Lord of the Rings' Author linked to Somerset School
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Lord of the Rings’ Author linked to Somerset School

Did you know that The Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien has connections to Queen’s College in
Taunton?

Written in stages between 1937 and 1949, The Lord of the Rings is one of the best-selling books ever written, with over 150 million copies sold.

More recently, Amazon Prime Video launched series one of ‘The Rings of Power’, an epic drama adapted from J. R. R. Tolkien’s famous books. The series has been viewed by more than 100 million people worldwide and has been an unprecedented global success as the top Original Series for Prime Video.

Queen's College, Taunton
Queen’s College, Taunton

Somerset residents may be interested to learn that Author J. R. R. Tolkien’s grandfather, John Suffield (1833-1930) was a pupil at the original Queen’s College when he started studying at the school September 1845, aged just 12 years old. The school was then situated within the grounds of Taunton Castle in and John Suffield, who came from a Methodist family in Birmingham, studied at the school until he went to work in the family business.

The launch of the much acclaimed Amazon Prime series promoted a group of staff members at Queen’s to look in to the biography of Tolkien after studying his biography by H. Carpenter. They also discovered that J. R. R. Tolkien himself was very good friends with Mr Christopher Wiseman, the headmaster of Queen’s College between 1926-1953 after the pair met at King Edward’s school in Birmingham in 1905.

Christopher Wiseman Headmaster of Queen’s College 1926-1953
Christopher Wiseman Headmaster of Queen’s College 1926-1953

Tolkien, Wiseman and others formed the semi-secret T.C.B.S social club centred on their mutual intellectual interests. Wiseman and Tolkien were so close at school that they called themselves the Great Twin Brethren. Of Tolkien’s close friends from the club, Mr Wiseman was the only one to survive the First World War. Their careers and lives took them in different directions after their time at school, but they remained firm friends until Tolkien died in 1973 (Wiseman died in 1987).

Charles Edward signing his autograph in a Queen’s College notebook at Amazon’s Lord of the Ring series premier at Leicester square
Charles Edward signing his autograph in a Queen’s College notebook at Amazon’s Lord of the Ring series premier at Leicester square

Senior School receptionist Mrs Mockridge attended the premier of the blockbuster series on 30th August last year, in London’s Leicester square, where actor Charles Edwards, an English actor who portrays Celebrimbor in the Amazon Prime series, signed a Queen’s College notebook.

See Queen College’s online listing here.