Tolkien letters return to rightful home

LONG-lost letters written by Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien have been returned to their rightful owner and will get top notch protection.

Former Oxford University student and professor, Tolkien was the guest of honour at the opening of Deddington Library in December 1956.

He wrote one letter accepting librarian Miss Stanley-Smith’s invitation, including lunch, which he said: “was impossible for him to refuse”.

And a second letter following the visit, on December 19, where he thanked the librarian for her kindness, but said he was “depressed by his performance” which was “wretched and inadequate” and he did not deserve a fee.

In the letter, Tolkien also promised to give a volume of his next book to the library.

In 2000, the two letters were loaned to Oxfordshire County Council’s museum service for exhibitions across the county, but were never returned.

The council said that it could not clarify why the letters were not returned at the time.

But it said they had been stored “safely and in appropriate conditions”.

Now returned to the library, the letters will get the ultimate protection after Deddington's police station moved into the building, at the Old Court House, in Horsefair, as part of a cost-saving initiative for both organisations.

Current librarian Stella O’Neill said: “I’m thrilled to have copies of the letters on display in the library.

“I often have tourists here expecting to see some plaque of dedication or some information relating to Tolkien here, so it will be really lovely to have something to point them to in the future.

“The framed letters have started to gather interest and have been much admired by the visitors to the library this week.

“It’s lovely to have such an important link to such an amazing author.”

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