The Ent is nigh for Tolkien tree

JRR Tolkien pictured by the tree

JRR Tolkien pictured by the tree

First published in News

IT is said to have influenced the work of JRR Tolkien and inspired creatures in Lord of the Rings.

But now an iconic pinus negra – or black pine – is being felled in Oxford University’s Botanic Garden after two of its limbs fell off over the weekend.

Experts at Oxford City Council and the university have examined the 20-metre tall tree and decided it has to be cut down, but have not been able to determine what caused the limbs to fall off, damaging a wall.

Dr Alison Foster, acting director of the garden, said: “The black pine was a highlight of many people’s visits to the Botanic Garden and we are very sad to lose such an iconic tree.”

Tolkien, who was a fellow of Pembroke College and Merton College and is buried in Wolvercote Cemetery, was extremely fond of the tree and has been pictured sitting underneath it and standing beside it.

Oxford Mail:

The Botanic Garden’s 60ft black pine tree is to be cut down after some of its huge branches started to fall off

It is also said to have been the inspiration for the Ents in Lord of the Rings – a race of creatures which resemble trees and come to the aid of two of the Hobbits.

Dr Stuart Lee, an English lecturer at Merton College who has studied the fiction and manuscripts of Tolkien said: “Tolkien hated the wanton destruction of trees for no reason but it sounds to me like this is for all the right reasons so whilst this is sad news, it is inevitable.”

It is thought that the tree was planted in 1799 from seed that was collected by the Third Sherardian Professor of Botany, John Sibthorp, in Austria.

Academics at Oxford University now hope to be able to study the tree, which will gradually be cut down, piece by piece, over the coming weeks.

Dr Stephen Harris of its Department of Plant Sciences said: “The pine having to be cut down means that we have the opportunity to date the tree precisely and determine whether Sibthorp is likely to have been involved.”

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone's contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

    Send your Letter to the Editor

    11:20am Monday 28th July 2014

    What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.

Our top stories

Badger cull protest in Oxford to be held this weekend

Oxford Mail: Badger (11754077)

6:40am Thursday 23rd October 2014

A protest against the culling of badgers will go through Oxford on Saturday.

‘Yes’ to plan for 24k more homes in Cherwell District Council area

Oxford Mail: Cherwell district council logo

6:40am Thursday 23rd October 2014

THERE could be 24,445 new homes built across the Cherwell District Council area after councillors voted to approve modifications to the local plan.

Judge criticises CPS after trial postponement

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

6:30am Thursday 23rd October 2014

A JUDGE has criticised a “catastrophic failure” by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) which caused a trial to be put off until next year.

Oxfordshire finds cash to meet cost of free school lunches

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Thursday 23rd October 2014

CASH to balance the books on bringing in free school meals for all primary school pupils has been secured.

High praise for Oxfordshire's fire and rescue service

Oxford Mail:

12:00am Thursday 23rd October 2014

OXFORDSHIRE’S fire service has been praised following an independent peer review.

Three women sentenced for running a brothel in Jericho

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Wednesday 22nd October 2014

THREE women who ran an ‘efficient and professional’ brothel in an upmarket Oxford street were sentenced yesterday.

 

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:31am Thu 31 Jul 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Do they have a replacement seed to nurture and grow over the next 200 years?
Do they have a replacement seed to nurture and grow over the next 200 years? Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 4

8:14am Mon 4 Aug 14

ramblingval says...

I hope they can make a sculpture from the tree's trunk as they have done in Bury Knowle Park.
I hope they can make a sculpture from the tree's trunk as they have done in Bury Knowle Park. ramblingval
  • Score: 1

8:22pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Arborist says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
Do they have a replacement seed to nurture and grow over the next 200 years?
I believe they will take cuttings.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: Do they have a replacement seed to nurture and grow over the next 200 years?[/p][/quote]I believe they will take cuttings. Arborist
  • Score: 0

8:22pm Tue 5 Aug 14

Arborist says...

ramblingval wrote:
I hope they can make a sculpture from the tree's trunk as they have done in Bury Knowle Park.
It will be left as a high trunk for the purposes of carving, its just a shame we could not save it.
[quote][p][bold]ramblingval[/bold] wrote: I hope they can make a sculpture from the tree's trunk as they have done in Bury Knowle Park.[/p][/quote]It will be left as a high trunk for the purposes of carving, its just a shame we could not save it. Arborist
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree