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13 November 2014

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You are in: Nottingham > History > Local history > Tolkien's Gedling: The birth of a legend

JRR Tolkien

JRR Tolkien

Tolkien's Gedling: The birth of a legend

The inspiration for the Lord of the Rings trilogy was penned in Gedling.

In September 1914 JRR Tolkien, his life in crisis, visited his Aunt Jane's farm in Gedling, Nottinghamshire.

In Tolkien's own words the poem he wrote there on the 24 September was the start of his mythology.

Inspired in Notts

Tolkien visited Gedling three times between 1913 and 1916.

He stayed with his maternal aunt, Jane Neave, at Phoenix Farm (now Jessops Lane).

It was during a visit in 1914, at the age of 22, that Tolkien penned the first draft of The Voyage of Earendel the Evening Star.

He stated to friends that whilst working on this poem there was "a tremendous opening up of everything for me".

At the time Tolkien was engaged and his brother had just joined the army but Tolkien had little taste for war or marriage.

Andrew H Morton, author of Tolkien's Gedling, believes the poem was compensating for his own perceived lack of heroism.

Author of Tolkien's Gedling

Andrew H Morton

"Tolkien was a bit of a home boy. He was a bit of a hobbit. He liked cosy places like Gedling.

"What's interesting about Tolkien is that out of these very ordinary places his imagination expands to make this wonderful mythology."

Earendel is mentioned by name in Tolkien's trilogy.

"Towards the end of the Lord of the Rings Frodo gets caught in the lair of Shelob the Spider. He's given a vial of light from Galadriel and that is the light of Earendel."

So a light created in Gedling shines all the way through to Mordor.

Gedling's Gandalf

Gedling is also said to be home to one of the central characters in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

Many believe Tolkien based the wizard Gandalf on his maternal aunt, Jane Neave, an important figure in his life.

Andrew H Morton's book Tolkien's Gedling: The Birth of a Legend is published by Brewin Books.

last updated: 07/11/2008 at 08:44
created: 29/10/2008

You are in: Nottingham > History > Local history > Tolkien's Gedling: The birth of a legend



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