Project Northmoor Enlists Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman & More For Effort To Save J.R.R. Tolkien’s Oxford Home

A crowdfunding effort called Project Northmoor has formed a fellowship of some fantastic people to aid its effort to save the Oxford home where The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien penned his fantasy epic. At the helm is author Julia Golding, and she’s enlisted Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins! Or, rather, actors Sir Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman, among others. Singer Annie Lennox, and actors John Rhys-Davies — who portrayed Gimli, son of Gloin, in the three Lord of the Rings films — and Sir Derek Jacobi have also shown their support for the quest to preserve the home in which such amazing tales were put to paper.

Project Northmoor aims to establish a literary center that would serve as the first in the world dedicated to Tolkien. The goal is to raise enough capital to purchase the home before it goes on the market. If the effort is successful, guests would be able to participate in “retreats, writing seminars and other cultural events” that would take place in the home where Tolkien also wrote The Hobbit.

“In 1930, a family moved into 20 Northmoor Road, a big house in the university city of Oxford, England,” Freeman said in a video on the campaign’s website.

“A young father entertained his children with his stories about a hobbit called Bilbo Baggins. Bilbo went on a quest to the Lonely Mountain in the company of a wizard,” McKellen continued.

“That young man was J.R.R. Tolkien and in the ’30s, he wrote The Hobbit. By 1939, England was once again at war,” Rhys-Davies said, referencing WWII.

“The shadow of that war, and the earlier one in which Tolkien himself fought, would stretch across the pages of The Lord of the Rings, from the Shire to the Dead Marshes,” Jacobi added.

According to a press release from the project, the fundraising goal is around $6 million, the bulk of which would go toward purchasing the house. Additional funds would be used to cover renovations, finance the charity’s start-up costs and develop literary programs. The operation aims to be fully financially self-sustaining.

Like any good crowdfunding effort, Project Northmoor has some thematic incentives for those who donate. Donors who give $25 or more would receive Hobbit gifts and get their names in the Red Book of Funders to be placed in Tolkien’s study. An offering of $250 or more receives a Dwarf gift, with Human gifts for $2,500 or more, Elf gifts for $25,000 or more and Wizard gifts for a donation of $250,000 or more. Anyone interested in donating beyond that threshold is encouraged to contact the project via email to discuss a Valar-gift level offering.