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).[5][6]

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 Stowe,[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.

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. The Fall of Arthur (2013) 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.[20] 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.[21][22]

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

Faith Faulconbridge[edit]

Christopher Tolkien married his first wife, Faith Faulconbridge, a sculptor,[23] in 1951, and their son Simon was born in 1959.[24] She produced a bust of J.R.R. Tolkien that is displayed in the English Faculty Library at Oxford University.[23] The couple separated in 1963[24] and divorced in 1967.[23]

Baillie Tolkien[edit]

Baillie Tolkien, born Klass (born 1941) is the second wife of Christopher Tolkien.

She was born in Winnipeg, Canada. She has been married to Christopher Tolkien since 1967. They have 2 children, Adam Reuel Tolkien, born 1969, and Rachel Clare Reuel Tolkien, born 1971.

She is the editor of J. R. R. Tolkien's Letters from Father Christmas (formerly titled The Father Christmas Letters), and she was previously J. R. R. Tolkien's secretary.

She sits on the board of the Tolkien Company.

John Tolkien[edit]

John Francis Reuel Tolkien (1917–2003) was the eldest son of J. R. R. Tolkien. He was born in Oxford in 1917. Between 1957 to 1987 Father John Francis Tolkien lived in Stoke-on-Trent. He was formerly chaplain to the University College of North Staffordshire, which later became Keele University. He was also chaplain at 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. He then became priest-in-charge at the Church of Our Lady of the Angels and St Peter in Chains, Stoke. 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. Father Tolkien also served in parishes in Oxford, Birmingham, and Warwickshire.[citation needed][25][26]

Michael 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,[27] born in 1982. He is married to the artist Rosemary Walters.[28] 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 eldest son of Christopher Tolkien, by the latter's 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. Since 1994, he has been a barrister in London, where he lives with his wife and their two children. His first novel, The Stepmother, was published in 2003 (paperback available from Penguin Books Ltd).[29]

Royd Tolkien[edit]

Royd Allan Reuel Tolkien is the great-grandson of J.R.R. Tolkien. He grew up on a farm in Halkyn, where members from the Tolkien Society would annually meet, during which time they would reenact scenes from his great-grandfather's works with other Tolkien enthusiasts.[30] 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.[30][31] Royd Tolkien works as a film producer[32] Notable films produced by him include Pimp, wherein he also plays himself.

Tim Tolkien[edit]

Main article: Tim Tolkien

Timothy Tolkien (born October 1962) is the great-nephew of J. R. R. Tolkien. 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
Jane Suffield
William Suffield
Beatrice Bartlett
Tom Hadley
Florence Mary Tolkien
Tom Mitten
Mabel Tolkien
Laurence George H. Tolkien
Marjorie Incledon
Mary Incledon
Edith Bratt
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien
Hilary Arthur Reuel Tolkien
Magdalen Matthews
John Francis Reuel Tolkien
Priscilla Anne Reuel Tolkien
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
Timothy Tolkien
Nicholas Tolkien
Stephen Tolkien
Freya Crombleholme
Piers Crombleholme
Adam Reuel Tolkien
Rachel Clare Reuel Tolkien
Catherine Tolkien
Ruth Tolkien
Nicholas Tolkien


  1. ^ a b de Camp, L. Sprague (1976). Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers: The Makers of Heroic Fantasy. Arkham House. ISBN 0-87054-076-9. 
  2. ^ Jane Yolen, "Introduction". After the King: Stories in Honor of J.R.R. Tolkien, ed. Martin H. Greenberg. ISBN 0-312-85175-8
  3. ^ Mitchell, Christopher. "J. R. R. Tolkien: Father of Modern Fantasy Literature" (Google Video). "Let There Be Light" series. University of California Television. Retrieved 20 July 2006. [dead link]
  4. ^ Clute, John and Grant, John, ed. (1999). The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-19869-8. 
  5. ^ Westfahl, Gary, ed. (2005). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-32950-8. 
  6. ^ L. Sprague de Camp: 'The Miscast Barbarian: Robert E. Howard' in Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers: The Makers of Heroic Fantasy
  7. ^ Arthur Reuel Tolkien[dead link]
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 24508. p. 5498. 2 October 1877. Retrieved 31 July 2008.
  9. ^ Welcome to South Africa
  10. ^ a b hobbits[dead link]
  11. ^ Image of John Suffield's shop before demolition with caption -
  12. ^ Carpenter 1977, p. 24
  13. ^ Carpenter 1977, p. 27
  14. ^ Carpenter 1977, p. 29
  15. ^ Doughan, David (2002). "JRR Tolkien Biography". Life of Tolkien. Retrieved 12 March 2006. 
  16. ^ Carpenter 1977
  17. ^ Carpenter 1977, p. 31
  18. ^ Carpenter 1977, p. 39
  19. ^ (Great War 2003, p. 12)
  20. ^ "Feud over 'Rings' movie splits Tolkien family". The New Zealand Herald. 3 December 2001. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  21. ^ "More from Christopher Tolkien on Lord of the Rings Movies". 9 December 2001. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  22. ^ "Tolkien's son denies rift". BBC News. 7 December 2001. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  23. ^ a b c Walter Hooper. C.S. Lewis: A Complete Guide to his Life and Works. 
  24. ^ a b "J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: sample entries". 
  25. ^ Father John Tolkien Biography at Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  26. ^ John Francis Tolkien People of Stoke-on-Trent at Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  27. ^ "Record year for GCSE pupils". BBC News. 26 August 1999. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  28. ^ Rosemary Tolkien website
  29. ^ Simon Tolkien website
  30. ^ a b "Royd Tolkien". BBC - North East Wales Showbiz (BBC. November 2008. 
  31. ^ "He Rings a bell; ..IT'S TOLKIEN'S GREAT-GRANDSON, TAKING A BIT-PART IN THE MOVIE". The Daily Mirror. 8 December 2003. 
  32. ^ Royd Tolkien at the Internet Movie Database
Works cited

* Carpenter, Humphrey (1977), Tolkien: A Biography, New York: Ballantine Books, ISBN 0-04-928037-6