Bill Stickers

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Bill Stickers was a villain — a figure in a "long-running family epic" told by J.R.R. Tolkien to his children. The stories "revolved around the tireless efforts of Major Road Ahead to prosecute the villain".[1]

Bill Stickers was an "irrepressible villain" and "a huge hulk of a man who always got away with everything".[2]


Tolkien was inspired by "signs hanging on various Oxford gates",[1] saying "Bill Stickers Will Be Prosecuted".[2][note 1] Basing his discussion on a newspaper article revealing that C.S. Lewis was a member a secret gang during the 1920s,[3] David Bratman has speculated that Tolkien in addition might have been inspired by the gang member Margaret Pollard's (a friend of Lewis's) gang pseudonym, "Bill Stickers".[4]

The stories about Bill Stickers and Major Road Ahead were only told orally (possibly around 1926 and 1930[5]), and have thus not been recorded,[6] unlike, for example, Roverandom and Letters from Father Christmas.


  1. It's an old prank to paste up posters with 'Bill Stickers is Innocent' underneath these sign (cf. Bill Stickers is innocent).


  1. 1.0 1.1 Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, Chapter 7
  2. 2.0 2.1 Austin Olney, "About J.R.R. Tolkien", (accessed 12 November 2013)
  3. Thomas Burrows, "CS Lewis supported secret heritage gang" dated 15 October 2013, (accessed 12 November 2013)
  4. David Bratman, "ten miscellanies make a blog post" dated 5 November 2013, (accessed 12 November 2013)
  5. Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: I. Chronology, p. 135
  6. Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (2006), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide: II. Reader's Guide, p. 162