Tuesday, February 12, 2013
LORD of the Rings fans have created a piece of Middle-earth in Suffolk.
What has been a labour of love for staff at West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village and Country Park is now complete - a real life Hobbit hole fit for Bilbo Baggins which is the first on public display in the UK.
Staff, who are fans of JRR Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit books, spent 20 days over three months building their own Hobbit hole at West Stow based on the character Farmer Cotton’s home in the Lord of the Rings.
Visitors can have their photo taken outside the hole when it goes on display from February 16 to 24 at this year’s popular fan event Ring Quest, where fans take an unexpected journey to find the rings of power and translate the dwarf runes.
Alan Baxter, heritage manager for St Edmundsbury Borough Council, which runs West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village and Country Park, is a fan of the books and a member of the Tolkien Society.
He said: “The tenth anniversary saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey by Peter Jackson being released in cinemas and a new wave of enthusiasm for Tolkien. Many of the staff are Lord of the Rings fans and as fans we wanted to create something special to celebrate this so the Hobbit hole was built.
“I was lucky enough to visit the set soon after filming and took hundreds of photos and videos. The West Stow Hobbit hole is based on those images.
“The most famous is Bag End, the luxury home, with a round green door, of Bilbo Baggins and Frodo. Other Hobbits lived in more modest homes and one of these has been built with a round red door like many in Hobbiton.
“Like the film set, sadly fans cannot pop inside the Hobbit hole for a look around but as ‘big people’, as the Hobbits call us, we would only end up with a headache from banging our heads on the low ceiling as Gandalf himself did on the ceiling at Bag End in Lord of the Rings.”
Staff say West Stow is the perfect place to build a Hobbit hole as the names in the Tolkien books themselves have Anglo-Saxon origins, according to the author who was a Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University.
Robert S Blackham, author of several books on Tolkien, said the Hobbit hole at West Stow was certainly the only one on public display in the UK and with Tolkien’s fascination with Anglo-Saxon heritage the perfect home to show people a real life glimpse of Middle-earth.
On February 21 there will also be an event to show fans the photos of the New Zealand film locations at Moyse’s Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds from 6pm to 8pm.