Tolkien family

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The Tolkien family is an English family whose best known member is J. R. R. Tolkien, Oxford academic and author of the fantasy books The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.

Notable members[edit]

J. R. R. Tolkien[edit]

Main article: J. R. R. Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien CBE (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English philologist, writer and professor of Oxford University.

He was a devout Roman Catholic.

Much of Tolkien's published fiction is a connected body of tales, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about an imagined world called Arda, and Middle-earth (derived from the Old English word middangeard, the lands inhabitable by humans) in particular, loosely identified as an "alternative" remote past of our own world. Tolkien applied the word legendarium to the totality of these writings. Most of the "legendarium" was edited and posthumously published by his son Christopher.

While Tolkien was preceded by other fantasy authors,[1] his enduringly popular and successful works have had a remarkable influence on the genre.[1][2] Thus he has been popularly identified as the "father of modern fantasy literature",[3] or to be precise, high fantasy.[4] L. Sprague de Camp and others consider him the father of modern fantasy together with sword and sorcery author Robert E. Howard (creator of Conan the Barbarian).[1][5]

Arthur Tolkien[edit]

Arthur Reuel Tolkien (c. February 1857—15 February 1896), the father of author J.R.R. Tolkien, was born in Handsworth, Staffordshire, England. He was the eldest child of John Benjamin Tolkien and Mary Jane Stow,[6][7] who had married on 16 February 1856 in All Saints Parish Church, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England.

Arthur had 6 siblings:

  • Mabel Tolkien (1858–1937), who married Thomas Evans Mitton;
  • Grace Bindley Tolkien (b. 1861), who married William Charles Mountain;
  • Florence Mary Tolkien (b. 1863), who married Tom Hadley;
  • Marian Esther Tolkien (1866–1934), who married Frederick William Chippendale;
  • Wilfred Henry Tolkien (1870–1938), a stockbroker, who married Katherine Madeleine Green; and
  • Lawrence George H. Tolkien (b. 1873), a life and fire insurance secretary, who married (Emily) Grace McGregor.

Arthur's father John had previously been married to Jane Holmwood, with whom he had four children: Emily (b. 1838), Louisa (b. 1840), John Benjamin (b. 1845), and Jane (b. 1846).

John Benjamin Tolkien had been a piano teacher and tuner, as well as a music seller, but he had gone bankrupt in 1877, when he was described as "John Benjamin Tolkien, of High-street, Birmingham, in the county of Warwick, Pianoforte and Music Seller".[8] Arthur did not follow his father into the traditional Tolkien trade in pianos, which many of his London cousins also followed; instead he became a bank clerk and ended up moving to Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State (now part of South Africa), where he became manager of the Bloemfontein branch of the Bank of Africa.[9] A furniture shop[10] now occupies the Bradlow’s Building on the site where the bank once stood, on the corner of West Burger and Maitland Streets.

Arthur was later joined by his fiancée, Mabel Suffield. They were married on 16 April 1891 at the St. George's Cathedral, Cape Town, Cape Colony (now Cape Province, South Africa). Two children (John Ronald Reuel (b. 1892) and Hilary Arthur Reuel (b. 1894) followed, and the family lived next door to the bank.

Mabel Tolkien felt the English climate would be better for the boys' health and returned to England with them in 1895. Arthur remained in South Africa, where he died of severe haemorrhage following rheumatic fever, on 15 February 1896, before he had the opportunity to join his family in England.

He is buried in President Brand Cemetery, on the corner of Church and Rhodes Avenues, Bloemfontein.[10][dead link]

Mabel Tolkien[edit]

Mabel Tolkien, born Suffield (1870– 14 November 1904) was the mother of J. R. R. Tolkien.

Her parents, John Suffield and Emily Jane Sparrow, lived in Stirling Road, Birmingham and owned a shop in the city centre. The Suffield family had a business in a building called Lamb House since 1812. From 1812 William Suffield ran a book and stationery shop there; Tolkien's great-grandfather, also John Suffield, was there from 1826 with a drapery and hosiery business.[11]

Her husband Arthur Tolkien's death in South Africa in 1896 left her and their two young sons without a source of income.[12] At first, they lived with her parents in Birmingham, then moved to Sarehole (now in Hall Green), then a Worcestershire village, later annexed to Birmingham.[13]

Mabel tutored her two sons, and J. R. R. (or Ronald, as he was known in the family) was a keen pupil.[14] She taught him a great deal of botany, and she awakened in her son the enjoyment of the look and feel of plants. But his favourite lessons were those concerning languages, and his mother taught him the rudiments of Latin very early.[15] She also taught him how to write, and her ornate script influenced her son's handwriting in his later life.[16]

Mabel Tolkien converted to Roman Catholicism in 1900 despite vehement protests by her Baptist family[17] who then stopped all financial assistance to her. She died of acute complications of diabetes in 1904 (at about 34 years of age, about as long as a person with diabetes mellitus type 1 could live with no treatment – insulin would not be discovered until two decades later), when Tolkien was twelve, at Fern Cottage in Rednal, which they were then renting. For the rest of his life Tolkien felt that she had become a martyr for her faith, which had a profound effect on his own Catholic beliefs.[18]

Edith Tolkien[edit]

Main article: Edith Tolkien

Edith Mary Tolkien, born Bratt (21 January 1889 – 29 November 1971) was the wife of J. R. R. Tolkien. She served as the inspiration for his fictional character Lúthien Tinúviel, an Elven princess and the most beautiful of all the Children of Ilúvatar (the name of God in Tolkien's fiction).

Bratt first met Tolkien in 1908, when they lived in the same boarding house. Both were orphans. The two fell in love, despite Bratt being Tolkien's senior by three years. Before the end of 1909 the relationship became known to Tolkien's guardian, Father Francis Xavier Morgan, who forbade Tolkien to see Bratt until he was twenty-one.[19] With one exception, Tolkien obeyed this instruction to the letter while Father Morgan's guardianship lasted. They were married in 1916.

The couple are buried side by side in Wolvercote Cemetery, Oxford; below the names on their grave are the names Beren and Lúthien: in Tolkien's legendarium, Lúthien and the Man Beren were lovers separated for a time by Lúthien's father King Thingol.

Hilary Tolkien[edit]

Hilary Arthur Reuel Tolkien, the younger brother of J.R.R. Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa in February 17, 1894. The climate did not suit the young J.R.R Tolkien and his mother took both her sons to visit her parents in Kings Heath in Birmingham. When her husband died in 1896 she decided to stay back in England with her sons. They moved to Sarehole, a village outside Birmingham in 1896. As a kid, J.R.R. Tolkien used to tell stories to is younger brother Hilary making ogres out of the adult people in the village. Ronald nicknamed the flour-coated miller's son in the nearby Sarehole mill The White Ogre. A farmer who used to terrorize children intruding on his land was nicknamed as the Black Ogre. He once chased Ronald for plucking mushrooms from his farm. Hilary wrote the stories, letters and reminiscences of past times in a notebook during his twilight years. The contents of the notebook were published as a book titled Black & White Ogre Country: The Lost Tales of Hilary Tolkien in 2009. In 1902, the family moved to 26 Oliver Road in Edgbaston, Birmingham and later they both joined the St. Philip's School in Birmingham however they soon left the school and their mother started teaching them at home. In 1904, both brothers contracted measles and whooping cough. Due to the poor condition of their house on Oliver Road, Hilary also contracted pneumonia. When their mother became ill due to diabetes, John was sent to live with his aunt Jane's fiance and future husband Edwin Neave. Hilary was sent to stay with his maternal grandparents, the Suffields. After the death of their mother they were raised by Father Francis Morgan. Hilary later joined passed an entrance examination and joined King Edward's School in 1905 where his elder brother also studied. Hilary left school in 1911 and helped his aunt Jane Neave run the Phoenix farm owned by the Brookes-Smith family in the village of Gedling, Nottinghamshire in Nottinghamshire. Hilary, his brother, aunt Jean and the Brookes-Smith family made a trip to Switzerland in summer of 1911. In late September 1914, J.R.R. Tolkien stayed with his aunt and brother at the farm for a few days. In 1914 during World War I, Hilary enlisted in the British Army with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as a bugler and was wounded in 1916. After his military service, Hilary brought an orchard and market garden near Evesham, ancestral town of his mother. In 1923, J.R.R. Tolkien along with his wife and children went to stay with Hilary for a while. Few months before his death, he visited Hilary in Evesham. Hilary married Magdalen Matthews in 1928. They had three children. The first son, Gabriel, was born in 1931, the second son Julian in 1935, and the third son Paul in 1938. Hilary died in 1976.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28]

Christopher Tolkien[edit]

Main article: Christopher Tolkien

Christopher John Reuel Tolkien (born 21 November 1924) is the youngest son of J. R. R. and Edith Tolkien. He is best known as his father's literary executor; he is the editor of much of his father's posthumously published work. Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary (2014) is the latest example of his editorial work.

He followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a lecturer and tutor in English Language at New College, Oxford from 1964 to 1975.

In 2001, he received some attention for his stance on New Line Cinema's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson. It was reported that he had had a falling out with his son Simon over the appropriateness of a film adaptation.[29] Responding to these reports, he said he felt The Lord of the Rings was "peculiarly unsuitable for transformation into visual dramatic form". However, this was just his opinion, he stressed; he said he did not disapprove of the movies, definitely not "to the point of thinking ill" of those with whom he might disagree.[30][31]

Christopher Tolkien has been married twice. He currently lives in France with his second wife, Baillie Tolkien.

Faith Faulconbridge[edit]

Faith Tully Lilly Faulconbridge is the first wife of Christopher Tolkien whom she married[32] on April 2, 1951, and their son Simon was born in 1959.[33] She produced a bust of J.R.R. Tolkien that is displayed in the English Faculty Library at Oxford University.[32] She was born in 1928 to F.T. Faulconbridge whom J.R.R Tolkien knew as a fellow student from King Edward's School, Birmingham. She received her B.A. degree from St Anne's College, Oxford in 1950 and later studied sculpture making from Oxford Art School. She was initially known for portrait heads in bronze, some of which she presented in the Royal Academy in 1958. She made a bust of her father-in-law which the English faculty at Oxford presented to him on his retirement in 1959. He had it cast itn bronze and in 1966 it was placed at the English Faculty Library. Her other subjects have included Iris Murdoch and C.S. Lewis. She separated from Christopher in 1964[33] and divorced from him in 1967.[32] In 1958, she produced a seated Madonna and Child for Catholic Chaplaincy at Birmingham University. In the early 1980s she returned to religious themes including working for the Corpus Christi Church, Headington, Oxford and the Church of the Sacred Heart, Sutton Coldfield.

Baillie Tolkien[edit]

Baillie Tolkien (née Klass) is the second wife of Christopher Tolkien. She was born in Winnipeg on December 10, 1941 to Dr. Alan Klass and his wife Helen. Alan Klass (1907–2000) was a surgeon and a distinguished member of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba. Baillie attended the McGill University and the University of Manitoba from which Baillie received her B.A. in 1962. She received her M.A. from St Hilda's College, Oxford in 1964. Her first husband was Brian Knaphies, a Rhodes Scholar from Winnipeg, to whom she was briefly married. While as Baillie Knaphies she worked as a secretary first to J.R.R. Tolkien and then to Isaiah Berlin. She married Christopher Tolkien on September 18, 1967. She has two children with Christopher. Their son Adam Reuel Tolkien was born in 1969 and their daughter Rachel Clare Reuel Tolkien was born in 1971. After the death of J.R.R. Tolkien, his letters written to his children were edited by Baillie for publication. The contents of the book were released in a 1976 book entitled The Father Christmas Letters, in which Baillie is credited as the editor. In the 1976–77 exhibition of paintings held at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and afterwards at the National Book League in London, Baillie contributed a short introduction to the catalog.[34]

John Francis R. Tolkien[edit]

John Francis Reuel Tolkien (1917–2003) was the eldest son of J. R. R. Tolkien. He was born in Cheltenham on November 16, 1917. He was educated at the Dragon School, Oxford and The Oratory School in Caversham, Berkshire where in his final year he decided to become a priest. On the advice of the Archbishop he decided to go to college to study English and joined Exeter College, Oxford from where he received his B.A. degree in 1939. In November 1939, he went to English College, Rome to train as a priest. Due to the outbreak of World War II, the college was moved to Stonyhurst in Lancashire where John trained as a priest during the war. He was ordained as a priest at St John and Augustine Church in North Oxford. His first position was as a curate from 1946 to 1950 at the St Mary and St Benedict Church in Coventry where he taught weekly classes to 60 children and organized the building of church schools. From 1950 to 1957 he was a curate at the English Martyrs Church in Sparkhill, Birmingham. Thereafter he moved to North Staffordshire, where he was the chaplain of University College of North Staffordshire and at two grammar schools, St Joseph's College, Trent Vale and St Dominic’s High School, Hartshill. He was parish priest at Knutton Roman Catholic Church from 1957 to 1966. In 1966, he became the parish priest at the Church of Our Lady of the Angels and St Peter in Chains, Stoke-on-Trent. He held the position till 1987 and there oversaw the building of a new school. He was chairman of governors at Bishop Right School, chaplain to the North Staffordshire Catholic Teachers Association and area chaplain to the Young Christian Students. He moved back to Oxford in 1987, settling in Eynsham where he was the parish priest at St. Peter's Catholic Church till his retirement in 1994. Father Tolkien also served in parishes in Oxford, Birmingham, and Warwickshire.[35][36][37][38]

In 1987, he and his sister Priscilla began identifying the large collection of family photographs. In 1992, they released a book titled The Tolkien Family Album containing photographs and memories of the Tolkien family and giving an account of their father's life to celebrate the centenary birth anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien.[35][36]

In spring of 2001, Chris Carrie, a Solihull resident lodged a complaint against Fr John claiming that he sexually abused him when he was 11 years-old. The police investigation later widened and officers interviewed a number of other alleged victims. John was later questioned by police over allegations that he sexually abused boys while working as a priest. The alleged offences were said to have been carried out against a number of boys over the period of his ecclesiastical career. These charges were however denied by John. The police investigation was discontinued after the Crown Prosecution Service decided that he was too ill to be charged. John died on January 22, 2003 after some years of failing health. Carrie who claimed that he was sexually abused by him reached an out-of-court settlement with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham and was awarded £15,000 in compensation by the Archdiocese.[39][40][36]

Michael Hilary R. Tolkien[edit]

Michael Hilary Reuel Tolkien (22 October 1920 – 27 February 1984) was a British teacher. He was J. R. R. Tolkien's second son and was named after J. R. R. Tolkien's brother Hilary. When young Michael lost his toy dog and became sad about this, his father began to write the story of Roverandom to comfort him. Michael's fear of spiders was J. R. R. Tolkien's inspiration for the encounter of Bilbo Baggins and the spiders of Mirkwood in The Hobbit.[41] Michael also used to own a Dutch puppet which became an inspiration for Tom Bombadil.[42] In 1939, Michael volunteered for the British Army but he was told to continue his university studies. He was able to study history at Trinity College, Oxford for reduced tuition fees. In 1941, Michael Hilary Tolkien served in an anti-aircraft role during the Battle of Britain for which he was awarded the George Medal.[43] Later that year he had a traffic accident during a nightly military drill. In hospital he met a nurse named Joan Audrey Griffith (1916–1982) whom he wedded the same year.[44] Later in World War II, he served as an anti-aircraft gunner in France and Germany. In 1944, he returned to Trinity College for health reasons and finished his studies. He graduated in Modern History in 1945.[41]

From 1947 until the 1970s he used to work as a teacher at various Catholic schools in Britain.[41] In 1973, Michael Tolkien published an article about his father in The Sunday Telegraph: "J. R. R. Tolkien – The Wizard Father".[45]

Michael and his wife Joan had three children: Michael George Reuel (b. 1943), Joan Anne (called "Joanna"; b. 1945) and Judith (b. 1951). Royd Tolkien is the son of Michael's daughter Joan. Michael Hilary Reuel Tolkien died in 1984 from leukemia.[41]

Priscilla Tolkien[edit]

Priscilla Mary Anne Reuel Tolkien (born 18 June 1929[46]) is the fourth and youngest child of J.R.R. Tolkien and his only daughter. Priscilla had been long hoped-for, and was born to Tolkien and his wife in their house of 22 Northmoor Road in Oxford shortly before the couple moved into their new one at 20 Northmoor Road in 1930.[47] During the silver anniversary party of the wedding of Tolkien couple, she was their only child who accompanied them.[48] She took an active part in production of The Lord of the Rings by typing out some early chapters for her father at the age of fourteen. She completed her B.A. degree in English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford in 1951.[46] The initial name of Frodo Baggins in the fourth draft of The Lord of the Rings was Bingo Bolger-Baggins which was named after a family of toy bears owned by Priscilla.[49] She accompanied her father to a two-week holiday in Italy from late July to mid-August 1955.[46] After that, she started living in the further side of the Oxford city from her parents house but still saw them frequently and started working as a probation officer in the city.[50] She was also a social worker.[46] Tolkien never dined away from home in his last years unless he and his wife were accompanied by Priscilla or a friend. Concern for Priscilla's well being always took precedence with him.[51] Tolkien wrote his last letter to Priscilla in August, 1973.[52] She is the honorary vice-president of Tolkien Society.[53] She wrote an article titled My Father the Artist in December, 1976 for Amon Hen, the bulletin of The Tolkien Society.[54] After her eldest brother John returned to Oxford in 1987, he and she began identifying and cataloging the large collection of family photographs. In 1992, she and John published the book The Tolkien Family Album containing pictures of the Tolkien family to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of their father. The same year she unveiled a plaque at the Anglical Cathedral of St. Andrew and St. Michael commemorating the centenary birth anniversary celebrations of his father at his birthplace of Bloemfontein, South Africa.[46] She launched the special Tolkien edition Royal Mail stamps commemorating her father's works in February 2004.[55] In 2012, she along with a coalition of British publishers sued Warner Brothers in her capacity of a trustee of Tolkien Trust for 80 million USD accusing them of exploiting Middle-Earth characters to promote online gambling.[56]

Michael George R. Tolkien[edit]

Michael George Reuel Tolkien (born 1943) is a British poet. He is the grandson of J. R. R. Tolkien, being the eldest son of Michael H. R. Tolkien. Michael Tolkien was educated at The Oratory School in Oxford and then Ampleforth College. He studied English and Classics at St Andrews University and later a BPhil at Oxford. He taught as Head of English at Uppingham School until 1992. He has several volumes of published poetry including “Taking Cover”, “Outstripping Gravity” and “Reaching for a Stranger.” He is published by Redbeck Press. Michael Tolkien has two daughters, Catherine, born in 1969 and Ruth,[57] born in 1982. He is married to the artist Rosemary Walters.[58] He sits on the board of the Tolkien Company.

Simon Tolkien[edit]

Main article: Simon Tolkien

Simon Mario Reuel Tolkien (born 1959) is a British barrister and novelist. He is the grandson of J. R. R. Tolkien. He is the only son of Christopher Tolkien and his first wife, Faith Faulconbridge. Simon Tolkien was educated at the Dragon School in Oxford and then Downside School. He studied modern history at Trinity College, Oxford. In 1984, he married Tracey Steinberg who was born in 1962. They have two children, a son Nicholas and a daughter Anna. Tracey Tolkien owned and operated a vintage clothing store in Chelsea, London, Steinberg & Tolkien which shut in September 2007. She has also published several books on vintage clothing and jewellery. Simon became a barrister in 1994, specializing in criminal defence and prosecution.[59][60][61][62]

In January 2000, he began writing fiction.[59] His first novel, which he has described as a black comedy, was not accepted for publication. His second novel, a courtroom drama, was published in the United States as The Final Witness in 2002 and in United Kingdom as The Stepmother in 2003.[60][63] His second published work, The Inheritance (the first of a trilogy featuring Inspector Trave of the Oxfordshire Criminal Investigation Department), was published in 2010.[64] The second book of the Inspector Trave trilogy titled The King of Diamonds was released in 2011.[65] The third and final book in the trilogy titled Orders from Berlin was released in 2012.[66]

Simon Tolkien notably disagreed with the policy of his grandfather's estate in regard to The Lord of the Rings films. When Christopher Tolkien issued a statement that the "Tolkien estate would be best advised to avoid any specific association with the films",[67] Simon Tolkien broke ranks, offering to cooperate with the filmmakers, stating "It was my view that we take a much more positive line on the film and that was overruled by my father."[68] Following up a 2001 interview with the Independent, Simon in 2003 gave interviews to the Daily Telegraph and other media in which he discussed his strained relationship with his father, describing it as a permanent breach.[69] However, they have since reconciled.[59]

Royd Tolkien[edit]

Royd Allan Reuel Tolkien is a great-grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien. He was born on 16 July 1969 to Joanna Tolkien and Hugh Baker.[70] At the request of Peter Jackson, he played a Gondorian ranger passing arms out to other rangers as they prepare to defend Osgiliath in The Return of the King, the final film in Jackson's film adaptation of his great-grandfather's works.[71] Royd Tolkien also produced a film titled Pimp, wherein he also plays himself.[72] He co-produced a film titled Tontine Massacre.[73] Royd has an older sister Mandy Doyle who was born in 1967. He also had a brother Michael "Mike" Baker, who was born in 1975 and suffered from motor neuron disease. Mike died in 2015.[74] In 2012, he along with his brother Mike and Peter Jackson made an appearance in an Air New Zealand safety video that was part of a major global promotion linked to the movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.[75] Royd also made a cameo appearance in the extended edition of the film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. He appears during a scene in which Beorn and Gandalf are discussing about the catacombs where the Nazgûl were buried.[76]

Tim Tolkien[edit]

Main article: Tim Tolkien

Timothy Tolkien (born October 1962) is the great-nephew of J. R. R. Tolkien and the grandson of Hilary Tolkien. His father is Julian Tolkien.[26] He is a sculptor who has designed several monumental sculptures, including the award-winning Sentinel.

His paternal grandfather, Hilary Arthur Reuel Tolkien, was the fantasy author's younger brother.

Tim Tolkien has a public art and metal sculpture business at Cradley Heath, West Midlands. He is also a bass player and member of the band Klangstorm, founded in 1996.

Tolkien family tree[edit]

John Suffield Jr.
Emily Jane Sparrow John Benjamin Tolkien
Mary Jane Stowe
Walter Incledon Edith May Suffield
Mabel Suffield
Arthur Reuel Tolkien
Grace Bindley Tolkien
William Mountain Wilfred Tolkien
Edwin Neave
Jane Suffield
William Suffield
Beatrice Bartlett Tom Hadley Florence Mary Tolkien
Tom Mitten Mabel Tolkien
Laurence George H. Tolkien
Marjorie May Incledon
Frieda Mary Incledon
Edith Bratt
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien
Hilary Arthur Reuel Tolkien
Magdalen Matthews
John Francis Reuel Tolkien
Priscilla Anne Reuel Tolkien
June Gabriel Tolkien
Paul Tolkien
Joan Griffiths
Michael Hilary Reuel Tolkien
Faith Faulconbridge
Christopher John Reuel Tolkien
Baillie Klass
Julian Tolkien
Irene Ferrier Michael George Tolkien
Rosemary Walters
Joanna Tolkien
Hugh Baker Simon Tolkien
Tracy Sternberg Christopher Tolkien Angela Tolkien Dominic Tolkien Zoë Tolkien
Judith Tolkien
Alan Crombleholme Sue Timothy Tolkien
Nicholas Tolkien
Stephen Tolkien
Mandy Doyle
Michael "Mike" Baker
Freya Crombleholme
Piers Crombleholme
Adam Reuel Tolkien
Rachel Clare Reuel Tolkien
Catherine Tolkien
Ruth Tolkien
Nicholas Tolkien
Anna Tolkien


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