A Fellowship of celebrities and literary fans is hoping to preserve the Oxford country home that J.R.R. Tolkien once called home.
The 1920s home hit the market last year, but the campaign — dubbed Project Northmoor, after the road on which the house sits — launched on Wednesday, according to the New York Times. The group wants to turn the property into a literary center and museum dedicated to the beloved author.
Those involved include Ian McKellen, John Rhys-Davies and Martin Freeman, who appeared in Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of Tolkien’s most famous works.
The roughly 3,500-square-foot home sits about 60 miles northeast of London, and has six bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms. Tolkien lived there with his family from 1930 to 1947, and wrote “The Hobbit” and most of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy in that time. He taught at nearby Oxford University.
It was originally asking $6 million, and recently was discounted to $5.3 million. But the brokerage listing the property, Breckon & Breckon, has taken the home off the market in order to give the group more time to raise funds.
The current owners bought the home in 2004 for 1.6 million pounds. It was listed as a Grade 2 building, a government designation that it was “of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve it.”
Such a designation can ward off buyers who want to renovate. Julia Golding, who is one of Project Northmoor’s leaders, said the home “has the character of a 1920’s house.”
“Inside it’s very comfortable,” she told the Times. “It doesn’t feel like a professorial house.”
The group hopes to raise $6 million, and use the $700,000 left over after the purchase for renovations, start-up costs associated with establishing a charity and developing literary programs.
[NYT] — Dennis Lynch