Sarehole Mill and J R R Tolkien

Sarehole Mill and J R R Tolkien

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Posted 2013-09-26 by Nadine Cresswell-Myattfollow


When I think of mills and literature (which is not very often) I always think of George Elliot's famous work Mill on the Floss but she was not the only writer to be inspired by a mill setting.

J.R.R. Tolkien was also similarly inspired .

The famous fantasy author was born in South Africa in 1892 but his family moved to Birmingham in 1896 and lived close to Sarehole Mill for four years.

The 1750 building, which was then in the countryside, was a drawcard to Tolkien and his brother who spent many happy hours playing there. Although there were times when they were discovered by the miller's son who chased them away.

The striking setting provided Tolkien with the inspiration for Hobbitton and The Shire in his books The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

In fact he was so touched by the place he even contributed to the restoration of the Mill in the 1960s.

Today Sarehole Mill is one of of the few surviving working watermills in the region. Hemmed in by suburbia it still has a tranquil county atmosphere as there are large grounds and the huge pond is a haven for birdlife including kingfishers, mallards, moorhens and herons.



A recent £450,000 restoration brought the pond back to life , provided new millstones and milling furniture, and restored the Victorian bakehouse.

It has meant the site can return to its former glory as a working watermill.

The old mill not only grinds wheat and sells flour but volunteers also demonstrate traditional bread making. The original 1850s oven is so large it can still bake 60 loaves of bread in one batch.

Milling sessions only take place on Wednesdays and Sundays and it is always worth phoning in advance to check water levels for operation.

Tolkien fans can view the exhibition Signposts to Middle-Earth which explores Tolkien's connections to Sarehole Mill and the surrounding area.

The Mill is part of the #8206 ;">Tolkien Trail , which follows in the childhood footsteps of the author and the places that influenced his writing.

Kids can kick a ball on the field, have adventure near the small stream that runs through the spacious property and even hire nets to go dipping for mini beasts in the pond.

You never know perhaps it might even spark their imaginations to write the great fantasy novels of the future. It certainly worked for one little boy.



To see what the mill looks like there is an excellent panorama view of it here.

#books_writing
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#hall_green
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%wnbirmingham
67392 - 2023-01-26 01:22:26

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