Arthur Tolkien

From Tolkien Gateway
Arthur Tolkien, unknown date
Arthur Tolkien
Biographical information
Born18 February, 1857
Died15 February, 1896
OccupationBank Manager
LocationEngland and South Africa

Arthur Reuel Tolkien (18 February 185715 February 1896) was the father of J.R.R. Tolkien. He was born in Handsworth, Stafford, England, about February of 1857, and he was the eldest child of John Benjamin Tolkien and Mary Jane Stow. Arthur had at least 5 siblings: Mabel (1858), Grace Bindley (1861), Florence Mary (1863), Wilfred Henry, and Laurence George H. Tolkien. Marian Esther (1866) and Mary Tolkien (1870) may also have been sisters of Arthur.

Arthur's father John had previously been married, to Jane Holmwood, with whom he had four children: Emily, born 1838, Louisa, born 1840, John Benjamin, born 1845 and Jane, born 1846.

Arthur did not follow his father into the traditional Tolkien trade in pianos, which many of his London cousins also followed; instead he became a bank clerk and ended up moving to South Africa, where he was later joined by his fiancée, Mabel Suffield.

Arthur and Mabel were married in 1891. Their first son, Ronald, was born on January 3, 1892, and a second son, Hilary Arthur Reuel, was born two years later on February 17, 1894.

Mabel felt the English climate would be better for the boys' health and returned to England in 1895. Arthur remained in South Africa because of business. Before he had the opportunity to join his family in England, he was hit by rheumatic fever and died of severe brain hemorrhage, on February 15, 1896. His father followed six months later.

Arthur's burial service took place in the Anglican church in Bloemfontein. He was buried in the "President Brand graveyard". His grave was re-discovered in the early 1990s by co-founders of the South African Tolkien Society.[1] A new tombstone was placed on his grave by the Tolkien family and co-founders of the South African Tolkien Society in 1994.[2]

See also


  1. "Graf van Tolkien se pa is nou opgespoor" (accessed 31 October 2011)
  2. Jan-Stefan van der Walt, "The one with a photo of Tolkien's father's grave" at Kloof Street Blog (accessed 31 October 2011)