JRR Tolkien at Exeter College


JRR Tolkien matriculated (formally entered Exeter College) on 17 October 1911, aged 19, as an exhibitioner in Classics. He changed course to English Language and Literature graduating in 1915 with first class Honours. In 1914 Tolkien was awarded the college’s Skeat prize for English and the Library has acquired the book presented to him Some Hints on Pattern Designing by William Morris, another Exeter College alumnus.

Exeter College Archives has information about his matriculation, tuition and accommodation at College, with details of scholarships and examination results. Loans from the college library included an annotated Finnish grammar, now in the Library special collections. He participated in the College’s 600th anniversary celebrations in 1914, and was a prominent member of the college’s debating society, the Stapeldon Society, and Essay Club.

A guide to archive resources in Oxford can be downloaded here. Please email archives@exeter.ox.ac.uk for more detailed information.

JRR Tolkien (pictured back row, leaning forward) during his time at Exeter College