The Tolkien Timeline
Because so much of the focus has been on his two most famous literary works, The Hobbit
and The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien appears to the casual reader as nothing more
than an author of fantasy literature. He was, however, a very distinquished linguist and scholar.
This compilation is a chronological list of important events relating to Tolkien's life, career,
and scholarly pursuits, and attempts to provide a more clear picture of this astounding man.
The Tolkien Timeline, despite being started more than a year ago, is in its infancy,
and as such is still very much incomplete. As time permits, it will become more accurate and
complete. If you have comments or suggestions for references, feel free to let me know. My
email address is Darryl.Friesen@lights.com.
Last Update: October 24, 1995
- Late 1850's
- Arthur Reuel Tolkien is born.
- January 1870
- Mabel Suffield is born
- April 16, 1891
- Mabel Suffield and Arthur Reuel Tolkien are married at the Cape Town
Cathedral in Bloemfontien, South Africa
- January 3, 1892
- John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is born in Bloemfontein, South Africa
- January 31, 1892
- John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is christened in the Bloemfontein Cathedral
- February 17, 1894
- Hilary Arthur Reuel Tolkien, younger brother to JRRT, is born in
Bloemfontein, South Africa
- April 1895
- Mabel Tolkien boards the SS Guelph and returns to Birmingham, England
with her two children, John and Hilary. Arhtur Tolkien remains in
South Africa with plans to join his family when time permits.
- February 15, 1896
- Arthur Tolkien dies in Bloemfontien, South Africa, as a result of a
severe hemorrhage suffered the previous day. He had been sick for many
months with rheumatic fever, and never made the trip to Birmingham to
see his family.
- Mabel Tolkien moves her family from Birmingham to the hamlet of
- January 21
Edith Bratt is born in Gloucester.
JRRT, at the age of 7, takes the entrance exam for King Edwards School,
but fails to obtain a place.
- June -- Mabel Tolkien and her sister May Incledon are received
into the Church of Rome, bringing about the wrath and opposition of
their strongly Baptist relatives.
September -- Tolkien retakes the entrance exam for King Edward's,
and is accepted.
Late 1900 -- The J.R.R. Tolkien's move from Sarehole to Moseley to be
closer to Birmingham and King Edwards School.
- The J.R.R. Tolkien's move again, from Moseley to a small villa behind King's
- Early 1902
- Mabel Tolkien again moves her family, from King's Heath to a house
in Edgbaston next door to the Birmingham Oratory and the Grammar School
of St. Philip. To save money, Mabel removes the boys from King Edwards
and enrolls them in St. Philips.
- Autumn 1903
- JRRT wins a Foundation Scholarship to King Edwards, and returns there
to continue his studies.
- November 14
Mabel Tolkien, age 34, dies after spending six days in a diabetic coma
Ronald & Hilary move in with their Aunt, Beatrice Suffield
Late 1904, Early 1905
After the death of Tolkien's mother, the guardianship of he and Hilary
is taken over by Father Francis Xavier Morgan, a priest of the Birmingham
- Early 1908
Ronald and Hilary move to 37 Duchess Road, behind the Birmingham Oratory,
into a room let by a Mrs. Faulkner.
J.R.R Tolkien begins his first term at Oxford
- December 17, 1910
- Tolkien is awarded an Open Classical Exhibition to Exeter College
- Tolkien takes the Honours Moderations exams
- Awarded First Class Honours degree in English Language and Literature
- Commissioned in the Lancashire Fusiliers
- March 22, 1916
- John Ronald Reuel Tolkein marries Edith Bratt
- June 1916
- Tolkien is assigned to the Lancashire Fusiliers and sent to France where
he sees some action in Somme as second Lieutenant. Returns to England
suffering from shell shock.
- Birth of J.R.R. Tolkien's first son John
- Tolkien works as an assistant on the Oxford English Dictionary for
- Birth of J.R.R. Tolkien's second son Michael
- Tolkien begins teaching at the University of Leeds as Reader in the
- Tolkien becomes Professsor of English Language at Leeds
- Birth of third son Christopher
- Tolkien moves to Oxford, where he serves as Rawlingson Professor
of Anglo-Saxon and Fellow of Pembroke College for the next 24 years
- Tolkien and E.V. Gordon publish their translation of Sir
Gawain and the Greene Knight
- Tolkien meets C.S. Lewis and the two enter into a lifelong friendship
- Tolkien's forth child, Priscilla, is born
- c. 1933
- JRRT first begins telling his children of a funny little creature
- Tolkien gives W.P. Ker lecture at Glasgow University
- Tolkien completes The Hobbit
- Tolkien delivers his address "Beowulf: The Monsters and the
Critics" before the British Association
- The Hobbit is published, and Tolkien begins working on the
- 1938 - 1939
- Tolkien writes "Leaf by Niggle"
- Tolkien delivers his lecture "On Fairy-Stories"
- Tolkien becomes Merton Professor of English Language and Literature at
Oxford; a position he holds until his retirement in 1959
- "Leaf by Niggle" is published in The Dublin Review, a
scholarly Catholic journal
- "Leaf by Niggle" is published
- The Lord of the Rings is completed
- Farmer Giles of Ham is published
- The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, the first
two portions of The Lord of the Rings, are published
- The Return of the King, the final portion of The Lord of
the Rings, is published
- Tolkien was to travel to the United States to accept honorary
degrees from Marquette, Harvard, and several other universities,
and to deliver a series of addresses. The trip was cancelled due
to the ill health of his wife Edith. Tolkien never made the trip
before his death in 1973.
- Tolkien retires his professorship at Oxford
- Tolkien was a collaborator in the translation of the Jerusalem
Bible from the French (he did Job)
- The Adventures of Tom Bombadil is published
- "Leaf by Niggle" and "On Fairy Stories" are published together in a
single edition called Tree and Leaf
- Publication of American paperback editions of The Lord of the
- Smith of Wotton Major and The Road Goes Ever On are
- The Tolkien family moves to Poole near Bournemouth
- November 29, 1971
- Edith Tolkien dies after a short, but severe, illness attributed to an
- Tolkien returns to Oxford
- Receives CBE from the Queen
- September 2, 1973
- John Ronald Reuel Tolkien dies at the age of eighty-one in a private
hospital in Bournemouth
- Silmarillion published posthumously (final editing was completed
by his son Christopher)
- April 12, 1994
- Twenty-one years after Tolkien's death, Darryl Friesen begins comprising a
list of important events in the life and career of J. R. R. Tolkien
Here you can find pages concerning J.R.R. Tolkien's life, work, what other people said about him and his books...
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