A little known fact about the Ribble Valley is that J.R.R.
Tolkien was a frequent vistor here and wrote parts of 'Lord of the Rings'
here. South African born John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was at the time a Oxford
professor and made frequent visits here between 1942 to 1947, his name has
just been discovered in the Stonyhurst guest book where it appears many times..Tolkien
found time to write part of the 'Lord of the Rings' in a class room on the
upper gallery at the college. When he was not writing he would take walks
around the area with his son Michael.. Micheal later taught Classics at Stonyhurst
in the 1960's and 70's. Tolkien was a professor and taught a few lessons at
the college on his visits here. On his walks around the area it has been suggested
that he got some of his inspiration from the countryside around the Ribble
Valley. Pendle Hill dominates the surrounding area and is associated with
witches and sorcery in the 17th century, inspiration maybe for the Middle
Earths Misty Mountains or the Lonely Mountain. Around Stonyhurst and Hurst
Green there are a lot of names of lanes e.t.c. that are familiar in 'The Lord
of the Rings'. Towards the end of his life Tolkien use to stay with his son
in a house belonging to the college a few hundred yards away from St. Mary's
College in Woodfields. Tolkien had a very strong love of trees and persuaded
his son to plant a copse in the garden, evidence of which can still be seen
to this day. Later on in his life Michael Tolkien moved down the road to Waddington.
Another very famous author associated with Stonyhurst is Sir Arthur Conan
Doyle who studied at the college and then went on to create the character
'Sherlock Holmes', the setting for his book 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'
was itself Stonyhurst College. The above photograph was taken around the 1920's.