- 1957 to 1987 Father John Francis Tolkien lived in Stoke-on-Trent
- He was formerly chaplain to the University College of North Staffordshire, which later became Keele University.
- Also chaplain at St Joseph’s College, Trent Vale, and St Dominic’s High School, Hartshill.
- 1957-1966 He was parish priest at Knutton Roman Catholic Church from 1957 to 1966.
- He then became priest-in-charge at the Church of Our Lady of the Angels and St Peter in Chains, Stoke.
- Was chairman of governors at Bishop Right School, chaplain to the North Staffordshire Catholic Teachers Association and area chaplain to the Young Christian Students.
Father Tolkien also served in parishes in Oxford, Birmingham, and Warwickshire.
Professor JRR Tolkien was a regular visitor to North Staffordshire until his death in 1973. He spent many Christmases and holidays with his son at the Presbytery in Hartshill Road.
A street off Hartshill Road is named Tolkien Way.
In September 1973, Father John Tolkien celebrated a Requiem Mass for his father at the Church of St. Anthony of Padua, in Oxford.
Tolkien generously donated considerable cash sums to his parishioners in Eynsham to build a much needed addition to their church. Attached to the Church by an Entrance Corridor, the Room is a small hall that is used every Sunday after Mass for people to meet. It is also used for many other Parish events both social and educational. The Hall was built through the encouragement and generosity of Fr. John Tolkien who was Parish Priest at St Peter’s from 1987 to 1994. He was able to give a great deal of money towards the project. Inside the hall on the ceiling rafters you can see a little figure that some think is an angel, but other prefer to see as a Hobbit. The Hall leads out onto a Patio with extensive grounds and a great view south east towards a beautiful wooded hill which is the western end of Wytham Wood. You can also see an ancient Sarsen stone that was found during the Archaeological dig and is thought to be over 2000 years old. Outside the entrance to the Church and the Hall a weathervane shows Fr. Tolkien’s initials.
Endless bother and harassment
With the impending release of Peter’s Jackson’s adaptation of the Lord of the Rings distributed by New Line Cinema at the turn of the century, Father John foresaw trouble for his family. At the time he said that family members “are already constantly harassed by devotees of his father’s work and predicts that the extra interest generated by the films will mean that anyone with the Tolkien name will now have to disguise their origins.”
Constant harassment and perpetual abuse
“The Tolkien family is under perpetual abuse of one kind or another. It goes on all the time,” said Fr Tolkien, 83, to the Daily Telegraph in 2001 “I am anticipating endless bother when the film actually comes out.” Sadly John was to be proved correct shortly before his untimely death.
In 2001 John Tolkien was subject an evil and malicious false allegation shortly before he died.
Before he died Father John was completely exonerated by the church and authorities. His funeral was extremely well attended – Father John was a man loved and respected by all who knew him and remains much loved and respected to this day.
It was felt there was absolutely no prospect of conviction and this unfortunate matter should never have been investigated … Julie Seddon spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service
“WE are outraged at your headline “Tolkien’s son is questioned over allegations” We knew Fr John Tolkien, son of J R R Tolkien, during his curacy at the English Martyrs, Birmingham, a parish with more than 7,000 parishioners.
We have been in touch with many former parishioners living in other parts of the country and all, without exception, were shocked and dismayed at these allegations. They all had personal experience of his time with the scouting movement, from Cub mistresses and helpers to camp organisers, most of them with younger brothers in the Scouts.They all spoke of him with affection, as a strict but just man, and had never heard of the slightest hint of wrongdoing. – C M and T A Stockford, Bredenbury, Herefordshire
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(c) 2002 Arnold Stockwell.
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