Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Taphophile Tragic: J. R. R. Tolkien

The way to the hockey games takes me past the Wolvercote Cemetery in Oxford. Just inside the main gate is a sign like the one above pointing in the direction of J. R. R. Tolkien's grave site.

Tolkien was a graduate of Exeter College and a professor at Pembroke and Merton whilst writing The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. His contemporary C S Lewis, a Fellow at Magdelen, created the magical world of Narnia. 

The Eagle and Child pub (otherwise known as The Bird and Baby) is an Oxford literary landmark and place of pilgrimage for Tolkien and C S Lewis fans. It is at the eagles and Child on St Giles that Tolkien and Lewis discussed their work in the company of The Inklings literary group. 

Tolkien is buried at Wolvercote Cemetery with his wife Edith. The grave is noticeable by the many coins, hand written messages and a whole range of paraphernalia left by devotees.

To see more Taphophile Tragic participants, click here.



  1. well, there you are - I don't think I knew (or thought much about) what the JRR stood for! Very remiss of me.

  2. This shot has taken me by surprise.

  3. Wow, What a great post. Amazing to see the resting place of such a great author. I love the little gifts left behind by those that visit him.

    Beneath Thy Feet

  4. A magical uniqueness of unusual small gifts in this grave site reflects all that Tolkien means to those who visit there! Lovely post!

  5. Not being a Tolkein devotee, I am not aware of the significance of the coins, or indeed, the handwritten notes. Any clues?

    I find it interesting, that the signage nominates him as an 'author' rather than a 'writer'. To me there is a difference, one being more 'pure', less commercial. But maybe that is more me, than reality.

    I do like the humility of the memorial for Tolkien and his wife. Very of the people ...

  6. i think its funny they have a sign to indicate where his grave is. not really necessary i would think, people can find it themselves, no?
    anyways, interesting to see his grave!! and now i know what the JRR stands for.. :)