Tol Eressëa

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Tol Eressëa
Billy Mosig - Parting from Eressea.jpg
"Parting from Eressea" by Billy Mosig
General Information
Pronunciationtol eh-res-seh-ah
Other namesThe Lonely Island
LocationAman off the coast of Valinor, east of the Bay of Eldamar; surrounded by Enchanted Isles
DescriptionArrowhead-shaped island, green and beautiful
Major townsAvallónë
People and History
InhabitantsEldar, mostly Teleri
CreatedY.T. 1151
GalleryImages of Tol Eressëa

Tol Eressëa was a large island off the coast of Eldamar. Its name translates from Quenya as the Lonely Island, for it lay originally in the middle of the Belegaer, far from any other landmasses.

History[edit | edit source]

Ulmo pushed it back and forth across Belegaer twice to transport the Elves to Aman. After that, it came to rest forever just off the eastern shore of that continent in the Bay of Eldamar, and was inhabited by the Teleri of Aman, until they left for Alqualondë.

With the end of the First Age, many of the Eldar of Middle-earth (and the Teleri that never left it) went to Aman, and lived on the island of Tol Eressëa. Its principal location is the port city of Avallónë on the eastern shore.

Flora[edit | edit source]

Many beautiful trees grew on Eressëa, and their seedlings were gifted by the Eldar to Númenor to enrich the land.[4] Some of them were:

Etymology[edit | edit source]

Tol Eressëa is Quenya, from tol "isle" and eressëa "lonely".[source?]

Other versions of the legendarium[edit | edit source]

In early versions of Tolkien's legendarium, the island was later visited by Ælfwine (or Eriol), an Anglo-Saxon from the early Middle Ages, which provided a framework for the tales that later became The Silmarillion.

Most of The Book of Lost Tales Part One occurs on Tol Eressëa. The island played a significant role in those early conflicting and revised versions, as the homeland of the Noldorin exiles. From those stories, Christopher Tolkien provided a comparative summary of its story: After the war between the Eldar and the Enemy in the Great Lands (i.e. Middle-earth), Eressea is the destination for the exiled Noldoli who were rescued from the Great Lands, as some were not allowed to return to Valinor. The exiles built many towns and villages, and places such as Tavrobel, the central region of Alalminórë with the hill of Kôr where Ingil son of Inwe built Kortirion. The House of the Hundred Chimneys and the Cottage of Lost Play of Kortirion are also mentioned. These names do not exist in the later Silmarillion.

The island was visited by Ottor Wǽfre who, after learning the ancient history of the Elder Days went to visit Gilfanon in Tavrobel, where he wrote it down. He married an Elf and had a son named Heorrenda.

Tol Eressea was drawn again east and anchored off the coasts of the Great Lands (at the geographical position of England), where the Lost Elves rose against the servants of Melko. When Osse attempted to drag the island back to the West, the western half broke off, forming the Isle of Iverin (Ireland).

After the defeat of the Elves in the battle of Ros, they hid in Tol Eressea, but were followed by evil men, Orcs and other creatures. The great Battle of the Heath of the Sky-roof between Men near Tavrobel causes the Elves to flee over the Gruir and the Afros.

The Elves then faded, and most Men were now unable to see them. Eriol's sons, Hengest, Horsa, and Heorrenda, who were friendly to the Elves, conquered the island which became 'England'. From them the Angles have 'the true tradition of the fairies'. Hengest came to Kortirion (Warwick), Horsa to Taruithorn (Oxford) and Heorrenda to Tavrobel (Great Haywood).[5]

A Gnomish name used for Tol Eressëa was Dor Faidwen ("Land of Release").[6][7]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Morgoth's Ring, "Part Three. The Later Quenta Silmarillion: (II) The Second Phase: The Valaquenta", pp. 199-200
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, VI. Quenta Silmarillion", p. 203
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, VI. Quenta Silmarillion", "The Conclusion of the Quenta Silmarillion", §33, p. 334
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "A Description of the Island of Númenor"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "VI. The History of Eriol or Ælfwine and the End of the Tales"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part One, "I. The Cottage of Lost Play", pp. 13, 21
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, "I-Lam na-Ngoldathon: The Grammar and Lexicon of the Gnomish Tongue", in Parma Eldalamberon XI (edited by Christopher Gilson, Arden R. Smith, and Patrick H. Wynne), pp. 5, 7