There were many wars waged in the pages of Middle-earth tales, but J.R.R Tolkien’s latest battle takes place right here at home. Literally, at the author’s home.
On Tuesday, The Lord of the Rings’ Ian McKellen and John Rhys-Davies, The Hobbit’s Martin Freeman, and singer Annie Lennox, who performed the Oscar-winning “Into the West” for Return of the King, stepped out with author Julia Golding to announce a crowdfunding campaign intended to save 20 Northmoor Road, the Oxford house in which J.R.R. Tolkien wrote his legendary fantasy novels.
With the help of Tolkien fans, the initiative, dubbed “Project Northmoor,” aims to purchase the house, in advance of it being put on the market. The intention is to set the house up as a a literary center in honor of Tolkien. To kick off the campaign, the famous faces recorded a video, making a case for the author’s legacy and urging fans to chip in.
“Unbelievably, considering his importance, there is no centre devoted to Tolkien anywhere in the world,” said Rhys-Davies in a news release. “The vision is to make Tolkien’s house into a literary hub that will inspire new generations of writers, artists and filmmakers for many years to come.”
Alongside the LOTR castmembers in the video are Sir Derek Jacobi (Tolkien), Lord of the Rings illustrator John Howe, Lord Rowan Williams of Oystermouth (a former Archbishop of Canterbury), A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and the Great War author Joseph Loconte, and Cliff Broadway of TheOneRing.net.
According to Project Northmoor’s announcement, 20 Northmoor Road has gone largely unchanged since it was built in 1924. Tolkien moved in around 1930, and stayed there for 17 years. During that time he wrote The Lord of the Rings books and The Hobbit, and notably hosted C.S. Lewis for a time.
The campaign hopes to raise roughly $6 million, which will go toward both buying the house and completing necessary renovations.
“We cannot achieve this without the support of the worldwide community of Tolkien fans, our fellowship of funders,” said Ian McKellen.