Friday, December 12, 2003
On the other side of the Hartshill road on which we live (number 121) there is a street named Tolkien Way. When we first moved into the area I didn't know why it was called this name; I simply presumed that it was named after J.R.R. Tolkien. However, it was not named after J.R.R. Tolkien, but after John Francis Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien's oldest son. Tolkien was the priest-in-charge at the Church of Our Lady of the Angels and St Peter in Chains, the Roman Catholic Church directly opposite our house. Whilst he was in Stoke, his father was a regular visitor. J.R.R. Tolkien was, of course, a devout Catholic and was used of God to convert C.S. Lewis to Christianity. Apparently John Francis Tolkien was quite a character. A story is told of one service in which, unbeknownst to him, his vestments caught fire on a candle. Some people from the congregation rushed forward to try to put the fire out and Tolkien, thinking that they were trying to attack him, responded as one might expect!