Tol Eressëa

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Tol Eressëa
Place from J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium
Other names 'The Lonely Isle',
Eressëa
Description Island
Location Bay of Eldamar

In early versions of J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium (see: The History of Middle-earth), Tol Eressëa was an island visited by the Anglo-Saxon traveller Ælfwine (in earlier versions, Eriol) which provided a framework for the tales that later became The Silmarillion. The name is the Elvish for "Lonely Island". In early versions, the Cottage of Lost Play is located in Kortirion, the island's main city, and it is here that Eriol the Mariner comes. There is an early poem by Tolkien, entitled "Kortirion", several versions of which can be found in The Book of Lost Tales, Volume I.

Tol Eressëa was designed as a kind of Isle of the Blessed inhabited by Elves, presenting a mythological backdrop to the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Great Britain. Tol Eressëa was conceived as a mythological equivalent of the island of Great Britain or Albion before the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons. Its main city, Kortirion, was located at the same place as Warwick, at the very centre of the island. Later, Tolkien dropped the identification of Tol Eressëa and Albion and made it an island situated far to the west, within sight of Valinor.

In the 1977 Silmarillion edited by Christopher Tolkien, Ulmo pushed it back and forth across Sundering Seas twice to transport the Elves to Aman. After that, it came to rest forever just off the eastern shore of that continent in the Bay of Eldamar, and was inhabited by the Teleri of Aman, until they left for Alqualondë.

With the end of the First Age, many of the exiled Eldar of Middle-earth (and Teleri that had never left it) went to Aman, and lived in the island of Tol Eressëa. Its principal city was Avallónë.

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