in the suburb of Headington. While living at number 76 Sandfield Road, Headington, Tolkein published three books in the Lord of the Ring cycle :The Fellowship of the Ring (1954); The Two Towers (1954) and The Return of the King (1955).

Sandfield Road, occupied by J R R Tolkein from 1953-1968. Tolkien worked in the garage on the left of this photograph,

The publication of these books brought literary fame and increased public interest in Tolkien. The attention of fans became so intense that the couple removed their phone number from the public directory. It also drove them out of Oxford – Tolkein and his wife moved to Bournemouth in search of a quieter life in 1968.

Tolkein’s final residence was back in Oxford. Edith his wife died in 1971 and Tolkein was offered accommodation in Merton College, Oxford, close to the High Street. It was here he died in September 1973.

#12Days of Christmas book game: day 5

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Five Gold Rings


Day 5 of the 12 Days of Christmas game and giveaway.

A bit later than planned today sorry but at last we get a respite from the birds. Only a temporary one unfortunately because tomorrow we are back with them so lets enjoy the break when we can. Today we need to find book titles, cover images, author names etc  that match the fifth line of the song The Twelve Days of Christmas.  So we need book titles or author names or cover images reflecting the idea of gold, rings or five. Should be easy??

Booker Talk Titles for Day 

This was rather easy today…..

Goldfinger by Ian Fleming: this wasn’t too hard to think of because I was sorting out some boxes last week and found my husband’s collection of Fleming’s James Bond series that he has kept since about the 1970s.  It’s seventh novel in the series and was  published in  1959. Goldfinger. I admit to never having read anything by Fleming nor have I seen the recent film versions.

Lord of the Rings by J.  R. R Tolkein Another novel I have never read despite its status as one of the best-selling novels of all time. It  began as a sequel to Tolkien’s 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit, but eventually developed into a much larger work written in stages between 1937 and 1949, . I did try The Hobbit because it was talked about so much in the sixth form and then university but it did nothing for me. It’s this experience that made me realise I don’t take too well to novels with talking animals.

Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell. I do remember enjoying this autobiographical story of how Maxwell, a naturalist, brought an otter back from his travels in Iraq and raised it at his home in Scotland. Eventually it was discovered to be a previously unknown sub species – subsequently named in honour of Maxwell.

Now over to you – here’s How to Play:

Come up with book titles or book images or anything book related (could be the name of a location mentioned in the book or a character) that matches with gold rings  Let’s see how creative you can be. I’m looking ideally for 3 titles/images etc . You can mix and match your nominations.

Put your titles into the comments field of that day’s post. Don’t just give me the name since you could easily get that from a Google search – tell us something about the book itself. Why did you choose these titles – are they from your TBR or ones you’ve seen mentioned on a blog. Please try not to just use lists from Goodreads etc.

Feel free to blog about this on your own site or via Twitter using the #12days hashtag

The Giveaway

There’s an incentive to play along with this which is a giveaway of a book up to the value of $20 USD from the Book Depository

To participate, your list of books must be in the comments field by 10pm GMT/5pm Eastern Standard Time on Tuesday Dec 6.

Day by Day Prompts

Day 1:   Partridge in a Pear Tree
Day 2:   Turtle Doves
Day 3:    French Hens
Day 4:   Calling Birds
Day 5:    Gold Rings
Day 6:   Geese a-Laying
Day 7:   Swans a-Swimming
Day 8:   Maids a-Milking
Day 9:   Ladies Dancing
Day 10:  Lords a-Leaping
Day 11:   Pipers Piping
Day 12:   Drummers Drumming

Rules of the Game

1.Each day a post will go live on booker matched to the task for that day. All you to do is post a comment with your list of books on the page

2. Each day try to come up with 3 titles. No need to think of 11 books featuring pipers or eight with maids in them. This is meant to be fun not mission impossible…..

3. Participants are encouraged to be creative with the names of titles matching each day. But the books do need to be in existence – no scope here for making up your own titles.

4. The number of contributions per person will be totalled and the one with the highest number will win the prize. So if you post three titles for day 6 and 5 on day 11, that gives a total of 8 points.

5. Contributions should be entered on the page within the time limit stated each day – typically I will give 48 hours between the time I post the day’s challenge and when comments will be closed.

6. You don’t need to play every day in order to be entered for the prize. Some days will be easier than others – and anyway you have all that shopping and packing still to do

7. There is only one prize – available internationally. The Prize winner will be announced on the blog around about the 15th of December.

6. The prize is that you get to choose a book up to the value of $20 USD from the Book Depository that I will arrange to ship to you. This will probably not arrive until next year given the last postage dates for international mail.


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