Before there was Harry Potter, there were Frodo and Bilbo Baggins. J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and its subsquent Lord of the Rings trilogy have become benchmarks of popular fantasy, spawning a whole universe of beloved characters and rich lore, as well as a blockbuster movie franchise. The British author passed away in the '70s, but his home in Oxford where he penned the series still stands, and it's officially on the market.
According to a report by the New York Times, the estate is listed for £4.7 million, or nearly $6 million. Boasting 3,500-square-feet of interior space, the classic home features six bedrooms and four bathrooms on the upper level, as well as a ground-floor drawing room in which Tolkien wrote most of his works.
Still ornate with hardwood floors, high ceilings and wood-burning fireplaces, there also remains an old bell system used to communicate with the rest of the household situated in the kitchen. The exterior includes a garage and a broad garden still decorated with some of the trees Tolkien planted.
If you're so inspired to live in the vintage abode, Project Northmoore hopes you'll think again. The non-profit group supported by celebrities such as Annie Lenox and a host of Lord of the Rings cast and crew want to preserve the home at 20 Northmoor Road as a literary center and musem, so that Tolkien's fans may visit the home to reflect and be inspired. Having launched a crowdfund goal of $5.3 million, Project Northmoor is calling fans worldwide to help turn the author's home into an open space.
“The worldwide Tolkien fan base is enormous, but there is no center for Tolkien anywhere in the world,” said Julia Golding, the English novelist leading the purchase project. “There are centers for Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy, and, arguably, Tolkien is just as influential as they are.”
The home is aleady listed as a Grade 2 building, marking it as being “of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve it.”
Tolkien lived in the home from 1930 to 1947 with his wife Edith and their four children. Donors contributing to $25 and over receive special certificates, in addition to several other privileges as donations increase.
“It has the character of a 1920s house,” Golding says. “Inside it’s very comfortable. It doesn’t feel like a professorial house.”
Read more about the house and the preservation campaign via the New York Times.
Photography by: Haywood Magee