(KUTV) – Actors who played some of the key characters in movie adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's most popular works "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" are joining in a "fellowship" to save the late writer's home and to establish it as a literary center.
The residence in Oxford is where Tolkien wrote parts of the two works he is most known for. The project to preserve the home, on 20 Northmoor Road, where the professor and philologist started tales for his children that grew to become some of the most beloved novels of the 20th Century. The project, titled Project Northmoor, is seeking to raise approximately $6 million, or 4.5 million.
The home went on the market this year.
Ian McKellen, who played wizard Gandalf in three-film adaptations of both books, is teaming with other actors from the series including Martin Freeman, the titular character in "The Hobbit" films along with musician Anne Lennox, Middle-earth actor John-Rhys Davies (Gimli in the Rings films) and Sir Derek Jacobi.
The actors, singer and others, narrate a video at Projectnorthmoor.org appealing for the effort to acquire the Tolkien house.
"This is just an opportunity that can't be ignored," John Rhys-Davies told People magazine.
"If people are still reading in 1,000 years, Tolkien will be regarded as one of the great myth-makers of Britain and it will be evident within a matter of years that not to secure this place would have been such an act of arrogance and ignorance and folly on our part," he said.
Tolkien, the writer and Oxford academic, lived at 20 Northmoor Road in North Oxford from 1930 to to 1940s while at Pembroke College, of the University of Oxford. There he authored "The Hobbit," published in 1937 and wrote the first two published volumes of "The Lord of the Rings." The listing price was 4,375,000 or approximately $5.6 million. The project seeks more than the original listing price to buy it, restore parts of it including the garden and preserve it.
The listing from real Oxford estate agency Breckon & Breckon has been removed from its website.
"Future generations will thank us," Rhys-Davies said.
The home and property, according to the previous listing said the property "remains largely unaltered since it was built." The listing says the property is well served by shopping and transportation in the area, "including Oxford High, The Dragon and Wychwood School."
The home has the U.K.'s Grade II status, that means it is of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve it. It also has nearly 4,000 square feet of space — built in 1924 — with "six good-sized bedrooms" on the first floor, "two with generously-sized en-suite bathrooms," accord to its listing. It also sits in the Central North Oxford area, said to be the most sought-after part of the city.
The project that started fundraising Dec. 2, is now accepting monetary donations at projectnorthmoor.org/donate.
Tolkien served in WWI and was part of the Battle of the Somme where he contracted trench fever. He worked at the Oxford English Dictionary, took a post at the University of Leeds, starting is career as an academic. The great success of "The Hobbit," convinced Tolkien to try to produce a sequel that eventually resulted in the "Lord of the Rings." A great wealth of his other material remained unpublished until after his death in 1973, much of it researched and published by his son Christopher Tolkien, his literary executor who recently passed and grew up in the property targeted by the project.