‘Ringer’ shares Tolkien’s time in Sidmouth

JRR Tolkien turned Sidmouth into the Shire and one of his loyal followers is on a quest to share the role the town played in inspiring one of fantasy’s greatest works.

Avid reader Vicki Angus Campbell is bursting with enthusiasm for all things Rings, and ‘counting down the days’ until the first Hobbit film is released.

Reading the Lord of the Rings made her a loyal ‘Ringer’, to the point where she even considered opening a Middle Earth caf� in the town that served hobbit pie and ale.

“I loved the books but they didn’t come to life until the films came out,” she said.

Vicki, a singer who lives in Jubilee Gardens, has delved into Tolkien’s other works and biographies about him, and found he holidayed in Sidmouth several times, staying at Aurora near Kennaway House and in the Belmont Hotel.


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She found that one of the pubs helped the Oxford University professor through a bout of writer’s block to develop a major character.

“I like to think he was sitting in the corner of The Ship or The Swan smoking his pipe, and in a flash of inspiration, Aragorn was born,” she said.

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She thinks that more people should be made aware of the literary history of Sidmouth, from Elizabeth Browning to John Betjeman, and hopes that the Sid Vale Association will commemorate Tolkien’s time here.

The Hobbit is being filmed as a trilogy, with the first instalment out on Thursday.

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