Save The Three Cups Hotel

The Three Cups Hotel

Campaigning for preservation of the hotel where J.R.R. Tolkien stayed and gained inspiration for his mythology. Jane Austen, G.K. Chesterton, Tennyson and H.W. Longfellow were also guests. The hotel featured in the film, “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”. Please send articles to me, Andrew Townsend, at or add a comment. Thanks to David Moss for all his work. Comments are closed at WDDC for the plans to redevelop the site but you can still write to the papers.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Tribute to Humphrey Carpenter by Andrew Townsend

I expect that many visitors to this web site will be saddened to hear of the untimely death of Tolkien’s biographer, Humphrey Carpenter, on 4th January at the age of 58.

His meticulously researched biography of Tolkien gives remarkable insight into the life of a very remarkable author. It was through his book that I first heard of the connection between Tolkien and the Three Cups Hotel. According to the obituary I read, Humphrey Carpenter was an affable man with many talents as a broadcaster, writer and musician. I'm sure that he will be greatly missed by his family, friends and acquaintances.

Carpenter expressed astonishment in his book about how a shy unassuming man like JRR Tolkien who travelled so little could have created such a vast imaginary world as his Middle Earth. But Tolkien did like to get about to walk in the English countryside and to experience the seashore. He did this in Dorset as much as anywhere and anyone who wants to understand more about Tolkien would do well to visit Lyme Regis. Apparently, Tolkien found the atmosphere in the Three Cups conducive to his writing and drawing. What a pity that this place cannot be open to artists, writers and others today!

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Monday, January 03, 2005

A Tolkien Museum and Study Centre? By Ted Nasmith

As someone who owes my artistic fortunes largely to an abiding love of the legacy of J.R.R. Tolkien, I’d like to add my voice to this appeal. Clearly, the opportunity exists here to create a local point of interest in some form through preservation of this fine former hotel.

One of the most significant driver’s of Tolkien’s staggeringly rich imaginative outpouring of invented myth and stories was a recognition of the tragic paucity of folkloric material left over from Britain’s Anglo-Saxon and earlier history, suppressed and destroyed wantonly by the incoming Norman invaders of the time. He felt that in creating his elaborate, linguistically inspired pre-history that he was helping mitigate this terrible loss, and it showed his extraordinary love of England in a way few can be said to match. Surely a man as devoted to his nation as this, as singularly important to the national identity, deserves to have as many of the actual places he visited preserved as possible.

After all, this is also a man who, in the appalling crucible of the Great War, accepted the need to put his very life on the line for his country in her hour of Darkness, regardless that had he not survived, none of us would ever had heard of him or had our lives so deeply enriched! The war itself gave much impetus to his later literary output, such that even out of this far more personal tragedy and loss (as against the aforementioned loss of specifically English folklore), his prose and poetry ultimately gained far greater poignancy and resonance.

Perhaps the loss of The Three Cups Hotel is not something truly significant in the greater scheme of things, but on the other hand, it is the loss, or at least unavailability of such actual landmarks of his life, that deny those who recognize the contribution of such literary geniuses access to Places in which to remember them, and thus the context of their times. Indifference to such historical graces must always be resisted! Tolkien loved the Sea in particular, so The Three Cups would be a fitting place to memorialize him for that reason alone. But if it were to be restored and include, if not feature, a memorial of some kind to him, it would not only provide that, but have the added benefit of boosting the local economy, since Tolkien has indisputably become a worldwide phenomenon. Dare I suggest that a facility like The Three Cups could even become the location—long overdue---of a Museum and Study Centre for Tolkien? Currently, there is no one general facility to which collections of valuable Tolkien memorabilia and art might be donated, sadly.

It remains to be seen therefore whether this significant opportunity may be seized on or not by one or more visionary benefactors.

Ted Nasmith
Tolkien Illustrator

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