+ John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973) was born
in South Africa and moved to England when he was a small
From a young age, Tolkien developed a love of words and
created a language called 'animalic' which he shared with
At university Tolkien was a major scholar of the English
language, specialising in Old and Middle English.
He wrote a number of stories, including The Hobbit (1937)
and The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955), which are set in
a world which he called by the Middle English name of
This imaginery land was inhabited by Men (and women),
Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, Orcs (or Goblins) and of course
Park is a quarter of a mile south-west of Lydney.
Lord of the Rings film trilogy is set to become one of the biggest
movie successes ever - but exactly where did its author JRR Tolkien
get his inspiration for the mystical landscapes of Middle Earth?
Hill at Lydney Park Estate.
the magical and intricate landscapes spring straight from Tolkien's
vivid imagination or were they subconscious reworkings of landscapes
he had seen before?
According to Sylvia Jones, curator and tourism manager at Viscount
Bledisloe's estate in Lydney, Tolkien was surely influenced by the
ancient Roman archeological site that he worked on at Lydney Park,
As part of an archaeological dig, run by the eminent Sir Mortimer
Wheeler, Tolkien worked and advised on the site of an old Roman
temple, known as Dwarf's Hill.
It seems probable that Tolkien was inspired in some way by the
folklore attached to the hill.....it seems so much like Hobbiton,
that we think he found some of his inspiration here.
Jones, Curator of Lydney Park Estate
upon an earlier Iron Age settlement, the hill was riddled with tunnels
and open cast iron mines known as Scowles, and Tolkien is said to
have been very taken with the whole area.
Rumour has it that within 20 years of the Romans leaving, the local
people forgot it had been a Roman settlement and thought the crumbling
ruins were the homes of little people, dwarves and hobgoblins and
they were afraid of the hill.
The site then languished for approximately 1,000 years because of
the fear surrounding the area.
Tolkien even wrote a chapter in Wheeler's book about the Roman excavations
and on reading it you can see the influences of his research reflected
in the Lord of the Ring tales.
Tales of everlasting fights and endless battles, mythological figures,
forgotten gods and heroic characters with unusual names, all spring
from the pages.
Lydney Park the inspiration for Hobbiton?
was during this time that Tolkien was working on The Hobbit and
was excited by the superstitious rumours that surrounded the archaeological
Park is a secluded wooded valley with an enchanted air - lakes,
a deer park, fine trees, flowering shrubs and carpeted in spring
with a profusion of daffodils, primroses and bluebells.
are certainly close similarities with Tolkien's Hobbiton and The
Shire, which are said to describe an idealised version of rural
Says Sylvia Jones: "It seems probable that Tolkien was inspired
in some way by the folklore attached to the hill.
the labyrinth of tunnels and little holes in the hillside, it seems
so much like Hobbiton, that we think he found some of his inspiration
It does appear that the whole area, with its scowles and Devil's
chapel are all wrapped up in the Forest of Dean folklore - a folklore
that seems very similar to the Lord of the Rings tales.
Another coincidence is that the Roman God Noden was known, amongst
other things, as the Lord of the Mines, not a far cry from The Lord
of the Rings.
did JRR Tolkien's tale of hobbits and hobgobblins begin in Gloucestershire's
"Some of the scenes in Lord of the Rings definitely brought
me back to Lydney Park."
It doesn't take much imagination to transport the intriguing, sometimes
eerie landscapes of Lydney Park to the mythical, magical homelands
peopled by hobbits and goblins in Lord of the Rings, but one thing
is for sure, only JRR Tolkien will ever know the truth.
Park is open to the public on Sundays, Wednesdays and Bank Holidays
from late March to early June each year. There is an admission charge.
For more information call 01594 845497.