The former home of author J. R. R. Tolkien is on sale for more than £4m in North Oxford. 20 Northmoor Road is a detached home with a “larger than average garden” and “almost 4000 ft. of accommodation”.
Last changing hands in 2004, it was sold for a third of the current asking price of £4,575,000.
Located in a sought-after part of the city near Wolfson and St. Hugh’s Colleges, the property was built in 1924, and according to its real estate agency Breckon & Breckon remains “largely unaltered”.
Awarded Grade II listed status for its association with the writer in 2004, any significant exterior or interior alterations to the structure now require external consent.
While the house is not open to the public, there is a blue plaque to memorialise Tolkien’s residence.
No. 20 is one of many former homes of J. R. R. Tolkien around Oxford, including 1 Pusey Street.
Tolkien and his wife and children lived next door at 22 Northmoor Road since 1926, but moved to the more spacious No. 20 in 1929, remaining there until 1947.
Graduating from Exeter College in 1915, Tolkien served in the First World War and taught at the University of Leeds before returning to Oxford.
Teaching undergraduates at Lady Margaret Hall and St Hugh’s, as well as working on the Oxford English Dictionary, he served the women’s colleges’ need for married male tutors.
Tolkien took up the position of Rawlin and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College in 1925, becoming a familiar figure in North Oxford, often seen riding down Banbury Road wearing his cap and gown.
It was while living at 20 Northmoor Road that the majority of Lord of the Rings was written, with Tolkien resuming work on The Hobbit in 1937.
Lord of the Rings was completed and revised while Tolkien was teaching full-time at Oxford, moving to Merton to become its Professor of English Language and Literature in 1945.
As an Oxford tutor, Tolkien taught lin- guistics and literature and was also active in Oxford’s social circles.
Famously, he frequented the Eagle and Child pub to attend the Inklings, an informal literary group whose members included C. S. Lewis and Tolkien’s son Christopher.
In retirement Tolkien left Oxford for Bournemouth, but upon his wife Edith’s death in 1971 he returned, living in Merton accommodation for the rest of his life.
The University awarded Tolkien an honorary Doctorate of Letter in 1972, and busts of him are currently housed in Exeter College and the English Faculty Library.
Meanwhile, Trinity College held leases of 20 Northmoor Road until the 1970s, when it was acquired by the Maclagans.
Michael Maclagan, fellow in medieval history of Trinity College, knew Tolkien through university circles, and his children enjoyed finding connections between the house’s details and Bilbo Baggins’ adventures.
The Maclagan home was sold in 2004; this year is the first time it has appeared on the market since the last sale.
Breckon & Breckon, the real estate agency, says that 20 Northmoor Road “will forever remain an important part of Oxford’s history”.